what's the buzz...

what's the buzz...

Vision originated 700mn years ago

A new study has shed light on the origin of sight in animals, including humans.
The evolutionary origins of vision remain hotly debated, partly due to inconsistent reports of phylogenetic relationships among the earliest opsin-possessing animals.

Dr Davide Pisani of Bristol’s School of Earth Sciences and colleagues at NUI Maynooth performed a computational analysis to test every hypothesis of opsin evolution proposed to date.

The analysis incorporated all available genomic information from all relevant animal lineages, including a newly sequenced group of sponges and the Cnidarians, a group of animals thought to have possessed the world’s earliest eyes.

Using this information, the researchers developed a timeline with an opsin ancestor common to all groups appearing some 700 million years ago. This opsin was considered ‘blind’ yet underwent key genetic changes over the span of 11 million years that conveyed the ability to detect light.

“The great relevance of our study is that we traced the earliest origin of vision and we found that it originated only once in animals. This is an astonishing discovery because it implies that our study uncovered, in consequence, how and when vision evolved in humans,” Dr Pisani said.

Exercising before breakfast helps you lose more body fat

If you are heading to the gym or pounding the pavements in the hope of losing weight, try to do it before you eat your breakfast, as exercising before the first meal of the day is more effective than after it, a study suggests.

Not only does working up a sweat on an empty stomach burn off more body fat – helping you lose those extra inches around the waist – it also triggers a bigger reduction in artery-clogging blood fats, the Daily Mail reported.

Although the benefits of exercise are well-known, people have been unsure about whether it is better to do it on an empty stomach or a full one.

Dr Jason Gill, who conducted the research at Glasgow University, said that while exercise in itself is good, any done before breakfast may be extra beneficial, because it forces the body to rely on its stores of fat for energy.

“When people talk about losing weight, they really mean losing fat,” he said.

‘Thief’ galaxy near Milky Way steals stars from neighbour

One of the closest galaxies to the Milky Way almost got away with a theft!
Astronomers have discovered that a Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) - one of the closest galaxies to the Milky Way - is stealing stars from its neighbour, the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC).

The crucial evidence for “a crime of galactic proportions” came from surveys looking for something entirely different-dark objects on the outskirts of the Milky Way.
Astronomers have been monitoring the LMC to hunt for evidence of massive compact halo objects, or MACHOs.

MACHOs were thought to be faint objects, roughly the mass of a star, but their exact nature was unknown.

Several surveys looked for MACHOs in order to find out if they could be a major component of dark matter - the unseen stuff that holds galaxies together.