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Monday, Nov 24th

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The brain may not be fooled by sugar substitutes

As the palette of artificial sweeteners has grown and manufacturers have honed the skill with which they blend them to mimic sugar taste, debate has swirled around whether these sensory stand-ins really help people consume fewer calories and avoid weight gain.

New research adds another dimension to the uncertainty: It suggests that even when artificial sweeteners fool the taste buds, they still don't fool the ultimate arbiter of our appetites -- our subconscious brains.

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Single molecule's stunning image

The detailed chemical structure of a single molecule has been imaged for the first time, say researchers.

The physical shape of single carbon nanotubes has been outlined before, using similar techniques - but the new method even shows up chemical bonds. Understanding structure on this scale could help in the design of many things on the molecular scale, particularly electronics or even drugs.

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DNA Evidence Can Be Fabricated, Scientists Show

Scientists in Israel have demonstrated that it is possible to fabricate DNA evidence, undermining the credibility of what has been considered the gold standard of proof in criminal cases.

The scientists fabricated blood and saliva samples containing DNA from a person other than the donor of the blood and saliva. They also showed that if they had access to a DNA profile in a database, they could construct a sample of DNA to match that profile without obtaining any tissue from that person.

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Stanford prof sequences own genome in a week

It might not be long until there is a gene scanner in every doctor's office, as DNA sequencing becomes faster and cheaper.

A Stanford University professor reported Monday that he has sequenced his entire genome in a week for under $50,000 using a single machine. Six years ago, hundreds of researchers at the Human Genome Project completed the same task for $300 million. It took 13 years.

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Researchers produce cells they say are identical to embryonic stem cells

Two groups of Chinese researchers have performed an unprecedented feat, it was announced today, by inducing cells from connective tissue in mice to revert back to their embryonic state and producing living mice from them.

By demonstrating that cells from adults can be converted into cells that, like embryonic stem cells from fetuses, have the ability to produce any type of tissue, the researchers have made a major advance toward eliminating the need for fetal cells in research and clinical applications.

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Artificial brain '10 years away'

A detailed, functional artificial human brain can be built within the next 10 years, a leading scientist has claimed. Henry Markram, director of the Blue Brain Project, has already simulated elements of a rat brain.

He told the TED Global conference in Oxford that a synthetic human brain would be of particular use finding treatments for mental illnesses.

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Scientists Create Human Sperm from Stem Cells

Researchers at Newcastle University in England report they have coaxed the first human sperm cells from embryonic stem cells, in a remarkable demonstration of how quickly the field of stem cell science is moving.

The achievement, described in the journal Stem Cells and Development, comes just 11 years after the first human embryonic stem cell line was created.

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