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Updated: 36 min 47 sec ago

How lizards regenerate their tails: researchers discover genetic 'recipe'

Thu, 21/08/2014 - 00:08


The green anole lizard (Anolis carolinensis), when caught by a predator, can lose its tail and then grow it back. By understanding the secret of how lizards regenerate their tails, researchers may be able to develop ways to stimulate the regeneration of limbs in humans. Now, a team of researchers from Arizona State University is one step closer to solving that mystery. The scientists have discovered the genetic "recipe" for lizard tail regeneration, which may come down to using genetic ingredients in just the right mixture and amounts.

Signs of deforestation in Brazil

Thu, 21/08/2014 - 00:08


Multiple fires are visible in in this image of the Para and Mato Grosso states of Brazil. Multiple fires are visible in in this image of the Para and Mato Grosso states of Brazil. Many of these were most likely intentionally set in order to deforest the land. Deforestation is the removal of a forest or stand of trees where the land is thereafter converted to a nonforest use. Examples of deforestation include conversion of forestland to farms, ranches, or urban use. The herringbone-patterned tan lines cutting through the dark green of the Amazon Rainforest in the middle of the image are evidence of deforestation in the Brazilian state of Pará. The deforestation in Pará follows the Brazialian national motorway BR 163, passing by cities such as Novo Progresso. The lower half of the image shows the state of Mato Grosso.

Pain treatments less effective for those with irritable bowel

Thu, 21/08/2014 - 00:08

University of Adelaide researchers have discovered that the immune system is defective in people suffering from irritable bowel syndrome, which is a major reason why sufferers have ongoing issues with pain.

Sequencing at sea

Tue, 19/08/2014 - 23:16

Daylight was breaking over the central Pacific and coffee brewing aboard the MY Hanse Explorer. Between sips, about a dozen scientists strategized for the day ahead. Some would don wetsuits and slip below the surface to collect water samples around the southern Line Islands' numerous coral reefs. Others would tinker with the whirring gizmos and delicate machinery strewn throughout the 158-foot research vessel. All shared a single goal: Be the first research group to bring a DNA sequencer out into the field to do remote sequencing in real time. Against an ocean of odds, they succeeded.

Antibacterial soap exposes health workers to high triclosan levels

Tue, 19/08/2014 - 23:16

Handwashing with antibacterial soap exposes hospital workers to significant and potentially unsafe levels of triclosan, a widely-used chemical currently under review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, according to a study led by researchers from UC San Francisco.

Giant Amazon fish becoming extinct in many fishing communities, saved in others

Thu, 14/08/2014 - 00:16


The arapaima fish, which once dominated Amazon fisheries, is long and can weigh as much as 400 pounds. An international team of scientists has discovered that a large, commercially important fish from the Amazon Basin has become extinct in some local fishing communities.

Single gene controls jet lag

Thu, 14/08/2014 - 00:16


A peptide responsible for cell communication in the brain, Vip (green) is reduced in the brains of mice that have little or no Lhx1 (right). Scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have identified a gene that regulates sleep and wake rhythms.

Researchers uncover how Ebola virus disables immune response

Thu, 14/08/2014 - 00:16

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has brought a lot of attention to the deadly virus. According to the World Health Organization, up to 90% of those infected with Ebola die from the virus. Now, researchers publishing August 13 in the Cell Press journal Cell Host & Microbe reveal how Ebola blocks and disables the body's natural immune response. Understanding how Ebola disarms immune defenses will be crucial in the development of new treatments for the disease.

WSU researcher sees survival story in Antarctic fly's small genome

Tue, 12/08/2014 - 23:46

Few animals can boast of being as tough as the Antarctic midge. Its larvae develop over not one but two Antarctic winters, losing nearly half their body mass each time. It endures high winds, salt, and intense ultraviolet radiation. As an adult, the midge gets by without wings and lives for only a week or so before starting its life cycle all over again.

Team determines structure of a molecular machine that targets viral DNA for destruction

Fri, 08/08/2014 - 01:27

With a featured publication in the Aug. 7 issue of Science, Montana State University researchers have made a significant contribution to the understanding of a new field of DNA research, with the acronym CRISPR, that holds enormous promise for fighting infectious diseases and genetic disorders.

