Kamis, 28 Agustus 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News

Nanodiamonds are forever: Did comet collision leave layer of nanodiamonds across Earth?

Posted: 27 Aug 2014 01:34 PM PDT

A comet collision with Earth caused abrupt environmental stress and degradation that contributed to the extinction of most large animal species then inhabiting the Americas, a group of scientists suggests. The catastrophic impact and the subsequent climate change also led to the disappearance of the prehistoric Clovis culture, and to human population decline. Now focus has turned to the character and distribution of nanodiamonds, one type of material produced during such an extraterrestrial collision. The researchers found an abundance of these tiny diamonds distributed over 50 million square kilometers across the Northern Hemisphere.

A touching story: Ancient conversation between plants, fungi and bacteria

Posted: 27 Aug 2014 01:33 PM PDT

The mechanical force that a single fungal cell or bacterial colony exerts on a plant cell may seem vanishingly small, but it plays a heavy role in setting up some of the most fundamental symbiotic relationships in biology, according to a new study. It's known that disease-causing fungi build a structure to break through the plant cell wall, "but there is growing evidence that fungi and also bacteria in symbiotic associations use a mechanical stimulation to indicate their presence," says one researcher. "They are knocking on the door, but not breaking it down."

Water 'thermostat' could help engineer drought-resistant crops

Posted: 27 Aug 2014 12:17 PM PDT

A gene that could help engineer drought-resistant crops has been identified by researchers. The gene, called OSCA1, encodes a protein in the cell membrane of plants that senses changes in water availability and adjusts the plant's water conservation machinery accordingly. The findings could make it easier to feed the world's growing population in the face of climate change.

Encyclopedia of how genomes function gets much bigger

Posted: 27 Aug 2014 12:17 PM PDT

A big step in understanding the mysteries of the human genome has been unveiled in the form of three analyses that provide the most detailed comparison yet of how the genomes of the fruit fly, roundworm, and human function. The analyses will likely offer insights into how the information in the human genome regulates development, and how it is responsible for diseases.

Junk food makes rats lose appetite for balanced diet

Posted: 27 Aug 2014 12:17 PM PDT

A diet of junk food not only makes rats fat, but also reduces their appetite for novel foods, a preference that normally drives them to seek a balanced diet, reports a study. "The interesting thing about this finding is that if the same thing happens in humans, eating junk food may change our responses to signals associated with food rewards," says an author. "It's like you've just had ice cream for lunch, yet you still go and eat more when you hear the ice cream van come by."

Cheetah menu: Wildlife instead of cattle

Posted: 27 Aug 2014 12:17 PM PDT

Cheetahs primarily prefer wildlife on their menu to cattle, scientists have confirmed. The cheetah is a vulnerable species that only exists on Namibia's commercial farmland in large populations. Here, local farmers see cheetahs as a potential threat for their cattle.

Rubber meets the road with new carbon, battery technologies

Posted: 27 Aug 2014 12:16 PM PDT

Recycled tires could see new life in lithium-ion batteries that provide power to plug-in electric vehicles and store energy produced by wind and solar, say researchers. By modifying the microstructural characteristics of carbon black, a substance recovered from discarded tires, a team is developing a better anode for lithium-ion batteries.

Stone-tipped spears lethal, may indicate early cognitive and social skills

Posted: 27 Aug 2014 11:16 AM PDT

Attaching a stone tip on to a wooden spear shaft was a significant innovation for early modern humans living around 500,000 years ago. However, it was also a costly behavior in terms of time and effort to collect, prepare and assemble the spear. Researchers conducted controlled experiments to learn if there was a 'wounding' advantage between using a wooden spear or a stone-tipped spear.

Bronze age wine cellar found: Wine residue, herbal additives found in palace cellar jars

Posted: 27 Aug 2014 11:15 AM PDT

A Bronze Age palace excavation reveals an ancient wine cellar. Wine production, distribution, and consumption are thought to have played a role in the lives of those living in the Mediterranean and Near East during the Middle Bronze Age (1900-1600 BC), but little archaeological evidence about Bronze Age wine is available to support art and documentation about the role wine played during this period.

Wolves susceptible to yawn contagion: Social bonds may increase yawning contagion between wolves

Posted: 27 Aug 2014 11:15 AM PDT

Wolves may be susceptible to yawn contagion, according to a new study. Researchers suggest that contagious yawning may be linked to human capacity for empathy, but little evidence apart from studies on primates, exists that links contagious yawning to empathy in other animals. Recently, researchers have documented domestic dogs demonstrating contagious yawning when exposed to human yawns in a scientific setting, but it is unclear whether this phenomenon is rooted in the evolutionary history of mammals, or has evolved in dogs as a result of domestication.

