• Using light to turn yeast into biochemical factories
    Researchers have used a combination of light and genetic engineering to controlling the metabolism, or basic chemical process, of a living cell. Building on techniques that already have transformed the field of neuroscience, the researchers used light to control genetically-modified yeast and increase its output of commercially valuable chemicals.
  • Direct evidence of exposure of pregnant women to herbicide ingredient
    The first birth cohort study of its kind has found more than 90 percent of a group of pregnant women in Central Indiana had detectable levels of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, the most heavily used herbicide worldwide.
  • Deep impact: Deep-sea wildlife more vulnerable to extinction than first thought
    The existence of the unusual yeti crabs (Kiwaidae) -- a family of crab-like animals whose hairy claws and bodies are reminiscent of the abominable snowman -- since 2005, but already their future survival could be at risk. New Oxford University research suggests that past environmental changes may have profoundly impacted the geographic range and species diversity of this family. The findings indicate that such animals may be more vulnerable to the effects of human resource exploitation and climate change than initially thought.
  • Two-billion-year-old salt rock reveals rise of oxygen in ancient atmosphere
    Salts left over from ancient seawater reveal new information about the oxygenation of the Earth's atmosphere more than 2 billion years ago.
  • Hubble solves cosmic 'whodunit' with interstellar forensics
    On the outskirts of our galaxy, a cosmic tug-of-war is unfolding-and only NASA's Hubble Space Telescope can see who's winning.
  • Early life experiences influence DNA in the adult brain
    In the perennial question of nature versus nurture, a new study suggests an intriguing connection between the two. Scientists report that the type of mothering a female mouse provides her pups actually changes their DNA. The work lends support to studies about how childhood environments affect brain development in humans and could provide insights into neuropsychiatric disorders such as depression and schizophrenia.
  • Mysterious skeleton shows molecular complexity of bone diseases
    A bizarre human skeleton, once rumored to have extraterrestrial origins, has gotten a rather comprehensive genomic work-up, the results of which are now in.
  • Being hungry shuts off perception of chronic pain
    Finding food is a necessary survival skill, but so is avoiding pain. Research using mice showed that being hungry activates a neural pathway that inhibits the perception of and response to chronic pain. The findings offer up new targets for treating pain.
  • Breakthrough could aid development of bee-friendly pesticides
    Efforts to create pesticides that are not toxic to bees have been boosted by a scientific breakthrough.
  • Great Pacific Garbage Patch: Sixteen times more plastic than previously estimated
    1.8 trillion pieces of plastic weighing 80,000 metric tons are currently afloat in an area known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch -- and it is rapidly getting worse.
  • When the Mediteranean Sea flooded human settlements
    Around 7,600 years ago, the emergence of agricultural settlements in Southeastern Europe and subsequent progress of civilization suddenly came to a standstill. This was most likely caused by an abrupt sea level rise in the northern Aegean Sea. Researchers have now detected evidence of this in the fossils of tiny calcifying marine algae preserved in seafloor sediments.
  • Electric textile lights a lamp when stretched
    Working up a sweat from carrying a heavy load? That is when the textile works at its best. Researchers have developed a fabric that converts kinetic energy into electric power. The greater the load applied to the textile and the wetter it becomes the more electricity it generates.
  • In field tests, device harvests water from desert air
    You really can extract clean drinking water right from the air, even in the driest of deserts, researchers have found. They've demonstrated a real-world version of a water-harvesting system based on metal organic frameworks, or MOFs, that they first described last year.
  • Scientists develop tiny tooth-mounted sensors that can track what you eat
    Engineers have developed miniaturized sensors that, when mounted directly on a tooth and communicating wirelessly with a mobile device, can transmit information on glucose, salt and alcohol intake. Researchers note that future adaptations of these sensors could enable the detection and recording of a wide range of nutrients, chemicals and physiological states.
