Kamis, 24 April 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News


Drought may take toll on Congo rainforest, NASA satellites show

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 02:09 PM PDT

A new analysis of NASA satellite data shows Africa's Congo rainforest, the second-largest tropical rainforest in the world, has undergone a large-scale decline in greenness over the past decade. Scientists use the satellite-derived "greenness" of forest regions as one indicator of a forest's health. While this study looks specifically at the impact of a persistent drought in the Congo region since 2000, researchers say that a continued drying trend might alter the composition and structure of the Congo rainforest, affecting its biodiversity and carbon storage.

Rural microbes could boost city dwellers' health, study finds

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 02:09 PM PDT

The greater prevalence of asthma, allergies and other chronic inflammatory disorders among people of lower socioeconomic status might be due in part to their reduced exposure to the microbes that thrive in rural environments, according to a new scientific paper.

Male or female? First sex-determining genes appeared in mammals some 180 million years ago

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 12:10 PM PDT

The Y chromosome, which distinguishes males from females at the genetic level, appeared some 180 million years ago. It originated twice independently in all mammals. Scientists have managed to date these events that are crucial for both mammalian evolution and our lives, because the Y chromosome determines whether we are born as a boy or girl.

Conservation priorities released for several protected areas along U.S.-Mexico border

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 11:30 AM PDT

The CEC releases its conservation assessment for priority conservation areas in a region straddling the United States-Mexico border that includes 11 different protected areas in the states of Texas, Coahuila, and Chihuahua. This region features highly diverse arid and semi-arid habitats inhabited by endangered plants and animals, and provides a vital migratory stopping point for many species of birds and animals.

Increased infrastructure required for effective oil spill response in U.S. Arctic

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 11:30 AM PDT

A changing climate is increasing the accessibility of U.S. Arctic waters to commercial activities such as shipping, oil and gas development, and tourism, raising concern about the risk of oil spills. The Arctic poses several challenges to oil spill response, including extreme weather and environmental settings, limited operations and communications infrastructure, a vast geographic area, and vulnerable species, ecosystems, and cultures.

Pollutants from coal-burning stoves strongly associated with miscarriages in Mongolia

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 11:28 AM PDT

Burning coal for domestic heating may contribute to early fetal death according to a new study that took place in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia -- the coldest capital city in the world. Researchers report "alarmingly strong statistical correlations" between seasonal ambient air pollutants and pregnancy loss.

Picky male black widow spiders prefer well-fed virgins

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 10:26 AM PDT

New research shows that male black widow spiders prefer their female mates to be well-fed virgins -- a rare example of mate preference by male spiders. The study found they can tell whether a potential mate is well-fed and unmated by pheromones released by females.

Enzymes that help fix cancer-causing DNA defects disovered

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 10:26 AM PDT

An important enzyme pathway that helps prevent new cells from receiving too many or too few chromosomes, a condition that has been directly linked to cancer and other diseases, has been discovered by researchers. Near the end of cell division, the enzyme Cdc14 activates Yen1, an enzyme that ensures any breaks in DNA are fully repaired before the parent cell distributes copies of the genome to daughter cells, the researchers found. This process helps safeguard against some of the most devastating genome errors, including the loss of chromosomes or chromosome segments.

Novel compound halts cocaine addiction, relapse behaviors

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 10:26 AM PDT

A novel compound that targets an important brain receptor has a dramatic effect against a host of cocaine addiction behaviors, including relapse behavior, an animal study has found. The research provides strong evidence that this may be a novel lead compound for treating cocaine addiction, for which no effective medications exist.

Scientists identify source of mysterious sound in the Southern Ocean

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 10:26 AM PDT

Scientists have conclusive evidence that the source of a unique rhythmic sound, recorded for decades in the Southern Ocean and called the 'bio-duck,' is the Antarctic minke whale (Balaenoptera bonaerensis). First described and named by submarine personnel in the 1960s who thought it sounded like a duck, the bio-duck sound has been recorded at various locations in the Southern Ocean, but its source has remained a mystery, until now.