Dosage of HIV drug may be ineffective for half of African-Americans

Posted: 27 Aug 2014 11:14 AM PDT

Many African-Americans may not be getting effective doses of the HIV drug maraviroc because they are more likely than European-Americans to inherit functional copies of a protein that speeds the removal of the drug from the body.

More wolf spiders feasting on American toads due to invasive grass, study shows

Posted: 27 Aug 2014 10:18 AM PDT

An invasive grass species frequently found in forests has created a thriving habitat for wolf spiders, who then feed on American toads, a new study has found. Japanese stiltgrass, which was accidentally introduced to the US in the early 1900s, is one of the most pervasive invasive species. Typically found along roads and in forests, it has been found to impact native plant species, invertebrate populations and soil nutrients.

Snowfall in a warmer world

Posted: 27 Aug 2014 10:17 AM PDT

Big snowstorms will still occur in the Northern Hemisphere following global warming, a study shows. While most areas in the Northern Hemisphere will likely experience less snowfall throughout a season, the study concludes that extreme snow events will still occur, even in a future with significant warming.

Shared biology in human, fly and worm genomes: Powerful commonalities in biological activity, regulation

Posted: 27 Aug 2014 10:17 AM PDT

Researchers analyzing human, fly, and worm genomes have found that these species have a number of key genomic processes in common, reflecting their shared ancestry. The findings offer insights into embryonic development, gene regulation and other biological processes vital to understanding human biology and disease.

NIH issues finalized policy on genomic data sharing

Posted: 27 Aug 2014 10:17 AM PDT

The National Institutes of Health has issued a final NIH Genomic Data Sharing policy to promote data sharing as a way to speed the translation of data into knowledge, products and procedures that improve health while protecting the privacy of research participants.

Evolution used similar molecular toolkits to shape flies, worms, and humans

Posted: 27 Aug 2014 10:16 AM PDT

Although separated by hundreds of millions of years of evolution, flies, worms, and humans share ancient patterns of gene expression, according to a massive analysis of genomic data. Two related studies tell a similar story: even though humans, worms, and flies bear little obvious similarity to each other, evolution used remarkably similar molecular toolkits to shape them.

Walking fish reveal how our ancestors evolved onto land

Posted: 27 Aug 2014 10:15 AM PDT

About 400 million years ago a group of fish began exploring land and evolved into tetrapods – today's amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. But just how these ancient fish used their fishy bodies and fins in a terrestrial environment and what evolutionary processes were at play remain scientific mysteries.

Yellowstone supereruption would send ash across North America

Posted: 27 Aug 2014 09:26 AM PDT

In the unlikely event of a volcanic supereruption at Yellowstone National Park, the northern Rocky Mountains would be blanketed in meters of ash, and millimeters would be deposited as far away as New York City, Los Angeles and Miami, according to a new study.

Southwest U. S. may face 'megadrought' this century

Posted: 27 Aug 2014 09:25 AM PDT

Due to global warming, scientists say, the chances of the southwestern United States experiencing a decade long drought is at least 50 percent, and the chances of a "megadrought" – one that lasts over 30 years – ranges from 20 to 50 percent over the next century.

NOAA's Marine Debris Program reports on national issue of derelict fishing traps

Posted: 27 Aug 2014 08:19 AM PDT

Thousands of fishing traps are lost or abandoned each year in US waters. A new NOAA report is the first of its kind to examine the derelict fish trap problem, nationally, and recommends actions to better manage and prevent it.

Pacific plate shrinking as it cools

Posted: 27 Aug 2014 08:19 AM PDT

The Pacific tectonic plate is not as rigid as scientists believe, according to new calculations. Scientists have determined that cooling of the lithosphere -- the outermost layer of Earth -- makes some sections of the Pacific plate contract horizontally at faster rates than others and cause the plate to deform.

How to prevent organic food fraud

Posted: 27 Aug 2014 08:19 AM PDT

A growing number of consumers are willing to pay a premium for fruits, vegetables and other foods labelled 'organic,' but whether they're getting what the label claims is another matter. Now scientists studying conventional and organic tomatoes are devising a new way to make sure farms are labeling their produce appropriately.

