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Science News

Science News

News and discussion about interesting topics from the world of science.
Spidra Webster
BBC News - Food crop wild relatives endangered - http://www.bbc.com/news...
BBC News - Food crop wild relatives endangered
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"Scientists have released the most complete database of the wild relatives of common food crops. These wild relatives are closely related to our crops, but grow naturally under a wide range of environmental conditions. This makes them essential for the development of more resistant and adaptable food sources. However, many of them grow in conflict zones in the Middle East, where their conservation is threatened. Scientists from the University of Birmingham have highlighted "hotspots" around the globe, which are areas where many different types of wild relatives are concentrated. Here, they could be conserved to secure future global food resources. Farmers crossbreed the wild relatives with existing crops to produce varieties of grains, vegetables, fruits, legumes and tubers that are more adaptable to local climates. Lead scientist Dr Nigel Maxted from the University of Birmingham told BBC News: "Our goal is not only crop wild relative conservation, but to promote use of the conserved... more... - Spidra Webster from Bookmarklet
Spidra Webster
Engineered Bacteria Ripen Fruit By Belching Ethylene | Chemical & Engineering News - http://cen.acs.org/article...
Engineered Bacteria Ripen Fruit By Belching Ethylene | Chemical & Engineering News
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"The ruby red rows of tomatoes at the local grocery store don’t come off the vine in such a pretty state. Food producers pick fruits while unripe and later douse them with ethylene, a gas that plants naturally produce to trigger ripening. The ethylene used by food producers comes from cracking fossil fuels. As a green alternative, Cristina Del Bianco of the University of Trento, in Italy, and her team engineered Escherichia coli to produce ethylene to accelerate fruit ripening (ACS Synth. Biol. 2014, DOI: 10.1021/sb5000077). To program E. coli to make the gas, the scientists turned to another microbe called Pseudomonas syringae. This plant pathogen has an enzyme that converts 2-oxoglutarate, a citric acid cycle intermediate, to ethylene in a single step. The researchers inserted the gene into E. coli so that they could turn it on in the presence of the sugar arabinose. When they added arabinose to liquid cultures of the bacteria, ethylene levels in the flasks reached 100 ppm. Next,... more... - Spidra Webster from Bookmarklet
Of course, it's easier to just put your tomatoes near apples, in my book. - Spidra Webster
Or set them in the window sill like my mom always did. :) - Jenny H. from Android
Spidra Webster
"AGRICULTURAL enhancements. Drought mitigation. Deep space research. All are to be cut to the bone or closed under the Federal Government’s $115 million “efficiency dividend” on the CSIRO. The CSIRO Staff Association has released a new analysis which shows 878 employees will be cut by the middle of next year, amounting to one fifth of staff over two years. The staff cuts are the result of funding cuts from the May Federal budget and efficiency measures imposed by the previous Labor government. Science communicator Julian Cribb told ABC Radio yesterday the cuts were “lobotomising” Australia. “We are damaging the machine that produces the knowledge that going to keep this country competitive and efficient in the future,” he said. ‘Lobotomising’ ... Science communicator Julian Cribb says wealth in Australia comes from ‘Lobotomising’ ... Science communicator Julian Cribb says wealth in Australia comes from clever application of technology and science. Source: News Limited “We really are... more... - Spidra Webster from Bookmarklet
Dang. :( - Jenny H. from Android
Spidra Webster
Do we sign our peer reviews? Mostly, no. | The Molecular Ecologist - http://www.molecularecologist.com/2014...