  • Brewing hoppy beer without the hops
    Synthetic biology has created microbes that produce drugs, flavors, aromas and fuels. Now scientists have used the same tricks, with the help of CRISPR-Cas9, to get yeast to produce the flavor of hops. They added genes from mint and basil and used the yeast to brew a beer that tasters said had notes of 'fruit-loops' and 'orange blossom,' with no off flavors. The yeast helps brewers avoid expensive, highly variable and water-guzzling hops.
  • Drought-induced changes in forest composition amplify effects of climate change
    The face of American forests is changing, due to climate change-induced shifts in rainfall and temperature that are causing shifts in the abundance of numerous tree species, according to a new article. The result means some forests in the eastern U.S. are already starting to look different, but more important, it means the ability of those forests to soak up carbon is being altered as well, which could in turn bring about further climate change.
  • World's first continuous room-temperature solid-state maser built using diamond
    The breakthrough means masers -- the microwave version of lasers -- could now be used more widely in a range of applications.
  • New design produces true lithium-air battery
    Researchers have designed a new lithium-air battery that works in a natural-air environment and still functioned after a record-breaking 750 charge/discharge cycles.
  • Cutting greenhouse gas emissions would help spare cities worldwide from rising seas
    Coastal cities worldwide would face a reduced threat from sea level rise if society reduced greenhouse gas emissions, with especially significant benefits for New York and other US East Coast cities, new research indicates.
  • Vital role of marine predators in supplying nutrients to coral reef ecology
    It's long been known that sharks help nourish coral reefs, but exactly to what extent has never been scientifically mapped out -- until now.
  • New interactive map shows climate change everywhere in world
    A geography professor has created a new interactive map that allows students or researchers to compare the climates of places anywhere in the world. The map draws on five decades of public meteorological data recorded from 50,000 international weather stations around the Earth. And it uses prediction models to display which parts of the globe will experience the most or least climate change in the next 50 years.
  • 'We're sleepwalking into a mass extinction' say scientists
    Species that live in symbiosis with others, which often occur in the most delicately balanced and threatened marine ecosystems such as coral reefs, are the slowest to recover their diversity if damaged, according to a team of scientists.
  • Hunting squid slowed by rising carbon levels
    Scientists have found that high carbon dioxide levels cause squid to bungle attacks on their prey. Investigators said that the oceans absorb more than one-quarter of all the excess carbon dioxide (CO2) released into the atmosphere by humans and this uptake of additional CO2 causes seawater to become more acidic.
  • New genetic research shows extent of cross-breeding between wild wolves and domestic dogs
    An international study has shown that mating between domesticated dogs and wild wolves over hundreds of years has left a genetic mark on the wolf gene pool.
  • Dinosaur frills and horns did not evolve for species recognition
    The elaborate frills and horns of a group of dinosaurs including Triceratops and Styracosaurus did not evolve to help species recognise each other, according to researchers.
  • New 4-D printer could reshape the world we live in
    Scientists report that they have developed a powerful new printer that could streamline the creation of self-assembling structures that can change shape after being exposed to heat and other stimuli. They say this unique technology could accelerate the use of 4-D printing in aerospace, medicine and other industries.
  • Two genes likely play key role in extreme nausea and vomiting during pregnancy
    A new study has identified two genes associated with hyperemesis gravidarum, whose cause has not been determined in previous studies. The genes, known as GDF15 and IGFBP7, are both involved in the development of the placenta and play important roles in early pregnancy and appetite regulation.
  • Make way for the mini flying machines
    Tiny floating robots could be useful in all kinds of ways, for example, to probe the human gut for disease or to search the environment for pollutants. In a step toward such devices, researchers describe a new marriage of materials, combining ultrathin 2-D electronics with miniature particles to create microscopic machines.
  • How obesity dulls the sense of taste
    Previous studies have indicated that weight gain can reduce one's sensitivity to the taste of food. Now a new study shows that inflammation, driven by obesity, actually reduces the number of taste buds on the tongues of mice.
