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Thursday, January 22, 2015

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News

Zolushka, (the russian translation for Cinderella), the tiger, rescued and released back into the wild

Posted: 21 Jan 2015 02:35 PM PST

The Russian Far East is the setting for a Cinderella story. In this case, Cinderella is a tiger. An orphaned, starved, frost-bitten cub was rescued in the winter of 2012, rehabilitated, released, and now is possibly mating and re-colonizing former tiger territory, according to new research.

Drillers help make new Antarctic discoveries

Posted: 21 Jan 2015 11:48 AM PST

An expedition to Antarctica yields new information about how climate change affects Antarctic glaciers. The study has discovered a new ecosystem, researchers report, including a unique ecosystem of fish and invertebrates living in an estuary deep beneath the Antarctic ice.

Fatty acids in fish may shield brain from mercury damage

Posted: 21 Jan 2015 11:48 AM PST

The benefits of fish consumption on prenatal development may offset the risks associated with mercury exposure, new findings from research in the Seychelles suggests. In fact, the new study suggests that the nutrients found in fish have properties that protect the brain from the potential toxic effects of the chemical.

Biological safety lock for genetically modified organisms

Posted: 21 Jan 2015 10:56 AM PST

Scientists have genetically recoded a strain of E. coli to depend on a synthetic amino acid so the bacteria can't survive outside the lab. The E. coli were also made resistant to two viruses.

Synthetic amino acid enables safe, new biotechnology solutions to global problems

Posted: 21 Jan 2015 10:56 AM PST

Scientists have devised a way to ensure genetically modified organisms can be safely confined in the environment, overcoming a major obstacle to widespread use of GMOs in agriculture, energy production, waste management, and medicine.

Animal-to-human transmission of Ebola virus appears tied to increasing human population density in forested regions

Posted: 21 Jan 2015 10:52 AM PST

An apparent link between human population density and vegetation cover in Africa, and the spread of the Ebola virus from animal hosts to humans, has been identified by researchers. "These findings cannot be viewed as causal due to the observational nature of the data," one investigator says, "but they do suggest that the specific landscape configuration of interaction between human populations and forested land may facilitate transmission of the Ebola virus from animals to humans."

Two lakes beneath the ice in Greenland, gone within weeks

Posted: 21 Jan 2015 10:51 AM PST

Researchers discovered craters left behind when two sub-glacial lakes in Greenland drained away -- an indication that the natural plumbing system beneath the ice sheet is overflowing with meltwater. One lake once held billions of gallons of water and emptied to form a mile-wide crater in just a few weeks. The other lake has filled and emptied twice in the last two years.

Study maps travel of H7 influenza genes

Posted: 21 Jan 2015 10:08 AM PST

In a new bioinformatics analysis of the H7N9 influenza virus that has recently infected humans in China, researchers trace the separate phylogenetic histories of the virus's genes, giving a frightening new picture of viruses where the genes are traveling independently in the environment, across large geographic distances and between species, to form 'a new constellation of genes -- a new disease, based not only on H7, but other strains of influenza.'

Next-generation sequencing offers insight into how species adapt to climate change

Posted: 21 Jan 2015 10:08 AM PST

Next-generation sequencing allows for the creation and analysis of vast amounts of data about populations and their responses to shifting environmental conditions, including climate change. These data can provide fine-scale information at the genomic level into populations' adaptations to changing circumstances. Despite the potential usefulness of next-generation sequencing for environmental scientists, it is a costly tool, and funding has yet to equal the value that it may provide.

Death of a dynamo: A hard drive from space

Posted: 21 Jan 2015 10:07 AM PST

Hidden magnetic messages contained within ancient meteorites are providing a unique window into the processes that shaped our solar system, and may give a sneak preview of the fate of the Earth's core as it continues to freeze.

Closer than ever to a personalized treatment solution for intellectual disability

Posted: 21 Jan 2015 10:06 AM PST

Scientists have developed an approach that completely protects animal models against a type of genetic disruption that causes intellectual disability, including serious memory impairments and altered anxiety levels.

Researchers introduce macrosystems approach to study stream ecology

Posted: 21 Jan 2015 09:13 AM PST

The Stream Biome Gradient Concept is a way to compare streams in different climates and different continents. The concept can improve how researchers study streams worldwide. "This model will help us understand how to regulate and conserve streams and protect water quality," the concept's developer said. "It's important to think in broad terms and in the context that people, plants and animals interact with streams. Understanding biodiversity is crucial."

Pasture feeding may improve nutritional benefits of red meat

Posted: 21 Jan 2015 08:49 AM PST

Pasture-fed lamb meat is high in polyunsaturated fat due to the specific plant species consumed, researcher say, indicating that it may be better for your health.

