Institute for Medical Research

Goroka, Papua New Guinea

Institute for Medical Research

Goroka, Papua New Guinea
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Tee E.-S.,Institute for Medical Research
European Journal of Clinical Nutrition | Year: 2017

This review discussed the prevalence of diabetes mellitus (DM) in Malaysia and the associated major risk factors, namely overweight/obesity, dietary practices and physical activity in both adults and school children. Detailed analyses of such information will provide crucial information for the formulation and implementation of programmes for the control and prevention of T2DM in the country. National studies from 1996–2015, and other recent nation-wide studies were referred to. The current prevalence of DM in 2015 is 17.5%, over double since 1996. Females, older age group, Indians, and urban residents had the highest risk of DM. The combined prevalence of overweight/obesity in 2015 is 47.7% for adults. Adults did not achieve the recommended intakes for majority of the foods groups in the Malaysian Food Pyramid especially fruits and vegetables. Adults also had moderate physical activity level. Three nation-wide studies showed a prevalence ranging from 27 to 31% for combined overweight/obesity in school children. The prevalence was higher among boys, primary school age, Indian ethnicity, and even rural children are not spared. Physical activity level was also low among school children. There must be serious systematic implementation of action plans to combat the high prevalence of diabetes and associated risk factors.European Journal of Clinical Nutrition advance online publication, 17 May 2017; doi:10.1038/ejcn.2017.44. © 2017 Macmillan Publishers Limited, part of Springer Nature.


News Article | February 25, 2017
Site: www.scientificamerican.com

Attitudes about marijuana seem to be changing and diversifying in Latin America. Throughout the 20th century its consumption was associated with criminal behavior. But over the last decade the drug's image has improved in some countries. A new survey reveals that in some Latin countries more than 40 percent of the population is in favor of legalizing marijuana, although in other countries favor remains low. “Until now, the scientific literature showed that Latin America had a consistent position on decriminalization,” says lead author Andrés Mendiburo Seguel, a sociologist at the University of Santiago, Chile. “Our work points out that there are differences of opinion that could influence future public policies adopted in the region.” The survey was conducted by Mendiburo Seguel and researchers at Andrés Bello National University of Chile and the University of London, and was published in the International Journal of Drug Policy. The researchers interviewed 8,952 adults in large cities in nine Latin American countries: Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Bolivia, Mexico, Peru, Costa Rica, Colombia and El Salvador. More than 40 percent of the populations of Chile, Colombia, Uruguay and Mexico are in favor of legalizing marijuana whereas in El Salvador and Bolivia that number did not exceed 10 percent. The survey also assessed the acceptance of recreational marijuana use, with favorable responses in Uruguay (68 percent), Mexico (57 percent) and Costa Rica (55 percent). Less support for such use was reported in Peru (44 percent), El Salvador (31 percent) and Bolivia (30 percent). In all countries acceptance of medicinal marijuana use, either to treat pain or epilepsy, was greater than for recreational use. “There is a correlation between the countries that most disagree with the legalization of marijuana and their level of human development. The most conservative, such as Bolivia, Peru and El Salvador have a lower level of development. They are also countries where illegal drug trafficking is a big problem. The more liberal nations, such as Uruguay and Chile, reached a better level,” according to the researchers. Yet, this is not the only possible interpretation, says Ricardo Pautassi, a researcher at the Mercedes and Martin Ferreyra Institute for Medical Research, CONICET, in Argentina, who did not participate in the survey. “The differences of opinion have to do with which public policies are being carried out in their countries. The human development index has some correlation with income, which promotes access to marijuana use. This in turn tends to facilitate positive views toward legalization for recreational and therapeutic use.” Indeed, all nine nations have enacted laws that make it a crime to produce and distribute drugs, but laws around consumption vary widely. In Bolivia, Colombia and El Salvador, for example, using marijuana is still a criminal offense. Argentina’s Supreme Court decided in 2009 that the punishment for marijuana possession without distribution to third parties was unconstitutional. In Mexico consumption of small amounts was decriminalized whereas in Uruguay personal consumption was never a crime, although in 2013 the country passed a law allowing the production and sale of marijuana in amounts regulated by the state. “We have registered 5,864 people growing cannabis, and 33 clubs with up to 45 members who are also involved in the cultivation, processing and distribution,” says Héctor Suárez, head of the Uruguayan Drug Observatory. “You can’t advertise the product but it will be sold in pharmacies in the coming months. In this way social and sanitary support is given to people with problematic consumption, while illegal drug trafficking is avoided,” he adds. Chile is debating the decriminalization of pot for recreational use, and in 2014 a pilot project for cultivating and distributing marijuana for medicinal purposes was authorized. Last December Colombia passed a law enabling marijuana for medicinal use. Peru has authorized up to eight grams of marijuana for personal use. In Costa Rica the use and possession of drugs for personal use is not considered a crime but it is not yet clear whether growing the plant for personal use is accepted. The questionnaire also measured risk perception. On average, except in Bolivia, El Salvador and Peru, most people believe tobacco and alcohol are more harmful than marijuana. “The overall assessment is correct based on studies conducted in the U.K. While it is not harmless, marijuana causes less harm and involves less risk of dependence than alcohol, tobacco and drugs such as benzodiazepines (which are prescribed as sedatives), cocaine and heroin," says Enzo Tagliazucchi, an addiction researcher at the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience.


