Washington, Sept 12 (AP/UNB) — Researchers report two newly discovered species of electric eels in South America, one of which can deliver a bigger jolt than any other known animal.
The researchers collected 107 eels in four countries and found differences in their DNA, along with minor physical variations.
One species had the ability to generate 860 volts of electricity, more than the 650 volts discharged by the only previously identified type of electric eel.
While 250 species of fish in South America generate electricity, only electric eels use it to stun prey and for self-protection.
Study leader C. David de Santana of Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History says the discovery illustrates the importance of protecting and studying the Amazon rainforest area.
The study was published this week in the journal Nature Communications.
New York, Sept 12 (AP/UNB)- Scientists are reporting the first use of the gene-editing tool CRISPR to try to cure a patient's HIV infection by providing blood cells that were altered to resist the AIDS virus.
The gene-editing tool has long been used in research labs, and a Chinese scientist was scorned last year when he revealed he used it on embryos that led to the birth of twin girls. Editing embryos is considered too risky, partly because the DNA changes can pass to future generations.
Wednesday's report in the New England Journal of Medicine, by different Chinese researchers, is the first published account of using CRISPR to treat a disease in an adult, where the DNA changes are confined to that person.
The attempt was successful in some ways but fell short of being an HIV cure.
Still, it shows that gene editing holds promise and seems precise and safe in this patient so far, said Dr. Carl June, a University of Pennsylvania genetics expert who wrote a commentary in the journal.
"That's really good for the field," June said.
Chinese government grants paid for the research, which was done openly with advance notice on a scientific registry and standard informed consent procedures. Some of those steps were missing or questioned in last year's embryo work.
"There are no ethical concerns on this one," June said.
Gene editing permanently alters DNA, the code of life. CRISPR is a relatively new tool scientists can use to cut DNA at a specific spot.
The new case involves a 27-year-old man with HIV who needed a blood stem cell transplant to treat cancer. Previously, two other men were apparently cured of both diseases by transplants from donors with natural resistance to HIV because they have a gene mutation that prevents HIV from entering cells. Since donors like this are very rare, the Chinese scientists tried to create similar HIV resistance by "editing" that gene in blood cells in the lab to try to mimic the mutation.
The transplant put the man's cancer in remission, and the cells that were altered to resist HIV are still working 19 months later. But they comprise only 5% to 8% of such blood cells, so they're outnumbered by ones that can still be infected.
"They need to approach 90% or more, I think, to actually have a chance of curing HIV," June said.
Scientists are testing various ways to make the gene editing more efficient, and "our results show the proof of principle" for this approach, one study leader, Hongkui Deng of Peking University in Beijing, wrote in an email.
One very encouraging result: multiple tests show that the editing did not have unintended effects on other genes.
"One of the concerns is that they could make a Frankenstein cell, that they would hit other genes instead of the intended target," so it's good that this did not happen, June said.
China appears to be moving fast on such research and may get treatments approved sooner than the United States, June said. He has financial ties to some gene therapy companies and is leading a different study testing CRISPR to fight cancer in the US Three patients have been treated so far and some results are expected by the end of this year.
Several other US studies have been trying to control HIV by altering patients' own blood cells using a different gene editing tool called zinc finger nucleases. The first such test began a decade ago in the US.
Dhaka, Sep 11 (UNB) - Mobile phone operators Grameenphone and Robi filed two cases accusing Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) for its allegedly faulty audit report exaggerating the dues of the operators.
Robi filed the case on August 25 and GP on August 26 with the Dhaka Civil Court.
GP in a statement said “Despite that we have been pursuing continuously to establish a constructive dialogue with the regulator to reach an amicable transparent solution, including arbitration. Unfortunately, all our efforts had been unheeded by the BTRC and they have been seeking to realize the disputed audit claims by enforcing unwarranted measures.”
So, Grameenphone was forced to file civil suit, GP said.
Besides, Shahed Alam, chief corporate and regulatory officer of Robi Axiata Ltd told UNB that “The audit report and its findings have no legal basis and Robi has been wholeheartedly trying to resolve the matter amicably through negotiation or arbitration. However, BTRC has not heeded our request for such resolution of disputes. Instead BTRC has taken steps beyond the legal provisions for realization of amount claimed through highly questionable audit. As a result, Robi had no option but to file a civil suit before the court.”