Do we sign our peer reviews? Mostly, no. | The Molecular Ecologist
"Last week, inspired by discussions with my co-bloggers and a post by Terry McGlynn, I asked our readers to tell me whether they do peer review anonymously, and why. A total of 87 folks responded to a brief online survey, and here’s what they said: most of us review anonymously, and a lot of us do it to protect ourselves in interactions with senior colleagues. First, the headline result: how many Molecular Ecologist readers review anonymously? Of the 87 survey participants, 82% (71) said that generally they do no sign their peer reviews. PR_yes-no But I also asked participants how many reviews they’d done in the last year, and how many of those were anonymous—and this revealed that those general statements aren’t ironclad. PR_signed-by-general The 16 participants who said they generally sign their reviews actually signed a median of 79% of the reviews they performed in the last year. The 71 who generally don’t sign their reviews were most likely to have stuck to anonymity the whole... more... - Spidra Webster from Bookmarklet
Spidra Webster
Why we sign our peer reviews | The Molecular Ecologist - http://www.molecularecologist.com/2014...
Why we sign our peer reviews | The Molecular Ecologist
"Last week I posted the results from a brief survey of our readers, asking whether they usually sign their peer reviews. In that small sample of evolutionary ecologists, the overwhelming majority said they review anonymously, though many participants seem to take things on a case-by-case basis. Participants who review anonymously were more likely to cite habit, and to say that they were concerned about the consequences that non-anonymous reviews might have for their relationships with colleagues. I also asked participants to send in some more in-depth thoughts on the question of anonymous review, and lots of folks did. These are the responses from those who said they usually sign their reviews—you can find responses from folks who usually review anonymously here. I’ve done only minimal editing for clarity. Thanks to everyone who shared thoughts! Bryan Carstens, Assistant Professor at the Ohio State University, in the Department of Evolution, Ecology and Organismal Biology. As a rule,... more... - Spidra Webster from Bookmarklet
imabonehead
Bedbugs Could Be Potential New Source of Tropical Disease in U.S. - Health News and Views - Health.com - http://news.health.com/2014...
"Until recently, insect-transmitted Chagas disease was found mainly in Latin America and South America, but it has made its way to the United States over the past few years. The potentially fatal illness is typically transmitted via the bite of the “kissing bug,” which feeds on the faces of humans at night. And now a new study suggests that common bedbugs might be carriers as well." - imabonehead from Bookmarklet
Spidra Webster
BBC News - Polio eradication programme reaches 'major milestone' - http://www.bbc.com/news...
BBC News - Polio eradication programme reaches 'major milestone'
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"A "major milestone" in the battle to eliminate polio globally has been reached, the US Centres for Disease Control (CDC) has said. Its experts think a second of the three forms of poliovirus has been eliminated after mass vaccination campaigns. Wild poliovirus type 3 has not been detected for more than two years. Type 2 was eradicated in 1999. Experts said the world was "closer than ever" to defeating polio but the situation in Pakistan was worrying. Polio is highly infectious and causes paralysis in up to one in 200 people. Some children die when the muscles that help them breathe stop working. But there has been huge progress in eliminating the disease. Cases have fallen from 350,000 in 1988 to 416 in 2013. The last case of type 3 poliovirus was detected in Pakistan in November 2012, according to the CDC report. Endemic "We may have eradicated a second of three; that's a major milestone," said Dr Stephen Cochi, a senior adviser at the CDC's Centre for Global Health. However, a... more... - Spidra Webster from Bookmarklet
Spidra Webster
Mental health: A world of depression : Nature News & Comment - http://www.nature.com/news...
Mental health: A world of depression : Nature News & Comment
Mental health: A world of depression : Nature News & Comment
"Depression is a major human blight. Globally, it is responsible for more ‘years lost’ to disability than any other condition. This is largely because so many people suffer from it — some 350 million, according to the World Health Organization — and the fact that it lasts for many years. (When ranked by disability and death combined, depression comes ninth behind prolific killers such as heart disease, stroke and HIV.) Yet depression is widely undiagnosed and untreated because of stigma, lack of effective therapies and inadequate mental-health resources. Almost half of the world’s population lives in a country with only two psychiatrists per 100,000 people." - Spidra Webster from Bookmarklet
Hollanda napıyor yahu orada? - cyb
Spidra Webster
Microbiome Studies Contaminated By Sequencing Supplies - Scientific American - http://www.scientificamerican.com/podcast...
