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Solving a Genetic Mystery at the Heart of the COVID-19 Pandemic

As the COVID-19 pandemic enters its second year, scientists are still working to understand how the new strain of coronavirus evolved, and how it became so much more dangerous than other coronaviruses, which humans have been living alongside for millennia. Virologists and epidemiologists worldwide have speculated for months that a protein called ORF8 likely holds the answer, and a recent study by Berkeley Lab scientists has helped confirm this hypothesis.

Assessing the Costs of Major Power Outages

Little is known about the full impact of widespread, long duration power interruptions, especially the indirect costs and related economy-wide impacts of these events. As a result, the costs of such power interruptions are generally not or only incompletely considered in utility planning activities. A new Berkeley Lab report titled “A Hybrid Approach to Estimating

Location, Location, Location: Regional Tau Deposits in Healthy Elders Predict Alzheimer Disease

Subtle memory deficits are common in normal aging as well as Alzheimer disease (AD), the leading cause of dementia in older adults. This makes AD difficult to diagnose in its early stages. As there is currently no effective treatment to slow or stop the progression of AD, it is important to identify early pathological brain

New Optical Antennas Could Overcome Data Limits

Researchers at Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley have found a new way to harness properties of lightwaves that can radically increase the amount of data they carry.

The Green Secrets of Goat Poop

Converting the tough fibers and complex sugars in plants into biofuels and other products could be humanity’s ticket to smarter materials, better medicines, and a petroleum-free, sustainable future. Hoping to discover new and improved ways of processing plant material for industrial purposes, scientists like Michelle O’Malley at UC Santa Barbara and the Joint BioEnergy Institute have been studying the gut microbiomes of the planet’s most prolific herbivores: ruminant animals such as goats.

Are Gut Microbes the Key to Unlocking Anxiety?

The prevalence of anxiety disorders, already the most common mental illness in many countries, including the US, has surged during the novel coronavirus pandemic. A new study provides evidence that taking care of our gut microbiome may help mitigate some of that anxiety.

A Detailed Look Inside Tsetse Flies

To better understand the unique reproductive biology of tsetse flies, which are carriers of the parasites that cause a deadly infection known as African sleeping sickness, researchers explored the intact organs and tissues of tsetse flies using a powerful 3D X-ray imaging technique at Berkeley Lab’s Advanced Light Source.

Pioneering Framework Could Reduce Energy Demand in Buildings

Heating and cooling buildings is a large part of global energy demand and a significant source of CO2 and greenhouse gas emissions, and in the coming decades the energy demand for heating and cooling – also known as thermal energy – is expected to grow considerably. Scientists and engineers have made many advances in lowering

AI Finds More Than 1,200 Gravitational Lensing Candidates

A research team with participation by Berkeley Lab physicists has used artificial intelligence to identify more than 1,200 possible gravitational lenses – objects that can be powerful markers for the distribution of dark matter. The count, if all of the candidates turn out to be lenses, would more than double the number of known gravitational lenses.

Primer on Carbon Dioxide Removal Provides Vital Resource at Critical Time

Scientists say that any serious plan to address climate change should include carbon dioxide removal (CDR) technologies and policies, which makes the newly launched CDR Primer an especially vital resource, says Berkeley Lab scientist Margaret Torn, one of about three dozen scientists who contributed to this document. “Atmospheric CO2 concentrations are already 50% over historic