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Saturday, November 8, 2014

ScienceDaily: Top News

ScienceDaily: Top News

Astronomers peer into galaxies' star-forming centers

Posted: 06 Nov 2014 01:51 PM PST

Astronomers provide data from a new instrument, offering the most precise picture yet of events 4 billion years ago at the centers of distant, dust-cloaked galaxies.

The tiger beetle: Too fast to see: Biologist looks into how the speedy predator pursues prey

Posted: 06 Nov 2014 12:29 PM PST

Speed is an asset for a predator. Except when that predator runs so fast that it essentially blinds itself.

Thermomagnetic processing method provides path to new materials

Posted: 06 Nov 2014 12:23 PM PST

For much the same reason LCD televisions offer eye-popping performance, a thermomagnetic processing method can advance the performance of polymers.

Who will come to your bird feeder in 2075?

Posted: 06 Nov 2014 11:38 AM PST

The distribution of birds in the United States today will probably look very different in 60 years as a result of climate, land use and land cover changes.

Mystery sea of stars? Rocket experiment finds surprising cosmic light

Posted: 06 Nov 2014 11:37 AM PST

Using an experiment carried into space on a NASA suborbital rocket, astronomers have detected a diffuse cosmic glow that appears to represent more light than that produced by known galaxies in the universe. The discovery suggests that many such previously undetected stars permeate what had been thought to be dark spaces between galaxies, forming an interconnected sea of stars.

Hungry bats compete for prey by jamming sonar

Posted: 06 Nov 2014 11:37 AM PST

In their nightly forays, bats hunting for insects compete with as many as one million hungry roost-mates. Now scientists have discovered that Mexican free-tailed bats jam the sonar of competitors to gain advantage in aerial foraging contests.

Ancient DNA shows earliest European genomes weathered the Ice Age: Neanderthal interbreeding clues and a mystery human lineage

Posted: 06 Nov 2014 11:37 AM PST

A genome taken from a 36,000 skeleton reveals an early divergence of Eurasians once they had left Africa, and allows scientists to better assess the point at which 'admixture' -- or interbreeding -- between Eurasians and Neanderthals occurred. The latest research also points to a previously unknown population lineage as old as the first population separations since humans dispersed out of Africa.

Discovering the undiscovered: Advancing new tools to fill in the microbial tree of life

Posted: 06 Nov 2014 11:37 AM PST

Scientists suggest why the time is right to apply genomic technologies to discover new life on Earth. 'Nature has been tinkering with life for at least three billion years and we now have a new set of ways to look for novel forms of life that have so far eluded discovery.'

New laws threaten Brazil's unique ecosystems

Posted: 06 Nov 2014 11:37 AM PST

Brazil's globally significant ecosystems could be exposed to mining and dams if proposals currently being debated by the Brazilian Congress go ahead, according to new research.

Rare 2.5-billion-year-old rocks reveal hot spot of sulfur-breathing bacteria: Sulfur-dependent life forms thrived in oceans

Posted: 06 Nov 2014 11:37 AM PST

Biogeochemical signals in 2.5-billion-year-old carbonate rocks from Brazil reveal that sulfur-consuming bacteria were active at a time when ocean sulfur levels were low. Geologists focused on sulfur isotopes in ancient carbonate rocks. The study sheds light on Earth's early atmospheric chemistry.

Landmark study on the evolution of insects

Posted: 06 Nov 2014 11:37 AM PST

An international team of more than 100 researchers has published the first modern roadmap of insect evolution. Understanding how insects are related uncovers their true ecological, economic, and medical importance, and, until now, has been largely unknown. The unprecedented results reconstruct the insect 'tree of life' and answer longstanding questions about the origins and evolution of insects.

Astronomy: Debris-strewn exoplanetary construction yards

Posted: 06 Nov 2014 11:35 AM PST

Over the past few years, astronomers have found an incredible diversity in the architecture of exoplanetary systems, as well as the planets themselves. A survey using the sharp view of the Hubble Space Telescope has uncovered a similar diversity in the debris systems that coincide with the formation of exoplanets. These circumstellar dusty disks are likely generated by collisions between objects left over from planet formation around stars. The survey's results suggest that there is some sort of interdependence between a planet and the accompanying debris system.

Transitions between states of matter: It’s more complicated, scientists find

Posted: 06 Nov 2014 11:35 AM PST

The seemingly simple process of phase changes -- those transitions between states of matter -- is more complex than previously known. New work reveals the need to rethink one of science's building blocks and, with it, how some of the basic principles underlying the behavior of matter are taught in our classrooms.