Odds of storm waters overflowing Manhattan seawall up 20-fold

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 10:26 AM PDT

Maximum water levels in New York harbor during major storms have risen by nearly two and a half feet since the mid-1800s, making the chances of water overtopping the Manhattan seawall now at least 20 times greater than they were 170 years ago, according to a new study.

Predicting drift of floating pumice 'islands' can benefit shipping

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 10:25 AM PDT

A new technique will aid in predicting the dispersal and drift patterns of large floating 'islands' of pumice created by volcanic eruptions at sea. Known as pumice rafts, these large mobile accumulations of pumice fragments can spread to affect a considerable area of the ocean, damaging vessels and disrupting shipping routes for months or even years. The ability to predict where these rafts will end up could give enough advance warning for protective measures to be put in place on shipping routes or in harbours where the presence of pumice is hazardous.

Late freeze kills fruit buds, study shows

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 10:24 AM PDT

The recent late cold snap could mean less fruit this year. A horticulturist explains how to check if your fruit buds survived the late burst of cold weather. Fruit buds are usually damaged when it is 28 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. However, this researcher says that while the fruit may be lost, the trees will survive so there should be plenty of fruit next year.

Sugar-sweetened beverages contribute to U.S. obesity epidemic, particularly among children

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 10:24 AM PDT

In response to the ongoing policy discussions on the role of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) on weight and health, The Obesity Society (TOS) concludes that SSBs contribute to the United States' obesity epidemic, particularly among children. Based on an in-depth analysis of the current research, TOS's position statement provides several recommendations for improving health, including that children minimize their consumption of SSBs.

From liability to viability: Genes on the Y chromosome prove essential for male survival

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 10:24 AM PDT

The human Y chromosome has, over the course of millions of years of evolution, preserved a small set of genes that has ensured not only its own survival but also the survival of men. Moreover, the vast majority of these tenacious genes appear to have little if any role in sex determination or sperm production. Taken together, these remarkable findings suggest that because these Y-linked genes are active across the body, they may actually be contributing to differences in disease susceptibility and severity observed between men and women.

Following a protein's travel inside cells is key to improving patient monitoring, drug development

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 08:15 AM PDT

A technique to detect subcellular location of a protein has been developed by scientists. In science, "simple and accessible detection methods that can rapidly screen a large cell population with the resolution of a single cell inside that population has been seriously lacking," said one engineer involved in the study. Their work involved a simple and unique tweak to the conventional cell staining process allowed the researchers to accurately define the subcellular location of the protein by measuring the amount of the residual protein after release.

Fiction prepares us for a world changed by global warming

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 07:27 AM PDT

Climate fiction, or simply cli-fi, is a newly coined term for novels and films which focus on the consequences of global warming. New research shows how these fictions serve as a mental laboratory that allows us to simulate the potential consequences of climate change and imagine other living conditions.

Legalizing medical marijuana doesn't increase use among adolescents, study says

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 07:27 AM PDT

Parents and physicians concerned about an increase in adolescents' marijuana use following the legalization of medical marijuana can breathe a sigh of relief. According to a new study that compared 20 years worth of data from states with and without medical marijuana laws, legalizing the drug did not lead to increased use among adolescents.

How to avoid water wars between 'fracking' industry and residents

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 07:27 AM PDT

The shale gas boom has transformed the energy landscape in the U.S., but in some drier locations, it could cause conflict among the energy industry, residents and agricultural interests over already-scarce water resources, say researchers. They add that degraded water quality is a potential risk unless there are adequate safeguards.

High-calorie, low-nutrient foods in kids' TV programs

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 07:26 AM PDT

Fruits and vegetables are often displayed in the popular Swedish children's TV show Bolibompa, but there are also plenty of high-sugar foods. A new study explores how food is portrayed in children's TV programs, as well as the link between young children's TV viewing, dietary habits and weight status.

