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Ring Materials

Using proteomic-based approaches, researchers from the University of Copenhagen have been able to glean from what species the material used to make a 6,000-year-old ring came. This field of paleoproteomics is changing the fields of archaeology, paleoanthropology, and paleontology, Discover magazine writes.

In this instance, Copenhagen's Hannes Schroeder and his colleagues analyzed a ring that had been found among other artifacts on a Danish island — the ring's appearance suggested it had rarely been worn or broke while it was being made. In particular, they turned to micro-computed tomography scanning, zooarchaeology by mass spectrometry (ZooMS) peptide mass fingerprinting, and protein sequencing by liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry. As reported in Royal Society Open Science, ZooMS could not differentiate between collagen from elk, Alces alces, or red deer, Cervus elaphus, but LC-MS/MS analysis indicated the ring was made from C. elaphus materials.

This, Discover notes, is just one of many recent paleoproteomic studies: researchers have also studied proteins from the teeth of Gigantopithecus and a jawbone found in Tibet from a Denisovan. 

The Scan

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The approach helps overcome limitations of previous studies that had investigated the molecular mechanisms of pancreatic islet beta cells, the authors write in their Nature Genetics paper.

Culture-Based Methods, Shotgun Sequencing Reveal Transmission of Bifidobacterium Strains From Mothers to Infants

In a Nature Communications study, culture-based approaches along with shotgun sequencing give a better picture of the microbial strains transmitted from mothers to infants.

Microbial Communities Can Help Trees Adapt to Changing Climates

Tree seedlings that were inoculated with microbes from dry, warm, or cold sites could better survive drought, heat, and cold stress, according to a study in Science.

A Combination of Genetics and Environment Causes Cleft Lip

In a study published in Nature Communications, researchers investigate what combination of genetic and environmental factors come into play to cause cleft lip/palate.