Microbiome Studies Contaminated By Sequencing Supplies - Scientific American
"In this age of cheap DNA technology, scientists are sequencing every sample they can get their hands on. They've ID'd the microbes in mosquito guts, coral mucus and frog skin; in polar ice; even floating in the Earth's atmosphere. But it turns out some of the bugs reported to belong to those unusual microbiomes could unfortunately be contaminants, from non-sterile lab reagents and DNA extraction kits. So says a study in the journal BMC Biology. [Susannah J Salter et al.: Reagent and laboratory contamination can critically impact sequence-based microbiome analyses] Researchers sequenced a pure sample of just one type of bacteria. But depending which kit they used, which reagents, which lab, their results contained DNA from up to 270 different bacterial strains. Many of those contaminating strains are commonly found on human skin… (a lab technician's, maybe?) Or in soil or water. Which could explain why one recent study turned up soil bacteria in samples of breast cancer tissue, the... more... - Spidra Webster from Bookmarklet
Eivind
A new way to look at Global Warming | Loony Labs - http://loonylabs.org/2014...
A new way to look at Global Warming | Loony Labs
"A new study hopes to complete the understanding of what happens to the planet under climate change. Instead of carbon dioxide, or CO2, creating a blanket to slowly warm the planet, the study shows the story is a little more complicated [...] When CO2 is first added, it does act as a blanket, trapping long-wave infrared energy coming off the Earth. The atmosphere then emits less of this long-wave radiation to space because the upper atmosphere is cooler than the Earth’s surface, just as the top of your blanket is cooler than your body. But the Earth gradually heats up under this blanket, and hotter objects emit more long-wave radiation, so within about a decade the effect of adding the thicker blanket has been canceled by the warmer body emitting more energy. So what keeps the planet warming after the first decade? In the longer term, the study shows that the Earth begins to absorb more shortwave radiation – the high-energy rays coming directly from the sun." - Eivind from Bookmarklet
Mark H
If you've an interest in science and comedy then Professor Brian Cox and Robin Ince will be bringing their show to New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles in March with tickets going on sale in a couple of days. - Mark H from Bookmarklet
Spidra Webster
Invasion drives quick evolution of lizard feet | Science News - https://www.sciencenews.org/blog...
Invasion drives quick evolution of lizard feet | Science News
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"Evolution is often thought of as being such a slow process that it can’t be observed. That’s not true, but to happen quickly, there usually has to be some sort of strong pressure on a population to drive any sort of fast evolution. For Carolina, or green, anoles, a type of lizard from the southeastern United States, that pressure comes from an invader — the Cuban, or brown, anole. Cuban anoles arrived in South Florida in the 1950s, probably as stowaways in shipments of agricultural products from Cuba (a relatively common method of accidental introduction for invasive species) and over the next decades spread across the Carolina anole’s range. The two species have similar lifestyles and food requirements, so when they find each other living in the same neighborhood, fights for space, and probably food, occur. But the two species eventually find a balance: The Carolina anoles have not only moved to higher perches, but they also now have larger toepads that help them live at those new... more... - Spidra Webster from Bookmarklet
Resource partioning! :) - Jenny H. from Android
Spidra Webster
2014 John Maddox Prize · Sense about Science - http://www.senseaboutscience.org/pages...
2014 John Maddox Prize · Sense about Science
"The judges awarded the prize to freelance journalist Dr Emily Willingham and early career scientist Dr David Robert Grimes for courage in promoting science and evidence on a matter of public interest, despite facing difficulty and hostility in doing so. The winners equally embody the spirit of the prize and, at this relatively early stage in their lives, have yet to receive recognition for their work bringing science and evidence to the public. Both Emily Willingham and David Grimes reflect Sir John Maddox’s passion for investigative journalism and for social engagement by young scientists. David Grimes writes bravely on challenging and controversial issues, including nuclear power and climate change. He has persevered despite hostility and threats, such as on his writing about the evidence in the debate on abortion in Ireland. He does so while sustaining his career as a scientist at the University of Oxford. Emily Willingham, a US writer, has brought discussion about evidence, from... more... - Spidra Webster from Bookmarklet
imabonehead
Scientists Discover First 'Virological Penicillin' | Medicine | Sci-News.com - http://www.sci-news.com/medicin...
