Science Snippets

Veganuary 

With January came new year’s resolu-

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tions, diets and veganism. Veganuary has become increasingly popular over the past few years, with more and more people ditching meat and dairy products for the month. In 2016. 23 000 participants took part, with 81 per cent of those claiming they’d stick to the new habits they had acquired during the month. Animal welfare isn’t the only reason for avoiding meat and dairy; health, nutrition and the environment are all key reasons as to why this seems to be a successful campaign.

Cholesterol injections 

A one-off injection that could lower cholesterol levels, preventing heart attacks and strokes for the rest of a person’s life have recently been tested in animals. The PCSK9 gene can be ‘knocked out’ using an injection. This gene has been found to circulate in the blood and degrades proteins on the surface of blood vessels which removes ‘bad’ LDL from the blood. The faster this protein is degraded by PCSK9, the higher the person’s cholesterol levels. Using CRISPR, researchers have successfully disabled this gene in mice. This m

Image: wikimedia commons

ethod has high potential as heart attacks and strokes kill a quarter of people in rich nations.

 

Water on earth

According to a leading theory, water came to earth by icy comets around 4.5 billion years ago. But a new theory has arisen; analysis of isotopes from meteorites born earlier seems to imply water arrived much earlier. Researchers at the University of Munster, Germany, compared isotopes in Tagish Lake meteorites that fell in British Columbia, Canada, in January 2000. They compared the abundance of ruthenium isotopes in these meteorites with the abundance in the earth’s mantle, as if this kind of icy meteorite brought water to Earth late in the planets formation, the isotopes should match those found within the mantle.

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