Largest cancer genetic analysis reveals new way of classifying cancer

Fri, 08/08/2014 - 01:27

Researchers with The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) Research Network have completed the largest, most diverse tumor genetic analysis ever conducted, revealing a new approach to classifying cancers. The work, led by researchers at the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and other TCGA sites, not only revamps traditional ideas of how cancers are diagnosed and treated, but could also have a profound impact on the future landscape of drug development.

Scientists discover how 'jumping genes' help black truffles adapt to their environment

Wed, 06/08/2014 - 23:38


This is a black truffle. Black truffles, also known as Périgord truffles, grow in symbiosis with the roots of oak and hazelnut trees. In the world of haute cuisine, they are expensive and highly prized.

How spiders spin silk

Tue, 05/08/2014 - 22:55

Spider silk is an impressive material; lightweight and stretchy yet stronger than steel. But the challenge that spiders face to produce this substance is even more formidable. Silk proteins, called spidroins, must convert from a soluble form to solid fibers at ambient temperatures, with water as a solvent, and at high speed. How do spiders achieve this astounding feat? In new research publishing in the open access journal PLOS Biology on August 5, Anna Rising and Jan Johansson show how the silk formation process is regulated. The work was done at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) and Karolinska Institutet in collaboration with colleagues in Latvia, China and USA.

Butterflies change wing color in new Yale research

Tue, 05/08/2014 - 22:55


Yale University scientists have performed the first artificial selection on a structural color, using butterfly wings. This image shows a male Bicyclus anynana butterfly Yale University scientists have chosen the most fleeting of mediums for their groundbreaking work on biomimicry: They've changed the color of butterfly wings.

Newly discovered juvenile whale shark aggregation in Red Sea

Tue, 05/08/2014 - 11:36

Whale sharks (Rhincodon typus)—which grow more than 30 feet long—are the largest fish in the world's ocean, but little is known about their movements on a daily basis or over years. A newly discovered juvenile whale shark aggregation off Saudi Arabia is giving researchers a rare glimpse into the lives of these gentle giants.

Kangaroos win when Aborigines hunt with fire

Tue, 05/08/2014 - 11:36


A member of the Martu Aboriginal community in western Australia sets fire to mature spinifex grass as a way to expose burrows occupied by sand monitor lizards Australia's Aboriginal Martu people hunt kangaroos and set small grass fires to catch lizards, as they have for at least 2,000 years. A University of Utah researcher found such man-made disruption boosts kangaroo populations – showing how co-evolution helped marsupials and made Aborigines into unintentional conservationists.

An embryonic cell's fate is sealed by the speed of a signal

Tue, 05/08/2014 - 11:36

When embryonic cells get the signal to specialize the call can come quickly. Or it can arrive slowly. Now, new research from Rockefeller University suggests the speed at which a cell in an embryo receives that signal has an unexpected influence on that cell's fate. Until now, only concentration of the chemical signals was thought to matter in determining if the cell would become, for example, muscle, skin, brain or bone.

Flores bones show features of Down syndrome, not a new 'hobbit' human

Tue, 05/08/2014 - 11:36


LB1 is shown in three different views to illustrate facial asymmetry. In October 2004, excavation of fragmentary skeletal remains from the island of Flores in Indonesia yielded what was called "the most important find in human evolution for 100 years." Its discoverers dubbed the find Homo floresiensis, a name suggesting a previously unknown species of human.

Exploring 3-D printing to make organs for transplants

Wed, 30/07/2014 - 20:33

Printing whole new organs for transplants sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie, but the real-life budding technology could one day make actual kidneys, livers, hearts and other organs for patients who desperately need them. In the ACS journal Langmuir, scientists are reporting new understanding about the dynamics of 3-D bioprinting that takes them a step closer to realizing their goal of making working tissues and organs on-demand.

Decades-old amber collection offers new views of a lost world

Wed, 30/07/2014 - 20:33


Sir David Attenborough narrates and appears in a video about the digital curation of a 20-million-year-old amber collection at the Illinois Natural History Survey at Illinois. Scientists are searching through a massive collection of 20-million-year-old amber found in the Dominican Republic more than 50 years ago, and the effort is yielding fresh insights into ancient tropical insects and the world they inhabited.