The deepest fish, the world’s smallest wine glass and more!

Your hit of the best science of the last week.

How the deepest living fish survives in the Mariana Trench

Genetic analysis of the hadal snailfish (Pseudoliparis swirei), the deepest-living known vertebrate species, has discovered important adaptations that allow it to survive more than 6,000 meters under the ocean.

The results, published in eLifesuggest that multiple copies of two genes are present, cldnj And fthl27allows the hadal snailfish to preserve their hearing and withstand the tremendous pressure they are subjected to underwater.

Hadal snailfish have three copies of a gene, cldnj, essential for the formation of otoliths – a structure in the inner ear made of calcium carbonate. Typically, calcium carbonate cannot accumulate efficiently and form otoliths beyond about 4,000 meters underwater, but not in hadal snailfish!

They also have 14 copies of the gene that codes for the protein ferritin. fthl27which significantly increases tolerance to reactive oxygen species responsible for damage caused by high hydrostatic pressure.

3D printing of the world’s smallest wine glass

Researchers have 3D printed the world’s smallest wine glass, with a rim smaller than the width of a human hair. The results, published in nature communicationdemonstrate a new simplified technique for fabricating fused silica structures for applications such as telecommunications and robotics.

The study’s lead author, Po-Han Huang, a PhD student at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden, says this new method drastically reduces the energy required to 3D print quartz glass. It is usually necessary to heat materials up to several hundred degrees for hours.

Grayscale close-up of a structure that looks like a wine glass on the left and a spiral object on the right
The world’s smallest 3D printed wine glass (left) and an optical resonator for fiber optic telecommunications photographed with scanning electron microscopy at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology. The edge of the glass is smaller than the width of a human hair. Credit: Po-Han Huang/KTH Royal Institute of Technology

“The advantage of our method is that no heat treatment is required and the glass can withstand extreme heat applications,” he says.

“The backbone of the internet is based on fiber optics made of glass. All kinds of filters and couplers are needed in these systems, which can now be 3D printed with our technique,” ​​adds co-author Kristinn Gylfason, Associate Professor of Micro- and Nanosystems at KTH.

Microscopic worms use electric fields to jump

Microscopic Caenorhabditis elegans According to a new article in the journal, worms can use electric fields to “jump” over Petri dishes or onto insects. Current Biology.

“Pollinators such as insects and hummingbirds are known to be electrically charged, and pollen is believed to be attracted to the electric field generated by the pollinator and the plant,” says Takuma Sugi, professor of biophysics at the University of Hiroshima, Japan. and co-senior author of the study.

“However, it was not entirely clear whether electric fields are used for interactions between different land animals.”

The research team began their investigation when they noticed that worms they cultured in petri dishes often ended up on the lids. Observing the behavior with a camera revealed that the worms did not climb up the walls of the bowl, but instead jumped from the bottom of the plate to the ceiling.

“Worms stand on their tails to reduce the surface energy between their bodies and the ground, making it easier for them to latch on to other passing objects,” says Sugi.

“In a pillar, a worm lifts several worms, and this worm takes off to move across the electric field while carrying all the pillar worms.”

Researchers rubbed bee pollen onto a bumblebee to give it a natural electrical charge. When approaching these bees, the worms would stand on their tails and then jump on board. Some worms even stacked on top of each other and jumped in a single column, sending 80 worms across the gap at once. Photo credit: Current Biology/Chiba et al.

Echo emitted by our galaxy’s black hole discovered 200 years ago

An international team of scientists has found that Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*), the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way, emerged from a long quiescent period about 200 years ago.

They found that in the early 19th centuryth In the 19th century, the black hole engulfed cosmic gas and dust – and experienced a period of intense activity before reverting to dormancy.

With NASA’s IXPE (Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer).) Using the satellite, researchers discovered the polarization of an X-ray echo emitted by the event, reflected off dense gas in the region of the Galactic Center. The intensity of the emission was at least a million times greater than that currently emitted by Sgr A*.

images of outer space
The IXPE data echoing this past activity is shown in orange in the image below. It was combined with data from Chandra, another NASA X-ray observatory, seen in blue and showing only direct light from the galactic center. The top image is a much larger view of the center of the Milky Way taken by Chandra. Photo credit: © NASA/CXC/SAO/IXPE

They continue their work on Sgr A* to try to determine the physical mechanisms required for a black hole to transition from a dormant state to an active state.

The research is published in Nature.

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