Personal robots

Have you ever heard about one of the Japanese animations named ‘Doraemon’? In this animation, a cat-bot named ‘Doraemon’ lives with a main character called ‘Novita’.

To summarize the story briefly, Doraemon is the one who came from 22nd century and he can find anything he wants in his pocket. One day he gives a clone of Novita to Novita. Then Novita just make his clone to do every work for him, and he rests.

How comfortable is it?

Like Novita in this story, Ishiguro Hiroshi, a professor of Osaka University, made a clone of his own. He is now using his clone (called Geminoid)  as his substitute – doing lecture, speak with others, and even flies on the airplane together. For a long time, scientists have researched and studied about humanoids. Now, developed humanoids can act almost same as human. They blink their eyes, speak, smile, and even heave their chests when they are breathing!!!

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Some scientists predict that this clone technology can be helpful in not only psychologically comfort humans, but also will benefit human economically. To be specific, as mention in the short story above, humanoids can act similar with human, but they do not get tired like humans. Therefore, we can save our time and money by making clones to do our work, or work with clone in same time, which can double the income.

When computer was invented, nobody thought that computers will be used in our daily life. However, now, almost everyone has at least one computer at their houses. About 10 years ago, most people might have thought that it’s impossible to have their own clones, but scientist predict that in near future, it would be possible for people to use humanoids and clones in their daily lives.

 

(The video below shows the other humanoid that Ishiguro Hiroshi invented. Named ‘Geminoid F’. You will be able to know how elaborate their actions are.)

 

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Is the Likelihood of Conceiving Twins Determined by Genes?


There is no evidence
that the probability of having identical twins is determined by genetics. However, the likelihood of conceiving non-identical twins is determined by genetics. A couple is more likely to get twins if there are twins in the woman’s family.

Identical twins occur when one fertilised embryo breaks into two. Sometimes, identical twins are referred to as monozygotic twins. This results to each baby having the same genes. Therefore, they look very alike and they have same sexboth girls and both boys. Worldwide, monozygotic twins occur in about 3 per 1,000 births. Research suggests that most cases of identical twinning are not caused by genetic factors.

Non-identical or dizygotic (DZ) twins happen when two sperms fertilize two eggs at the same time. Non- twins are sometimes referred to as fraternal twins. Some women are genetically more likely to produce two or more eggs during the menstrual cycle. This makes them more likely to have twins.

There are also some non-genetic factors that make non-identical twins more likely. These factors include ethnic group, the age of the mother and infertility treatment.

References

https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/primer/traits/twins

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/do-genes-influence-whethe/

http://www.nhs.uk/chq/Pages/2550.aspx?CategoryID=54

Genetics Could Help Tutors Tailor Learning to Every Student

As they spend time in classrooms, teachers understand that different students or pupils have different learning styles, either by training or by preference. Teachers know that some students learn better during individual assignments, while other thrive well though group work. While one student may prefer reading about something, another may enjoy learning by doing.

Studies have shown that styles of learning can be hardwired into a person, bringing up the need for researchers to examine educational genomics, a new field that’s fast expanding due to advances in technology and genetics.

Darya Gaysina, a lecture at the University of Sussex, explains how she thinks educational genomics could assist future students. In her article first published on The Conversation, she believes that one day genomics will be used by educational organisations to make tailor-made curriculum programs that are based on a student’s DNA profile. Such genetic information will be used to determine the DNA variants that facilitate school achievement, such as mathematical and reading abilities.

References

https://www.geneticliteracyproject.org/2016/12/05/genetics-help-teachers-tailor-learning-individual-students/

http://bioinformatics.oxfordjournals.org/content/31/12/i181.full

How Giraffes Got Their Long Necks

The tallest land animal in the world, the giraffe have some interesting characteristics.   Like humans, the animal’s neck has seven vertebrae, but they are elongated.  For blood to circulate in the brain, its heart must pump to a height of about two metres- a act made possible by blood pressure more than of humans, thick-walled blood vessels and unusual heart structure.

Now, a new research into the giraffe genome has revealed genetic variations that might be behind unusual adaptation to cardiovascular system and neck length.

Writing in Nature Communications Journal, scientists from the US, Tanzania and UK, describe how they sequenced two Masai giraffes’ genomes. These genomes were compared with okapi, a stripy-legged animal that is believed to be the giraffe’s closest relative. Variations discovered in the protein-coding sequences of giraffes were then compared with 40 other corresponding genes, from mammals such as mice and camels, and evaluated for their influence.

The result was the discovery of genes with variations particular to giraffe. According to researchers, these genes could be behind the unusual adaptation in the animal. Over 35 genes were found to code for proteins involved regulating the development neural system, skeleton and cardiovascular system, with some believed to influence factors that determine elongation of vertebrae.

References

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2016/may/17/how-did-the-giraffe-get-its-long-neck-gene-analysis-tells-a-tall-story

http://nature.com/articles/doi:10.1038/ncomms11519

Cystic Fibrosis: A Genetic Disease that Affects Secretory Glands

Cystic fibrosis is an inherited and chronic disease that affects secretory glands, resulting in excessive production of salty sweat and mucus. While in a healthy individual mucus is slippery and watery substance, in Cystic Fibrosis patients, it is sticky and thick. The mucus production and accumulation damage the lungs, digestive tract, sex organs, and pancreases. The most Cystic Fibrosis features are chronic digestive system problems and progressive damage to the respiratory system.

Depending on the patient’s age and characteristic, the severity and symptoms of the disease vary. Usually, mucus blocks the airways, causing bacterial infections and breathing difficulties in the lungs. Over time, the disease can cause chronic inflammation, wheezing and coughing, develop into permanent damage to the lungs, the formation of scar tissue, and cysts in the lungs.

Cystic Fibrosis of occurs when there is an alteration in the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) , a gene responsible for moving negatively charged particles called chloride ions out and into the cells. The element chloride is derived from sodium chloride. The component has important roles in a cell, such as regulating chloride ions that control the movement of water in tissue, a function that enables a healthy person to produce thin, freely flowing mucus. Due to the disease, the chloride does not properly control the flow of water and chloride ions through the cell. Consequently, cells near the lungs and other organs produce sticky and thick mucus.

References

https://cysticfibrosisnewstoday.com/cystic-fibrosis-genetics/

https://www.cff.org/What-is-CF/About-Cystic-Fibrosis/