Potential therapy for the Sudan strain of Ebola could help contain some future outbreaks

Posted: 27 Aug 2014 08:19 AM PDT

Ebola is a rare, but deadly disease that exists as five strains, none of which have approved therapies. One of the most lethal strains is the Sudan ebolavirus (SUDV). Although not the strain currently devastating West Africa, SUDV has caused widespread illness, even as recently as 2012. Researchers now report a possible therapy that could someday help treat patients infected with SUDV.

Paleontologists describe a possible dinosaur nest and young 'babysitter'

Posted: 27 Aug 2014 08:19 AM PDT

A new examination of a rock slab containing fossils of 24 very young dinosaurs and one older individual is suggestive of a group of hatchlings overseen by a caretaker, according to a new study.

Greenhouse gases: New group of soil micro-organisms can contribute to their elimination

Posted: 27 Aug 2014 08:18 AM PDT

The ability of soils to eliminate N2O can mainly be explained by the diversity and abundance of a new group of micro-organisms that are capable of transforming it into atmospheric nitrogen (N2).

Patent Issued for Research Related to Alleviating Pain in Cattle

Posted: 27 Aug 2014 08:18 AM PDT

A patent has been issued for research that alleviates pain in cattle suffering from lameness and following castration, dehorning. The patent covers administering meloxicam alone or administering a combination of meloxicam and gabapentin to help alleviate acute and chronic pain and improve the performance of cattle. Researchers found that combinations of meloxicam and gabapentin improved the welfare of cattle by reducing the severity of lameness. Meloxicam alone improved weight gain after dehorning and reduced the incidence of bovine respiratory disease after castration.

Statistical Approach for Calculating Environmental Influences in Genome-Wide Association Study (GWAS) Results

Posted: 27 Aug 2014 08:18 AM PDT

A statistical model allows researchers to remove false positive findings that plague modern research when many dozens of factors and their interactions are suggested to play a role in causing complex diseases.

Why Listeria bacterium is so hard to fight

Posted: 27 Aug 2014 07:02 AM PDT

The harmful and potentially deadly bacterium Listeria is extremely good at adapting to changes. Now research uncovers exactly how cunning Listeria is and why it is so hard to fight. The discovery can help develop more efficient ways to combat the bacteria.

Leading scientists call for a stop to non-essential use of fluorochemicals

Posted: 27 Aug 2014 07:02 AM PDT

A number of leading international researchers recommend that fluorochemicals are only used where they are absolutely essential, until better methods exist to measure the chemicals and more is known about their potentially harmful effects. Fluorochemicals are synthetically produced chemicals, which repel water and oil and are persistent towards aggressive physical and chemical conditions in industrial processing. These characteristics have made the fluorochemicals useful in numerous processes and products, such as coatings for food paper and board.

Fighting prostate cancer with tomato-rich diet

Posted: 27 Aug 2014 07:02 AM PDT

Men who eat over 10 portions a week of tomatoes have an 18 percent lower risk of developing prostate cancer, new research suggests. With 35,000 new cases every year in the UK, and around 10,000 deaths, prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men worldwide. Rates are higher in developed countries, which some experts believe is linked to a Westernised diet and lifestyle.

Museum specimens, modern cities show how an insect pest will respond to climate change

Posted: 27 Aug 2014 06:21 AM PDT

Century-old museum specimens hold clues to how global climate change will affect a common insect pest that can weaken and kill trees -- and the news is not good. "Recent studies found that scale insect populations increase on oak and maple trees in warmer urban areas, which raises the possibility that these pests may also increase with global warming," says the lead author of the paper.

Gamblers are greedy bird-brains, new research finds

Posted: 27 Aug 2014 06:21 AM PDT

Gamblers show the same tendencies as pigeons when they make risky decisions, new research has shown. Researchers conducted tests that found that both human gamblers and pigeons were 35% more likely to gamble for high-value than low-value rewards.

Specialization: Choosy wasps survive better, study shows

Posted: 27 Aug 2014 06:21 AM PDT

Specialized parasitic wasps, such as those using only a few host species, have a greater chance of establishing stable populations than generalist species, a new study shows. These results help with understanding the appearance of specialists in the history of animal evolution and could improve the effectiveness of biological control programs against insect pests.

The evolutionary roots of human altruism

Posted: 27 Aug 2014 06:20 AM PDT

Scientists have long been searching for the factor that determines why humans often behave so selflessly. It was known that humans share this tendency with species of small Latin American primates of the family Callitrichidae (tamarins and marmosets), leading some to suggest that cooperative care for the young, which is ubiquitous in this family, was responsible for spontaneous helping behavior. But it was not so clear what other primate species do in this regard, because most studies were not comparable.

