Extracellular matrix is the material that gives tissues their strength and stretch. It's been hard to make well in the lab, but a research team reports new success. The key was creating a culture environment that guided cells to make ECM themselves.
Archaeologists have discovered fossils of seven giant rat species on East Timor, with the largest up to 10 times the size of modern rats. The work is part of the From Sunda to Sahul project which is looking at the earliest human movement through Southeast Asia. Researchers are now trying to work out exactly what caused the rats to die out.
When it comes to spreading viruses, bats are thought to be among the worst. Now a new study of nearly 900 nonhuman primates in Bangladesh and Cambodia shows that macaques harbor more diverse astroviruses, which can cause infectious gastroenteritis or diarrhea in humans.
Scientists have used national register information in more than one million children to study the association of early life contact with dogs and subsequent development of asthma. This question has been studied extensively previously, but conclusive findings have been lacking. The new study showed that children who grew up with dogs had about 15 percent less asthma than children without dogs.