Heart transplant

Science News Roundup: Son calls father’s pig heart transplant a miracle of science; NASA begins development process for new space telescope and more

Here is a summary of current scientific news.

Son Calls His Father’s Pig Heart Transplant a Miracle of Science

The son of a transplant recipient who had a genetically modified pig’s heart implanted in a never-before-seen operation has called his father’s procedure a “miracle”. The surgery, performed by a team from the Medical University of Maryland on January 7, is among the first to demonstrate the feasibility of a pig-to-human heart transplant, an area made possible by new gene-editing tools. .

NASA begins development process for new space telescope

NASA on Wednesday kicked off a painstaking, months-long process to fine-tune its newly launched James Webb Space Telescope, a task that must be completed in time for the groundbreaking eye in the sky to begin peering into the cosmos early in the summer. Mission control engineers at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, began by sending their initial commands to tiny motors called actuators that slowly position and adjust the telescope’s main mirror.

Earlier date for Ethiopian fossils sheds light on rise of Homo sapiens

Volcanic ash left by a huge ancient eruption has helped scientists determine that the first significant Homo sapiens fossils discovered in Ethiopia in 1967 are older than previously believed, offering new insight into the dawn of our species. Researchers said on Wednesday they used geochemical fingerprints of a thick layer of ash found above the sediments containing the fossils to determine that it was the result of an eruption that spewed volcanic fallout across a wide swath of Ethiopia there about 233,000 years ago.

The second alien moon identified looks a lot like the first: big and strange

For only the second time, astronomers have detected what appears to be a moon orbiting a planet in another solar system. Much like the first time, this one exhibits traits suggesting that such moons may differ greatly from those that populate our solar system. Data obtained by NASA’s Kepler space telescope before its retirement in 2018 indicated the presence of a moon 2.6 times the diameter of Earth orbiting a Jupiter-sized gas giant about 5 700 light-years from our solar system toward the Cygnus and Lyra constellations, scientists announced Thursday.

Polish scientists discover gene that doubles risk of severe COVID

Polish scientists have discovered a gene they say more than doubles the risk of becoming seriously ill with COVID-19, a discovery they hope could help doctors identify those most at risk for the disease . With vaccine hesitancy a major factor in high coronavirus death rates in central and eastern Europe, researchers hope that identifying those most at risk will encourage them to get vaccinated and give them access to treatment options. more intensive treatment in case of infection.

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