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Interaction with fungus containing nitrogen-fixing endobacteria improves rice nitrogen nutrition

Researchers Karnelia Paul of the University of Calcutta (India), Chinmay Saha of the University of Kalyani (India), and Anindita Seal of the University of Calcutta (India) designed research to study nitrogen nutrition in rice. Nitrogen supply limits crop yields, but application of excess nitrogen fertilizer can pollute water and is expensive. Therefore, scientists are looking for beneficial microbes that could assist in providing plants with nitrogen by fixing nitrogen—converting atmospheric nitrogen to forms that plants can use. Such “green fertilizers” could improve grain yields without the need for application of chemical nitrogen fertilizers. Legumes such as soybeans have symbiotic bacteria that fix nitrogen, but most important grain crops, including rice, lack these bacteria.

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How primordial germ cells commence sperm and egg production in the embryonic gonad

Early in mammalian embryonic development, long before the organism’s ultimate form has taken shape, a precious subset of its cells are set aside for future use in creating offspring. This task bestows on that subset of cells a special kind of immortality. While the majority of the embryo’s cells go on to construct the growing body, and their journey begins and ends in that body, the cells that are set aside, called primordial germ cells (PGCs), will eventually produce sperm and eggs, which will in turn produce a new body—and so the circle of life continues.

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A ‘simulation booster’ for nanoelectronics

Two research groups from ETH Zurich have developed a method that can simulate nanoelectronics devices and their properties realistically, quickly and efficiently. This offers a ray of hope for the industry and data center operators alike, both of which are struggling with the (over)heating that comes with increasingly small and powerful transistors.

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Efficient bottom-up synthesis of new perovskite material for the production of ammonia

Perovskites are a class of synthetic materials that have a crystalline structure similar to that of the naturally occurring mineral calcium titanate. They have been the subject of many studies because they exhibit exciting and unique properties that can be tuned according to their composition. One of their potential applications is as catalysts for the synthesis of ammonia. In other words, specific perovskites can be placed inside a reaction chamber with nitrogen and hydrogen to promote the reaction of these gases to form ammonia.

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DNA repeats—the genome’s dark matter

Expansions of DNA repeats are very hard to analyze. A method developed by researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics in Berlin allows for a detailed look at these previously inaccessible regions of the genome. It combines nanopore sequencing, stem cell, and CRISPR-Cas technologies. The method could improve the diagnosis of various congenital diseases and cancers in the future.

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