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Scientists are peeking into ancient oceans to unravel the complexities of mass extinctions, past and future. A new examination of Earth’s largest extinction by scientists at the California Academy of Sciences and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee sheds light on how ecosystems are changed by such transformative events. The study, published today in Biology Letters, suggests
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ExoMars is a space mission of the European Space Agency (ESA) in cooperation with the Russian space agency Roskosmos. ExoMars stands for exobiology on Mars: for the first time since the 1970s, active research is being conducted into life on Mars. So called trace gases including methane and their sources are being detected by the
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Brazilian scientists have discovered that the strong odor released by some amphibian species is produced by bacteria and that attracting a mate is one of its purposes. The bacteria in question are a noteworthy example of symbiosis as they assist in the animal’s mating process. A paper recounting the discovery of this role of microorganisms
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Green tea cut obesity and a number of inflammatory biomarkers linked with poor health in a new study. Mice fed a diet of 2 percent green tea extract fared far better than those that ate a diet without it, a finding that has prompted an upcoming study of green tea’s potential benefits in people at
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Smartphones contain billions of tiny switches called transistors that allow us to take care of myriad tasks beyond making calls — sending texts, navigating neighborhoods, snapping selfies and Googling names. These switches involve an electrically conducting channel whose conductivity can be changed by a gate terminal, which is separated from the channel by a dielectric
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Using roundworms, one of Earth’s simplest animals, Rice University bioscientists have found the first direct link between a diet with too little vitamin B12 and an increased risk of infection by two potentially deadly pathogens. Despite their simplicity, 1-millimeter-long nematodes called Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) share an important limitation with humans: They cannot make B12
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Maps that show where sharks and tunas roam in the eastern Pacific Ocean, and where fishing vessels travel in this vast expanse, could help ocean managers to identify regions of the high seas where vulnerable species may be at risk. Researchers at Stanford University have created such a map by analyzing the habitats occupied by
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New University of Montana research suggests climate change makes it increasingly difficult for tree seedlings to regenerate following wildfires in low-elevation forests, which could contribute to abrupt forest loss. The study, “Wildfires and Climate Change Push Low-elevation Forests Across a Critical Climate Threshold for Tree Regeneration,” was published March 11 in the Proceedings of the
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Someone could hack into your pacemaker or insulin pump and potentially kill you, just by intercepting and analyzing wireless signals. This hasn’t happened in real life yet, but researchers have been demonstrating for at least a decade that it’s possible. Before the first crime happens, Purdue University engineers have tightened security on the “internet of
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By slingshotting themselves forward, human cells can travel more than five times faster than previously documented. University of Michigan researchers observed the movement in bioengineered 3D scaffolds that model stromal tissue — the connective tissue that surrounds organs. The researchers say this method of cell movement, observed for the first time, could be involved in
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Modern coal-fired power stations produce more ultrafine dust particles than road traffic and can even modify and redistribute rainfall patterns, a new 15-year international study shows. The study indicates filtration systems on modern coal-fired power stations are the biggest source of ultrafine particles and can have considerable impacts on climate in several ways. In urban
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Blueberries are prone to iron deficiency — and correcting it increases their health-enhancing antioxidant content, researchers have discovered. Published in Frontiers in Plant Science, their study shows that growing grasses alongside blueberry plants corrects signs of iron deficiency, with associated improvements in berry quantity and quality. The effects are comparable to those seen following standard
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During the marine heatwave of 2014-16, scientists from the University of California, Davis, noticed creatures typically seen only in places like Baja California, Mexico, showing up outside the UC Davis Bodega Marine Laboratory. These included warm-water species of jellyfish, crabs, nudibranchs, fish and even dolphins and sea turtles. Their study, published today in the journal
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When it comes to advancing social status, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know — for humans and spotted hyenas alike. In a new study published in the current issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Michigan State University scientists show that hyenas that form strong coalitions can gain social status,
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Choosing to forget something might take more mental effort than trying to remember it, researchers at The University of Texas at Austin discovered through neuroimaging. These findings, published in the Journal of Neuroscience, suggest that in order to forget an unwanted experience, more attention should be focused on it. This surprising result extends prior research
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New research from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh indicates that even as a teenager the Tyrannosaurus rex showed signs that it would grow up to be a ferocious predator. In a study published last week in the peer-reviewed journal Peerj — the Journal of Life and Environmental Sciences, UWO scientists reported evidence that a juvenile