Nutrients that feed red tide 'under the microscope' in major study

Posted: 06 Nov 2014 10:23 AM PST

The 'food' sources that support Florida red tides are more diverse and complex than previously realized, according to five years' worth of research on red tide and nutrients. The microbiology, physiology, ecology and physical oceanography factors affecting red tides were documented in new detail and suggestions for resource managers addressing red tide in the coastal waters of southwest Florida were offered.

Koala study reveals clues about origins of the human genome

Posted: 06 Nov 2014 10:23 AM PST

Eight percent of your genome derives from retroviruses that inserted themselves into human sex cells millions of years ago. In a recent study, scientists discovered that 39 different koala retroviruses in a koala's genome were all endogenous, which means passed down to the koala from one parent or the other; one of the koala retroviruses was found in both parents.

Denying problems when we don't like the political solutions: Why conservatives, liberals disagree so vehemently

Posted: 06 Nov 2014 10:23 AM PST

There may be a scientific answer for why conservatives and liberals disagree so vehemently over the existence of issues like climate change and specific types of crime. A new study finds that people will evaluate scientific evidence based on whether they view its policy implications as politically desirable. If they don't, then they tend to deny the problem even exists.

Synthetic biology for space exploration

Posted: 06 Nov 2014 10:23 AM PST

Synthetic biology may hold the key to long-termed manned explorations of Mars and the Moon. Researchers have shown that biomanufacturing based on microbes could to make travel to and settlement of extraterrestrial locations more practical and bearable.

Research resolves contradiction over protein's role at telomeres

Posted: 06 Nov 2014 10:22 AM PST

A puzzling discrepancy has surrounded one component of the protective complex that forms at telomeres, at the end of chromosomes. Studies of its role in mice versus humans had turned up contradictory results. Now researchers have figured out what's really going on.

SCNT derived cells, IPS cells are similar, study finds

Posted: 06 Nov 2014 10:22 AM PST

A team of scientists compared induced pluripotent stem cells and embryonic stem cells created using somatic cell nuclear transfer. They found that the cells derived from these two methods resulted in cells with highly similar gene expression and DNA methylation patterns. Both methods also resulted in stem cells with similar amounts of DNA mutations, showing that the process of turning an adult cell into a stem cell introduces mutations independent of the specific method used.

Scientists create Parkinson's disease in a dish

Posted: 06 Nov 2014 10:22 AM PST

A team of scientists created a human stem cell disease model of Parkinson's disease in a dish. Studying a pair of identical twins, one affected and one unaffected with Parkinson's disease, another unrelated Parkinson's patient, and four healthy control subjects, the scientists were able to observe key features of the disease in the laboratory, specifically differences in the patients' neurons' ability to produce dopamine, the molecule that is deficient in Parkinson's disease.

Human stem cell-derived neuron transplants reduce seizures in mice

Posted: 06 Nov 2014 10:22 AM PST

Scientists have new evidence that stem cell transplantation could be a worthwhile strategy to help epileptics who do not respond to anti-seizure drugs. Most epileptic patients can be treated with anti-seizure drugs, which contain molecules that can inhibit electrical symptoms, similar to the normal function of interneurons. But about one-third do not benefit from existing medication.

Body weight heavily influenced by gut microbes: Genes shape body weight by affecting gut microbes

Posted: 06 Nov 2014 10:22 AM PST

Our genetic makeup influences whether we are fat or thin by shaping which types of microbes thrive in our body, according to a new study. Scientists identified a specific, little known bacterial family that is highly heritable and more common in individuals with low body weight. This microbe also protected against weight gain when transplanted into mice. The results could pave the way for personalized probiotic therapies that are optimized to reduce the risk of obesity-related diseases based on an individual's genetic make-up.

Human blood stem cells genetically 'edited'

Posted: 06 Nov 2014 10:22 AM PST

Researchers, for the first time, have used a relatively new gene-editing technique to create what could prove to be an effective technique for blocking HIV from invading and destroying patients' immune systems.

A cause of age-related inflammation found

Posted: 06 Nov 2014 10:22 AM PST

As animals age, their immune systems gradually deteriorate, a process called immunosenescence. It is associated with systemic inflammation and chronic inflammatory disorders, as well as with many cancers. The causes underlying this age-associated inflammation, and how it leads to diseases, are poorly understood. New work sheds light on one protein's involvement in suppressing immune responses in aging fruit flies.