New discovery helps solve mystery source of African lava

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 07:21 AM PDT

Floods of molten lava may sound like the stuff of apocalyptic theorists, but history is littered with evidence of such past events where vast lava outpourings originating deep in the Earth accompany the breakup of continents. New research shows that the source of some of these epic outpourings, however, may not be as deep as once thought. The results show that some of these lavas originated near the surface rather than deep within the mantle.

How Australia's Outback got one million feral camels: Camels culled on large scale

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 07:19 AM PDT

A new study has shed light on how an estimated one million-strong population of wild camels thriving in Australia's remote outback have become reviled as pests and culled on a large scale.

Political ravens? Ravens notice the relationships among others, study shows

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 07:19 AM PDT

Cognitive biologists have revealed that ravens do understand and keep track of the rank relations between other ravens. Such an ability has been known only from primates. Like many social mammals, ravens form different types of social relationships -- they may be friends, kin, or partners and they also form strict dominance relations. From a cognitive perspective, understanding one's own relationships to others is a key ability in daily social life ("knowing who is nice or not"). Yet, also understanding the relationships group members have with each other sets the stage for "political" maneuvers ("knowing who might support whom").

Cell division speed influences gene architecture

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 06:51 AM PDT

Speed-reading is a technique used to read quickly. It involves visual searching for clues to meaning and skipping non-essential words and/or sentences. Similarly in humans, biological systems are sometimes under selective pressure to quickly "read" genetic information. Genes that need to be read quickly are usually small, as the smaller the encoding message, the easier it will be to read them quickly. Now, researchers have discovered that, besides size, the gene architecture is also important to the optimization of the "reading" process.

Best practices in communication for animal world

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 05:23 PM PDT

Effective communication is not just about the signaler, according to a new study. The receiver also needs to assess the signaler efficiently. For instance, one of the most effective strategies from the perspective of female birds is assessing groups of males called leks, where females can assess multiple males in a short period of time.

Getting at the root of mountain pine beetle's rapid habitat expansion

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 05:23 PM PDT

The mountain pine beetle has wreaked havoc in North America, across forests from the American Southwest to British Columbia and Alberta, with the potential to spread all the way to the Atlantic coast. Using a newly sequenced beetle genome, authors examined how the pine beetle could undergo such rapid habitat range expansion.

Cougars’ diverse diet helped them survive the mass extinction that wiped out the saber-tooth cat, American lion

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 05:20 PM PDT

Cougars may have survived the mass extinction that took place about 12,000 years ago because they were not particular about what they ate, unlike their more finicky cousins the saber-tooth cat and American lion who perished, according a new analysis of the microscopic wear marks on the teeth of fossil cougars, saber-tooth cats and American lions.

Scientists pinpoint protein that could improve small cell lung cancer therapies

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 12:28 PM PDT

Approximately 15 percent of all lung cancers are small cell lung cancers, which grow rapidly and often develop resistance to chemotherapy. However, researchers have revealed new insights into the mechanisms leading to this resistance that may lead to improved therapies. They discovered that the expression of a protein called Noxa is critical to the effectiveness of ABT-737 because it helps regulate the function of MCL-1, another pro-survival Bcl-2 family protein.

New electric fish genus, species discovered in Brazil's Rio Negro

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 09:12 AM PDT

Discovery of a new species of electric knife fish in the Amazon Basin in Brazil is leading to a new interpretation of classifications and interrelationships among closely related groups. As the diversity of electric fishes becomes more thoroughly documented, researchers will be able to explore possible causes of this group's adaptive radiation over evolutionary time.

How the body fights against viruses

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 08:33 AM PDT

Scientists have shown how double stranded RNA is prevented from entering the nucleus of a cell. During the response against viral infection, the protein ADAR1 moves from the cell nucleus into the surrounding cytoplasm. There it modifies viral RNA to inhibit reproduction of the virus. But how is the human genome protected from inadvertent import of viral RNA into the nucleus?