  • TRAPPIST-1 planets provide clues to the nature of habitable worlds
    To determine the composition of the TRAPPIST-1 planets, the team used a unique software package that uses state-of-the-art mineral physics calculators. The software, called ExoPlex, allowed the team to combine all of the available information about the TRAPPIST-1 system, including the chemical makeup of the star, rather than being limited to just the mass and radius of individual planets.
  • Marine researchers say recent sea star wasting disease epidemic defies prediction
    Beginning in 2013, a mysterious disease crippled sea star populations up and down the U.S. west coast. Over a matter of months, many sea star species died in record-breaking numbers, though the ochre sea star was among the hardest hit. Now, researchers have analyzed just how much the populations of this species have declined, but they have not yet determined what factors might be contributing to the epidemic.
  • Wind, sea ice patterns point to climate change in western Arctic
    A major shift in western Arctic wind patterns occurred throughout the winter of 2017 and the resulting changes in sea ice movement are possible indicators of a changing climate, says a researcher.
  • Low-tech, affordable solutions to improve water quality
    Clever, fundamental engineering could go a long way toward preventing waterborne illness and exposure to carcinogenic substances in water.
  • New deep reef ocean zone, the rariphotic, teeming with new fish species
    Diving down below the range of scuba in the Curasub, Smithsonian deep reef explorers discovered a new world where roughly half of the fish had no names. They are calling it the rariphotic.
  • Discovery of sophisticated 115,000-year-old bone tools in China
    An analysis of 115,000-year-old bone tools discovered in China suggests that the toolmaking techniques mastered by prehistoric humans there were more sophisticated than previously thought.
  • Newly described human antibody prevents malaria in mice
    Scientists have discovered a human antibody that protected mice from infection with the deadliest malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum. The research findings provide the basis for future testing in humans to determine if the antibody can provide short-term protection against malaria, and also may aid in vaccine design. Currently, there is no highly effective, long-lasting vaccine to prevent malaria.
  • Making intricate images with bacterial communities
    A technique for growing sticky films of bacteria into elaborate microscopic images could reveal how potentially dangerous biofilms grow and transmit antibiotic resistance, and could lead to novel biomaterials or synthetic microbial communities.
  • Agriculture initiated by indigenous peoples, not Fertile Crescent migration
    Small scale agricultural farming was first initiated by indigenous communities living on Turkey's Anatolian plateau, and not introduced by migrant farmers as previously thought, according to new research.
  • First evidence of live-traded dogs for Maya ceremonies
    Earliest evidence that Mayas raised and traded dogs and other animals -- probably for ceremonies -- from Ceibal, Guatemala.
  • Intensification of agriculture and social hierarchies evolve together, study finds
    Researchers analyzed the evolution of 155 Island South East Asian and Pacific societies to determine that, rather than intensification of agriculture leading to social stratification, the two evolve together. The study illustrates the way social and material factors combine to drive human cultural evolution.
  • At first blush, you look happy -- or sad, or angry
    Our faces broadcast our feelings in living color -- even when we don't move a muscle. That's the conclusion of a groundbreaking study into human expressions of emotion, which found that people are able to correctly identify other people's feelings up to 75 percent of the time -- based solely on subtle shifts in blood flow color around the nose, eyebrows, cheeks or chin.
  • 'New life form' answers question about evolution of cells
    Bacteria and Archaea must have evolved from the putative Last Universal Common Ancestor (LUCA). One hypothesis is that this happened because the cell membrane in LUCA was an unstable mixture of lipids. Now, scientists have created such a life form with a mixed membrane and discovered it is in fact stable, refuting this hypothesis.
  • Don't blame adolescent social behavior on hormones
    Reproductive hormones that develop during puberty are not responsible for changes in social behavior that occur during adolescence, according to the results of a newly published study.
  • Cutting carbon emissions sooner could save 153 million lives
    As many as 153 million premature deaths linked to air pollution could be avoided worldwide this century if governments speed up their timetable for reducing fossil fuel emissions, a new study finds.
