Friday, November 15, 2019
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‘How plants evolved from water to land found’
Photo for representation only. — iStock

‘How plants evolved from water to land found’

15 Nov 2019 | 3:41 PM

TORONTO: Plants evolved from living in water to habiting land because of genes they took up from bacteria, according to a new study which establishes how the first step of large organisms colonising the land took place.

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TORONTO

Plants evolved from living in water to habiting land because of genes they took up from bacteria, according to a new study which establishes how the first step of large organisms colonising the land took place.

The researchers, including Gane Ka-Shu Wong, from the University of Alberta in Canada, said the habitation of plants from water to land was made possible when genes from soil bacteria were transferred to algae.

The study, published in the journal Cell, noted that plants obtained bacterial genes via a process called horizontal gene transfer, where DNA is transferred between species as opposed to vertical gene transfer where genes are transferred from a parent to a child.

“The movement of life from water to land—called terrestrialisation—began with plants and was followed by animals and then, of course, humans. This study establishes how that first step took place,” Wong said.

The researchers said the study is part of an international project to sequence the genomes of more than 10,000 plant species. 

“The approach that we used, phylogenomics, is a powerful method to pinpoint the underlying molecular mechanism of evolutionary novelty,” said study first author Shifeng Cheng from the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences.

The study noted that the discovery was made while sequencing the genomes of two particular algae—one of them a new species called Spirogloea muscicola.

“For hundreds of millions of years, green algae lived in freshwater environments that periodically fell dry, such as small puddles, river beds, and trickling rocks,” explained Michael Melkonian, study co-author from the University of Duisburg-Essen in Germany. 

“These algae mingled with and received key genes from soil bacteria that helped them and their descendants to cope with the harsh terrestrial environment and eventually evolve into the land plant flora that we see today,” Melkonian said. — PTI 

2017 North Korean nuke test equal to ‘17 Hiroshimas’: ISRO study

2017 North Korean nuke test equal to ‘17 Hiroshimas’: ISRO study

15 Nov 2019 | 3:37 PM

NEW DELHI: The 2017 nuclear test by North Korea shifted the ground by a few metres, and was 17 times more powerful than the bomb dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima in 1945, according to scientists from the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

Archaeological experts discover 3,000-year-old city in Pakistan

Archaeological experts discover 3,000-year-old city in Pakistan

15 Nov 2019 | 2:12 PM

PESHAWAR: The archaeological experts from Pakistan and Italy have discovered a 3,000-year-old city, believed to be the remains of Alexander the Great, in joint excavation in northwest Pakistan.

Global warming may have caused Arctic ocean to be invaded by microbes from tropics

Global warming may have caused Arctic ocean to be invaded by microbes from tropics

15 Nov 2019 | 12:53 PM

NEW DELHI: Global warming may cause the microscopic organisms habiting the polar regions of the Earth’s oceans, such as the Arctic, to be slowly taken over by their counterparts from the tropical regions, affecting multiple ecosystems, according to two major studies.

Scientists ‘unlock’ photosynthesis to help meet growing food demand

Scientists ‘unlock’ photosynthesis to help meet growing food demand

14 Nov 2019 | 6:38 PM

LONDON: Scientists have solved the structure of one of the key components of photosynthesis, an advance that could lead to the process being ‘redesigned’ to achieve higher yields, and meet urgent food security needs.

Modern apes smarter than pre-humans: Study

Modern apes smarter than pre-humans: Study

14 Nov 2019 | 2:50 PM

MELBOURNE: Living great apes are smarter than our pre-human ancestor Australopithecus, a group that included the famous "Lucy", according to a study.

Facebook shares how it deals with child abuse, terror content on Instagram

Facebook shares how it deals with child abuse, terror content on Instagram

14 Nov 2019 | 12:22 PM

SAN FRANCISCO: Facebook has shared for the first time data on how it takes action against child nudity and child sexual exploitation, terrorist propaganda, illicit firearm and drug sales and suicide and self-injury on its photo-sharing app Instagram.

AI app may help diagnose psychiatric illness by listening to users

AI app may help diagnose psychiatric illness by listening to users

13 Nov 2019 | 5:08 PM

HOUSTON: Researchers have developed a speech-based mobile app that uses artificial intelligence to categorize a patient’s mental health status, an advance that may lead to a tool to assist psychiatrists in diagnosing mental illnesses.

Mineral capable of preserving life’s signatures found on Mars: Study

Mineral capable of preserving life’s signatures found on Mars: Study

13 Nov 2019 | 2:48 PM

NEW YORK: Researchers, using data from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, have found deposits of hydrated silica—a mineral good at preserving chemical signatures of life—in a crater on the Red Planet where the US space organisation plans to land a rover next year.

Rare ‘tiny’ deer feared extinct, clicked for first time in 30 years

Rare ‘tiny’ deer feared extinct, clicked for first time in 30 years

13 Nov 2019 | 2:49 PM

HANOI: A tiny deer-like species not seen by scientists for nearly 30 years has been photographed in a forest in southern Vietnam.