Ultra-high pressure processing may increase salmon shelf-life

Posted: 21 Jan 2015 08:49 AM PST

The researchers found that salmon flesh treated with UHP at levels greater than or equal to 400 MPa improved the color, hardness, and chewiness of the flesh, and inhibited microorganism proliferation, thus increasing shelf life.

Toxic Ebola protein fragment identified

Posted: 21 Jan 2015 07:33 AM PST

A fragment of an Ebola virus protein that is toxic to cells and may contribute to infection and illness, has been identified by researchers. The 2014 Ebola epidemic is the largest in history, affecting multiple countries in West Africa. Two imported cases, including one death, and two locally acquired cases in healthcare workers have been reported in the United States. As of January 16, 2015, the CDC and World Health Organization report 13,510 laboratory-confirmed cases and 8,483 deaths worldwide.

Oranges versus orange juice: Which one might be better for your health?

Posted: 21 Jan 2015 07:33 AM PST

Many health advocates advise people to eat an orange and drink water rather than opt for a serving of sugary juice. But now scientists report that the picture is not clear-cut. Although juice is indeed high in sugar, the scientists found that certain nutrients in orange juice might be easier for the body to absorb than when a person consumes them from unprocessed fruit.

Sequestration on shaky ground: Natural impediment to long-term sequestration of carbon dioxide

Posted: 21 Jan 2015 07:32 AM PST

Carbon sequestration promises to address greenhouse-gas emissions by capturing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and injecting it deep below the Earth's surface, where it would permanently solidify into rock. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that current carbon-sequestration technologies may eliminate up to 90 percent of carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants. While such technologies may successfully remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, researchers have now found that once injected into the ground, less carbon dioxide is converted to rock than previously imagined.

Climate change threatens 30 years of sea turtle conservation success

Posted: 21 Jan 2015 07:32 AM PST

A new study is sounding the alarm about climate change and its potential impact on more than 30 years of conservation efforts to keep sea turtles around for the next generation. Climate change is causing sea-level rise, and how coastal communities react to that rise could have dire consequences for sea turtles and other wildlife that rely on an unobstructed beach for survival, researchers say.

Should arsenic in food be a concern?

Posted: 21 Jan 2015 07:29 AM PST

The topic of arsenic in the U.S. diet has sparked considerable public interest following publication of an article analyzing arsenic findings from fruit juices and rice products. Researchers now write about how levels of consumer exposure to arsenic are still below levels of toxicological concern.

Study shows how ebola becomes lethal as it spreads

Posted: 21 Jan 2015 06:35 AM PST

Researchers have determined why Ebola virus becomes increasingly lethal as it jumps species. The research team looked at the Zaire Ebola strain in an animal system to understand how it gains strength. This virus is responsible for the current outbreak in West Africa.

Decorative and flexible solar panels become part of interior design and the appearance of objects

Posted: 21 Jan 2015 05:45 AM PST

Scientists have developed and utilized a mass production method based on printing technologies allowing the manufacturing of decorative, organic solar panels. Design freedom improves the range of applications of the panels on the surfaces of interior and exterior building spaces. Researchers are also studying the feasibility of printing technology in the mass production of solar panels made from inorganic perovskite materials. The new mass production method enables to create interior design elements from organic solar panels (OPV, organic photovoltaics) harvesting energy from interior lighting or sunlight for various small devices and sensors that gather information from the environment. The panels can, for example, be placed on windows and walls and on machines, devices and advertisement billboards.

Watching protein crystal nucleation in real time

Posted: 21 Jan 2015 05:45 AM PST

A major hurdle in structural biology and pharmacology is growing crystals to determine the structure of the biomolecules and pharmaceuticals under study. Researchers have now observed a key step in the nucleation and growth of some protein crystals. For this, they exploited the power of in-situ real-time X-ray scattering techniques. Their study could help to gain a deeper understanding of protein crystallization and its kinetics on nanometer length scales. The researchers observed a multi-step crystallization mechanism.

New bacterial 'language' discovered: Previously unknown communication pathway

Posted: 21 Jan 2015 05:36 AM PST

Bacteria communicate by means of chemical signals and can develop common characteristics through this "agreement" and also develop their potential pathogenic effects in this way. Scientists have now described a hitherto unknown communication pathway that appears to be widely distributed.

Endangered chimpanzees may experience drastic habitat loss within 5 years

Posted: 21 Jan 2015 05:06 AM PST

Dramatic habitat loss by 2020 threatens the population of the planet's most endangered chimp subspecies, according to new research. The work suggests that climate change could do more harm to chimpanzee populations than previously realized.

Can coffee protect against malignant melanoma? Study looks at trends

Posted: 20 Jan 2015 03:59 PM PST

Both epidemiological and pre-clinical studies have suggested that coffee consumption has a protective effect against non-melanoma skin cancers. However the protective effect for cutaneous melanoma (malignant and in situ) is less clear, according to a new study.

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