5 Most Incredible Discoveries of the Week

The Black Death had an upside, too

By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff

Posted May 10, 2014 5:25 AM CDT

(Newser) – A possible HIV treatment from an unusual source and a newly discovered cousin of T. Rex are on the list:

  • Soy Sauce Molecule Could Treat HIV Better: Picture the soy sauce bottle on most sushi restaurant tables, yep, the one with the red or green top. Those omnipresent bottles are the product of the Yamasa Corporation, which started manufacturing the soy sauce in 1645. But the most fascinating part of the Japan company's history is a thoroughly recent one: Virologists have confirmed that Yamasa's scientists made a discovery involving a molecule related to flavor enhancers contained in soy sauce—and HIV.
  • Introducing 'Pinocchio Rex': T. Rex had a long-nosed cousin that has been christened, of course, with the nickname "Pinocchio Rex." It probably probably lived alongside T. Rex some 66 million years ago, but it was smaller (29 feet long vs. 42 feet long) and faster. As for that nose, it was long and thin and studded with a row of small horns.

  • The Black Death Had a Silver Lining: If you can find an upside to the decimation of tens of millions of Europeans, a new study has it. It seems that the Black Death, which killed some 30% to 50% of Europe's population between 1347 and 1351, had the accidental effect of leaving survivors and their descendants healthier and longer-lived than those who came before the epidemic.
  • Lab Creates Life With 'Alien' DNA: It's alive! Scientists say that they have created the first living organism with synthetic DNA unlike that of any life that has ever existed on Earth. Until now, all species used the same DNA code of four letters, but researchers added two new DNA bases labeled X and Y to the existing G, T, C, and A to create bacteria with synthetic DNA. They believe that with the expanded "alphabet," organisms could be engineered to create drugs or other products.
  • Coffee May Help Eyesight: Add this to the good-for-you, bad-for-you debate over coffee: A new study out of Cornell suggests that it might help keep your eyes healthy. Specifically, an antioxidant in coffee called chlorogenic acid, or CLA, staves off retinal degeneration in mice.
Click for more discoveries.

  (Shutterstock)
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