News Article | February 22, 2017
Site: co.newswire.com

Artwork by Ida Ivanka Kubler created with Silk Cocoons left by the Caterpillars ​​Cocoons convey a delicacy, transformation and silence. Delicate as the silk moth worm spins the thin thread that make up the cocoon, silent as the worms prefer to spin in complete silence and transformative as the cocoons leaves their egg house once the chrysalis is transformed into a moth. The silk housing is beautiful and each cocoon is unique. Cocoons has always fascinated ancient civilizations. They represent change and produce one of the most exquisitely beautiful fabrics: silk. Ida Ivanka Kubler has managed to incorporate this material raw into her works with a simplicity and beauty that it is overwhelming. Ida Ivanka Kubler grew up in the sericulture for silk cocoons and was surrounded by cocoons. As a child she developed patterns and primitive art from the cocoons using pulverised orange bricks mixed with water to paint them. Ida, as a Chelsea College postgraduate student, refound her connection with cocoons via four hundred cocoons that had been stored by her grand parents.  Developing her earlier relationship with cocoons she sculptured each cocoon individually with six “wings” looking like an open hand with five fingers.  The cocoons are given another identity while still retaining their silence. They are transformed into an evocative landscape. Ida takes the delicate and transformative silence of cocoons and creates pieces of art that allows us to meditate, to pause and to energise.  Her works reflects the tranquility enjoyed under the shadow of the Mulberry trees on a hot summer afternoon. The artworks are rectangular painted canvases with sculptured, colored and arranged silk cocoons. The resulting half-object paintings are kaleidoscopic. Tension is created by the silk cocoon groupings and contrasting colors. The repetition in her artwork is at once geometric and ordered but is also subversive in its use of color. The overall effect is one that the viewer finds instantly known, visceral and transcendent or what the artist calls “imaginative touch”. The artist says “My art introduces the viewer to the passions of tactile experiences, which I feel when I am producing those artworks”. “The Birth of an Idea” series has been recognized by the Behring Institute for Medical Research as having a positive influence on health. The artwork is deemed to promote relaxation and positive excitement at the same time in the viewer Ida Ivanka Kublers’ new series “The Letter” series  uses the matted silk thread from cocoons that have been  pulled apart  by soaking and heating, the resulting matted silk threads are spit, sticky and raw and have their own exquisite natural shapes.  Ida embodies these into visual and visceral intertwining expressions. The resulting works are abstract, featuring wispy orbs of shocking color that evokes allusions to macro and micro immersive worlds that set out to  “awaken feelings”. Ida Ivanka Kublers’ next project is to embrace the transformative nature of cocoons with sculptured, deconstructed silk fibers and nakedness. To touch the world free of materialism. To be transformed  and wrapped naked in a chrysalis of silk fibres. To wear the silence of a dress made up cocoons and feel that silence on naked skin. Kubler remarks that she’s also needs to feeling completely exposed as this is the way that she’s transcends with her art to touch her audience. Ida Ivanka Kubler is creating in Manhattan, NYC. She has an international reputation and has worked worldwide including France, Bulgaria, Germany, Norway, USA and UK. She has a number of international collectors. Ida has exhibited in Germany, the Netherlands, London and New York. Her upcoming solo show will be at Chinatown Soup, 16 Orchard Street, Chinatown, New York 10002, Show times: Tues, April 25th – Tues, May 2nd, 12pm – 7pm, (Closed on Monday, the 1st May), More and high resolution images available on request