Combination of alcohol, tobacco increases risk of esophageal cancer

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 08:32 AM PDT

The rate of developing esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) nearly doubles in those who both smoke and drink compared to those who only smoke or drink, according to new research. "Our study suggests that not only do alcohol and tobacco play an important role in the development of esophageal cancer, the combination of their use markedly increases their potency as carcinogens," said the lead author.

179 million cases of acute diarrhea in U.S. each year, most preventable

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 08:32 AM PDT

Approximately 179 million cases of acute diarrhea occur each year in the United States, and most of those cases are entirely preventable, a researcher concluded. The main causes of diarrheal infections include norovirus outbreaks and foodborne pathogens, with most coming from contaminated leafy green vegetables, he states.

Cow manure harbors diverse new antibiotic resistance genes

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 05:49 AM PDT

Manure from dairy cows, which is commonly used as a farm soil fertilizer, contains a surprising number of newly identified antibiotic resistance genes from the cows' gut bacteria. The findings hints that cow manure is a potential source of new types of antibiotic resistance genes that transfer to bacteria in the soils where food is grown. "Is this a route for movement of these genes from the barn to the table?" asks the senior study author.

Protein expression gets the heart pumping

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 05:49 AM PDT

Most people think the development of the heart only happens in the womb, however the days and weeks following birth are full of cellular changes that play a role in the structure and function of the heart. Using mouse models, researchers have now been able to categorize the alternative splicing (the process in which genes code proteins, determining their role) that takes place during these changes and what mechanisms they affect.

UV-radiation data to help ecological research

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 05:47 AM PDT

Existing data on global UV-B radiation has been processed by researchers in such a way that they can use them to find answers to many ecological questions. According to a new paper, this data set allows drawing new conclusions about the global distribution of animal and plant species. Unlike the rather harmless UV-A radiation, the high-energy UV-B radiation causes health problems to humans, animals and plants. Well known is the higher risk of skin cancer.
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Rabu, 23 April 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News


Bioinformatics profiling identifies a new mammalian clock gene

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 11:20 AM PDT

Over 15 mammalian clock proteins have been identified, but researchers surmise there are more. Could big data approaches help find them? To accelerate clock-gene discovery, investigators used a computer-assisted approach to identify and rank candidate clock components, which they liken to online Netflix-like profiling of movie suggestions for customers. This approach found a new core clock gene, which the team named CHRONO.

Critical new protein complex involved in learning, memory

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 11:20 AM PDT

A protein complex that plays a critical but previously unknown role in learning and memory formation has been identified by researchers. "This is a critical building block that regulates a fundamental process -- memory," said the lead author of the study. "Now that we know about this important new player, it offers a unique therapeutic window if we can find a way to enhance its function."

Checking up on crude oil in the ground: Nanoreporters tell 'sour' oil from 'sweet'

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 10:46 AM PDT

Scientists have created a nanoscale detector that checks for and reports on the presence and concentration of hydrogen sulfide in crude oil and natural gas while they're still in the ground.

Mantis shrimp stronger than airplanes: Composite material inspired by shrimp stronger than standard used in airplane frames

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 10:09 AM PDT

Inspired by the fist-like club of a mantis shrimp, researchers have developed a design structure for composite materials that is more impact resistant and tougher than the standard used in airplanes. The peacock mantis shrimp, or stomatopod, is a 4- to 6-inch-long rainbow-colored crustacean with a fist-like club that accelerates underwater faster than a 22-calibur bullet.

New patenting guidelines needed for biotechnology, experts argue

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 10:09 AM PDT

Biotechnology scientists must be aware of the broad patent landscape and push for new patent and licensing guidelines, according to a new paper. Biotechnological inventions have been patented for several decades, though the criteria for patent eligibility have been refined through numerous court decisions. One of the most influential determined that "anything under the sun made by man" could be patented, leading to the diverse biotechnology patent landscape seen today, the authors said.

