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SCIENCE IN THE NEWS DAILY

Research Illuminates How Stem Cells May Work

from the San Francisco Chronicle

UC Berkeley scientists are a step closer to understanding how a series of molecular switches can turn on or off the regenerative power of stem cells that normally build new muscle tissue after it has been damaged.

The research, conducted on laboratory mice, is years away from practical therapies for human beings. Nevertheless, this latest work, published online Sunday by the journal Nature, provides insight into how scientists are dissecting, step-by-step, the processes that govern how stem cells work.

A goal of such research is to find ways to intervene and control these molecular switches—to improve healing and perhaps slow the effects of aging.

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PODCASTS: From Balloons to Space Stations: Studying Cosmic Rays

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Cosmic rays have mysterious qualities about them that scientists continue to research in order to better understand their origins and composition. Dr. Eun-Suk Seo, a professor of physics at the University of Maryland, and her colleagues, fly enormous balloons as large as a football stadium and a volume of 40-million-cubic feet for extended periods over Antarctica to study particles coming from cosmic rays before they break up in the atmosphere.

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