A one year study was conducted to evaluate the impact of spray application of Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (Bti), strain AM65-52 on vector populations and dengue transmission in a dengue endemic state in Malaysia. Residential sites with similar populations of Aedes aegypti (L.) and Aedes albopictus Skuse were studied. One site was treated with spray application of Bti into all outdoor target vector habitats, which consisted of natural and artificial containers. The other site was not treated. The impact of spray application was measured with an indoor and outdoor ovitrap index (OI) and epidemiologic data. Significant reductions in both Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus, OI were observed both indoors and outdoors, in treated sites compared to untreated sites (p < 0.05). OI reduction was achieved over time in the treated area. The OI was suppressed to below 10%. This was maintained for 4 weeks into the post-treatment phase. The outdoor OI at the untreated site remained at more than 40% for 38 weeks during the evaluation period. One dengue case occurred at the Bti treatment site at the beginning of the treatment phase, but no further cases were detected during the remainder of the treatment phase. However, there was an ongoing dengue outbreak in the untreated area with 15 serologically confirmed cases during weeks 37-54. Intensive fogging operations with pyrethroids at the untreated (Bti) site had a positive impact on Ae. albopictus, but not on Ae. aegypti.


News Article | October 3, 2016
Site: news.yahoo.com

Japanese biologist Yoshinori Ohsumi won the Nobel Prize in medicine on Monday for discoveries on how cells break down and recycle content, a garbage disposal system that scientists hope to harness in the fight against cancer, Alzheimer's and other diseases. The Karolinska Institute honored Ohsumi for "brilliant experiments" in the 1990s on autophagy, a phenomenon that literally means "self-eating" and describes how cells gobble up damaged content and provide building blocks for renewal. Disrupted autophagy has been linked to several diseases including Parkinson's, diabetes and cancer, the prize committee said. SEE ALSO: Joe Biden announces major new steps in his fight for better cancer research "Intense research is now ongoing to develop drugs that can target autophagy in various diseases," it said in its citation. Ohsumi, 71, from Fukuoka, Japan, is a professor at the Tokyo Institute of Technology. In 2012, he won the Kyoto Prize, Japan's highest private award for global achievement. Ohsumi said he never thought he would win a Nobel Prize for his work, which he said involved studying yeast in a microscope day after day for decades. "As a boy, the Nobel Prize was a dream, but after starting my research, it was out of my picture," he told reporters in Tokyo. "I don't feel comfortable competing with many people, and instead I find it more enjoyable doing something nobody else is doing," Ohsumi added. "In a way, that's what science is all about, and the joy of finding something inspires me." Nobel committee secretary Thomas Perlmann said Ohsumi seemed surprised when he was informed he had won the Nobel Prize. "The first thing he said was 'ahhh.' He was very, very pleased," Perlmann said.Nobel judges often award discoveries made decades ago, to make sure they have stood the test of time. Though scientists have known that autophagy exists for more than 50 years, its fundamental significance was only recognized after Ohsumi's "paradigm-shifting research" on yeast in the 1990s, the committee said. "Thanks to Ohsumi and others following in his footsteps, we now know that autophagy controls important physiological functions where cellular components need to be degraded and recycled," it said. The term autophagy was coined in 1963 by Belgian scientist Christian de Duve, who shared the 1974 Nobel Prize in medicine for discoveries on cell structure and organization. But before Ohsumi's research, scientists "didn't know what it did, they didn't know how it was controlled and they didn't know what it was relevant for," said David Rubinsztein, deputy director of the Institute for Medical Research at the University of Cambridge. Now "we know that autophagy is important for a host of important mammalian functions." For example, it protects against starvation in the period when a newborn animal hasn't yet started breastfeeding, by providing energy, he said. It also removes proteins that clump together abnormally in brain cells, which is important in conditions like Huntington's and Parkinson's diseases and some forms of dementia. If autophagy didn't do that job, "the diseases would appear more early and be more aggressive," he said. Animal studies suggest that boosting autophagy can ease and delay such diseases, said Rubinsztein, whose lab is pursuing that approach for therapy. Nobel Prize winner Yoshinori Ohsumi smiles as he speaks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. "As time goes on, people are finding connections with more and more diseases" and normal cellular operations, he said. In 1993 Ohsumi published his "seminal discovery" of 15 genes crucial to autophagy, and cloned several of those genes in yeast and mammalian cells in subsequent studies, the Nobel committee said. "He actually unraveled which are the components which actually perform this whole process," said Rune Toftgard, chairman of the Nobel Assembly. "Having those components at hand were also important tools to ... do functional experiments to understand how important