Meanwhile, BTRC Senior Assistant Director (media), Zakir Hossain said they are well aware about the cases.
GP owes a whopping Tk 12,579.95 crore in dues to the government, including Tk 4,085.95 crore to the National Board of Revenue (NBR), while Robi owes a far more managable Tk 867.23 crore to the government, including Tk 197.21 crore to the NBR, according to the disputed BTRC audit.
On September 5, BTRC issued show-causes notices to GP and Robi seeking explanation as to why their 2G and 3G licences should not be revoked for failure to pay dues within 30 days.
Earlier, BTRC stopped issuing fresh no objection certificates (NOCs) to Grameenphone and Robi, prohibiting their activities over failure to clear the dues.
Cupertino, Sept 11 (AP/UNB) — Apple is dangling deals for its new phones and TV streaming service as it seeks to offset slumping device sales with new services.
Here's a look at what Apple unveiled Tuesday at its product event in Cupertino, California.
iPhone 11: An update to last year's iPhone XR, but $50 cheaper at $700. It now gets a second camera lens, with a wider angle to squeeze more of the landscape or a group of people into the picture. Stays at 6.1 inches, as measured diagonally. Comes out Sept. 20.
iPhone 11 pro and pro max: Updates to the XS and XS Max, with prices staying the same at $1,000 and up. Last year's phones had a telephoto lens for better zoom compared with the regular lens. A third lens now offers wider angles. The display stays at 5.8 inches for regular model, 6.5 inches for Max. Comes out Sept. 20.
Apple watch: The Series 5 watch catches up with rivals in offering an always-on display. There's also a new Compass app for gauging location. New titanium and ceramic models available. Comes out Sept. 20, starting at $399. Cellular models are $100 more.
ipad: Slightly larger screen than before, at 10.2 inches. Comes out Sept. 30, starting at $329.
Apple tv plus: Challenger to Netflix and other streaming services. The service will launch with nine original shows and movies, with more expected each month. Comes out Nov. 1 at $5 a month. Free year for buyers of any new iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Mac or iPod Touch.
Apple arcade: Video game service with more than 100 games, curated by Apple and exclusive to the service. Games can be downloaded and played offline — on the Apple-made iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple TV. Comes out Sept. 19 at $5 a month. Games available through a new dedicated tab in the app store.
Software updates: Free iOS 13 update for existing iPhones on Sept. 19, iPadOS for existing iPads on Sept. 30.
Unspoken: Apple didn't provide any updates on its Mac computers, including a launch date for Catalina, the next version of macOS. And Apple didn't announce any iPhone with support for the faster cellular network known as 5G; while Samsung and other Android makers already have 5G versions for a few hundred dollars more, 5G iPhones aren't expected until next year.
Dhaka, Sept 7 (UNB) - A two-day long Bangladesh Robot Olympiad started at the premises of Teacher-Student Centre (TSC) of Dhaka University (DU) on Saturday.
Deputy Minister of Education Mohibul Hasan Chowdhury was present as the chief guest in the inaugural programme where Pro Vice-Chancellor (VC) Prof Dr Muhammad Samad was present as the special guest.
The Department of Robotics and Mechatronics Engineering of DU and Bangladesh Open Source Network jointly organised the event.
Urging the students to acquire knowledge on science, Mohibul Hasan Chowdhury said that the government has been providing free books to all students and also giving computer training at the primary stage.
“We also provide all kinds of instruments to build a modern and science oriented nation.”, he said.
He suggested students to involve themselves with social and humanitarian activities beside the scientific tasks.
Chairman of the Department of Robotics and Mechatronics Engineering of DU Dr Shamim Ahmed Dewan presided over the programme where President of Bangladesh Robot Olympiad Prof Dr Lafifa Jamal, General Secretary of Bangladesh Open Source Network Monir Hassan were also present.
Around 400 students from different schools of the country are participating in the Olympiad.