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XMASS announced their solar axion limit

XMASS dark matter experiment in Japan announced their solar axion limit, using 6.7 days, total of 5.6 ton-days.  Their limit below 1 keV axion mass is g_Ae < 5.4 × 10−11 (90% C.L.). http://arxiv.org/abs/1212.6153 (The final plot is given below.)Their paper can be compared to the predicted sensitivity given by Arisaka Lab's analysis:http://arxiv.org/abs/1209.3810
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Quantitative analysis of peptides and proteins in biomedicine by targeted mass spectrometry

Targeted mass spectrometry (MS) is becoming widely used in academia and in pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries for sensitive and quantitative detection of proteins, peptides and post-translational modifications. In Nature methods,  Gillette and Carr describe the increasing importance of targeted MS technologies in clinical proteomics and the potential key roles these techniques will have
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All-in-one optogenetics

Scientists reverse engineer fluorescent proteins for light-mediated control.Optogenetics is a young discipline that is coming on strong in fields such as neuroscience and protein signaling. It refers to the use of light-sensitive proteins to control cellular processes in living cells and organisms. Optogenetic tools can also be used to sense biological processes. Each of these applications has been
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A cellular mechanism for cortical associations: an organizing principle for the cerebral cortex

A basic feature of intelligent systems such as the cerebral cortex is the ability to freely associate aspects of perceived experience with an internal representation of the world and make predictions about the future. Here, a hypothesis is presented that the extraordinary performance of the cortex derives from an associative mechanism built in at the cellular level to the basic cortical neuronal unit:
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Neuronal reference frames for social decisions in primate frontal cortex

Steve Chang et. al. studied encoding of the outcomes of social decisions in three frontal cortical areas as monkeys performed a social reward allocation task. Orbitofrontal cortex neurons signaled received rewards, anterior cingulate (ACC) sulcus neurons signaled foregone rewards, and the ACC gyrus was involved in the computation of shared experience and social reward. Nature Neuroscience (2012) doi:10.1038/nn.3287
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Closed-loop optogenetic control of thalamus as a tool for interrupting seizures after cortical injury

Cerebrocortical injuries such as stroke are a major source of disability. Maladaptive consequences can result from post-injury local reorganization of cortical circuits. For example, epilepsy is a common sequela of cortical stroke, but the mechanisms responsible for seizures following cortical injuries remain unknown. In addition to local reorganization, long-range, extra-cortical connections might
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A subpopulation of nociceptors specifically linked to itch

A method for tagging single transcripts with two fluorescent markers can be used to study many aspects of gene expression, including intrinsic noise in transcription or polymerase dynamics at a single gene, report Singer and colleagues.Lian Han et al.Nature Neuroscience (2012) doi:10.1038/nn.3289
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A subpopulation of nociceptors specifically linked to itch

Dorsal root ganglion neurons respond to both painful and itchy stimuli, but are there itch-specific neurons? Here the authors describe a group of MrgprA3-expressing neurons that innervate the superficial layers of the skin and selectively sense itch.Lian Han et al.Nature Neuroscience (2012) doi:10.1038/nn.3289
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Nine-Year WMAP results announced

The model fit implies that the age of the universe is 13.772+/-0.059 Gyr, and the fit Hubble constant is H0 = 69.32+/-0.80 km/s/Mpc. Inflation is also supported: the fluctuations are adiabatic, with Gaussian random phases; the detection of a deviation of the scalar spectral index from unity reported earlier by WMAP now has high statistical significance (n_s = 0.9608+/-0.0080); and the universe is close
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Whole-Genome Sequencing in Autism Identifies Hot Spots for De Novo Germline Mutation

An international team, led by researchers from UC San Diego,  has discovered that "random" mutations in the genome are not quite so random after all. Their study, to be published in the journal Cell on December 21, shows that the DNA sequence in some regions of the human genome is quite volatile and can mutate ten times more frequently than the rest of the genome. Genes that are linked to autism
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How do environments talk to genes?

In Nature Neuroscience January 2013 issue, Moshe Szyf explains the environmental interaction onto genes. A report elucidates the widely recognized, but poorly understood, concept of gene-environment interaction, finding a molecular mechanism in the case of post-traumatic stress disorder: demethylation of a glucocorticoid response element in the stress response regulator FKBP5 that depends on both the
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The ventral visual pathway: an expanded neural framework for the processing of object quality

Since the original characterization of the ventral visual pathway, our knowledge of its neuroanatomy, functional properties, and extrinsic targets has grown considerably. Here the authors synthesize this recent evidence and propose that the ventral pathway is best understood as a recurrent occipitotemporal network containing neural representations of object quality both utilized and constrained by
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Retooling spare parts: gene duplication and cognition

Two new studies provide experimental evidence of how ancient genomic duplications of synaptic genes provided the substrate for diversification that ultimately expanded vertebrate cognitive complexity.T Grant Belgard & Daniel H GeschwindNature Neuroscience 16, 6–8 (2013) doi:10.1038/nn.3292Published online 21 December 2012
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Origin of Life: Hypothesis Traces First Protocells Back to Emergence of Cell Membrane Bioenergetics

