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Posted by / 17-Jan-2018 19:50

Bomb carbon peak dating

“We found stem cells in the hippocampus of adult mice and rats that could create new neurons,” Gage says.It was groundbreaking work, but at the time not everyone was convinced of its importance.The human hippocampus, Spalding and Frisén discovered, was continually creating small numbers of neurons.They and their co-authors had solved one of neuroscience’s longstanding mysteries.“In order for this to have significance, we needed to know whether this occurred in humans.” To identify dividing cells in mice and rats, Gage had been using a molecule known as bromodeoxyuridine, or Brd U.Brd U is a synthetic nucleoside that can be incorporated into newly synthesized DNA in place of the standard nucleoside thymidine, the T in ATCG.

“Had we known how difficult it was going to be, we never would have stuck with it,” says physicist Bruce Buchholz, one of Spalding’s co-authors and an expert on bomb pulse dating at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory outside San Francisco.Spalding and her postdoc advisor Jonas Frisén had a hunch that a pulse of radioactive carbon created by above-ground nuclear tests during the Cold War could help solve the riddle.“A geopolitical phenomenon—this Cold War bomb testing—has, in a way, put a date stamp on everything and everybody,” Spalding says.What was once a seven-proton nitrogen became a six-proton carbon.But unlike most carbon atoms, which have six protons six and neutrons, this radioactive carbon, known as C, scientists use a technique called mass spectrometry, which sorts atoms by weight.

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Once the peak number was reached—usually around age four—it was all downhill.

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