Neuroimaging Technique: Live from inside the cell in real-time

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 10:09 AM PDT

A novel imaging technique provides insights into the role of redox signaling and reactive oxygen species in living neurons, in real time. Scientists have developed a new optical microscopy technique to unravel the role of 'oxidative stress' in healthy as well as injured nervous systems.

How cells take out the trash

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 10:08 AM PDT

As people around the world mark Earth Day (April 22) with activities that protect the planet, our cells are busy safeguarding their own environment. To keep themselves neat, tidy and above all healthy, cells rely on a variety of recycling and trash removal systems. If it weren't for these systems, cells could look like microscopic junkyards -- and worse, they might not function properly.

A new 'APEX' in plant studies aboard the International Space Station

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 09:57 AM PDT

Growing knowledge in a given field takes time, attention, and ... water? It does when you're talking about plant studies aboard the International Space Station (ISS). All of these things and some scientific know-how come into play as astronauts find out just how green their thumbs are while assisting researchers on the ground.

For an immune cell, microgravity mimics aging

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 09:54 AM PDT

Telling someone to "act your age" is another way of asking him or her to behave better. Age, however, does not always bring improvements. Certain cells of the immune system tend to misbehave with age, leaving the elderly more vulnerable to illness. Because these cells are known to misbehave similarly during spaceflight, researchers are studying the effects of microgravity on immune cells to better understand how our immune systems change as we age.

First size-based chromatography technique for the study of livi

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 09:12 AM PDT

Using nanodot technology, researchers demonstrated the first size-based form of chromatography for studying the membranes of living cells. This unique physical approach to probing cellular membrane structures reveals critical information that can't be obtained through conventional microscopy.

Applying math to biology: Software identifies disease-causing mutations in undiagnosed illnesses

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 09:12 AM PDT

A computational tool has successfully identified diseases with unknown gene mutations in three separate cases. Sequencing the genomes of individuals or small families often produces false predictions of mutations that cause diseases. But this study shows that a new unique approach allows it to identify disease-causing genes more precisely than other computational tools.

Taxonomic study of green algae (chlorophyta) in Langkawi, Malaysia

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 09:08 AM PDT

Tourism is bringing rapid development to the islands of Langkawi, which puts pressure on the marine ecosystem. This research records the diversity and will be a useful baseline record for biomonitoring studies in Malaysia.

Surface modification of titanium dioxide for photocatalytic degradation of hazardous pollutants under ordinary visible light

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 09:08 AM PDT

Researchers have developed a modified photocatalyst which is economical and effective at transforming organic pollutants into harmless end products. Photocatalytic degradation is one of the highly effective applications in transforming organic pollutants to harmless end products at ambient conditions using light and a photocatalyst.

Wildlife response to climate change is likely underestimated, experts warn

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 08:34 AM PDT

Analyzing thousands of breeding bird surveys sent in by citizen scientists over 35 years, wildlife researchers report that most of the 40 songbird species they studied shifted either northward or toward higher elevation in response to climate change, but did not necessarily do both. This means that most previous studies of potential climate change impacts on wildlife that looked only at one factor or the other have likely underestimated effects.

Brain size matters when it comes to animal self-control

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 08:34 AM PDT

Chimpanzees may throw tantrums like toddlers, but their total brain size suggests they have more self-control than, say, a gerbil or fox squirrel, according to a new study of 36 species of mammals and birds ranging from orangutans to zebra finches.

Ask yourself: Will you help the environment?

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 08:34 AM PDT

Whether it's recycling, composting or buying environmentally friendly products, guilt can be a strong motivator -- not just on Earth Day. Now, research proves that even just asking ourselves, or predicting, whether we will engage in sustainable shopping behavior can increase the likelihood of following through -- especially when there's an audience.

