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Updated: 58 min 34 sec ago

Lowly 'new girl' chimps form stronger female bonds

Fri, 22/05/2015 - 00:51


Chema and Rumumba, two low-ranking immigrant female chimpanzees, take turns grooming each other in Gombe National Park, Tanzania. Low-ranking "new girl" chimpanzees seek out other gal pals with similar status, finds a new study of social relationships in the wild apes.

Tara Oceans expedition yields treasure trove of plankton data

Fri, 22/05/2015 - 00:51


The Tara Oceans expedition collected these small zooplanktonic animals in the Indian Ocean: a molluscan pteropod on the right, and 2 crustacean copepods. On the left is a fragment of... In five related reports in this issue of the journal Science, a multinational team of researchers who spent three and a half years sampling the ocean's sunlit upper layers aboard the schooner Tara unveil the first officially reported global analyses of the Tara Oceans consortium. Planktonic life in the ocean is far more diverse than scientists knew, these reports show. They provide new resources for cataloguing the ocean's numerous planktonic organisms, which -- though critical to life on Earth, providing half the oxygen generated annually through photosynthesis, for example -- have largely been uncharacterized. The reports also reveal how planktonic life is distributed and how planktonic species interact, and they suggest that these organisms' interactions, more so than environmental conditions, help explain their community structures.

Phages transducing antibiotic resistance detected in chicken meat

Fri, 22/05/2015 - 00:51


Phages infect bacteria and are able to transfer genes during this process. Bacteria resistant to antibiotics are on the rise. There are different explanations for how resistances are transferred. Researchers from the Vetmeduni Vienna found phages in chicken meat that are able to transfer antimicrobial resistance to bacteria. Phages are viruses that exclusively infect bacteria. They can contribute to the spread of antimicrobial resistance. The findings may also be relevant for clinical settings. The study was published in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

How our gut changes across the life course

Fri, 22/05/2015 - 00:51


This image shows the epithelial lining of the gut. Scientists and clinicians on the Norwich Research Park have carried out the first detailed study of how our intestinal tract changes as we age, and how this determines our overall health.

Scientists announce top 10 new species for 2015

Fri, 22/05/2015 - 00:51

A cartwheeling spider, a bird-like dinosaur and a fish that wriggles around on the sea floor to create a circular nesting site are among the species identified by the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) as the Top 10 New Species for 2015.

Nerve cells use each other as maps

Wed, 20/05/2015 - 00:24


Axons in red and neuronal cell bodies in green show cell bodies following the red axons When nerve cells form in an embryo they do not start off in the right place but have to be guided to their final position by navigating a kind of molecular and cellular "map" in order to function properly. In a recent research study published in Nature Communications neurobiologist Sara Wilson, Umeå University, found that during embryonic development different parts of the nerve cell are important for guiding other nerve cells into their physical positions.

Nature inspires first artificial molecular pump

Wed, 20/05/2015 - 00:24

Using nature for inspiration, a team of Northwestern University scientists is the first to develop an entirely artificial molecular pump, in which molecules pump other molecules. This tiny machine is no small feat. The pump one day might be used to power other molecular machines, such as artificial muscles.

HIV reservoirs remain obstacles to cure

Wed, 20/05/2015 - 00:24

Antiretroviral therapy (ART) has proven lifesaving for people infected with HIV; however, the medications are a lifelong necessity for most HIV-infected individuals and present practical, logistical, economic and health-related challenges. A primary research goal is to find an HIV cure that either clears the virus from an infected person's body or enables HIV-infected individuals to suppress virus levels and replication to extremely low levels without the need for daily ART.

Giant panda gut bacteria can't efficiently digest bamboo

Wed, 20/05/2015 - 00:24

It's no wonder that giant pandas are always chewing and eating, say Chinese researchers: their gut bacteria are not the type for efficiently digesting bamboo.