A coherent pathway -- which starts from no more than rocks, water and carbon dioxide and leads to the emergence of the strange bio-energetic properties of living cells -- has been traced for the first time in a major hypothesis paper in Cell this week. Science Daily on Dec. 20, 2012Reference : Nick Lane, William F. Martin. The Origin of Membrane Bioenergetics.Cell, 2012; 151 (7): 1406
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6th Symposium on Large TPCs at Paris on Dec 17-19, 2012

SIXTH SYMPOSIUM ON LARGE TPCs FOR LOW ENERGY RARE EVENT DETECTIONat PARIS 13ème, France on December 17-19, 2012http://www-tpc-paris.cea.frPresentations are posted under "Slides".
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Like Math? Thank Your Motivation, Not IQ

It's not how smart students are but how motivated they are and how they study that determines their growth in math achievement. That's the main finding of a new study that appears in the journal Child Development. The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Munich and the University of Bielefeld. "While intelligence as assessed by IQ tests is important in the early stages of developing
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Astronomers detect nearest Earth-like neighbour

Scientists have been surprised by the unexpected discovery of a nearby solar system using a new experimental technique.  The system of five planets ranging in size from two to six times the Earth's mass orbiting the Sun-like star Tau Ceti, just 12 light years away.ABC Newshttp://arxiv.org/abs/1212.4058
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Evolution: Genomic pacemakers or ticking clocks?

Although different genes evolve at different rates, when complete sets of orthologous genes are considered across taxa, the distribution of rates is remarkably conserved. That is, the differences in the rates of evolution among genes in a genome remain consistent. A potential explanation for this observation is the molecular clock, which is a model that has been used widely in phylogenetics. Now, Koonin
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Woman With Quadriplegia Feeds Herself Chocolate Using Mind-Controlled Robot Arm

Reaching out to high five someone, grasping and moving objects of different shapes and sizes, feeding herself dark chocolate. For Jan Scheuermann and a team of researchers from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and UPMC, accomplishing these seemingly ordinary tasks demonstrated for the first time that a person with longstanding quadriplegia can maneuver a mind-controlled, human-like robot
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12 Matter Particles Suffice in Nature: Limited Number of Fermions in Standard Model?

How many matter particles exist in nature? Particle physicists have been dealing with this question for a long time. The 12 matter particles contained in the standard model of particle physics? Or are there further particles with too high a mass to be produced by the experiments performed so far? These questions are now answered by researchers of KIT, CERN, and Humboldt University in the current issue
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Ediacaran life on land

Fossils found in rocks of the Ediacaran period in Australia have been previously characterized as early marine organisms. But a report suggests that these rocks are fossilized soils. So did some of these Ediacaran organisms in fact live on land, like lichens? A palaeontologist and a geologist weigh up the evidence.Shuhai Xiao & L. Paul KnauthNature 493, 28–29 (03 January 2013) doi:10.1038/nature11765nline
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'Obamadon' was wiped out by the asteroid

Asteroid that killed the dinosaurs also wiped out the ‘Obamadon’,The asteroid collision widely thought to have killed the dinosaurs also led to extreme devastation among snake and lizard species, according to new research — including the extinction of a newly identified lizard Yale and Harvard scientists have named Obamadon gracilis. The published paper can be fund here.
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Evolution of GluN2A/B cytoplasmic domains diversified vertebrate synaptic plasticity and behavior

Understanding the mechanisms underlying the many forms of vertebrate behavior is a central objective of neuroscience and, although studied extensively at the cellular and circuit levels, very little is known about the underlying molecular evolutionary events. How did genome evolution give rise to the many forms of learning, emotional behavior and motor functions and generate the subtlety of synaptic
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Neurogliaform cells dynamically regulate somatosensory integration via synapse-specific modulation

Despite the prevailing idea that neurogliaform cells produce a spatially unrestricted widespread inhibition, the authors demonstrate here that their activity attenuates thalamic-evoked feed-forward inhibition in layer IV barrel cortex but has no effect on feed-forward excitation. The result of this circuit selectivity is a dynamic regulation in the temporal window for integration of excitatory thalamic
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Arisaka's Physics Colloquium on Dark Matter

Katsushi Arisaka gave a Physics Colloquium at UCLA to review the status of dark matter researches. Presentation is available either as PDF or PPT files.
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Genomic variation landscape of the human gut microbiome

Whereas large-scale efforts have rapidly advanced the understanding and practical impact of human genomic variation, the practical impact of variation is largely unexplored in the human microbiome. The authors developed a framework for metagenomic variation analysis and applied it to 252 faecal metagenomes of 207 individuals from Europe and North America. Using 7.4 billion reads aligned to 101 reference
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Synaptic scaffold evolution generated components of vertebrate cognitive complexity

The origins and evolution of higher cognitive functions, including complex forms of learning, attention and executive functions, are unknown. A potential mechanism driving the evolution of vertebrate cognition early in the vertebrate lineage (550 million years ago) was genome duplication and subsequent diversification of postsynaptic genes. Here the authors report the first genetic analysis of a vertebrate
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Encoding asymmetry within neural circuits

Genetic and environmental factors control morphological and functional differences between the two sides of the nervous system. Neural asymmetries are proposed to have important roles in circuit physiology, cognition and species-specific behaviours. We propose two fundamentally different mechanisms for encoding left–right asymmetry in neural circuits. In the first, asymmetric circuits share common
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