‘Ghost’ footprints hiding since end of Ice Age found

‘Ghost’ footprints hiding since end of Ice Age found

13 Nov 2019 | 10:37 AM

NEW YORK: Using a special type of radar, researchers have discovered the invisible footprints hiding since the end of the last ice age - and what lies beneath them.

Nile river six times as old as previously thought: Study

Nile river six times as old as previously thought: Study

12 Nov 2019 | 2:24 PM

HOUSTON: The Nile river flowing through Egypt could be six times as old as previously thought, according to a study which estimated it to have originated at least 30 million years ago.

Google secretly gathering health data of Americans: Report

Google secretly gathering health data of Americans: Report

12 Nov 2019 | 10:15 AM

SAN FRANCISCO: Google is reportedly gathering health information of millions of US citizens—without informing them or their doctors—to design an Artificial Intelligence (AI)-driven software, the media reported.

Human heart cells behave differently in space

Human heart cells behave differently in space

11 Nov 2019 | 9:54 PM

BOSTON: Human heart muscle cells show changes in the way they operate in space, although they behave normally within 10 days after returning to the Earth, according to a study.

Low-cost AI sensor may help save children, pets left in cars

Low-cost AI sensor may help save children, pets left in cars

11 Nov 2019 | 1:21 PM

TORONTO: A newly developed small, low-cost artificial intelligence (AI) enabled sensor may help save children or pets left alone in vehicles by triggering an alarm, scientists said on Monday.

Twitter leads in child abuse content on social media

Twitter leads in child abuse content on social media

11 Nov 2019 | 10:57 AM

LONDON: The UK-based Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) has revealed that nearly half of the child abuse content in the social media space is being shared openly on micro-blogging platform Twitter.

Black hole merger may be explained by ‘Pac-Man-like’ mechanism

Black hole merger may be explained by ‘Pac-Man-like’ mechanism

10 Nov 2019 | 1:51 PM

NEW YORK: In a first, researchers have created simulations explaining how the largest of black hole mergers may have happened, showing one may have devoured another “in a ‘Pac-Man-like’ behaviour”.

Saudi recruitment of Twitter workers reflects insider risks

Saudi recruitment of Twitter workers reflects insider risks

08 Nov 2019 | 11:08 AM

RIYADH: Allegations that two former Twitter employees spied on users for the Saudi government have spotlighted the threat posed by insiders who exploit their access to the mountains of sensitive data held by tech companies.

WhatsApp introduces ‘Catalogs’ for small businesses

WhatsApp introduces ‘Catalogs’ for small businesses

07 Nov 2019 | 8:52 PM

NEW DELHI: Messaging giant WhatsApp on Thursday rolled out the ‘Catalogs’ feature for WhatsApp Business app that will allow enterprises to showcase photographs of various products that potential customers can browse through.

Fake news not easy to spot on Facebook: Study

Fake news not easy to spot on Facebook: Study

06 Nov 2019 | 7:53 PM

HOUSTON:Misinformation or fake news is not easy to spot on Facebook, according to a study which suggests that the social networking site muddies the waters between fact and fiction.

NASA’s Voyager 2 becomes second spacecraft to reach interstellar space

NASA’s Voyager 2 becomes second spacecraft to reach interstellar space

05 Nov 2019 | 2:47 PM

WASHINGTON: More than four decades after beginning its epic journey, NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft has crossed the elusive boundary that marks the edge of the Sun’s realm and the start of interstellar space, scientists have announced.

90% organisations think cyber threat landscape will worsen in 2020

90% organisations think cyber threat landscape will worsen in 2020

05 Nov 2019 | 2:41 PM

MILPITAS (CALIFORNIA): With the perpetually shifting threat landscape, over 90 per cent of organisations believe the cyber threat landscape will stay the same or worsen in 2020.

Rare ‘super-Neptune’ exoplanet found orbiting nearby star

Rare ‘super-Neptune’ exoplanet found orbiting nearby star

04 Nov 2019 | 10:07 PM

TOKYO: Astronomers using telescopes from around the world have discovered an exoplanet more massive than Neptune, orbiting a star cooler than the Sun at an orbital radius similar to that of the Earth.

‘How star explosions are detonated found’

‘How star explosions are detonated found’

03 Nov 2019 | 3:56 PM

WASHINGTON: In a first, researchers have developed a theory describing how the nuclear reaction behind supernovae—bright and powerful explosion of stars—is triggered.

Melting in the Arctic may trigger more abrupt climate change than predicted: Study

Melting in the Arctic may trigger more abrupt climate change than predicted: Study

03 Nov 2019 | 1:11 PM

TORONTO: Researchers have predicted that the climate in various regions of the Arctic may change abruptly as the region undergoes large scale melting of permafrost—frozen soil beneath the ground surface.

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