Scientists Discover First 'Virological Penicillin' | Medicine | Sci-News.com
"Chinese researchers have discovered what they say is the first ‘virological penicillin’ – MIR2911, a molecule found naturally in a Chinese herb called honeysuckle." - imabonehead from Bookmarklet
imabonehead
BBC News - Paralysed man walks again after cell transplant - http://www.bbc.com/news...
BBC News - Paralysed man walks again after cell transplant
"A paralysed man has been able to walk again after a pioneering therapy that involved transplanting cells from his nasal cavity into his spinal cord." - imabonehead from Bookmarklet
Wow just wow You have no idea how this affects someone with IBM Maybe cell transplantation...... - WarLord
Spidra Webster
Emergence and early evolution of fungicide resistance in North American populations of Zymoseptoria tritici - Estep - Plant Pathology - Wiley Online Library - http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi...
Emergence and early evolution of fungicide resistance in North American populations of Zymoseptoria tritici - Estep - Plant Pathology - Wiley Online Library
"Although fungicide resistance in crop pathogens is a global threat to food production, surprisingly little is known about the evolutionary processes associated with the emergence and spread of fungicide resistance. Early stages in the evolution of fungicide resistance were evaluated using the wheat pathogen Zymoseptoria tritici, taking advantage of an isolate collection spanning 20 years in Oregon, USA, and including two sites with differing intensity of fungicide use. Sequences of the mitochondrial cytb protein conferring single-mutation resistance to QoI fungicides and the nuclear CYP51 gene implicated in multiple-mutation resistance to azole fungicides were analyzed. Mutations associated with resistance to both fungicides were absent in the 1992 isolates, but frequent in the 2012 collection, with higher frequencies of resistance alleles found at the field site with more intensive fungicide use. Results suggest that the QoI resistance evolved independently in several lineages, and... more... - Spidra Webster from Bookmarklet
Spidra Webster
Head injury causes immune system to attack brain, new study finds -- ScienceDaily - http://www.sciencedaily.com/release...
"Scientists have uncovered a surprising way to reduce the brain damage caused by head injuries -- stopping the body's immune system from killing brain cells. A new study showed that in experiments on mice, an immune-based treatment reduced the size of brain lesions. The authors suggest that if the findings apply to humans, this could help prevent brain damage from accidents, and protect players of contact sports like football, rugby and boxing." - Spidra Webster from Bookmarklet
Spidra Webster
Vast Study Casts Doubts on Value of Mammograms - NYTimes.com - http://www.nytimes.com/2014...
Vast Study Casts Doubts on Value of Mammograms - NYTimes.com
"One of the largest and most meticulous studies of mammography ever done, involving 90,000 women and lasting a quarter-century, has added powerful new doubts about the value of the screening test for women of any age. It found that the death rates from breast cancer and from all causes were the same in women who got mammograms and those who did not. And the screening had harms: One in five cancers found with mammography and treated was not a threat to the woman’s health and did not need treatment such as chemotherapy, surgery or radiation. The study, published Tuesday in The British Medical Journal, is one of the few rigorous evaluations of mammograms conducted in the modern era of more effective breast cancer treatments. It randomly assigned Canadian women to have regular mammograms and breast exams by trained nurses or to have breast exams alone. Continue reading the main story Related Coverage For Women, a More Complicated Choice on MammogramsFEB. 11, 2014 Researchers sought to... more... - Spidra Webster from Bookmarklet
Charles Stibs
Spidra Webster
Will crabs invade Antarctica? - Conservation - http://conservationmagazine.org/2014...
