Weak Spots for Mosquito Eggs

Malaria. Yellow fever. Zika. Dengue. West Nile virus. These are a some of the illnesses that millions of people contract each year throughout the world thanks to mosquitoes. The World Health Organization estimates that these illnesses cause more than 700,000 fatalities yearly. In an effort to reduce this enormous cost on public health, researchers are looking for more effective strategies to control mosquito populations and prevent the transmission of disease. As we’ve previously discussed in our blog regarding gene drives and genetic sterility, scientists have recently found a novel way that could be used to manage mosquito populations.

Scientists at the University of Arizona found earlier this year that certain developmental characteristics of mosquito eggs are regulated by a protein known as Eggshell Organizing Factor 1 (EOF1). When the scientists turned off this gene, almost all of the mosquitos’ eggs had shells that were lighter and more permeable than normal. During maturation, these weaker eggs frequently collapsed, and hardly any mosquito embryos lacking the EOF1 gene developed into larvae.

The finding that EOF1 is exclusively produced by Aedes, Anopheles, and Culex mosquitos is among the study’s most encouraging features. These animals are major spreaders of Zika, dengue, malaria, and West Nile virus. Through genetic engineering, it may be possible to manage dangerous mosquito populations without causing harm to other innocuous species by targeting and disabling the EOF1 protein.

Before this method becomes an effective way to manage mosquitoes in the wild, there are still a few significant obstacles to be addressed. Because the scientists’ method included injecting the subject mosquito directly, it is not appropriate for use in populations of mosquitoes that are widely dispersed. The fact that a chemical that can inhibit EOF1 doesn’t exist, or hasn’t been discovered yet, is one of the reasons direct injection was required. Nonetheless, any treatment option is worth researching considering the severity of the suffering brought on by diseases spread by mosquitoes.

Powers Scientific has been contributing to the advancement of insect research like this for more than 30 years. Their Drosophila and Small Insect Chambers are ideal for studies on vector biology, genetics, insecticide susceptibility, vector-parasite interactions, and other topics related to mosquito rearing. With a configurable temperature range of 15–60°C, our chambers are adaptable to a wide range of uses. The thermoelectric (Peltier) coolers that regulate the Level 3 chambers are outfitted with ultrasonic humidity generators that may produce relative humidity levels as high as 80%. For total control over the illumination in the chamber, the Level 2 and 3 models additionally come with programmable (and optionally dimmable) digital clock-controlled LED lighting.

For more information, see our Powers Scientific product page, visit our Contact Us page, or call us at (416) 736-6166

Performing Regular Repairs on Incubators and Refrigerators

Powers Scientific chambers are designed to last; in fact, we frequently get requests for parts for machinery that is over fifteen years old. A simple routine maintenance program can help save electricity use, avert expensive malfunctions, and prolong the life of a chamber. This is a brief summary of the actions you may take to extend the life of your incubator or refrigerator and keep it functioning like new.

The condenser fan, which is next to the compressor, gradually collects dust and other material from the air around it. When this debris builds up on the condenser coil’s fins, efficiency is decreased and the compressor motor’s effort is increased. We recommend cleaning the coil and condenser fan every six to twelve months.

The metal protective grille on the front of your chamber must be removed in order to access the bottom-mounted condensing unit in chambers equipped with such units. Four #2 Phillips screws are used to secure the grille to the corners. Dust buildup can be removed from the coil and fan by vacuuming them once the grille has been removed. Although a vacuum is preferred for cleaning, a moist rag will also work. If the condenser coil in your chamber is situated on top, all you need to do to safely access it and clean it is to utilize a ladder.

Even though the thermoelectric chambers require very little upkeep, they nevertheless require regular cleaning in order to function at their best. The Peltier device’s hot side is ventilated by the fan and heat sink of the thermoelectric cooler, which is situated above the chamber. The thermoelectric cooler can be securely accessed using a ladder, and the dust accumulation on the heat sink can be removed using a vacuum with a tiny tip. By doing this, the cooler will resume using the same amount of electricity and cooling capacity. Similar to the condensing units, we advise having this cleaning done every 6 to 12 months.

