Scientists discover how giardia parasite makes you ill

It is a stomach bug known to afflict some backpackers with bouts of uncomfortable diarrhoea.

Now scientists say they have discovered how the parasites that cause giardiasis - one of the world's most common gastric diseases - make people ill, according to BBC.

Giardia parasites mimic human cell functions to break apart cells in the gut and feed inside, researchers found.

This also allows bacteria already present in the body to join in and feed from the same nutrients, they said.

Brain systems responsible for our ability to learn language

The origins of humans' ability to learn language may be older than our species itself.

New research has found that language may be learned in ancient 'general purpose' brain circuits that emerged before humans existed, and can even be found in other animals, according to Daily Mail.

It’s long been thought that human language relied solely on mechanisms found in our species – but, the new findings now suggest this may not be the case, after all.

In addition to the evolutionary implications, experts say the discovery could be used to help improve language learning for those who may have difficulties, including people with dyslexia and stroke-related damage. 

Researchers analyzed the findings of 16 studies that examined language learning in two systems in the brain: declarative and procedural memory.

The modern human brain may be younger than previously thought

The earliest-known specimen of a Homo sapiens dates back to roughly 300,000 years ago, according to Daily Mail. 

Though much has changed since then, scientists long believed that our species still retained one common feature - our brains.

It turns out that our brains actually look much different from our ancestors that lived hundreds of thousands of years ago.

Researchers create first stem cells using CRISPR genome activation

In a scientific first, researchers turned skin cells from mice into stem cells by activating a specific gene in the cells using CRISPR technology. The innovative approach offers a potentially simpler technique to produce the valuable cell type and provides important insights into the cellular reprogramming process, according to Science Daily.

"This is a new way to make induced pluripotent stem cells that is fundamentally different from how they've been created before," said author Sheng Ding, PhD, a senior investigator. "At the beginning of the study, we didn't think this would work, but we wanted to at least try to answer the question: can you reprogram a cell just by unlocking a specific location of the genome? And the answer is yes."

Pluripotent stem cells can be turned into virtually any cell type in the body. As a result, they are a key therapeutic resource for currently incurable conditions, such as heart failure, Parkinson's disease, and blindness. They also provide excellent models to study diseases and important tools to test new drugs in human cells.

How flowering plants conquered the world

Scientists think they have the answer to a puzzle that baffled even Charles Darwin: How flowers evolved and spread to become the dominant plants on Earth.

Flowering plants, or angiosperms, make up about 90% of all living plant species, including most food crops, according to BBC.

In the distant past, they outpaced plants such as conifers and ferns, which predate them, but how they did this has has been a mystery.

New research suggests it is down to genome size - and small is better.