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Section of a mouse brain showing in red the circuit that reinforces the behaviour, in green the circuit that reinforces the decision to continue. If the green projection is very active, the mice self-stimulate their red projection despite negative consequences. They become compulsive. © UNIGE

What happens in the brain of compulsive drug users?

Addiction is a disease that develops in stages: it starts with the initial exposure to a substance followed by a phase where consumption remains...
How the second X chromosome in females gradually becomes inactive?

How the second X chromosome in females gradually becomes inactive?

According to cell biology, men have an X chromosome whereas women have two (XX). But, how can we get around this difference? Scientists at the University of Geneva (UNIGE),...
How does our brain process emotional voices?

How does our brain process emotional voices?

A major role of sensory receptors is to help us learn about the environment around us, or about the state of our internal environment. But...
Artist’s impression of the exoplanet HAT-P-11b with its extended helium atmosphere blown away by the star, an orange dwarf star smaller, but more active, than the Sun.© Denis Bajram

An exoplanet inflated like a balloon

Helium is the second most plentiful component in the Universe. Anticipated since 2000 as extraordinary compared to other conceivable tracers of the climates of...
Emotional intelligence: a new criterion for hiring?

Emotional intelligence: a new criterion for hiring?

The significance of emotional intelligence is broadly recognized today, regardless of whether it's tied in with perceiving and understanding feelings, directing one's very own...
Resveratrol is a well-known natural product which is found in grapes and in red wine. (UNIGE_Aymeric Monteillier)

A grape constituent protects against cancer

More people die as a result of lung cancer each year than from breast, colorectal and prostate cancer combined.1 While in recent years there...
Growing hand with HoxD combinatorial code. The image below is an overlay of the large-scale hand sculpture with Hox genes combinatorial code distribution along a diffusion map, illustrating genetic diversity in the growing limb. Each dot being one cell, the colors represent the single-cell combinatorial Hoxd code that match with different degree of differentiation, a recent concept also described as pseudo-temporal ordering of single-cells. The graphic highlights the switch between cellular temporal states involved in a regulatory network. The cells with only one gene are in a more premature state while the one expressing a higher set of these genes being at the end of their maturation. Credit: Sculpture and “del desierto” from Chilean sculptor Mario Irrarazabal in Atacama Desert. Graphical representation of pseudotime by P. Fabre and Q. Lo Giudice, University of Geneva.

The gene code of growing limbs

At the point when a fetus develops, everything must be planned to perfection: cell division and separation, gene expression, cell-to-cell signaling, and morphogenesis must...
Why the brain struggles to get off the sofa

Why the brain struggles to get off the sofa?

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), almost 30% of adults and 80% of teenagers today do not meet the minimum levels of daily physical activity...
On the right, germination of Arabidopsis thaliana seeds. On the left, the seeds remain dormant in the presence of Pseudomonas aeruginosa

Germination: defeating bacteria with their own weapons

The seeds can block germination if the environmental conditions are unfavorable. But what happens when they are confronted with dangerous organisms within the surrounding soil? Scientists...