it was for different types of processes in the body." In Tokyo, Ohsumi said many details of autophagy are yet to be understood and that he hoped younger scientists would join him in looking for the answers. "There is no finish line for science. When I find an answer to one question, another question comes up. I have never thought I have solved all the questions," he said. "So I have to keep asking questions to yeast." It was the 107th award in the medicine category since the first Nobel Prizes were handed out in 1905. Last year's prize was shared by three scientists who developed treatments for malaria and other tropical diseases. The announcements continue with physics on Tuesday, chemistry on Wednesday and the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday. The economics and literature awards will be announced next week. Each prize is worth 8 million kronor ($930,000). The awards will be handed out at prize ceremonies in Stockholm and Oslo on Dec. 10, the anniversary of prize founder Alfred Nobel's death in 1896.


News Article | October 4, 2016
Site: www.biosciencetechnology.com

Like a busy city, a cell works better if it can dispose of and recycle its garbage. Now a Japanese scientist has won the Nobel Prize in medicine for showing how that happens. The research may pay off in treatments for diseases such as cancer, Parkinson's and Type 2 diabetes. Yoshinori Ohsumi, 71, of the Tokyo Institute of Technology, was cited Monday for "brilliant experiments" that illuminated autophagy, in which cells gobble up damaged or worn-out pieces of themselves. Autophagy means "self-eating." That process helps keep cells healthy by producing nutrients and building blocks for renewal, making way for new cellular structures and clearing out invading germs and clumps of proteins that could cause disease. Abnormalities in autophagy (aw-TAH'-fuh-jee) occur in several diseases, including Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, diabetes and cancer, and more than 40 studies in humans are under way to test drugs to boost or depress the process, Nobel officials said. Cancer cells, for example, take advantage of autophagy to promote their own survival. Many research groups are exploring a strategy of fighting the disease by reducing these cells' use of the cleanup process, said Eileen White, a researcher at the Rutgers Cancer Institute in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Ohsumi said he never thought he would win a Nobel for his work, which involved studying yeast under the microscope day after day for decades. "As a boy, the Nobel Prize was a dream, but after starting my research, it was out of my picture," he told reporters in Tokyo. "I don't feel comfortable competing with many people, and instead I find it more enjoyable doing something nobody else is doing," Ohsumi added. "In a way, that's what science is all about, and the joy of finding something inspires me." The prize is worth 8 million kronor, or $930,000. Ohsumi was honored for work he did in the 1990s. Nobel judges often award discoveries made decades ago, to make sure they have stood the test of time. Working in yeast, Ohsumi developed a way to identify key genes involved in autophagy and went on to discover the first genes known to play a role. He then showed how autophagy is controlled by specific proteins and complexes of proteins. "He actually unraveled which are the components which actually perform this whole process," said Rune Toftgard, chairman of the Nobel Assembly. Scientists were aware of autophagy before Ohsumi's work, but they "didn't know what it did, they didn't know how it was controlled and they didn't know what it was relevant for," said David Rubinsztein, deputy director of the Institute for Medical Research at the University of Cambridge. Ohsumi's work "opened the door to a field," he said. "It provided tools to the whole world to start trying to understand how autophagy is important" in mammals. Now "we know that autophagy is important for a host of important mammalian functions." For example, scientists said, it springs into action to provide energy when the body is running short on nutrients, such as when a person skips meals or a newborn has not yet begun breastfeeding. Autophagy also removes proteins that clump together abnormally in brain cells, which is what happens in conditions like Huntington's and Parkinson's diseases and some forms of dementia. Animal studies suggest that boosting autophagy can ease and delay such diseases, said Rubinsztein, whose lab is pursuing that approach. "As time goes on, people are finding connections with more and more diseases," he said. In Tokyo, Ohsumi said many details of autophagy are yet to be understood and he hopes younger scientists join him in looking for the answers. "There is no finish line for science. When I find an answer to one question, another question comes up. I have never thought I have solved all the questions," he said. "So I have to keep asking questions to yeast." It was the 107th award in the medicine category since the first Nobel Prizes were handed out in 1905. Last year's prize was shared by three scientists who developed treatments for malaria and other tropical diseases. The announcements continue with physics on Tuesday, chemistry on Wednesday and the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday. The economics and literature awards will be announced next week. The awards will be handed out at ceremonies in Stockholm and Oslo on Dec. 10, the anniversary of prize founder Alfred Nobel's death in 1896.


