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So far Minerva has created 119 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 [...]

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|

by Gabriele Mozzicato Water is the colorless and tasteless liquid par excellence. 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. It forms the non-protein part of proteins such as hemoglobin, myoglobin and cytochromes. It is one of the molecules produced in greater quantities in the body and for this reason the pathologies involving the synthesis of heme can be quite serious. Image of the hemoglobin molecule and the structure of the heme group Rare genetic diseases Porphyrias are a group of rare diseases, mostly hereditary, due to deficits [...]

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. Original frames of the experiment, used to define static and dynamic friction between slice and table It may make you smile to discover that [...]

IPSC: The future of stem cells

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

Imagine every cell in our body as a potential stem cell! Sounds like science fiction, instead it is reality thanks to the studies of Kazutoshi Takahashi and Shinya Yamanaka, that in the 2006 have shown that it is possible to reprogram a somatic cell (it is. epithelial cell) bringing it back to a stage of stemness. These reprogrammed cells, thanks to the artificial insertion of 4 stamina cells, they were called iPSCs or “Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells”. First of all we need to take a step back and ask ourselves what a stem cell is. It is a cell that has the ability to transform into other cells in the body through a mechanism called "differentiation". [...]

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: , , |

The engineer Carlo Semenza was a good technician. Appreciated for his professionalism, he had distinguished himself for the numerous hydraulic works, especially dams in Italy and in the world. At a time when in Italy there was talk of "building" as a "categorical imperative", the need for energy galloped hand in hand with the economic and industrial boom of those years. It was at that moment that the ambitious project of the Grande Vajont dam was conceived, a work that when completed would have been the tallest dam in the world. Evolving over time, the final project was approved in 1956, and the work began the following year. The [...]

This year “fearsome” violin spider

2018-05-30T20:42:45+02:0031 May 2018|Categories: No Category|Tags: , , |

The dreaded violin spider occasionally returns to the newspapers to terrorize the whole country. He is described as an aggressive being with a fearsome poison, extremely dangerous. But it really is? As unfortunately it often happens, the reality is very different from what journalists tell. […]

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