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    As a seizure treatment, tezampanel would be unique among current offerings. The drug works by blocking certain receptors in the central nervous system, preventing excessive neurological activity. Most seizure medications today are benzodiazepines, which are thought to work in the opposite way: By reducing the activity of neurotransmitters in the brain.

    Proniras currently has three full-time employees and is based in Accelerator’s Seattle headquarters. It is the seventeenth startup to join Accelerator’s portfolio.

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    The fruiting bodies of Phycomyces blakesleeanus, a fungus that, like humans and plants, can detect gravity. Credit Tu Anh Nguyen

    That mold that looks like a Dr. Seussian forest growing on the rotting strawberry in your fridge: It’s probably a pin mold, a remarkable example of some of nature’s most overlooked innovations.

    It’s related to a common fungus called Phycomyces blakesleeanus, a larger one, famous for its sensing abilities. It can respond to wind and touch, grow toward light and detect and navigate around objects placed above it. It senses gravity too — with crystals that move around inside single, but giant, elongated, spore-containing cells that resemble Truffula Trees.

    “You can put that thing in a microscope — you don’t need a high-powered microscope — and you just see these beautiful crystals,” said Gregory Jedd, a geneticist who studies fungi at Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory in Singapore. But he wondered where they came from.

    So in a paper published Tuesday in PLOS Biology, he and his colleagues determined that the crystals were likely the result of a gene that the molds’ common ancestor borrowed from bacteria long ago. Their findings highlight how nature finds weird ways to turn accidents into strengths through evolution.

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