We also advise cleaning the rooms’ external and interior surfaces from time to time. By doing this, any residue that can lead to corrosion will be kept out of the chamber. If you would want to accomplish everything at once, you can schedule this at the same time as the condenser cleaning or as needed. We advise using 70% isopropyl alcohol to clean surfaces. Use a sponge to gently clean the chamber surfaces in a well-ventilated environment. Any cleaning solution that contains ammonia or bleach should not be used inside since it can damage the aluminum fins that surround the copper refrigeration coils and/or create tiny leaks.
Naturally, before doing any maintenance, don’t forget to unplug the chamber.

You can reach us by phone at (416) 736-6166 or by completing our contact form for additional information about Powers Scientific incubators and refrigerators.

How Do We Forget?

Sometimes it’s better to forget something than to recall it. Discarded memories occupy space that could be better used to gather more recent, relevant data. Although the specifics of memory formation remain poorly known, it is anticipated that synapses—vast networks of interconnected nerve cells—will play a significant role in the process. Scientists surmise that the process of forgetting entails the disruption or alteration of these synapses, a hypothesis that was previously associated with particular brain cells known as microglia.

To investigate the theory that microglia play a role in memory loss, researchers set up a mouse experiment. To start, researchers had to give mice a painful memory by lightly shocking their feet in a particular box. Once the shocks stopped, the scientists kept the mice in the cage. Even after five days, the mice’s dread of shocks would still cause them to react fearfully when they were in the cage. But thirty-five days later, they reacted less frequently. The mice were then given a medication to lower the number of microglia in their brains. Compared to the normal mice, these animals showed a greater tendency to remain frozen in fear long after the shocks had ended when they were subjected to the identical shock training trial. It was claimed that the shock’s negative memory was being stored for a longer period of time and was more difficult to forget. Giving the mice a different medication that preserved their microglia while decreasing their capacity to damage synapses served as the last test. These mice exhibited the same shock-related aftereffects as the mice with decreased microglia counts.

Researchers labeled brain cells that stored a frightful memory with a tracer dye in order to learn more about the connections between microglia and memory preservation. They studied how these cells interacted with the microglia after giving the animals a medication that stopped these cells from firing. They discovered that these tagged cells were more likely to be eliminated by microglia. The inference is that the memory was unused and was erased more quickly since these cells were not firing.

These findings are encouraging, but there are still certain gaps that need to be filled in by more research. For instance, the study exclusively addressed hippocampus-stored memories of terror. The majority of short-term memories are stopped in the hippocampal before being committed to long-term storage, according to current studies. Whether or not microglia affect long-term memory is still unknown. The reason why certain long-term memories might endure for years without being recalled is likewise unknown. More research is needed to fully understand these interactions, but scientists speculate that some synapses may be particularly enduring or that the memories are subconsciously recalled.

Powers Scientific provides environment-adaptable rat chambers for use in comparable studies with mice or other rodents. Our chambers provide a regulated atmosphere with a temperature range of 6.5-40°C and 0-15 fresh air exchanges per hour. They also include controlled lighting. Each chamber has characteristics including casters, stainless steel structure, an audible/visual alarm with relay, doors locks, an inside outlet and access port, clock-controlled illumination, and more. Additional lighting, remote or dual-point temperature control for temperature straining, top-mounted or remote compressors, extra-deep diameters, and RS-232 or data retransmit outputs are just a few of the numerous different options that are available. Since each of our chambers is made to order, each researcher can customize the incubator to meet the specific requirements of the experiment without having to pay more for things they don’t need.

To find out more about Powers Scientific’s rodent incubators, check out our vendor’s section on Powers Scientific, get in touch with us via phone at (416) 736-6166, or submit a price request online.