Brain scans show birds of a feather do flock together

Mon, 18/05/2015 - 23:27


In a study using functional magnetic resonance imaging, Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute scientists found that our inherent risk-taking preferences affect how we view and act on information from other... The hottest hairstyle, the latest extreme sport, the newest viral stunt -- trends happen for a reason and now scientists have a better understanding of why.

Research community comes together to provide new 'gold standard' for genomic data analysis

Mon, 18/05/2015 - 23:27

Cancer research leaders at the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, Oregon Health & Science University, Sage Bionetworks, the distributed DREAM (Dialog for Reverse Engineering Assessment and Methods) community and The University of California Santa Cruz published the first findings of the ICGC-TCGA-DREAM Somatic Mutation Calling (SMC) Challenge (The Challenge: https://www.synapse.org/#!Synapse:syn312572) today in the journal Nature Methods. These results provide an important new benchmark for researchers, helping to define the most accurate methods for identifying somatic mutations in cancer genomes. The results could be the first step in creating a new global standard to determine how well cancer mutations are detected.

Scientists discover bacterial cause behind fatal heart complications

Mon, 18/05/2015 - 23:27

Streptococcus pneumoniae is a major human pathogen and is known to be associated with increased risk of fatal heart complications including heart failure and heart attacks.

Scientists discover tiny microbes with potential to cleanse waterways

Mon, 18/05/2015 - 23:27

A seven-year scientific study has revealed that microbial communities in urban waterways has the potential to play an important role in cleansing Singapore's waterways and also act as raw water quality indicators.

Researchers find brain area that integrates speech's rhythms

Mon, 18/05/2015 - 23:27

Duke and MIT scientists have discovered an area of the brain that is sensitive to the timing of speech, a crucial element of spoken language.

EARTH: Amber-encased specimen could be oldest known grass

Thu, 14/05/2015 - 22:37

The evolutionary age of grass has been hotly contested. Scientists have previously dated the earliest grasses to 55 million years ago; after the dinosaurs went extinct. Now, a new 100-million-year-old specimen of amber from Myanmar potentially pushes back grass evolution to the Late Cretaceous.

Definitive tests for irritable bowel syndrome developed at Cedars-Sinai

Thu, 14/05/2015 - 22:37

Millions of people afflicted by irritable bowel syndrome can now be diagnosed quickly and accurately with two simple blood tests developed by a Cedars-Sinai gastroenterologist.

New age of genome editing could lead to cure for sickle cell anemia

Thu, 14/05/2015 - 22:37

UNSW Australia researchers have shown that changing just a single letter of the DNA of human red blood cells in the laboratory increases their production of oxygen-carrying haemoglobin - a world-first advance that could lead to a cure for sickle cell anaemia and other blood disorders.

Genome-wide DNA study shows lasting impact of malnutrition in early pregnancy

Thu, 14/05/2015 - 22:37

Researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health and Leiden University in the Netherlands found that children whose mothers were malnourished at famine levels during the first 10 weeks of pregnancy had changes in DNA methylation known to suppress genes involved in growth, development, and metabolism documented at age 59. This is the first study to look at prenatal nutrition and genome-wide DNA patterns in adults exposed to severe under-nutrition at different periods of gestation. Findings are published in the International Journal of Epidemiology.

Geneticists clock genetic differences between 'larks' and 'owls'

Thu, 14/05/2015 - 22:37


A color plot showing the expression level during the day in early (larks) and late (owls) strains of Drosophila.

  • Researchers identify fly strains that exhibit morning- and evening-like behaviour.
  • Team identifies nearly 80 genes associated with different types of behaviour
  • Study could pave way to better diagnostics, and ultimately personal medicine, where larks and owls will receive their tailored therapies

Genomics laboratory capability in Liberia supports Ebola virus outbreak response

Thu, 14/05/2015 - 22:37

Army scientists working to support the Ebola virus outbreak response in West Africa have established the first genomic surveillance capability in Liberia, enabling them to monitor genetic changes in the virus within one week of sample collection. An article describing their work was recently published ahead of print in the online edition of Emerging Infectious Diseases.