Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Bonus content

April 28, 2014

Unique floating lab showcases 'aliens of the sea'

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Researcher Leonid Moroz emerges from a dive off the Florida Keys and gleefully displays a plastic bag holding a creature that shimmers like an opal in the seawater.

This translucent animal and its similarly strange cousins are food for science. They regrow with amazing speed if they get chopped up. Some even regenerate a rudimentary brain.

"Meet the aliens of the sea," the neurobiologist at the University of Florida says with a huge grin.

They're headed for his unique floating laboratory.

Moroz is on a quest to decode the genomic blueprints of fragile marine life, like these mysterious comb jellies, in real time — on board the ship where they were caught — so he can learn which genes switch on and off as the animals perform such tasks as regeneration.

No white coats needed here. The lab is a specially retrofitted steel shipping container, able to be lifted by crane onto any ship Moroz can recruit for a scientific adventure.

Inside, researchers in flip-flops operate a state-of-the-art genomic sequencing machine secured to a tilting tabletop that bobs with rough waves. Genetic data is beamed via satellite to a supercomputer at the University of Florida, which analyzes the results in a few hours and sends it back.

The work is part conservation.

"Life came from the oceans," Moroz says, bemoaning the extinction of species before scientists even catalog all of them.

Surprising as it may sound, it's part brain science.

"We cannot regenerate our brain, our spinal cord or efficiently heal wounds without scars," Moroz notes.

But some simple sea creatures can.

Moroz accidentally cuts off part of a comb jelly's flowing lower lobe. By the next afternoon, it had begun to regrow.

What's more remarkable, these gelatinous animals have neurons, or nerve cells, connected in circuitry that Moroz describes as an elementary brain. Injure those neural networks and some but not all comb jelly species can regenerate them in three days to five days, he said.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Bonus content
  • Clark County sheriff charged in prostitution probe NEW ALBANY (AP) — A southern Indiana sheriff who authorities say gave a prostitute a deputy's badge and uniform so she could get hotel discounts, then paid her for a sex act, has been charged with lying to FBI agents investigating the case. A federal

    July 29, 2014

  • Hepatitis Drug [Duplicate] $1,000-per-pill Sovaldi now hepatitis treatment of choice WASHINGTON (AP) — The price may be high but so is demand. A new $1,000-per-pill drug has become the treatment of choice for Americans with hepatitis C, a liver-wasting disease that affects more than 3 million. Even with insurers reluctant to pay, Sov

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Madison County voting records sought in US probe ANDERSON (AP) — A federal grand jury has subpoenaed Madison County voting records after absentee ballots cast in Anderson's 4th Ward determined the winners of several races. The subpoena issued by federal prosecutors seeks several records from the Ma

    July 29, 2014

  • Coroner rules Lafayette toddler's death a homicide LAFAYETTE (AP) — A coroner has ruled as a homicide last week's death of a 14-month-old Lafayette girl who succumbed to a traumatic head injury. The Marion County Coroner's office reported Monday that the cause of Skylar Foster's death was blunt force

    July 29, 2014

  • Veterans Health Care-3 [Duplicate] Deal to improve veterans' health care costs $17B WASHINGTON (AP) — A bipartisan deal announced Monday would authorize about $17 billion to help veterans avoid long waits for health care, hire more doctors and nurses to treat veterans and make it easier to fire executives at the Department of Vetera

    July 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • CORRECTION Oklahoma Bombing Video [Duplicate] FBI defends search for Oklahoma City bombing video SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The FBI thoroughly searched its archives and found no evidence that more videos of the Oklahoma City bombing exist, agency employees told a judge Monday in a trial that has rekindled questions about whether any others were invol

    July 29, 2014 7 Photos

  • Fugitive Arrest Shootout-9 [Duplicate] Abuse suspect dead; 2 marshals, NY policeman hurt NEW YORK (AP) — A California man who skipped town after being accused of molesting a boy was killed and three law enforcement officers trying to arrest him were wounded in a daytime shootout inside a small smoke shop in one of New York's most bustlin

    July 28, 2014 5 Photos

  • Film Review Guardians of the Galaxy-6 [Duplicate] Review: 'Guardians' is irreverent but not enough At the height of their powers, our overlords at Marvel have deigned to prove, like an emperor tolerating a court jester, that they do, in fact, have a sense of humor. The Marvel universe, of course, isn't entirely lacking comedy, as we've seen in "Ir

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos

  • TV-Sharknado 2-6 [Duplicate] 'Sharknado' sequel has bite and lots of laughs NEW YORK (AP) — Don't worry about me. The Sharknado Evacuation map supplied by Syfy network places me, as a resident of Lower Manhattan, smack in the zone most in peril this sharknado season. But I'll be ready. You might as well batten down the hatch

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos

  • Virus drugmaker fights pediatricians' new advice CHICAGO (AP) — A costly drug given mostly to premature babies is at the center of a clash between the manufacturer and the nation's leading pediatrician's group, which recommends scaling back use of the medicine. The dispute involves new guidelines f

    July 28, 2014

Latest news
Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism Boater Rescued From Edge of Kentucky Dam Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Obituaries
Poll
Kelly Lafferty's video on Tom Miller