New knowledge about human brain's plasticity

Posted: 06 Nov 2014 10:18 AM PST

The brain's plasticity and its adaptability to new situations do not function the way researchers previously thought, according to a new study. Earlier theories are based on laboratory animals, but now researchers have studied the human brain, and reached some new conclusions.

Images of a nearly invisible mouse

Posted: 06 Nov 2014 10:18 AM PST

A method that combines tissue decolorization and light-sheet fluorescent microscopy has been developed to take extremely detailed images of the interior of individual organs and even entire organisms. The work opens new possibilities for understanding the way life works -- the ultimate dream of systems biology -- by allowing scientists to make tissues and whole organisms transparent and then image them at extremely precise, single-cell resolution.

Ghost illusion created in the lab

Posted: 06 Nov 2014 10:18 AM PST

Patients suffering from neurological or psychiatric conditions have often reported 'feeling a presence' watching over them. Now, researchers have succeeded in recreating these ghostly illusions in the lab.

First-in-class nasal spray demonstrates promise for migraine pain relief

Posted: 06 Nov 2014 10:18 AM PST

Researchers are developing a novel prochlorperazine nasal spray formulation as a potential new treatment for migraines. Of the 100 million people that experience headaches in the United States, 37 million of them suffer from migraines.

Transplant of stem-cell-derived dopamine neurons shows promise for Parkinson's disease

Posted: 06 Nov 2014 10:18 AM PST

Parkinson's disease is an incurable movement disorder that affects millions of people around the world, but current treatment options can cause severe side effects and lose effectiveness over time. In a new study, researchers showed that transplantation of neurons derived from human embryonic stem cells, hESCs, can restore motor function in a rat model of Parkinson's disease, paving the way for the use of cell replacement therapy in human clinical trials.

Is violent injury a chronic disease? Study suggests so, and may aid efforts to stop the cycle

Posted: 06 Nov 2014 10:15 AM PST

Teens and young adults who get seriously injured in an assault are nearly twice as likely as their peers to end up back in the emergency room for a violent injury within the next two years, a new study finds. The researchers call this repeating pattern of violent injury a reoccurring disease.

Human body cannot be trained to maintain a higher metabolism, study suggests

Posted: 06 Nov 2014 10:15 AM PST

Researchers explored whether high- or low- protein diets might lead to less weight gain when consuming excess calories due to the ability of the body to burn extra energy with a high-protein diet. They found that study participants all gained similar amounts of weight regardless of diet composition; however, there was a vast difference in how the body stored the excess calories. Those who consumed normal- and high- protein diets stored 45% of the excess calories as lean tissue, or muscle mass, while those on the low-protein diet stored 95% of the excess calories as fat.

First peek at how neurons multitask

Posted: 06 Nov 2014 10:15 AM PST

Researchers have shown how a single neuron can perform multiple functions in a model organism, illuminating for the first time this fundamental biological mechanism and shedding light on the human brain.

Direct generation of neural stem cells could enable transplantation therapy

Posted: 06 Nov 2014 10:15 AM PST

Induced neural stem cells (iNSCs) hold promise for therapeutic transplantation, but their potential in this capacity has been limited by failed efforts to maintain such cells in their multi-potent NSC state. Now, scientists have created iNSCs that remain in the multi-potent state—without ongoing expression of reprogramming factors. This allows the iNSCs to self-renew repeatedly to generate cells in quantities sufficient for therapy.

Before there will be blood: Surprising role of protein in embryonic development

Posted: 06 Nov 2014 10:15 AM PST

Researchers describe the surprising and crucial involvement of a pro-inflammatory signaling protein in the creation of hematopoietic stem cells (HScs) during embryonic development, a finding that could help scientists to finally reproduce HSCs for therapeutic use.

From single cells to multicellular life: Researchers capture the emergence of multicellular life in real-time experiments

Posted: 06 Nov 2014 08:33 AM PST

All multicellular creatures are descended from single-celled organisms. The leap from unicellularity to multicellularity is possible only if the originally independent cells collaborate. So-called cheating cells that exploit the cooperation of others are considered a major obstacle. Now, researchers capture the emergence of multicellular life in real-time experiments.

New model to study epidemics developed

Posted: 06 Nov 2014 08:33 AM PST

For decades, scientists have been perfecting models of how contagions spread, but newly published research takes the first steps toward a model that includes the interaction between individual human behavior and the behavior of the epidemic itself. The highly complex model accounts for the speed of modern communication and travel, both of which change contagion probability. The team hopes the model will more accurately guide travel restrictions and who should be vaccinated and isolated.

