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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News

Evolution of extreme parasites explained by scientists

Posted: 13 Oct 2014 04:04 PM PDT

Extreme adaptations of species often cause such significant changes that their evolutionary history is difficult to reconstruct. Zoologists have now discovered a new parasite species that represents the missing link between fungi and an extreme group of parasites. Researchers are now able to understand, for the first time, the evolution of these parasites, causing disease in humans and animals.

Crocodiles are sophisticated hunters: Work as a team to hunt their prey

Posted: 13 Oct 2014 12:26 PM PDT

Recent studies have found that crocodiles and their relatives are highly intelligent animals capable of sophisticated behavior such as advanced parental care, complex communication and use of tools for hunting. New research shows just how sophisticated their hunting techniques can be.

Chemical derived from broccoli sprouts shows promise in treating autism

Posted: 13 Oct 2014 12:26 PM PDT

Results of a small clinical trial suggest that a chemical derived from broccoli sprouts -- and best known for claims that it can help prevent certain cancers -- may ease classic behavioral symptoms in those with autism spectrum disorders.

Moderate levels of 'free radicals' found beneficial to healing wounds

Posted: 13 Oct 2014 09:31 AM PDT

Long assumed to be destructive to tissues and cells, 'free radicals' generated by the cell's mitochondria -- the energy producing structures in the cell -- are actually beneficial to healing wounds.

Versatile antibiotic found with self-immunity gene on plasmid in staph strain

Posted: 13 Oct 2014 07:42 AM PDT

A robust, broad spectrum antibiotic, and a gene that confers immunity to that antibiotic are both found in the bacterium Staphylococcus epidermidis Strain 115. The antibiotic, a member of the thiopeptide family of antibiotics, is not in widespread use, partly due to its complex structure, but the investigators now report that the mechanism of synthesis is surprisingly simple.

A new land snail species named for equal marriage rights

Posted: 13 Oct 2014 07:42 AM PDT

With more than 300 land snail species, Taiwan holds a remarkable diversity of these creatures and still continues to surprise. During a recent study scientists discovered a new endemic snail species of the genus Aegista from eastern Taiwan and named it to support recent efforts for equal marriage rights -- same-sex marriage rights -- in Taiwan and around the world.

Bio-inspired 'nano-cocoons' offer targeted drug delivery against cancer cells

Posted: 13 Oct 2014 07:39 AM PDT

Biomedical engineering researchers have developed a drug delivery system consisting of nanoscale "cocoons" made of DNA that target cancer cells and trick the cells into absorbing the cocoon before unleashing anticancer drugs.

Britain on brink of freshwater species 'invasion' from south east Europe

Posted: 13 Oct 2014 06:06 AM PDT

New research shows multiple invasive species with the same origin facilitate each other's ability to colonize ecosystems. By studying how these species interact as well as current population locations, researchers believe that Britain is heading for an 'invasion meltdown' of freshwater species from south east Europe.

City life key to harlequin ladybug invasion in the UK

Posted: 13 Oct 2014 06:04 AM PDT

The harlequin ladybird (ladybug), an invasive alien species first recorded in the UK in 2004, has a preference for urban areas and sunnier habitats. By establishing rapidly in cities and urban areas, and overwintering inside buildings, the harlequin has outcompeted native ladybird species which have suffered from the combined negative impacts of habitat deterioration and competition from the invasive alien.

Balancing renewable energy costs and optimizing energy mix

Posted: 13 Oct 2014 06:04 AM PDT

Increasing reliance on renewable energies is the way to achieve greater carbon dioxide emission sustainability and energy independence. As such energies are yet only available intermittently and energy cannot be stored easily, most countries aim to combine several energy sources. Scientists have now come up with an open source simulation method to calculate the actual cost of relying on a combination of electricity sources.

Antibiotic resistance: Bacterial defense policies

Posted: 13 Oct 2014 06:02 AM PDT

High-resolution cryo-electron microscopy has now revealed in unprecedented detail the structural changes in the bacterial ribosome which results in resistance to the antibiotic erythromycin.

Underground caves: Better water supply in karst areas

Posted: 13 Oct 2014 06:02 AM PDT

Drinking water is scarce in the Indonesian region of Gunung Kidul. In this karst area, rainwater quickly drains away into the ground. It accumulates in an underground cave system and flows into the ocean unused. For several years now, scientists have developed simple technologies to extract and distribute this water under the "Integrated Water Resources Management" project.

Ebola's deadly toll on healthcare workers

Posted: 13 Oct 2014 06:02 AM PDT

Since its first outbreak in Guinea in December, 2013, Ebola has hit West African healthcare providers disproportionately hard. Hundreds of healthcare workers have been infected, many of whom have died, according to the World Health Organization.

Atomic map reveals clues to how cholesterol is made

Posted: 12 Oct 2014 10:48 AM PDT

In spite of its dangerous reputation, cholesterol is in fact an essential component of human cells. By mapping the structure of a key enzyme involved in making it, researchers have gained new insight into this complex process with implications for understanding and treating disease, including high cholesterol.

Oral capsule as effective as invasive procedures for delivery of fecal transplant

Posted: 11 Oct 2014 02:21 PM PDT

A noninvasive method of delivering a promising therapy for persistent Clostridium difficile infection appears to be as effective as treatment via colonoscopy or through a nasogastric tube.

Tiny travelers of the animal world: Hitchhikers on marine driftwood

Posted: 10 Oct 2014 10:43 AM PDT

A new study led by a Canadian marine zoologist reviews the world list of specialist driftwood talitrids, which so far comprises a total of 7 representatives, including two newly described species. These tiny animals all live in and feed on decomposing marine driftwood. Dispersal to distant oceanic islands is made possible because they use floating driftwood to hitch a ride to their destination.

Ebola vaccine trails beginning in Mali

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 12:41 PM PDT

Medical researchers have begun a clinical trial in health care workers and other front-line workers to evaluate a promising experimental Ebola vaccine.

Cold exposure prompts body to convert white fat to calorie-burning beige fat

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 11:14 AM PDT

Exposure to cold temperatures can convert white fat tissue from the thighs and belly to beige fat that burns calories for heat, but this biological response is hampered in obese people, according to a new study.

Endocrine-disrupting chemicals alter thyroid hormone activity during pregnancy, affect thyroid hormone activity

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 11:14 AM PDT

A new study in human placenta provides the strongest evidence to date that Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs) can interfere with thyroid hormone action in pregnant women. The implication is that flame retardant chemicals called polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) can infiltrate the placenta during pregnancy and affect thyroid hormone activity at the cellular level, according to a new study.

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