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So far Minerva has created 133 blog entries.

Rice production with CRISP-Cas9

2021-07-14T13:13:05+02:0021 March 2020|Categories: Medicine and Research, Technology|Tags: , |

CRISPR-Cas9 is a gene editing technique capable of modifying the genome or the complex of genes of a cell. It works like a molecular scissor that can cut and stitch DNA very precisely, eliminating harmful sequences or replacing them and correcting the mutations present. To date, this technique has been used in various fields ranging from biology to agriculture and indeed, a group of scientists used the CRISPR system to be able to increase rice production in some areas of Africa, subject to adverse weather conditions. The study carried out by some researchers of the University of Milan together with the University of [...]

PEA: an all natural pain reliever

2021-03-14T13:05:22+01:0015 June 2019|Categories: Medicine and Research|

by Anna Lucia A. The PEA: (palmitoyl-ethanol-ammide) it is a natural substance produced by our body to defend cells from chronic damage or inflammation. It was discovered in 1957 but only in 1993 Dr. Rita Levi Montalcini explained how it works by winning the Nobel Prize. Chemically speaking PEA is an amide of an endogenous fatty acid. It belongs to the class of nuclear factor antagonists, that is, of those molecules capable of interacting directly with DNA by crossing the nuclear membrane, usually difficult to penetrate. In fact, PEA is thought to bind to specific nuclear receptors, called PPAR, is that [...]

Gene and microRNA expression: what they are and how they work

2021-03-14T13:10:44+01:006 May 2019|Categories: Curiosity|

of Carolina C. From DNA to proteins passing through RNA: a basic concept of biology. But that's not all: there are mechanisms upstream, downstream but also in the middle that modify and regulate gene expression. In particular the microRNAs, fragments of approx 20 RNA nucleotides, they regulate the translation of messenger RNAs into protein. These are active in plants, animals and also in some viruses. Their processing is finely regulated by different enzymes: in the nucleus the polymerase will produce, starting from its coding gene, the pre-miRNA, a longer precursor that will be transported into the cytoplasm by a [...]

What is the color of the water?

2021-03-14T13:10:36+01:0015 April 2019|Categories: Chemistry and Physics|

di Gabriele Mozzicato L’acqua è il liquido incolore e insapore per antonomasia. However, by filling a long tube with demineralized water and looking through it, it occurs that the water is actually colored a very pale blue. Repeating the same experiment with heavy water, however, no particular color is noticed. Heavy water has the same chemical composition as water, but in its molecules the hydrogen atoms are replaced by a heavier isotope, the deuterium, which does not affect the chemical properties of the molecule. What makes the difference is the mass. In fact, water does not derive its color from the behavior of its electrons, come [...]

Vampires, legend or reality?

2021-07-19T22:43:00+02:0014 April 2019|Categories: Curiosity|

by Alessia Autieri Let's start with the blood Heme is a chemical complex containing an iron atom capable of binding oxygen and is part of a family of very important compounds called porphyrins. Costituisce la parte non proteica di proteine come l'emoglobina, myoglobin and cytochromes. È una delle molecole prodotte in maggiori quantità nell'organismo e per questo le patologie che riguardano la sintesi dell'eme possono essere piuttosto gravi. Immagine della molecola di Emoglobina e della struttura del gruppo Eme Malattie genetiche rare Le porfirie sono un gruppo di malattie rare, mostly hereditary, dovute a deficit [...]

The toast with jam vs the laws of physics

2021-03-14T13:11:29+01:001 April 2019|Categories: Chemistry and Physics|Tags: |

The ritual of the classic breakfast with toast and rusks covered with delicious jam unites many people all over the world. Likewise, the fall of the aforementioned toast onto the ground naturally with the “seasoned” side facing the floor, it is considered one of the major causes of insults and blasphemies in the early morning. One of Murphy's famous maxims takes the example of the fateful rusk to demonstrate the fate of chance and that anything that can happen, it will happen. Fotogrammi originali dell'esperimento, usati per definire attrito statico e dinamico tra fetta e tavolo Può far sorridere scoprire che [...]

IPSC: The future of stem cells

2019-01-18T20:54:58+01:0011 January 2019|Categories: No Category|Tags: , , , |

Immaginate ogni cellula del nostro corpo come ad una potenziale cellula staminale! Sembra fantascienza, invece è realtà grazie agli studi di Kazutoshi Takahashi e Shinya Yamanaka, che nel 2006 hanno dimostrato che è possibile riprogrammare una cellula somatica (it is. cellula epiteliale) riportandola a uno stadio di staminalità. Queste cellule riprogrammate, grazie all’inserimento artificiale di 4 geni, furono chiamate iPSC ossia “Cellule Staminali Pluripotenti Indotte”. Prima di tutto occorre fare un passo indietro e chiederci cosa sia una cellula staminale. Si tratta di una cellula che ha la capacità di trasformarsi in altre cellule del corpo attraverso un meccanismo chiamato “differenziamento [...]

The aliens on earth: what are invasive species?

2021-07-15T20:05:31+02:0030 December 2018|Categories: Nature|Tags: , , , , , , |

Bedbugs between the curtains, in clothes, on the walls, it almost seems like an invasion. But where did they come from? And why there are so many? The insect that we seem to find everywhere is the marbled brown bug, Halyomorpha halys, and it is an invasive alien species. Nothing to do with spaceships and laser beams; these are insects that are not where they should be: they were imported into a new environment which they found favorable for survival and reproduction. Halyomorpha halys. Photo: Pixabay First of all, some clarity on the terms. A native species is a species present in the territory not [...]

The epic of Chinese girls with modified DNA: an overview of the story

2019-06-28T13:56:47+02:004 December 2018|Categories: No Category|Tags: , , |

From the unverified news to the ethical issues raised, from the announcement of the suspension of the clinical trial to that of another pregnancy in progress. An overview of the discussed case on the use of genome editing before birth. […]

Butter: the reason for an avoidable disaster

2019-06-28T13:52:08+02:009 October 2018|Categories: No Category|Tags: , , |

L’ingegnere Carlo Semenza era un bravo tecnico. Stimato per la sua professionalità, si era distinto per le numerose opere idrauliche, specialmente dighe in Italia e nel mondo. In un’epoca in cui in Italia si parlava di “costruire” come “imperativo categorico”, la necessità di energia galoppava di pari passo con il boom economico ed industriale di quegli anni. Fu in quel momento che si concepì il progetto ambizioso della diga del Grande Vajont, un’opera che a completamento sarebbe stata la diga più alta del mondo. Evolvendo nel tempo, il progetto finale fu approvato nel 1956, ed i lavori cominciarono l’anno successivo. La [...]

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