Nature has extraordinary resources. Here we are trashing her land, sea and atmosphere - and have been for over a century now - with all sorts of chemistry she didn't ask for and which, sooner or later, will prove to be harmful to those who are putting it there. Despite this, sometimes she manages to find ways of twisting something bad into something good. Polyethylene terephthalate, also known as PET, is one. It is a plastic we have all heard about, man-made and widely used in industry for clothing but also for liquid and food containers, and is frequently shaped into the form of plastic bottles. PET - like other plastics - is piling up on Earth, slowly making its way into ocean sediments and more alarmingly into the food chain. Recently, a team of Japanese researchers discovered a new species of bacterium that has found a way to live off PET thanks to a hydrolase which seems to have evolved especially for this, and has been coined: PETase.
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Tales From A Small World
Tales From A Small World is a collection of the first hundred articles which originally appeared on this site. Published in September 2009, the book is enriched by poems from the Dublin poet, Pat Ingoldsby. Learn more and order your copy online.
Journey Into A Tiny World
« Globin and Poietin set out to save Lily's life. But time is running short and they can't find the marrow... Here is the tale of their courage, fun and laughter on a journey that takes them deep into the tiniest of worlds.» For children. Learn more and order your copy online.
Snapshot : LRRTM1
Without a brain, there is not much we would be able to do. Likewise, the architecture of our brain makes us what we are. And any meddling with it is likely to have an effect on our behaviour, one way or another. A form of behaviour particular to humans and which can be distinguished from other animals – even its closest relatives – is our handedness. We have been using our hands for millions of years. So have our nearest cousins you may argue. Yes. But humans are singular in that they have a distinct preference for right-handedness – a fact which must echo a singular brain structure. Indeed, the human brain is divided into two hemispheres: the left hemisphere and the right hemisphere. And we now know of one protein which plays a role in sculpting them: leucine-rich repeat transmembrane neuronal protein or LRRTM1.
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Your articles are very well written, lucid, and contain just enough information to excite the reader to want to learn more about the topic being discussed. They fall in a very rare category where they are accessible to everyone, from the undergraduate students to research students who want to have a basic idea of the topics being discussed. Some of your articles, like "Our hollow architecture" and "Throb" are outstanding pieces.
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