Yoshinori Ohsumi, a professor of Tokyo Institute of Technology, attends a news conference after he won the Nobel medicine prize at Tokyo Institute of Technology in Tokyo, Japan, October 3, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon STOCKHOLM/LONDON (Reuters) - Japan's Yoshinori Ohsumi won the 2016 Nobel prize for medicine for ground-breaking experiments with yeast which exposed a key mechanism in the body's defences where cells degrade and recycle their components. Understanding the science behind the process, called "autophagy" or "self-eating", has led to a better understanding of diseases such as cancer, Parkinson's and type 2 diabetes, the prize committee said in its statement on Monday. "Ohsumi's discoveries led to a new paradigm in our understanding of how the cell recycles its content," it said. The Physiology or Medicine prize, the first of the Nobel prizes awarded each year, is worth 8 million Swedish crowns ($933,000). Ohsumi, born in 1945 in Fukuoka, Japan, has been a professor at the Tokyo Institute of Technology since 2009. He told Kyodo News agency he was "extremely honoured" to get the prize. In a separate interview with broadcaster NHK, he said he had "always wanted to do something that other people wouldn’t do". "I thought the breakdown (of cells) would be interesting, and that was my start," he said. Ohsumi's work - carried out in the 1990s and described by commentators as "paradigm-shifting" and "pioneering" - included locating the genes that regulate autophagy. This is important for medicine because it helps show why errors in these genes can contribute to a range of diseases. David Rubinsztein, deputy director of Cambridge University's Institute for Medical Research, said Ohsumi had provided scientists around the world with "critical tools" to help them understand how disrupted autophagy can contribute to illnesses including infectious diseases, cancers and neurodegenerative diseases such as Huntington’s and Parkinson’s. Christer Hoog, a professor at Sweden's Karolinska Institute, told Reuters the work helped explain crucial processes in human development, from growing up, to ageing to succumbing to disease. "In the very early stages (of a human’s development) your organs and your whole body is constantly being made over again – you are growing. So you need to get rid of the old stuff and generate new structures," he said. "When you undergo aging, you have structures that have to be taken away and this – autophagy – is the principle that gets rid of them. "If you affect this system – the genes and proteins involved in autophagy – you no longer can take care of the waste, and once it accumulates you will get some type of disease." This year, the Karolinska Institute, which awards the Nobel medicine prize, has been immersed in a scandal over the hiring of a controversial surgeon. The Swedish government dismissed several members of the board in September. Prizes for achievements in science, literature and peace were first awarded in 1901 in accordance with the will of dynamite inventor and businessman Alfred Nobel. ($1 = 8.5776 Swedish crowns)