Will crabs invade Antarctica? - Conservation
"Many predatory crabs don’t live in Antarctica for a simple reason: it’s too cold. But as the Earth warms, these clawed critters could invade pristine polar waters and threaten native species, scientists warn in an editorial. The Southern Ocean “has traditionally been regarded as the most biologically isolated and invasion-resistant ocean,” the team writes in the Journal of Biogeography. Predatory crabs, known as “shell-breaking” crabs, probably haven’t lived in the area for millions of years. One reason is that many of these species can’t control the levels of magnesium ions in their bodies very well. In such a cold environment, high magnesium levels lead to paralysis and death. But some crabs may find a way to survive. In February 2010, one of the co-authors discovered an adult female crab from the species Halicarcinus planatus on Deception Island, near the western Antarctic Peninsula. Normally, these crabs stick to warmer areas such as South America, New Zealand, and the... more... - Spidra Webster from Bookmarklet
interesting - Ulrich von Liechtenstein
Spidra Webster
RT @NobelPrize #nobelprize2014 “for the invention of efficient blue light-emitting diodes which has enabled bright and energy-saving white light sources”
RT ‏@NatureNews Physics Nobel Prize to Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano & Shuji Nakamura for the invention of efficient blue light-emitting diodes - Spidra Webster
Spidra Webster
Insights into the Early Epidemic Spread of Ebola in Sierra Leone Provided by Viral Sequence Data – PLOS Currents Outbreaks - http://currents.plos.org/outbrea...
"Background and Methodology: The current Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa has been spreading at least since December 2013. The first confirmed case of Ebola virus in Sierra Leone was identified on May 25. Based on viral genetic sequencing data from 72 individuals in Sierra Leone collected between the end of May and mid June, we utilize a range of phylodynamic methods to estimate the basic reproductive number (R0). We additionally estimate the expected lengths of the incubation and infectious periods of the virus. Finally, we use phylogenetic trees to examine the role played by population structure in the epidemic. Results: The median estimates of R0 based on sequencing data alone range between 1.65-2.18, with the most plausible model yielding a median R0 of 2.18 (95% HPD 1.24-3.55). Importantly, our results indicate that, at least until mid June, relief efforts in Sierra Leone were ineffective at lowering the effective reproductive number of the virus. We estimate the expected... more... - Spidra Webster from Bookmarklet
imabonehead
Super Yeast Tolerates Heat and Alcohol - Scientific American - http://www.scientificamerican.com/article...
Super Yeast Tolerates Heat and Alcohol - Scientific American
"Yeast may be essential to producing ethanol through fermentation, but for years, biofuel production has been constrained by the fact that heat and ethanol itself can be deadly or damaging to yeast at high levels. Recently, researchers at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have found ways to ameliorate both of these production problems. They published their research yesterday in the journal Science. Jens Nielsen, a professor of systems biology at Chalmers University of Technology, was among the researchers interested in improving yeast's heat tolerance." - imabonehead from Bookmarklet
Halil
Antarctica Has Lost Enough Ice to Cause a Measurable Shift in Gravity - http://www.wired.com/2014...
Antarctica Has Lost Enough Ice to Cause a Measurable Shift in Gravity
“The loss of ice from West Antarctica between 2009 and 2012 caused a dip in the gravity field over the region,” writes the ESA, whose GOCE satellite measured the change. Apparently, melting billions of tons of ice year after year has implications that would make even Isaac Newton blanch. - Halil from Bookmarklet
GuЄrriЄR◦٭*℃éLЄs†Є
Water on Earth is found to be older than the Sun http://sen.com/news...
GuЄrriЄR◦٭*℃éLЄs†Є
New study claims black holes are mathematically impossible http://www.geek.com/science...
Spidra Webster
Scientists confess to sneaking Bob Dylan lyrics into their work for the past 17 years - The Washington Post - http://www.washingtonpost.com/news...
