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Sunday, November 2, 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News

Is fleet diversity key to sustainable fisheries?

Posted: 31 Oct 2014 10:35 AM PDT

Concern about fisheries is widespread around the world. Over the past several decades, a robust discussion has taken place concerning how to manage fisheries better to benefit ecosystems and humans. Much of the discussion has focused on preserving biological diversity, a critical component of healthy ecosystems. One aspect that gets less attention is the role of fishing fleet diversity.

Cell division, minus the cells

Posted: 31 Oct 2014 10:35 AM PDT

Researchers have reconstituted cell division -- complete with signals that direct molecular traffic -- without the cell. Combining frog-egg extracts with lipid membranes that mimic the membrane of the cell, they built a cell-free system that recapitulates how the cleavage furrow is assembled.

Improved mouse model will accelerate research on potential Ebola vaccines, treatments

Posted: 31 Oct 2014 09:12 AM PDT

The first genetic strain of mice that can be infected with Ebola and display symptoms similar to those that humans experience has been developed by researchers. This work will significantly improve basic research on Ebola treatments and vaccines, which are desperately needed to curb the worldwide public health and economic toll of the disease.

Green spaces don't ensure biodiversity in urban areas

Posted: 31 Oct 2014 09:12 AM PDT

Green spaces in cities are great, but they don't ensure biodiversity, according to biologists. The team found insect abundance was lacking in two common urban trees, suggesting insect movement may be limited by barriers, such as roads and buildings.

Lack of oxygen delayed the rise of animals on Earth

Posted: 31 Oct 2014 09:12 AM PDT

Scientists have long speculated as to why animal species didn't flourish sooner, once sufficient oxygen covered the Earth's surface. Animals began to prosper at the end of the Proterozoic period -- but what about the billion-year stretch before that, when most researchers think there also was plenty of oxygen? Yale University researcher Noah Planavsky and his colleagues found that oxygen levels during the 'boring billion' period were only 0.1 percent of what they are today.

Divide and rule: Raven politics

Posted: 31 Oct 2014 09:09 AM PDT

Mythology has attributed many supernatural features to ravens. Studies on the cognitive abilities of ravens have indeed revealed that they are exceptionally intelligent. Ravens live in complex social groups and they can gain power by building social bonds that function as alliances. Cognitive biologists have now revealed that ravens use a 'divide and rule' strategy in dealing with the bonds of conspecifics: Socially well integrated ravens prevent others from building new alliances by breaking up their bonding attempts.

New step towards eradication of H5N1 bird flu

Posted: 31 Oct 2014 09:08 AM PDT

A new test has been developed that can distinguish between birds that have been vaccinated against the H5N1 strain of avian influenza virus or 'bird flu' with those that have been naturally infected.

Efficient genetic editing developed

Posted: 31 Oct 2014 09:08 AM PDT

A team of researchers has developed a system that uses commercially-available molecules called cationic lipids -- long, greasy molecules that carry a positive charge -- to efficiently deliver genome-editing proteins into cells, and have even demonstrated that the technology can be used to perform genome editing in living animals.

Strange, fanged deer persists in Afghanistan

Posted: 31 Oct 2014 09:04 AM PDT

More than 60 years after its last confirmed sighting, a strange deer with vampire-like fangs still persists in the rugged forested slopes of northeast Afghanistan according to a research team that confirmed the species presence during recent surveys.

Captive rhinos exposed to urban rumbles

Posted: 31 Oct 2014 09:04 AM PDT

The soundtrack to a wild rhinoceros's life is wind passing through the savannah grass, birds chirping and distant animals moving across the plains. But a rhinoceros in a zoo listens to children screaming, cars passing and the persistent hum of urban life. A group of researchers believes that this discrepancy in soundscape may be contributing to rhinos' difficulties thriving and reproducing in captivity.

Horse racing position cuts drag up to 66 per cent

Posted: 31 Oct 2014 05:20 AM PDT

Researchers have revealed precisely how much different slipstreaming tactics reduce drag on a horse during a race.  