Yoshinori Ohsumi, a professor of Tokyo Institute of Technology, speaks during a news conference after he won the Nobel medicine prize at Tokyo Institute of Technology in Tokyo, Japan, October 3, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon STOCKHOLM/LONDON (Reuters) - Japan's Yoshinori Ohsumi won the 2016 Nobel prize for medicine for ground-breaking experiments with yeast which exposed a key mechanism in the body's defences where cells degrade and recycle their components. Understanding the science behind the process, called "autophagy" or "self-eating", has led to a better understanding of diseases such as cancer, Parkinson's and type 2 diabetes, the prize committee said in its statement on Monday. "Ohsumi's discoveries led to a new paradigm in our understanding of how the cell recycles its content," it said. The Physiology or Medicine prize, the first of the Nobel prizes awarded each year, is worth 8 million Swedish crowns ($933,000). Ohsumi, born in 1945 in Fukuoka, Japan, has been a professor at the Tokyo Institute of Technology since 2009. He told Kyodo News agency he was "extremely honoured" to get the prize. In a separate interview with broadcaster NHK, he said he had "always wanted to do something that other people wouldn’t do". "I thought the breakdown (of cells) would be interesting, and that was my start," he said. Ohsumi's work - carried out in the 1990s and described by commentators as "paradigm-shifting" and "pioneering" - included locating the genes that regulate autophagy. This is important for medicine because it helps show why errors in these genes can contribute to a range of diseases. David Rubinsztein, deputy director of Cambridge University's Institute for Medical Research, said Ohsumi had provided scientists around the world with "critical tools" to help them understand how disrupted autophagy can contribute to illnesses including infectious diseases, cancers and neurodegenerative diseases such as Huntington’s and Parkinson’s. Chister Hogg, a professor at Sweden's Karolinska Institute, told Reuters the work helped explain crucial processes in human development, from growing up, to ageing to succumbing to disease. "In the very early stages (of a human’s development) your organs and your whole body is constantly being made over again – you are growing. So you need to get rid of the old stuff and generate new structures," he said. "When you undergo aging, you have structures that have to be taken away and this – autophagy – is the principle that gets rid of them. "If you affect this system – the genes and proteins involved in autophagy – you no longer can take care of the waste, and once it accumulates you will get some type of disease." This year, the Karolinska Institute, which awards the Nobel medicine prize, has been immersed in a scandal over the hiring of a controversial surgeon. The Swedish government dismissed several members of the board in September. [nL8N1BH474] Prizes for achievements in science, literature and peace were first awarded in 1901 in accordance with the will of dynamite inventor and businessman Alfred Nobel. ($1 = 8.5776 Swedish crowns)