Scientists confess to sneaking Bob Dylan lyrics into their work for the past 17 years - The Washington Post
"While writing an article about intestinal gasses 17 years ago, Karolinska Institute researchers John Lundberg and Eddie Weitzberg couldn't resist a punny title: "Nitric Oxide and inflammation: The answer is blowing in the wind". Thus began their descent down the slippery slope of Bob Dylan call-outs. While the two men never put lyrics into their peer-reviewed studies, The Local Sweden reports, they started a personal tradition of getting as many Dylan quotes as possible into everything else they wrote -- articles about other peoples' work, editorials, book introductions, and so on. Soon, the pun ring doubled in size. After another two researchers (also at Karolinska, where Dylan is apparently a big thing) published an article called "Blood on the tracks: a simple twist of fate," a librarian connected the foursome. A fifth scientist joined the group when his article "Tangled up in blue: Molecular cardiology in the postmolecular era" hit the stands. Now, the researchers say, they have... more... - Spidra Webster from Bookmarklet
Halil
Enzyme-Blocking Molecule Could Be Used To Fight Cancer And Many Other Diseases - http://www.redorbit.com/news...
Exciting stuff and looks promising. However, enzymes don't just affect one protein/pathway, a single enzymes activity often plays an important role in a myriad of cellular pathways, so simply blocking this one enzyme sounds simple enough until you discover that doing so may result in undesirable side effects because you're also blocking some other vital cellular activity. Therefore any future research must also consider all cellular activity affected by blocking this one protein. - Halil from Bookmarklet
Spidra Webster
Ladybird developer awarded researcher of the year - News and Events - University of Sydney - http://sydney.edu.au/news...
Ladybird developer awarded researcher of the year - News and Events - University of Sydney
"University of Sydney robotics expert Professor Salah Sukkarieh has been awarded "Researcher of the Year " by the Australian Vegetable Industry 's peak body Ausveg for his work on intelligent farm robots, in particular the"Ladybird". The "Ladybird " was designed and built specifically for the vegetable industry with the aim of creating a ground robot with supporting intelligent software and the capability to conduct autonomous farm surveillance, mapping, classification, and detection for a variety of different vegetables. Professor Sukkarieh who leads a research team dedicated to the advancement of agricultural robotics says his group aims to redefine key areas of field robotics such as sensory technology, materials development and complex autonomous mechanisms. He says the automation of on-farm processes is poised to play a decisive role in minimising input and maximising output of future agriculture. Automation can help to increase efficiency and yield, by having many of the manual... more... - Spidra Webster from Bookmarklet
Spidra Webster
Forensic chemistry could stop African plant thieves : Nature News & Comment - http://www.nature.com/news...
Forensic chemistry could stop African plant thieves : Nature News & Comment
"Scarred earth meets visitors at the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden in Cape Town where some of South Africa's rarest plants once stood. In August, 24 of the park's cycads were stolen, probably to be sold on the black market as landscaping ornaments. Special relativity aces time trial Infectious disease: Ebola’s lost ward Chinese science gets mass transformation Now, in a last-ditch attempt to save several endangered species from extinction, scientists are turning to forensic methods to see if tracking the history of suspect plants can help to bring illegal traders to book. But time is running out for the plants, which are even more threatened than the country’s emblematic rhinos. South Africa’s endemic cycads — which look like a cross between a palm and a pineapple tree — rank among the most endangered plants in the world. Of the country’s 38 cycad species, three are already extinct in the wild, and 12 others are critically endangered. Cycads grow slowly, and can live for... more... - Spidra Webster from Bookmarklet
I'd heard of cycad theft. My prof told me how bad it is. A new cycad species was discovered and wiped out within months of the botanist publishing on the species. So now botanists don't say where a new cycad species location is for fear of thievery. Once more the rich commission theft to order, just as they do with art treasures. - Spidra Webster
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