  • Geoengineering polar glaciers to slow sea-level rise
    Targeted geoengineering to preserve continental ice sheets deserves serious research and investment, argues an international team of researchers. Without intervention, by 2100 most large coastal cities will face sea levels that are more than three feet higher than they are currently.
  • Human influence on climate change will fuel more extreme heat waves in US
    Human-caused climate change will drive more extreme summer heat waves in the western US, including in California and the Southwest as early as 2020, new research shows.
  • Glacier mass loss: Past the point of no return
    Researchers show in a recent study that the further melting of glaciers cannot be prevented in the current century -- even if all emissions were stopped now. However, due to the slow reaction of glaciers to climate change, our behavior has a massive impact beyond the 21st century: In the long run, five hundred meters by car with a mid-range vehicle will cost one kilogram of glacier ice.
  • Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions
    A new theory about how oceans and volcanoes interacted during the early history of Mars supports the idea that liquid water was once abundant and may still exist underground. Geophysicists propose that the oceans originated several hundred million years earlier than thought, as the volcanic province Tharsis formed, and that greenhouse gases enabled the oceans. The theory predicts smaller oceans, more in line with estimates of water underground and at the poles today.
  • A future colorfully lit by mystifying physics of paint-on semiconductors
    It defies conventional wisdom about semiconductors. It's baffling that it even works. It eludes physics models that try to explain it. This newly tested class of light-emitting semiconductors is so easy to produce from solution that it could be painted onto surfaces to light up our future in myriad colors shining from affordable lasers, LEDs, and even window glass.
  • Palm trees are spreading northward. How far will they go?
    What does it take for palm trees, the unofficial trademark of tropical landscapes, to expand into northern parts of the world that have long been too cold for palm trees to survive? A new study attempts to answer this question. Researchers analyzed a broad dataset to determine global palm tree distribution in relation to temperature.
  • Programming DNA to deliver cancer drugs
    A research team has developed technology to program strands of DNA into switches that turn proteins on and off. This technology could lead to the development of new cancer therapies and other drugs.
  • Fish accounted for surprisingly large part of the Stone Age diet
    New research can now show what Stone Age people actually ate in southern Scandinavia 10 000 years ago. The importance of fish in the diet has proven to be greater than expected. So, if you want to follow a Paleo diet -- you should quite simply eat a lot of fish.
  • Genetic analysis uncovers the evolutionary origin of vertebrate limbs
    Fish, mice and likely all modern-day vertebrates share genetic elements first used to develop the unpaired dorsal fin in ancient fish. They later copied these elements to produce paired appendages, like pelvic and pectoral fins, arms and legs.
  • Cosmologists create largest simulation of galaxy formation, break their own record
    Cosmology researchers are releasing initial findings from IllustrisTNG, their follow-up to the 2015 record-breaking Illustris simulation -- the largest-ever hydrological simulation of galaxy formation.
  • Tiny implants for cells are functional in vivo
    For the first time, an interdisciplinary team has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of living zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases.
  • Interstellar asteroid, 'Oumuamua, likely came from a binary star system
    New research finds that 'Oumuamua, the rocky object identified as the first confirmed interstellar asteroid, very likely came from a binary star system.
  • Scientists detect radio echoes of a black hole feeding on a star
    A scientist has detected radio echoes of a black hole feeding on a star, suggesting black hole emits a jet of energy proportional to the stellar material it gobbles up.
  • Arctic sea ice becoming a spring hazard for North Atlantic ships
    More Arctic sea ice is entering the North Atlantic Ocean than before, making it increasingly dangerous for ships to navigate those waters in late spring, according to new research.
  • Volcanic eruption influenced Iceland's conversion to Christianity
    Memories of the largest lava flood in the history of Iceland, recorded in an apocalyptic medieval poem, were used to drive the island's conversion to Christianity, new research suggests.
  • Dimethandrolone undecanoate shows promise as a male birth control pill
    A new birth control pill for men appears to be safe when used daily for a month, with hormone responses consistent with effective contraception, study researchers say.

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