News Article | October 3, 2016
Site: news.yahoo.com

STOCKHOLM/LONDON (Reuters) - Japan's Yoshinori Ohsumi won the 2016 Nobel prize for medicine for ground-breaking experiments with yeast which exposed a key mechanism in the body's defences where cells degrade and recycle their components. Understanding the science behind the process, called "autophagy" or "self-eating", has led to a better understanding of diseases such as cancer, Parkinson's and type 2 diabetes, the prize committee said in its statement on Monday. "Ohsumi's discoveries led to a new paradigm in our understanding of how the cell recycles its content," it said. The Physiology or Medicine prize, the first of the Nobel prizes awarded each year, is worth 8 million Swedish crowns (725,384 pound). Ohsumi, born in 1945 in Fukuoka, Japan, has been a professor at the Tokyo Institute of Technology since 2009. He told Kyodo News agency he was "extremely honoured" to get the prize. In a separate interview with broadcaster NHK, he said he had "always wanted to do something that other people wouldn’t do". "I thought the breakdown (of cells) would be interesting, and that was my start," he said. Ohsumi's work - carried out in the 1990s and described by commentators as "paradigm-shifting" and "pioneering" - included locating the genes that regulate autophagy. This is important for medicine because it helps show why errors in these genes can contribute to a range of diseases. David Rubinsztein, deputy director of Cambridge University's Institute for Medical Research, said Ohsumi had provided scientists around the world with "critical tools" to help them understand how disrupted autophagy can contribute to illnesses including infectious diseases, cancers and neurodegenerative diseases such as Huntington’s and Parkinson’s. Christer Hoog, a professor at Sweden's Karolinska Institute, told Reuters the work helped explain crucial processes in human development, from growing up, to ageing to succumbing to disease. "In the very early stages (of a human’s development) your organs and your whole body is constantly being made over again – you are growing. So you need to get rid of the old stuff and generate new structures," he said. "When you undergo ageing, you have structures that have to be taken away and this – autophagy – is the principle that gets rid of them. "If you affect this system – the genes and proteins involved in autophagy – you no longer can take care of the waste, and once it accumulates you will get some type of disease." This year, the Karolinska Institute, which awards the Nobel medicine prize, has been immersed in a scandal over the hiring of a controversial surgeon. The Swedish government dismissed several members of the board in September. Prizes for achievements in science, literature and peace were first awarded in 1901 in accordance with the will of dynamite inventor and businessman Alfred Nobel.


More evidence reveal that our prehistoric human ancestors had interbred with Neanderthals and another archaic line of ancient humans called Denisovans hundreds of thousands of years ago. A previous study conducted by scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology says that Neanderthals and Denisovans may have only split 430,000 years ago. If the findings of this study are correct, it would mean that the species Homo antecessor could be the common ancestor of modern humans, Neanderthals and Denisovans, scientists said. Now, a new study found that the genes of the Denisovans and Neanderthals who had interbred with our prehistoric ancestors actually live on today among modern Asians, Europeans, and in the Melanesians of Papua New Guinea. Led by scientist Svante Paabo who is also from the Max Planck Institute, the international team of researchers focused on the genetic code of Melanesians in particular, comparing the DNA sequences of 35 modern humans on islands off the New Guinea coast with DNA from Neanderthals and Denisovans. Their findings confirm theories that our human ancestors did not interbreed with other hominin species until after they left Africa. Even today, there is barely a trace of Neanderthal DNA in modern Africans. When our ancient human ancestors started traveling across Eurasia, they lived side-by-side and had a few run-ins with other species. Paabo said diverse populations of modern humans have various levels of Neanderthal DNA, and this means that ancient humans often ran into Neanderthals as they moved across Europe. "Substantial amounts of Neanderthal and Denisovan DNA can now be robustly identified in the genomes of present-day Melanesians," the researchers say. Molecular anthropologist Andrew Merriwether of Binghamton University said this is the first time that full genomes from blood samples collected 15 years ago in Melanesia have been sequenced. He said he was surprised that Denisovan and Neanderthal DNA even made it out as far as Papua New Guinea. They know that people have been on the island at least 48,000 years, especially because they have found human remains whose age go back that far. However, no one has ever been able to connect the remains to any other place, he said. "When you compare most of their genome sequences, they don't cluster with any other group," said Merriwether. "They've been there and been isolated for a very, very long time." In fact, researchers found that the genetic connection between ancient hominins and modern Melanesians were between 1.9 to 3.4 percent. This meant that modern human ancestors and early humans have interbred on at least three separate occasions. Benjamin Vernot of the University of Washington, who is also part of the study, said he believes that Denisovans and Neanderthals liked to wander. "And yes, studies like this can help us track where they wandered," added Vernot. The question now is this: how did the Denosivans make their way to the island of Melanesia? "Most people know back a few generations, maybe five generations, but where did we come from before that? That's what we want to find out," added Merriwether. The findings of the study are featured in the journal Science. The authors were from the Max Planck Institute, Binghamton University, Italy's University of Ferrara, the University of Washington, Temple University, the Coriell Institute for Medical Research, the University of Cincinnati, and the Institute for Medical Research in Papua New Guinea.

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