UK Biobank offers easy access to genomic database for researchers around the world


In the largest single release of whole genomes ever, the UK Biobank (UKBB) this week unveiled to scientists the entire genomes of 200,000 people who are part of a long-term British health study.


The trove of genomes, each linked to anonymized medical information, will allow biomedical scientists to scour the full 3 billion base pairs of human DNA for insights into the interplay of genes and health that could not be gleaned from partial sequences or scans of genome markers. “It is thrilling to see the release of this long-awaited resource,” says Stephen Glatt, a psychiatric geneticist at the State University of New York Upstate Medical University.


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A data set of more than 170,000 microscopic images allows for the training of neural networks for the identification of bone marrow cells with high accuracy.


Diagnosing blood disorders relies on a century-old method of using optical microscopes to analyze and classify samples of bone marrow cells. The method used to look for rare, but diagnostically important, cells is well-established, albeit laborious and time-consuming. Artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to improve this method. However, training an AI algorithm requires a large amount of high-quality data. Now a team has used a data set of more than 170,000 microscopic images to train neural networks to identify bone marrow cells with high accuracy.


The Helmholtz Munich researchers developed the largest open-access database on microscopic images of bone marrow cells to date. The database consists of more than 170,000 single-cell images from over 900 patients with various blood diseases. It is the result of a collaboration from Helmholtz Munich with the LMU University Hospital Munich, the MLL Munich Leukemia Lab (one of the largest diagnostic providers in this field worldwide), and Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits.


This work was published in Blood, in the paper, “Highly accurate differentiation of bone marrow cell morphologies using deep neural networks on a large image data set.

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Better data infrastructure has provided a big boost to AI’s growth, but some things still require a human.

We’ve been overselling current capabilities of AI for years, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a bright future. That’s perhaps why Stanford University researchers conceived of a “One Hundred Year Study on Artificial Intelligence” (100 years!) back in 2016, with plans to update the report every five years through 2116, charting the progress of AI along the way. Five years after the inaugural report, the study authors recently released the second report.

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In the beginning, there was … well, maybe there was no beginning. Perhaps our universe has always existed — and a new theory of quantum gravity reveals how that could work.”Reality has so many things that most people would associate with sci-fi or even fantasy,” said Bruno Bento, a physicist who studies the nature of time at the University of Liverpool in the U.K.In his work, he employed a new theory of quantum gravity, called causal set theory, in which space and time are broken down into discrete chunks of space-time. At some level, there’s a fundamental unit of space-time, according to this theory. Bento and his collaborators used this causal-set approach to explore the beginning of the universe. They found that it’s possible that the universe had no beginning — that it has always existed into the infinite past and only recently evolved into what we call the Big Bang.Related: Big Bang to civilization: 10 amazing origin events

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Teachers got a crash course in creating video content when schools shifted online. They relied on videos out of necessity to explain concepts and model strategies while students learned from home. As teachers transitioned back into classrooms, many abandoned video in favor of live instruction. However, if teachers are going to say the same thing the same way for all students, I encourage them to make a video. That way, they can use their synchronous time for more engaging and differentiated learning experiences.

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Sykuro Manabe, Klaus Hasselmann and Giorgio Parisi share award for advancing climate knowledge

Three scientists have won the 2021 Nobel prize in physics for their groundbreaking contributions to our understanding of complex physical systems – including how humanity influences the Earth’s climate.

The winners, Syukuro Manabe, Klaus Hasselmann and Giorgio Parisi, will share the award, announced on Tuesday, presented by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and worth 10m Swedish kronor (£870,000).

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The DART spacecraft will crash into the asteroid Didymos at 15,000 miles per hour. Will it make a dent?

NASA has announced the launch date for an upcoming mission to punch an asteroid in the face with a high-speed spacecraft.

The mission, called the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART), is scheduled to launch at 10:20 p.m. PST (7:20 p.m. EST) on Nov. 23, and it could help the world’s space agencies figure out how to divert potentially lethal asteroids from impacting Earth, according to a NASA statement.

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If authorized, the drug could be the first specialized oral drug that can prevent the worst of covid-19.


A pill that can effectively prevent the worst outcomes of covid-19 may finally be on the way. Just recently, pharmaceutical companies Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics (FL) announced the preliminary results of a large trial testing out their experimental antiviral drug, called molnupiravir. The drug reportedly reduced the odds of later hospitalization or death by about 50% in high-risk individuals with mild to moderate illness—results so dramatically positive that the trial was stopped early. The companies now plan to seek an emergency use authorization for the drug, though the findings have yet to be vetted by outside scientists.


Molnupiravir is said to work by interfering with a virus’s ability to replicate inside a host’s cells, hopefully limiting viral load and enabling the immune system to clear the infection faster, without progressing to more severe illness. The drug had been in development prior to the pandemic as a potential treatment for the flu and other viral diseases. The Phase 3 randomized, double-blinded, and controlled trial of molnupiravir, called MOVe-OUT, was intended to involve around 1,500 unvaccinated patients who initially had mild to moderate covid-19 symptoms but were at higher risk of severe illness due to their preexisting health. As is commonplace, though, researchers conducted an interim analysis of the trial when only 775 patients had been treated. About 14% of those on placebo went on to become hospitalized or die within 30 days, compared to around 7% of those who took molnupiravir, No deaths at all were reported in the treatment group, compared to eight who died in the placebo group.


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LLNL scientists have developed a new approach using machine learning to study with unprecedented resolution the phase behaviors of superionic water found in ice giants.


The interiors of Uranus and Neptune each contain about 50,000 times the amount of water in Earth’s oceans, and a form of water known as superionic water is believed to be stable at depths greater than approximately one-third of the radius of these ice giants.


Superionic water is a phase of H2O where hydrogen atoms become liquid-like while oxygen atoms remain solid-like on a crystalline lattice. Although superionic water was proposed over three decades ago, its optical properties and oxygen lattices were only accurately measured recently in experiments by LLNL’s Marius Millot and Federica Coppari, and many properties of this hot “black ice” are still uncharted.

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