Eat your fruits, vegetables for skin with sun-kissed glow

Posted: 27 Aug 2014 06:19 AM PDT

Forget sun beds, sunbathing and fake tanning lotions. The secret to a healthy glow lies in eating your five-a-day servings of fruit and vegetables, reveals new breakthrough research. This research is the first to show strong evidence for the importance of skin coloration in attractiveness judgements.

Salmon recolonizing newly reconnected zones in rivers of Adour basin

Posted: 27 Aug 2014 06:19 AM PDT

The impact of constructing passes that allow salmon to cross hydroelectric dams and recoloniae newly reconnected zones in the Adour basin has been the focus of recent study. Using population genetics tools, researchers have shown that the sources of this recolonization are very probably the sectors downstream of these passes and that little genetic diversity is lost during recolonization of the newly available zones.  These results suggest a strong potential for the evolution of these newly formed populations.

Climate impacts of changing aerosol emissions since 1996

Posted: 27 Aug 2014 06:19 AM PDT

The re-distribution of anthropogenic aerosol emissions from Europe and North America towards China and India between 1996 and 2010 has surprisingly warmed rather than cooled the global climate. This result reinforces the notion that the recent hiatus in global warming is mainly caused by internal variability of the climate.

Piglet weaning age no bar to litter frequency

Posted: 27 Aug 2014 06:01 AM PDT

Piglets can be weaned later with no negative effects on sow birthing frequency, research has shown. "Sows don't usually start their oestrous cycles again during lactation, only coming on heat after their piglets have been weaned," says a researcher. "In commercial pig production, this has meant the reduction of piglet weaning ages in order to maximize the number of litters a sow can produce each year. Unfortunately piglets weaned early often don't thrive, with reduced growth and diarrhea common."

Breakthrough antibacterial approach could resolve serious skin infections

Posted: 26 Aug 2014 06:01 PM PDT

In several cases, scientists found an ionic liquid was more efficacious on a pathogenic biofilm than a standard bleach treatment and exhibited minimal cytotoxicity effects on human cell lines (unlike bleach). This has excellent prospects for aiding antibiotic delivery to the pathogen through biofilm disruption.

Sorting cells with sound waves

Posted: 26 Aug 2014 05:57 PM PDT

Researchers have devised a new way to separate cells by exposing them to sound waves as they flow through a tiny channel. Their device, about the size of a dime, could be used to detect the extremely rare tumor cells that circulate in cancer patients' blood, helping doctors predict whether a tumor is going to spread.

Sheepdogs use simple rules to herd sheep

Posted: 26 Aug 2014 05:55 PM PDT

Sheepdogs use just two simple rules to round up large herds of sheep, scientists have discovered. The findings could lead to the development of robots that can gather and herd livestock, crowd control techniques, or new methods to clean up the environment.

New estrogen-based compound suppresses binge-like eating behavior in female mice

Posted: 26 Aug 2014 05:55 PM PDT

The hormone estrogen can specifically trigger brain serotonin neurons to inhibit binge eating in female mice, researchers report. They add that this result is consistent with data in humans. "We can speculate that in women who develop binge eating who also happen to have irregular menstrual cycles, it is probably because their estrogen function is somehow damaged, which is what leads to the development of binge eating," said the study's lead author.

Potential influences on recent UK winter floods investigated by new scientific review

Posted: 26 Aug 2014 05:54 PM PDT

A comprehensive review of all potential factors behind the 2013/2014 UK winter floods has been published by researchers. The paper does not definitively answer whether human activity played a role in the magnitude of the winter flood events. It does, however, examine how factors such as the state of the global oceans may have interacted with wind patterns and subsequent high-level atmospheric features.

Everest expedition provides first evidence of effects of altitude on blood pressure monitored over a 24-hour period

Posted: 26 Aug 2014 05:54 PM PDT

An expedition to Mount Everest has shown for the first time that blood pressure monitored over a 24-hour period rises progressively as people climb to higher altitudes. The researchers also found that while a drug used for lowering blood pressure, called telmisartan, was effective in counteracting the effects of altitude up to 3400 meters, it was not effective at 5400 meters above sea level – the height of the Everest base camp.

Attacking a rare disease at its source with gene therapy

Posted: 26 Aug 2014 05:53 PM PDT

The two main treatments for MPS I are bone marrow transplantation and intravenous enzyme replacement therapy, but these are only marginally effective or clinically impractical, especially when the disease strikes the central nervous system. Using an animal model, a team has proven the efficacy of a more elegant way to restore aberrant protein levels in the body through direct gene transfer.
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