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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News

Some plants regenerate by duplicating their DNA

Posted: 11 Nov 2014 09:40 AM PST

When munched by grazing animals -- or mauled by scientists in the lab -- some herbaceous plants overcompensate -- producing more plant matter and becoming more fertile than they otherwise would. Scientists say they now know how these plants accomplish this feat of regeneration.

East coast, U.S. hurricanes can flood the Midwest

Posted: 11 Nov 2014 09:37 AM PST

ScLocated hundreds of miles inland from the nearest ocean, the Midwest is unaffected by North Atlantic hurricanes. Or is it? Scientists have found that North Atlantic tropical cyclones in fact have a significant effect on the Midwest.

Groundwater warming up in sync

Posted: 11 Nov 2014 08:17 AM PST

Global warming stops at nothing -- not even the groundwater, as a new study reveals: the groundwater's temperature profiles echo those of the atmosphere, albeit damped and delayed.

Controlling genes with your thoughts

Posted: 11 Nov 2014 08:13 AM PST

Researchers have constructed the first gene network that can be controlled by our thoughts. Scientists have developed a novel gene regulation method that enables thought-specific brainwaves to control the conversion of genes into proteins (gene expression). The inspiration was a game that picks up brainwaves in order to guide a ball through an obstacle course.

Ocean acidification affects climate-relevant functions at the sea-surface microlayer

Posted: 11 Nov 2014 07:52 AM PST

Ocean acidification might alter climate-relevant functions of the oceans' uppermost layer, according to a study by a group of marine scientists. Researchers observed a close coupling between biological processes in the seawater and the chemistry of the sea surface microlayer.

Weeds yet to reach full potential as invaders in United Kingdom, after centuries of change

Posted: 11 Nov 2014 07:52 AM PST

Weeds in the UK are still evolving hundreds of years after their introduction and are unlikely to have yet reached their full potential as invaders, Australian scientists have discovered. The study is the first to have tracked the physical evolution of introduced plant species from the beginning of their invasion to the present day, and was made possible by the centuries-old British tradition of storing plant specimens in herbaria.

Bizarre Mapping Error Puts Newly Discovered Species in Jeopardy

Posted: 11 Nov 2014 07:48 AM PST

Scientists in the Democratic Republic of Congo have discovered a new species of plant living in a remote rift valley escarpment that's supposed to be inside of a protected area. But an administrative mapping error puts the reserve's borders some 50 kilometers west of the actual location.

Mapping spread of diarrhea bacteria a major step toward new vaccine

Posted: 11 Nov 2014 06:28 AM PST

Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) bacteria are responsible each year for around 400 million cases of diarrhea and 400,000 deaths in the world's low- and middle-income countries. Children under the age of five are most affected. ETEC bacteria also cause diarrhea in nearly one in two travelers to these areas. In a major breakthrough, researchers used comprehensive DNA analyses to reveal the ETEC bacteria's genetic composition – an analysis that also makes it possible to map how the bacteria spread.

The cave paintings of Valltorta-Gassulla could be dated in absolute terms thanks to new analyses

Posted: 11 Nov 2014 05:43 AM PST

Researchers have presented the first characterization of the black pigments used in the shelters of the Remígia cave, in the Valltorta-Gassulla area, between the Valencian regions of L'Alt Maestrat and La Plana (Castelló). The objective of this study was to identify the raw material of the black pigments and the techniques used to prepare them, and to make an approach to the cultural patterns associated with the use of pigments.

Explosive compound reduced blood pressure in female offspring of hypertensive rats

Posted: 10 Nov 2014 06:09 PM PST

The explosive organic compound pentaerythritol tetranitrate helped lower blood pressure in the female offspring of hypertensive rats. Pentaerythritol tetranitrate had no effect on parent rats or their male offspring.

The brain’s 'inner GPS' gets dismantled

Posted: 10 Nov 2014 06:06 PM PST

Imagine being able to recognize your car as your own but never being able to remember where you parked it. Researchers have induced this all-too-common human experience -- or a close version of it -- permanently in rats and from what is observed perhaps derive clues about why strokes and Alzheimer's disease can destroy a person's sense of direction.

Archaeologists discover remains of Ice Age infants in Alaska

Posted: 10 Nov 2014 01:11 PM PST

The remains of two Ice Age infants, buried more than 11,000 years ago at a site in Alaska, represent the youngest human remains ever found in northern North America, according to a new article.

Marijuana's long-term effects on the brain demonstrated

Posted: 10 Nov 2014 01:11 PM PST

The effects of chronic marijuana use on the brain may depend on age of first use and duration of use, according to new research. Researchers for the first time comprehensively describe existing abnormalities in brain function and structure of long-term marijuana users with multiple magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques.

Cat genome reveals clues to domestication​​

Posted: 10 Nov 2014 01:10 PM PST

Cats and humans have shared the same households for at least 9,000 years, but we still know very little about how our feline friends became domesticated. An analysis of the cat genome reveals some surprising clues.

