Here is a round up of my fave moments in Biology this week!
Biology in the News.
If you don’t already, you might want to ‘like’ IFLS on Facebook as it is fantastic at sharing science in the news in quite an easy to understand format for all! Here is a summary of my favourite articles published from IFLS this week.
Scientists have bio-engineered a pancreas!
A woman with type 1 diabetes has had a bio-engineered pancreas created for her and so far, it has been acting like a functional pancreas and she has not had to inject insulin!
Individuals suffering from type one diabetes have problems with their pancreas. Their beta (β) cells in their pancreas cannot make insulin. It is an autoimmune disease where the persons own immune system attacks and destroys the beta cells thinking that they are foreign bodies!
The team cultured a vast amount of beta cells and placed them into a layer of fatty cells that surrounds places like the stomach. This is called the omentum. This provided structural support for the beta cells and also ensured the cells had access to a good blood supply.
This is very important as hormones travel around the body via the blood. The scientists found that they were able to synthesize and secrete insulin so well, the patient did not need to inject insulin! It almost acted as a mini pancreas! A step forward to helping to cure diabetes! How cool!
Read more here.
Book lovers are kinder!
A study by Kingston University in London found that that those who read more than watch TV are kinder and more empathetic towards others. They asked questions about what types of entertainment the participants were interested in and how frequently they read books or watched TV. They then asked them to complete some interpersonal skills. Results showed book worms listened better to others and were more likely to complete acts of kindness towards to others. So another reason to get involved in my book club hey! 😉
Read more here.
Mice get 3D printed ovaries!
I’m not going to lie; I just can’t get my head around 3D printing, especially when it comes to 3D printing body parts! It’s incredible! I really need to do some further research into actually HOW they can print 3D objects!
A team led by Northwestern University of Chicago 3D printed the shells of ovaries using an ink made from gelatine. They inserted follicles (immature egg cells) into the ovaries and inserted them into mice that had their own ovaries removed. The mice were able to ovulate and even gave birth to pups! How amazing is that! Fingers crossed they can take recreate the results of these studies with humans and help women who have fertility problems linked to their ovaries.
Read more here.
Biology on TV
Here are two of my TV/youtube highlights of the week.
Nature’s Miniature Miracles.
I love this new programme! Usually nature documentaries focus on the big but this focuses on the tiny! My favourite scene was about the pufferfish. It showed how the tiny pufferfish created a 2m long artistic display to entice a female. It was amazing! It took him a full 24 hours to complete but luckily, it worked and she let him fertilise his eggs. Then she swam away and left him to look after the eggs! Oh to be a female pufferfish!
A level students: This is a great out of spec link to courtship behaviour!
Make sure you check out the programme. Click here!
A friend of mine sent me a link to a youtube video all about changing environments. The clip shows how introducing wolves to a new habitat can lead to drastic changes in the whole community and abiotic factors. It’s not too long but really interesting.
A level students: Brilliant as an out of spec link to populations in ecosystems.
Check out the video here.
Beth’s Biology Best Bit!
My personal highlight of the week has been the response to my instagram and blog. I didn’t really except to get many followers or readers; I was only doing it as a little hobby but I am SO chuffed with the response so far! Thank you! My highlight was walking down the corridor on my way out of school on Thursday. I was stopped by a member of the geography department telling me she loves my blog and has already learnt a lot and wants to borrow my copy of the Diving Bell and the Butterfly. Made my day!
Thank you everyone for your support so far! My smile is THIS big!