Future air quality could put plants, people at risk

Posted: 06 Nov 2014 08:33 AM PST

Future ozone levels could be high enough to cause serious damage to plants and crops, even if emissions of greenhouse gases are reduced, says new research. And without sufficient reductions in emissions, ozone levels could also pose a risk to human health.

Complete 9,000-year-old frozen bison mummy found in Siberia

Posted: 06 Nov 2014 08:32 AM PST

Many large charismatic mammals went extinct at the end of the Ice Age -- approximately 11,000 years ago, including the Steppe bison, Bison priscus. A recent find in Eastern Siberia has uncovered one of these bison, literally, frozen in time.

The dodo: New insights into an old bird

Posted: 06 Nov 2014 08:32 AM PST

The dodo is among the most famous extinct creatures, and a poster child for human-caused extinction events. Despite its notoriety, and the fact that the species was alive during recorded human history, little is known about how it lived, looked, and behaved. A new study of the only known complete skeleton from a single bird takes advantage of modern 3-D laser scanning technology to open a new window into the life of this famous extinct bird.

New research adds spice to curcumin's health-promoting benefits

Posted: 06 Nov 2014 08:32 AM PST

The health benefits of over-the-counter curcumin supplements might not get past your gut, but new research shows that a modified formulation of the spice releases its anti-inflammatory goodness throughout the body.

New step in molecular pathway found responsible for neural tube defects, a birth defect that is increased in diabetic pregnancies

Posted: 06 Nov 2014 08:32 AM PST

A molecular pathway responsible for neural tube defects in diabetic pregnancies has been discovered by scientists. For 20 years, scientists have known of a gene involved in neural tube defects (such as spina bifida), but until now it was not known exactly what causes this gene to malfunction during diabetic pregnancies.

Panel-powered car under development

Posted: 06 Nov 2014 07:42 AM PST

A car powered by its own body panels could soon be driving on our roads after a recent breakthrough in nanotechnology research. Researchers have developed lightweight 'supercapacitors' that can be combined with regular batteries to dramatically boost the power of an electric car.

Golden approach to high-speed DNA reading

Posted: 06 Nov 2014 07:42 AM PST

High-speed reading of the genetic code should get a boost with the creation of the world's first graphene nanopores -- pores measuring approximately 2 nanometers in diameter -- that feature a "built-in" optical antenna. Researchers have invented a simple, one-step process for producing these nanopores in a graphene membrane using the photothermal properties of gold nanorods.

Diagnostic exhalations could inform treatments

Posted: 06 Nov 2014 07:42 AM PST

By analyzing carbon dioxide in the breath, an algorithm could help determine how to treat patients. The algorithm determines whether a patient is suffering from emphysema or heart failure based on readings from a capnograph -- a machine that measures the concentration of carbon dioxide in a patient's exhalations.

Cockroach cyborgs use microphones to detect, trace sounds

Posted: 06 Nov 2014 07:40 AM PST

Researchers have developed technology that allows cyborg cockroaches, or biobots, to pick up sounds with small microphones and seek out the source of the sound. The technology is designed to help emergency personnel find and rescue survivors in the aftermath of a disaster.

Jets, bubbles and bursts of light in Taurus

Posted: 06 Nov 2014 07:40 AM PST

The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has snapped a striking view of a multiple star system called XZ Tauri, its neighbour HL Tauri, and several nearby young stellar objects. XZ Tauri is blowing a hot bubble of gas into the surrounding space, which is filled with bright and beautiful clumps that are emitting strong winds and jets. These objects illuminate the region, creating a truly dramatic scene.

Manipulating complex molecules by hand

Posted: 06 Nov 2014 07:40 AM PST

Scientists have developed a new control technique for scanning probe microscopes that enables the user to manipulate large single molecules interactively using their hands. Until now, only simple and inflexibly-programmed movements were possible. To test their method, the researchers 'stenciled' a word into a molecular monolayer by removing 47 molecules. The process opens up new possibilities for the construction of molecular transistors and other nanocomponents.

Engineers propose new approach to single-ventricle heart surgery for infants

Posted: 06 Nov 2014 07:40 AM PST

Engineers are proposing a new surgical intervention for children born with a single ventricle in their heart -- instead of the usual two. The new approach would potentially reduce the number of surgeries the patients have to undergo in the first six months of life from two to just one. If successful, it would also create a more stable circuit for blood to flow.