Doubt cast over air pollution link between childhood leukemia, power lines

Posted: 30 Oct 2014 06:37 PM PDT

Researchers from the UK have called into question a theory suggesting that a previously reported risk of leukemia among children born close to overhead power lines could be caused by an alteration to surrounding air pollution.

Researchers treat canine cancer, likely to advance human health

Posted: 30 Oct 2014 06:37 PM PDT

A research team is working to better understand cancer in dogs, and the work also could advance knowledge of human cancer. Their investigation began with only a tiny blood platelet, but quickly they discovered opportunities for growth and expanding the breadth of the research. "As veterinarians, we are focused on treating cancer in dogs and we get the bonus of also helping advance treatment of human cancers," one researcher observed.

Hygienic funerals, better protection for health workers offer best chance to stop Ebola

Posted: 30 Oct 2014 11:22 AM PDT

Hygienic funeral practices, case isolation, contact tracing with quarantines, and better protection for health care workers are the keys to stopping the Ebola epidemic that continues to expand in West Africa, researchers said in a new report. They said broad implementation of aggressive measures they recommend could lead to its control in Liberia, the focal point, by mid-March.

Scientists capture picture of 'microRNA' in action

Posted: 30 Oct 2014 11:19 AM PDT

Biologists have described the atomic-level workings of "microRNA" molecules, which control the expression of genes in all animals and plants. The findings add greatly to the understanding of a fundamental system of regulation in biology.

What do American babies eat? A lot depends on Mom's socioeconomic background

Posted: 30 Oct 2014 10:35 AM PDT

Dietary patterns of babies vary according to the racial, ethnic and educational backgrounds of their mothers, pediatrics researchers have found. For example, babies whose diet included more breastfeeding and solid foods that adhere to infant guidelines from international and pediatric organizations were associated with higher household income -- generally above $60,000 per year -- and mothers with higher educational levels ranging from some college to post-graduate education.

Making lab-grown tissues stronger

Posted: 30 Oct 2014 10:35 AM PDT

Lab-grown tissues could one day provide new treatments for injuries and damage to the joints, including articular cartilage, tendons and ligaments. Cartilage, for example, is a hard material that caps the ends of bones and allows joints to work smoothly. Biomedical engineers are exploring ways to toughen up engineered cartilage and keep natural tissues strong outside the body.

Restoring wetlands can lessen soil sinkage, greenhouse gas emissions, study finds

Posted: 30 Oct 2014 10:34 AM PDT

Restoring wetlands can help reduce or reverse soil subsidence and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, according to research in California's Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. The study is one of the first to continually measure the fluctuations of both carbon and methane as they cycle through wetlands.

What's mighty about the mouse? For starters, its massive Y chromosome

Posted: 30 Oct 2014 10:29 AM PDT

An exhaustive effort to sequence the mouse Y chromosome reveals a surprisingly large and complex biological beast, at the same time providing remarkable insight into a heated battle for supremacy between mammalian sex chromosomes.

BPA exposure by infants may increase later risk of food intolerance

Posted: 30 Oct 2014 08:49 AM PDT

Scientists show, for the first time, that there is a link between perinatal exposure to Bisphenol A (BPA) at low doses and the risk to develop food intolerance in later life. "We may look back one day and see BPA exposure as one of the more important public health problems of our time," said one expert. "We know that too much exposure is bad, but exactly how much exposure is too much is still up for debate."

The geometry of RNA and its 3D structure

Posted: 30 Oct 2014 07:12 AM PDT

To understand the function of an RNA molecule, similar to the better-known DNA and vital for cell metabolism, we need to know its three-dimensional structure. Unfortunately, establishing the shape of an RNA strand is anything but easy and often requires a combination of experimental techniques and computer-based simulations. Many computing methods are used but these are often complex and slow, and vary depending on the problem at hand. A team of scientists has devised a simple and versatile method, based on the geometry of the RNA molecule.

Three abrupt pulses of carbon dioxide during last deglaciation, study shows

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 11:56 AM PDT

The rise of atmospheric carbon dioxide that contributed to the end of the last ice age more than 10,000 years ago did not occur gradually, but was characterized by three 'pulses' in which carbon dioxide rose abruptly.

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