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Breakthrough Science

The Key to Chromosome Immortality – iBiology & Youreka Science

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In the 1980s, scientists knew that DNA polymerase could not copy the ends of chromosomes, yet chromosome ends were still largely maintained in an organism. Additionally, they observed that the ends of chromosomes consists of highly repetitive sequences they called telomeres. Blackburn and her colleagues hypothesized that the cell must have a mechanism to add telomeres to prevent chromosome shortening during replication. In this video, Youreka Science describes the experiment that demonstrated the existence of a distinct enzyme, later named telomerase, that adds telomeres to the ends of chromosomes. This enzyme was later found to be involved in aging, cancer, and other diseases.

This video is a complement to Elizabeth Blackburn’s iBiology Discovery talk, where Blackburn recalls the events that led to the discovery of telomerase.

About Youreka Science:
Youreka Science was created by Florie Charles, a cancer researcher at UCSF. While teaching 5th graders about the structure of a cell, Charles realized the importance of incorporating scientific findings into classroom in an easy-to-understand way. From that she started creating whiteboard drawings that explained recent papers in the scientific literature to the general public. Charles has created over twenty videos about the latest scientific experiments and is now joined by Alex Olson to produce more fun and engaging videos. Learn more at

Breakthrough Science

Fascinating treasures from the tomb of Tutankhamun

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People have long been fascinated with the treasures and mysteries around King Tut’s tomb in the Valley of the Kings, Egypt. We take a look at some of the amazing artifacts and a brief history behind their discovery.

Artifacts on display at the California Science Center in Los Angeles, where an exhibition titled “King Tut: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh” is being held in March and April 2018.

A large flail and a copper Heqa Crook which belonged to King Tut.

The pharaoh’s sarcophagus displayed in Cairo’s Egyptian Museum.

Replica of a sandal found in Tutankhamun’s tomb.

A dagger blade belonging to the pharaoh. Research suggests the iron came from a meteorite, possibly from one found near Mersa Matruh, Egypt.

Breastplate made with gold and lapis lazuli and featuring Isis, Osiris and Nephthys, from the tomb of Tutankhamun.

Several 3,300-year-old jars were found in the tomb of King Tut. These were filled with food, grains, wine and other items the king might need in his afterlife.

Tutankhamun’s golden sarcophagus is displayed at his tomb, in a glass case, at the Valley of the Kings.

The north wall of King Tut’s burial chamber at his tomb.

Tourists look at the tomb of King Tut, which is displayed inside a glass case at the Valley of the Kings.

Ushabti, a funerary statuette in gilded wood, found in the tomb of the king.

A special installer from Egypt places a canopic container in the Denver Art Museum in Colorado, U.S. The artifact was discovered in the king’s tomb.

A funeral mask found in the pharaoh’s tomb.

Archaeologists Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon photographed during the opening of King Tutankhamun’s tomb in the Valley of the Kings in 1922.

The first glimpse of Tutankhamun’s tomb. This was the sight that met the eyes of Lord Carnarvon and Howard Carter when they broke down the sealed doorway which divided the ante-chamber of the tomb and the sepulchral hall.

Workers excavate the pharaoh’s tomb.

An aerial view of Howard Carter’s archaeological excavation of the tombs of Pharaohs Ramesses VI and Tutankhamen in Valley of the Kings.

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Breakthrough Science

Breakthrough in Asymmetric TSP (ft. Ola Svensson & Jakub Tarnawski)

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In 2018, the open problem of determining a polynomial-time constant-factor approximation ratio of the asymmetric travelling salesman problem was finally solved by three researchers. Two of them, Ola Svensson and Jakub Tarnawski, are EPFL researchers. They discuss their breakthroughs with us.

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Breakthrough Science

Fossil Ray Discovery

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The second associated specimen ever of a fossil ray (Myledaphus Bipartitus) has been discovered in Dinosaur Provincial Park!

Originally published August 26, 2011.

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