Turoctocog alfa in patients with hemophilia A: Added benefit not proven, article finds

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 08:33 AM PDT

As no relevant studies and no valid data are available, the added benefit of turoctocog alfa over other blood-clotting agents is not proven, a publication concludes. Turoctocog alfa (trade name: NovoEight) has been approved since November 2013 for the prevention and treatment of bleeding in patients with hemophilia A.

UV-radiation data to help ecological research

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 08:33 AM PDT

Researchers have processed existing data on global UV-B radiation in such a way that scientists can use them to find answers to many ecological questions. According to a new paper, this data set allows drawing new conclusions about the global distribution of animal and plant species.

New design for mobile phone masts could cut carbon emissions

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 08:33 AM PDT

A breakthrough in the design of signal amplifiers for mobile phone masts could deliver a massive 200MW cut in the load on UK power stations, reducing carbon dioxide emissions by around 0.5 million tonnes a year. Researchers have designed an amplifier that works at 50 percent efficiency compared with the 30 percent now typically achieved.

Researchers identify a new variant of Ebola virus in Guinea

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 08:33 AM PDT

In a new article, researchers have published their initial findings on the characteristics of the Ebola virus discovered in Guinea. Initial virological investigations enabled them to identify Zaire ebolavirus as the pathogen responsible for this epidemic.

RNA shows potential as boiling-resistant anionic polymer material for nanoarchitectures

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 08:33 AM PDT

Nanotechnology researchers have discovered new methods to build boiling-resistant nanostructures and arrays using a new RNA triangle scaffold. These new RNA nanoarchitechtures can be used to form arrays with a controllable repeat number of the scaffold, resembling monomer units in a polymerization reaction. Their enhanced structural stability and controllability at the nano scale offer key advantages over traditional chemical polymers.

International team sequences rainbow trout genome

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 08:33 AM PDT

An international team of researchers has mapped the genetic profile of the rainbow trout, a versatile salmonid whose relatively recent genetic history opens a window into how vertebrates evolve. The investigators focused on the rate at which genes have evolved since a rare genome doubling event occurred in the rainbow trout approximately 100 million years ago.

Two genes linked to inflammatory bowel disease

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 07:01 AM PDT

Scientists have done what is believed to be the first direct genetic study to document the important function for the Ron receptor, a cell surface protein often found in certain cancers, and its genetic growth factor, responsible for stimulating cell growth, in the development and progression of inflammatory bowel disease.

Cloaked DNA nanodevices survive pilot mission

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 07:00 AM PDT

By mimicking a viral strategy, scientists have created the first cloaked DNA nanodevice that survives the body's immune defenses. Their success opens the door to smart DNA nanorobots that use logic to spot cancerous tissue and manufacture drugs on the spot to cripple it, as well as artificial microscopic containers called protocells that detect pathogens in food or toxic chemicals in drinking water.

How are we different and what gave us the advantage over extinct types of humans like the Neanderthals?

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 05:47 AM PDT

In parallel with modern man (Homo sapiens), there were other, extinct types of humans with whom we lived side by side, such as Neanderthals and the recently discovered  Denisovans of Siberia. Yet only Homo sapiens survived. What was it in our genetic makeup that gave us the advantage?

Tarantulas' personality determines whether they copulate with males or cannibalize them

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 05:47 AM PDT

Sexual cannibalism in spiders – the attack and consumption of males by females before or after copulation – is very widespread. A new investigation analyses the reason behind such extreme behavior, at times even before the females have ensured the sperm's fertilization of their eggs.

Higher solar-cell efficiency achieved with zinc-oxide coating

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 05:45 AM PDT

Researchers have achieved 14-percent efficiency in a 9-millimeter-square solar cell made of gallium arsenide. It is the highest efficiency rating for a solar cell that size and made with that material.