Exquisite ancient horse fossil preserves uterus with unborn foal

Posted: 06 Nov 2014 07:40 AM PST

A specimen of the ancient horse Eurohippus messelensis has been discovered in Germany that preserves a fetus as well as parts of the uterus and associated tissues. It demonstrates that reproduction in early horses was very similar to that of modern horses, despite great differences in size and structure.

Sorting bloodborne cancer cells to better predict spread of disease

Posted: 06 Nov 2014 07:39 AM PST

For most cancer patients, primary tumors are often not the most deadly. Instead, it is the metastatic tumors -- tumors that spread from their original location to other parts of the body -- that are the cause of most cancer deaths. Now researchers have developed a method to predict this spread.

Omega-3 reduces smoking, study suggests

Posted: 06 Nov 2014 07:19 AM PST

Taking omega-3 supplements reduces craving for nicotine and even reduces the number of cigarettes that people smoke a day, a new study suggests. "The substances and medications used currently to help people reduce and quit smoking are not very effective and cause adverse effects that are not easy to cope with. The findings of this study indicated that omega-3, an inexpensive and easily available dietary supplement with almost no side effects, reduces smoking significantly," said the study's lead investigator.

Diversity outbred mice better predict potential human responses to chemical exposures

Posted: 06 Nov 2014 07:17 AM PST

A genetically diverse mouse model is able to predict the range of response to chemical exposures that might be observed in human populations, researchers have found. Like humans, each Diversity Outbred mouse is genetically unique, and the extent of genetic variability among these mice is similar to the genetic variation seen among humans.

Sustainability, astrobiology illuminate future of life in the universe and civilization on Earth

Posted: 06 Nov 2014 07:17 AM PST

Two astrophysicists argue that questions about the future of life on Earth and beyond may soon be resolvable scientifically, thanks to new data about the Earth and about other planets in our galaxy, and by combining the earth-based science of sustainability with the space-oriented field of astrobiology.

Vegan diet best for weight loss even with carbohydrate consumption, study finds

Posted: 06 Nov 2014 07:17 AM PST

People shed more weight on an entirely plant based diet, even if carbohydrates are also included, a study has concluded. Other benefits of eating a vegan diet include decreased levels of saturated and unsaturated fat, lower BMIs, and improved macro nutrients.

New airport security screening method more than 20 times as successful at detecting deception

Posted: 06 Nov 2014 05:30 AM PST

Airport security agents using a new conversation-based screening method caught mock airline passengers with deceptive cover stories more than 20 times as often as agents who used the traditional method of examining body language for suspicious signs, according to new research.

Cilia: Cellular extensions with a large effect

Posted: 06 Nov 2014 05:29 AM PST

Tiny extensions on cells, cilia, play an important role in insulin release, according to a new study. The researchers report that the cilia of beta cells in the pancreas are covered with insulin receptors and that changed ciliary function can be associated with the development of type 2 diabetes.

Rabbit-proof hoof: Ungulates suppressed lagomorph evolution

Posted: 06 Nov 2014 05:29 AM PST

Rodents and rabbits are sister groups, but while rodents have diversified to over 2,000 living species and an enormous range of body sizes, lagomorphs (rabbits, hares, and pikas) are limited to fewer than 100 relatively small species. A new study shows, surprisingly, that competition with ungulates -- hoofed mammals -- intensified by climate change, are to blame for the lagomorphs' limited diversity.

Tricky take-off kept pterodactyls grounded

Posted: 06 Nov 2014 05:29 AM PST

A new study, which teamed cutting-edge engineering techniques with paleontology, has found that take-off capacity may have determined body size limits in extinct flying reptiles.

New bioenergetic organelle found in plants

Posted: 06 Nov 2014 05:26 AM PST

To date, it was thought that mitochondria and chloroplasts were the only plant cell components able to produce chemical energy. However, according to a new article, another organelle has been identified by researchers, the chromoplast, able to synthetize energy for its metabolism.

Tiger mosquito found in Andalusia thanks to a collaborative citizens' project

Posted: 06 Nov 2014 05:26 AM PST

Thanks to a mobile phone app, the tiger mosquito has been discovered for the first time to be present in Andalusia. The insect transmits diseases like chikungunya and dengue fever. This was made possible by public participation via the "" app and subsequent verification by entomologists collaborating in the project.

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