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One of the most important questions in biology is how rapidly new proteins evolve in organisms. Proteins are the building blocks that carry out the basic functions of life. As the genes that produce them change, the proteins change as well, introducing new functionality or traits that can eventually lead to the evolution of new
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Scientists have revealed that the partnership between an alga and bacteria is making the essential element nitrogen newly available in the Arctic Ocean. The microbial process of “nitrogen fixation” converts the element into a form that organisms can use, and was discovered recently in the frigid polar waters. This shift may be a result of
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Located in the constellation of Hercules, about 230 million light-years away, NGC 6052 is a pair of colliding galaxies. They were first discovered in 1784 by William Herschel and were originally classified as a single irregular galaxy because of their odd shape. However, we now know that NGC 6052 actually consists of two galaxies that
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Every year earthquakes worldwide claim hundreds or even thousands of lives. Forewarning allows people to head for safety and a matter of seconds could spell the difference between life and death. UTokyo researchers demonstrate a new earthquake detection method — their technique exploits subtle telltale gravitational signals traveling ahead of the tremors. Future research could
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Following a series of recent surveys in north-western Liberia and south-eastern Guinea, an international team of researchers found three stiletto snakes which were later identified as a species previously unknown to science. The discovery, published in the open-access journal Zoosystematics and Evolution by the team of Dr Mark-Oliver Roedel from the Natural History Museum, Berlin,
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Blue-blooded and armored with 10 spindly legs, horseshoe crabs have perhaps always seemed a bit out of place. First thought to be closely related to crabs, lobsters and other crustaceans, in 1881 evolutionary biologist E. Ray Lankester placed them solidly in a group more similar to spiders and scorpions. Horseshoe crabs have since been thought
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“Microbial communities run the world,” says Jo Handelsman, director of the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “People always laugh when I say that,” she adds. “But it’s true.” Our rich new understanding of microbial communities and their influence on human health or crop productivity has led to the dream of changing
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A 30-year gap separates countries with the highest and lowest ages at which people experience the health problems of a 65-year-old, according to a new scientific study. Researchers found 76-year-olds in Japan and 46-year-olds in Papua New Guinea have the same level of age-related health problems as an “average” person aged 65. “These disparate findings
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Using the Southwest Research Institute-led Lyman Alpha Mapping Project (LAMP) aboard NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), scientists have observed water molecules moving around the dayside of the Moon. A paper published in Geophysical Research Letters describes how LAMP measurements of the sparse layer of molecules temporarily stuck to the surface helped characterize lunar hydration changes
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The CRISPR/Cas9 system has been making ripples in the scientific community ever since its mechanisms were proposed in 2012. Commonly referred to as a genome editing tool, many scientists have found different applications for the scissor-like properties of the Cas9-protein. Researchers from the Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research (IPK Gatersleben) have
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Researchers from the Stowers Institute for Medical Research have created a novel way to define individual protein associations in a quick, efficient, and informative way. These findings, published in the March 8, 2019, issue of Nature Communications, show how the topological scoring (TopS) algorithm, created by Stowers researchers, can — by combining data sets —
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Researchers in the College of Science and College of Engineering have discovered that a high-strength polymer called “PBDT” has a rare double helix structure, opening possibilities for use in a variety of applications. This discovery, recently published in Nature Communications, comes as an extension of the development of a polymer ion-gel, which promises to outperform
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It’s widely accepted within agriculture that maintaining genetic diversity is important. In areas where crop plants are more diverse, pathogens might kill some plants but are less likely to wipe out an entire crop. Few studies, however, have focused on such highly specialized pathogens in natural plant communities. In diverse plant communities, pathogens are thought
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A host protein called Serum Amyloid A (Saa) is a major factor mediating the effects of the microbiota on the function of immune cells called neutrophils, according to a study published March 7 in the open-access journal PLOS Pathogens by John Rawls of Duke University School of Medicine, and colleagues. Experiments in zebrafish showed that
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Chimpanzees exhibit exceptionally high levels of behavioral diversity compared to all other non-human species. This diversity has been documented in a variety of contexts, including the extraction of food resources, communication and thermoregulation. Many of these behaviors are assumed to be socially learned and group-specific, supporting the existence of chimpanzee cultures. As all other great
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While spectroscopic measurements are normally averaged over myriad molecules, a new method developed by researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) provides precise information about the interaction of individual molecules with their environment. This will accelerate the identification of efficient molecules for future photovoltaic technologies, for example. An international team led by the TUM
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