European Eel Expedition 2014: First phase successfully completed

Posted: 21 Apr 2014 06:14 PM PDT

Denmark's largest marine research vessel has spent three weeks exploring and gathering samples in the spawning grounds of the European eel in the Sargasso Sea, between Bermuda and the West Indies. The first phase of the Danish Eel Expedition 2014 has been successfully completed. The expedition is in the Sargasso Sea to investigate whether climate-related changes to the eel spawning grounds or the ocean currents that carry the eel larvae to Europe have caused the dramatic decline in eel numbers.

Sleeping away infection: Researchers find link between sleep, immune function in fruitflies

Posted: 21 Apr 2014 06:13 PM PDT

When we get sick it feels natural to try to hasten our recovery by getting some extra shuteye. Researchers found that this response has a definite purpose, in fruitflies: enhancing immune system response and recovery to infection. "These studies provide new evidence of the direct and functional effects of sleep on immune response and of the underlying mechanisms at work. The take-home message from these papers is that when you get sick, you should sleep as much as you can -- we now have the data that supports this idea," researchers conclude.

Queuing theory helps physicist understand protein recycling

Posted: 21 Apr 2014 06:13 PM PDT

A picture of waiting in line helps one physicist understand how cells operate, especially as it relates to what the consequences could be of protein traffic jams inside cells. "If you consider the analogy of a subway, it's a fairly apt one," the researcher said. "A subway can deal with a certain number of customers with its limited number of outlets. If the flow is correct, the system works fine. If people arrive in bunches, it can jam the system. The same is true in cells."

Today's Antarctic region once as hot as California, Florida

Posted: 21 Apr 2014 01:43 PM PDT

Parts of ancient Antarctica were as warm as today's California coast, and polar regions of the southern Pacific Ocean registered 21st-century Florida heat, according to scientists using a new way to measure past temperatures.

Earth Week: Bark beetles change Rocky Mountain stream flows, affect water quality

Posted: 21 Apr 2014 01:43 PM PDT

On Earth Week -- and in fact, every week now -- trees in mountains across the western United States are dying, thanks to an infestation of bark beetles that reproduce in the trees' inner bark. In Colorado alone, the mountain pine beetle has caused the deaths of more than 3.4 million acres of pine trees. What effect do all these dead trees have on stream flow and water quality? Plenty, according to new research findings reported this week.

First Eurasians left Africa up to 130,000 years ago

Posted: 21 Apr 2014 01:42 PM PDT

Scientists have shown that anatomically modern humans spread from Africa to Asia and Europe in several migratory movements. The first ancestors of today's non-African peoples probably took a southern route through the Arabian Peninsula as early as 130,000 years ago, the researchers found.

Krypton used to accurately date ancient Antarctic ice

Posted: 21 Apr 2014 12:19 PM PDT

Scientists have successfully identified the age of 120,000-year-old Antarctic ice using radiometric krypton dating -- a new technique that may allow them to locate and date ice that is more than a million years old. This will allow them to reconstruct the climate much farther back into Earth's history and potentially understand the mechanisms that have triggered the planet to shift into and out of ice ages.

'Dustman' protein helps kill cancer cells

Posted: 21 Apr 2014 12:19 PM PDT

Cancer researchers have discovered a new 'dustman' role for a molecule that helps a drug kill cancer cells according to a study. The new findings point to a possible test that could identify patients who would be most responsive to a new class of cancer drugs and also those who might develop resistance, as well as suggesting new approaches to discovering more effective drugs.

Improving understanding of valley-wide stream chemistry

Posted: 21 Apr 2014 12:18 PM PDT

Understanding the chemistry of streams at a finer scale could help to identify factors impairing water quality and help protect aquatic ecosystems. A geostatistical approach for studying environmental conditions in stream networks and landscapes has been successfully applied at a valley-wide scale to assess headwater stream chemistry at high resolution, revealing unexpected patterns in natural chemical components.

