Recent science news roundup

  • Optical catapulting for explosive fingerprint detection – Optical catapulting-laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy has been used to successfully detect residues of common explosives in human fingerprints, according to researchers from Egypt and Spain.
  • Unsettling enzymes – Millisecond oscillations can massively impact how an enzyme functions, a new NMR spectroscopic study in the US reveals. The study suggests that finding ways to control such movements, without altering the overall structure of an enzyme might be useful in disabling an enzyme in disease. Proof of principle was demonstrated with an enzyme from Escherichia coli.
  • Melanoma lead – Cheminformatics has helped researchers home in on a single compound that could lead to a new approach to treating malignant melanoma. Laboratory tests show that the compound reduces the number of cell types formed by neural crest progenitor cells.
  • Life on Earth – New hints as to how life emerged from the "primordial soup" have been recovered by US chemists investigating the intramolecular communication within a large RNA-protein enzyme. X-ray data on the system, which is responsible for expressing the genetic code for the amino acid glutamine, point to a deeper origin for this aspect of biochemistry.
  • Court date for e-waste crime – A court date has been set for the UK's largest ever investigation into the illegal exportation of e-waste. A total of 14 individuals and companies accused of illegally exporting waste electronic and electrical equipment (WEEE) from the UK to developing countries, are due at court on 17 October 2011.

A roundup of recent science news selected by David Bradley Science Writer @sciencebase.