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Thursday, February 5, 2015

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News

Pigeon power: Study suggests similarity between how pigeons learn the equivalent of words and the way children do

Posted: 04 Feb 2015 03:44 PM PST

A new study finds pigeons can categorize 128 photographs into 16 categories of natural and humanmade objects, a skill researchers say is similar to the mechanism children use to learn words.

Compound found in grapes, red wine may help prevent memory loss

Posted: 04 Feb 2015 03:42 PM PST

A compound found in common foods such as red grapes and peanuts may help prevent age-related decline in memory, according to new research.

New microscopy technique allows mapping protein synthesis in living tissues and animals

Posted: 04 Feb 2015 01:30 PM PST

Building on previously published research, investigators have advanced technology to allow for time-lapse images of protein synthesis with high spatial-temporal resolution in live cells/tissues and map protein degradation in live cells/tissue. They've successfully demonstrated that this technology can be used to image protein synthesis in brain tissues, zebrafish and mice in vivo, making it a useful tool for biomedical researchers studying complex protein metabolism in everything from cell lines to living animals/humans.

An extra protein gives naked mole rats more power to stop cancer

Posted: 04 Feb 2015 11:46 AM PST

A protein newly found in the naked mole rat may help explain its unique ability to ward off cancer. The protein is associated with a locus that is also found in humans and mice. It's the job of that locus to encode several cancer-fighting proteins. The locus found in naked mole rats encodes a total of four cancer-fighting proteins, while the human and mouse version encodes only three.

E-cigarette exposure impairs immune responses in mouse model

Posted: 04 Feb 2015 11:45 AM PST

In a study with mice, researchers have found that e-cigarettes compromise the immune system in the lungs and generate some of the same potentially dangerous chemicals found in traditional nicotine cigarettes.

Fossils from heart of Amazon provide evidence that South American monkeys came from Africa

Posted: 04 Feb 2015 10:41 AM PST

The early evolutionary history of monkeys in South America is cloaked in mystery. Long thought to have journeyed from Africa, evidence for this hypothesis was difficult to support without fossil data. A new discovery now unveils a key chapter of their evolutionary saga. The discovery of three new extinct monkeys from eastern Peru hints strongly that South American monkeys have an African ancestry.

Scientists reprogram plants for drought tolerance

Posted: 04 Feb 2015 10:41 AM PST

Plant biologists report that drought tolerance in plants can be improved by engineering them to activate water-conserving processes in response to an agrochemical already in use -- an approach that could be broadly applied to other parts of the same drought-response pathway and a range of other agrochemicals. The finding illustrates the power of synthetic biological approaches for manipulating crops, opening new doors for crop improvement.

Evidence from warm past confirms recent IPCC estimates of climate sensitivity

Posted: 04 Feb 2015 10:41 AM PST

New evidence showing the level of atmospheric carbon dioxide millions of years ago supports recent climate change predictions from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Rapid and unexpected weight gain after fecal transplant

Posted: 04 Feb 2015 09:58 AM PST

A woman successfully treated for a recurrent Clostridium difficile infection with stool from an overweight donor rapidly gained weight herself afterwards, becoming obese, according to a case report.

Catalyst uses light to convert nitrogen to ammonia: Potential for environmentally friendly fertilizer

Posted: 04 Feb 2015 08:20 AM PST

Scientists have developed a catalyst that can perform a remarkable feat found only in nature: take nitrogen from the air and turn it into ammonia under natural conditions. No high temperatures or pressure required. Driven by light, the new method offers promise for a more environmentally friendly fertilizer. Ammonia is the critical component in fertilizer.

Ingenious fine-tuning of plant photosynthesis

Posted: 04 Feb 2015 04:52 AM PST

The specific roles of the two most abundant membrane proteins on Earth, Lhcb1 and 2 have been the focus of recent research. Both of them are responsible for light harvesting which is the basis of photosynthesis, the process which sustains life on Earth by providing the oxygen we breathe and the food we eat.

Inhospitable climate fosters gold ore formation

Posted: 04 Feb 2015 04:52 AM PST

The Witwatersrand Basin in South Africa holds the world's largest gold deposits across a 200-km long swathe. Individual ore deposits are spread out in thin layers over areas up to 10 by 10 km and contain more gold than any other gold deposit in the world. Some 40% of the precious metal that has been found up to the present day comes from this area, and hundreds of tons of gold deposits still lie beneath the earth. The manner in which these giant deposits formed is still debated among geologists. Geologists are now trying to reconcile the contradictions of two previously published theories.

Code cracked for infections by major group of viruses including common cold and polio

Posted: 04 Feb 2015 04:52 AM PST

Researchers have cracked a code that governs infections by a major group of viruses including the common cold and polio. Until now, scientists had not noticed the code, which had been hidden in plain sight in the sequence of the ribonucleic acid (RNA) that makes up this type of viral genome.

Tropical wasps attack intruders with unfamiliar faces

Posted: 03 Feb 2015 05:43 PM PST

The scientists went to the remote tropical forests of South East Asia to study this tiny wasp species. Each nest contains a family of related individuals and hundreds of nests can be clustered together to form a kind of city. Close proximity to so many other families means each colony faces persistent landing attempts by intruders from the neighborhood, and these might steal resources or theoretically lay cuckoo eggs.

Machine learning offers insights into evolution of monkey faces, researchers find

Posted: 03 Feb 2015 05:42 PM PST

Computers are able to use monkey facial patterns not only to correctly identify species, but also distinguish individuals within species, a team of scientists has found. Their findings, which rely on computer algorithms to identify guenon monkeys, suggest that machine learning can be a tool in studying evolution and help to identify the factors that have led to facial differentiation in monkey evolution.

Handheld sensor to sniff out fish fraud

Posted: 03 Feb 2015 09:34 AM PST

Researchers have developed a handheld sensor capable of debunking fraudulent seafood species claims, helping to ensure that consumers are get what they pay for.

New enzyme reduces sulfite in wine even faster

Posted: 03 Feb 2015 08:20 AM PST

Sulfites are sulfurous substances that occur naturally. They are poisonous for many life forms even at small concentrations. Sulfites and sulfur dioxide are also added to wine and dried fruit as preservatives that inhibit the growth of unwanted microorganisms, increasing the shelf-life of these products. Biochemists have now characterized a bacterial enzyme that reduces sulfite up to one hundred times faster than any other known enzyme.

Spiny lobster abundance study at Glover's Reef, Belize finds fishery in good shape

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 01:07 PM PST

A recent study has revealed good news for spiny lobsters near Belize: the abundance of these commercially valuable crustaceans should support local fisheries into the future, an indication that no-take areas and other regulations are protecting the nation's marine resources.

One good turn: Birds swap energy-sapping lead role when flying in v-formation

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 01:07 PM PST

Migrating birds 'share the pain' of the arduous task of leading a v-formation, so that they can then take turns saving energy by following in another bird's wake, a new study shows.

Behaviors, preferences of picky eaters described

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 09:35 AM PST

Although there's no scientific definition of picky eating, parents say they know it when they see it. Now a study shows that picky eaters do exhibit definable preferences and mealtime behaviors.

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