Safer alternatives to nonsteroidal antinflamatory pain killers

Posted: 21 Apr 2014 12:18 PM PDT

Building on previous work that showed that deleting an enzyme in the COX-2 pathway in a mouse model of heart disease slowed the development of atherosclerosis, researchers have now extended this observation by clarifying that the consequence of deleting the enzyme mPEGS-1 differs, depending on the cell type in which it is taken away. They are now working on ways to deliver inhibitors of mPGES-1 selectively to the macrophages.

Gene within a gene contributes to aggressiveness of acute myeloid leukemia

Posted: 21 Apr 2014 11:54 AM PDT

A small gene that is embedded in a larger gene plays a much greater role in promoting acute myeloid leukemia than the better-known host gene, according to a new study. The research also identified a drug that inhibits expression of the smaller gene. The larger host gene is called BAALC (pronounced "Ball C"). The smaller embedded gene is called microRNA-3151 (miR-3151). The study investigated the degree to which each of the genes contributes to the development of acute myeloid leukemia (AML).

New technology for greenhouses developed

Posted: 21 Apr 2014 11:54 AM PDT

Agricultural and fruit producers could acquire high-tech greenhouses at a considerably less cost, thanks to researchers who are developing computer systems to control climatic variables within such infrastructures. The technology consists of a motherboard, embedded computer systems (for specific functions), a graphical interface for monitoring variables such as humidity, temperature , wind speed and radiation, as well as elements that enable wireless connectivity between the greenhouse and mobile devices like cell phones.

Taking the pulse of mountain formation in the Andes

Posted: 21 Apr 2014 10:59 AM PDT

New research shows that the Altiplano plateau in the central Andes -- and most likely the entire mountain range -- was formed through a series of rapid growth spurts. "This study provides increasing evidence that the plateau formed through periodic rapid pulses, not through a continuous, gradual uplift of the surface, as was traditionally thought," said one researcher. "In geologic terms, rapid means rising one kilometer or more over several millions of years, which is very impressive."

Lack of breeding threatens blue-footed boobies' survival

Posted: 21 Apr 2014 10:59 AM PDT

Blue-footed Boobies are on the decline in the Galápagos. A new study indicates numbers of the iconic birds, known for their bright blue feet and propensity to burst into dance to attract mates, have fallen more than 50 percent in less than 20 years. Scientists started noticing a strange trend at the Galápagos' 10 or so blue-footed booby breeding colonies in 1997. The colonies were simply empty. The researchers suspect a lack of sardines, a highly nutritious and easy to find source of food, is the culprit behind the birds' nose-diving population for a number of reasons.

Anti-inflammatory factory: The role lipids play

Posted: 21 Apr 2014 10:59 AM PDT

Lipid mediators are molecules playing an important role in inflammation process. Now, scientists have discovered how lipid mediators are produced. Lipid mediators are produced from polyunsaturated fatty acids, but until recently, scientists did not know how or where this process runs. New studies show that polyunsaturated fatty acids are being oxidized inside mitochondria with the help of cytochromes stored between the internal and external mitochondrial membranes. This is a fundamentally new way to synthesize lipid molecules used in metabolism regulation.

Rice gets trendy, adds nutrients, so much more

Posted: 21 Apr 2014 10:55 AM PDT

Rice is becoming a trendy culinary selection of many restaurant menus, but also the go-to solution for consumers looking for gluten-and allergen-free choices rich in nutrients. The National Restaurant Association's 2014 What's Hot Culinary Forecast predicts diners will see more rice selections on restaurant menus including black rice and red rice. Food scientists are looking for new ways to incorporate rice into many consumer products.

Top 10 functional food trends for 2014

Posted: 21 Apr 2014 10:55 AM PDT

Insights on the top 10 functional food trends for 2014 have been recently published, based on data from a multitude of industry resources. The article details many of the social and physical benefits of trends and choices people have when grocery shopping.
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