The Daily Dose: One of Life’s great mysteries may have been answered

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From human beings to single-cell eukaryotes, living things have an inherent bias for right handedness. You can see it in DNA. You can see it in proteins. You can see it just about everywhere. There’s no reason for this to be the case and has been an enduring mystery. A team of researchers addressed it head-on, proposing a tantalizing explanation for the phenomenon. Cosmic rays. As per Quanta, “They started from the fact that cosmic ray showers, like DNA strands, have handedness. Physical events typically break right as often as they break left, but cosmic ray particles called pions tap into one of nature’s rare exceptions. When pions decay, the process is governed by the weak force — the only fundamental force with a known mirror asymmetry. Pions slamming into the atmosphere produce showers of particles including electrons and their heavier siblings, muons, all of which are equipped by the weak force with the same chiral magnetic orientation relative to their path.” There’s much more to their theory. You’ll just need to read on…

In what can only be described as an insidious strategy, SARS-CoV have been shown to induce infected cells to grow tentacle-like structures called filopodia. The deformed cells are then primed to infect adjacent cells. As per the study’s press release, “While studying the impact of SARS-CoV-2 on CK2, high resolution imaging of virally infected cells produced by the NIH/NIAID/Rocky Mountain Laboratories and University of Freiburg revealed actin-rich filopodia containing viral proteins. Human CK2 and the viral N protein were found co-localized within the filopodia, suggesting that SARS-CoV-2 hijacks CK2 and co-opts it into creating these tentacle-like protrusions that poke holes in their neighboring cells.” The more we learn about this virus, the more it seems the perfect viral predator.

COVID-19 misinformation continues to cause unnecessary deaths around the world. Not only that, unfounded rumors, like the idea that vegetarian diets protected people against infection, caused serious economic damage. BBC News took a closer look at the effects of fake news in India.

Researchers observing the metal-poor dwarf galaxy, PHL293B, observed a mysterious disappearance of certain stellar signatures. After they dug deeper, they came to a pair of exciting conclusions. “We consider two main hypotheses for the absence of the broad emission components from the spectra obtained since 2011. One possibility is that we are seeing the end of an LBV eruption of a surviving star, with a mild drop in luminosity, a shift to hotter effective temperatures, and some dust obscuration. Alternatively, the LBV could have collapsed to a massive black hole without the production of a bright supernova.”

IMAGE SOURCE: Creative Commons

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