Odor that smells like blood: Single component powerful trigger for large carnivores

Posted: 10 Nov 2014 12:09 PM PST

People find the smell of blood unpleasant, but for predatory animals it means food. When behavioral researchers wanted to find out which substances of blood trigger behavioral reactions, they got some unexpected results.

Thousands of never-before-seen human genome variations uncovered

Posted: 10 Nov 2014 09:42 AM PST

Thousands of never-before-seen genetic variants in the human genome have been uncovered using a new genome sequencing technology. These discoveries close many human genome mapping gaps that have long resisted sequencing. The technique, called single-molecule, real-time DNA sequencing, may now make it possible for researchers to identify potential genetic mutations behind many conditions whose genetic causes have long eluded scientists.

Re-learning how to read a genome

Posted: 10 Nov 2014 09:42 AM PST

There are roughly 20,000 genes and thousands of other regulatory 'elements' stored within our DNA. Somehow all of this coded information needs to be read and transcribed into messages that can be used by cells. New research has revealed that the initial steps of the reading process are actually remarkably similar at both genes and regulatory elements. The main differences seem to occur after the initial step, in the length and stability of the messages.

Iron fertilization less efficient for deep-sea carbon dioxide storage than previously thought?

Posted: 10 Nov 2014 09:42 AM PST

Scientists have discovered that iron fertilization promotes the growth of shelled organisms. In a naturally iron-fertilized system in the Southern Ocean the growth and sinking of these phytoplankton grazers reduces CO2 deep-ocean storage by up to 30 percent. Ignoring this response could result in overestimating the marine CO2 storage capacity resulting from iron fertilization.

Kīlauea, 1790 and today

Posted: 10 Nov 2014 09:40 AM PST

Scores of people were killed by an explosive eruption of Kilauea Volcano, Hawai'i, in 1790. Research suggests that most of the fatalities were caused by hot, rapidly moving surges of volcanic debris and steam that engulfed the victims. Deposits of such surges occur on the surface on the west summit area and cover an ash bed indented with human footprints.

A sea change for marine conservation

Posted: 10 Nov 2014 08:07 AM PST

Harnessing 'people power' to manage fisheries in the developing world has significantly benefited local communities and coral reefs, according to new research.

Pre-symptomatic markers for hemorrhagic viruses like Ebola identified

Posted: 10 Nov 2014 08:04 AM PST

It is possible to distinguish between different hemorrhagic fevers, including Marburg (Ebola cousin) and Lassa before the person becomes symptomatic, new research has found. This study will allow for the development of better diagnostics, especially during the early stages of disease, when treatments have a greater chance of being effective.

New listing to protect 21 species of sharks and rays

Posted: 10 Nov 2014 08:02 AM PST

Conservationists are rejoicing at the listing of 21 species of sharks and rays under the Appendices of the Convention on Migratory Species, made official today in the final plenary session of the Conference of Parties (CoP).

Detroit's First Comprehensive Greenhouse Gas Inventory completed

Posted: 10 Nov 2014 08:01 AM PST

Energy use in buildings accounts for nearly two-thirds of the greenhouse gas emissions generated in Detroit, while exhaust from cars, trucks and buses is responsible for about 30 percent of the total, according to a new citywide inventory compiled by student researchers.

'Big data' takes root in world of plant research

Posted: 10 Nov 2014 05:37 AM PST

Botanists have compiled and shared 48 years' worth of global plant data to help answer some of the most pressing environmental and evolutionary questions facing modern society. People invested in living plant collections in botanic gardens through the centuries to bring economic, medicinal and agricultural advantages of plants to people all over the world. The botanists' database is moving this gift into the digital age of 'Big Data'.

Laundry detergent pods a serious poisoning risk for children younger than 6 in U.S., study finds

Posted: 10 Nov 2014 05:22 AM PST

After releasing the results of a new study detailing the dangers of laundry detergent pods, researchers are calling for a national product safety standard in an effort to better protect children. The study showed that during a two year period, there were more than 17,000 children exposed to the highly concentrated chemicals in laundry detergent pods. That's a child every hour.

Researchers discover how to cultivate norovirus in human cells

Posted: 07 Nov 2014 12:47 PM PST

Noroviruses are pernicious intestinal viruses. They cause violent vomiting and diarrhea, and people ill with the virus remain contagious up to three days after they seem to recover. Although a vaccine for these viruses is in clinical trials, there is still no medication to combat them. That's in part because researchers have not been able to culture human noroviruses so they can test potential treatments -- until now.

Maize analysis yields whole new world of genetic science

Posted: 06 Nov 2014 01:51 PM PST

A groundbreaking paper from a team of biologists could lead to a better understanding of how plants could adapt to and survive environmental swings such as droughts or floods.

'Rewriting' the way to make natural drug compounds

Posted: 06 Nov 2014 11:35 AM PST

One way to solve problems of synthesis of natural compounds is to figure out how an organism solves the problem itself, and then modify it for a particular use, experts say. "In terms of drug discovery, there remains a large gap between finding a compound that's a potential drug and bringing it to market," a researcher says, "so we've been looking at synthetic biology -- how to write and rewrite genetic code to produce these compounds for us."

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