Speedy Science News – 2nd-8th April

Time shy? Here’s everything you need to know about the week’s big science stories in under 50 words.

HIVAttempts to weaken HIV made it stronger

HIV embeds its DNA in human cells, making it incurable. A new gene-editing technology that scrambles HIV DNA in cells and stop it replicating has backfired. Whilst the virus was ‘killed’ in some cells, in others it became stronger. Hope lies in tweaking the technique to attack at multiple sites. [READ MORE]

black holeUniverse could be strewn with black holes

A supermassive black hole was found in a very unexpected place. These huge star-swallowers were thought to only reside at the centre of galaxies, but one has now been spotted floating around in empty space. This means that black holes could be much more common than previously thought. [READ MORE]

IMG_2995People get turned on by touching robot ‘genitals’

When asked by a robot to touch the places on its body where genitals would be, humans are measurably aroused and hesitant. No such arousal occurs when people touch robot hands or ears. Companies have now added clauses into buyer’s contracts to prevent people committing ‘indecent acts’ with their robots. [READ MORE]

DNADNA could be the hard drive of the future

We currently need lots of space to store all the data we create and countless photos we hoard, but we could one day switch from computer servers to DNA. Scientists have successfully used DNA to store digital images: images could be perfectly reconstructed from the information contained in the DNA. [READ MORE]

Neanderthal childHuman women and male Neanderthals had fertility issues

Analysis of the DNA of male Neanderthals shows that genes on their Y chromosome made it difficult for human women to bear their male children. Their prehistoric immune systems weren’t compatible, so even if humans and Neanderthals hooked up, women would probably have not been able to birth male babies. [READ MORE]


Image credit: Wellcome ImagesHubble ESAPierre MetivierCaroline Davis2010 and Jonathon via Flickr creative commons.

Article by Kate Timms

April 8, 2016

Kate Timms

Kate is a PhD student who previously studied Biomedical Sciences (because she couldn’t decide what she wanted to specialise in) and Maternal and Fetal Health (because eventually she did decide). When not working in a science lab at the University of Manchester until an unseemly hour, she can usually be found watching women’s football (usually also at an unseemly hour). She also has a peculiar habit of trying to make other people watch also her favourite sport. Seriously, have you ever watched a game of women’s football?

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