Best of Multimedia 2015

Editors’ picks of the year’s best in The Scientist infographics, slideshows, and videos

Dec 29, 2015
The Scientist Staff

Infographics, slideshows

Left to right, excerpts from: As Time Goes By; Human Hearing: A Primer; Digging for DNA© TAMI TOLPA; © CATHERINE DELPHIA; © LUCY READING-IKKANDACANCER AVATARS: Patient-derived xenograft (PDX) mice provide arguably the closest model to human cancer available without using humans themselves. PDX mice are derived from donated human tumor tissue and may be used for biomarker-driven cancer research, preclinical drug testing, or to predict the drug responses of a specific patient’s tumor.
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SEX ON THE BRAIN: Masculinization of the developing rodent brain leads to significant structural differences between the two sexes.
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AS TIME GOES BY: Aging is the outcome of diverse and complex changes in normal biological functions, from the accumulation of DNA damage to dysfunction of proteins and altered communication both within cells and among distant tissues in the body. Researchers are beginning to piece together how we age at the level of our genomes, our cells, and our whole bodies, in hopes of identifying strategies for slowing decline and extending healthy life span.
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Excerpt from Mixing It Up© LISA CLARKMIXING IT UP: Recent studies show that in the developing mouse heart, mesentery, and lumbar skin region, lymphatic vessels not only sprout from veins, but are also built from nonvenous lymphatic endothelial progenitor cells. Meanwhile, a study in zebrafish indicates that vascular progenitor cells called angioblasts, located in the main vein, give rise to different types of endothelial cell progenitors, including lymphatic progenitors, which then mature and form lymphatic vessels.
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GRAB ’N’ GLOW: Engineered proteins can tether multiple fluorescent molecules to give a brighter signal—and that’s not all.

THE FLOW OF PHARMACEUTICALS: Many of the more than 4,000 prescription medications used for human and animal health ultimately find their way into the environment. They can pollute directly from pharmaceutical manufacturing plants or from humans and animals. As these chemicals make their way into terrestrial and aquatic environments, they can affect the health and behavior of wildlife, including insects, fish, birds, and more.
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HUMAN HEARING: A PRIMER: How the human ear translates sound waves into nervous impulses

DIGGING FOR DNA: Revolutionary new methods for extracting, purifying, and sequencing ever-more-ancient DNA have opened an unprecedented window into the history of life on Earth.
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NEUROGENESIS IN THE MAMMALIAN BRAIN: Neuron nurseries in the adult brains of rodents and humans appear to influence cognitive function.
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Excerpt from Short- Versus Long-Term Infection© LUCY READING-IKKANDASHORT- VERSUS LONG-TERM INFECTION: While many viruses simply infect, replicate, lyse cells, and spread, others take up long-term residence in their host, sometimes living within the organism’s cells for a lifetime. This type of infection, known as persistent infection, requires a delicate balance of viral processes to avoid alerting the host immune system to the viruses’ presence.
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JUNGLE FIELD TRIP: Travel to Papua New Guinea with researchers who are working with native people to characterize ecosystems there using sound.
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EXTREME LIVING: Take a tour of deep-sea methane seeps and meet the organisms that call these extreme environments home.
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TS Live

Genetic Time Machine
Piecing together scraps of DNA from a 400,000-year-old hominin femur
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The Enemy Within
How viruses wield tiny molecules of RNA to help them persist in our bodies for years, decades, and sometimes an entire life span
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Elephant Herpes
Researchers at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park in Washington, D.C., are studying a viral infection that can be lethal to elephant calves.
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ICYMI: The Scientist editors provided life science news analysis for WHYY’s The Pulse this year, talking genome editing in December and cancer research in April.

For more great multimedia, see 2015’s Most-Viewed Images of the Day