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First-of-its-kind chemical oscillator offers new level of molecular control
12/14/2017 04:18 PM
Researchers successfully constructed a first-of-its-kind chemical oscillator that uses DNA components. DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.

Hope for one of the world's rarest primates: First census of Zanzibar Red Colobus monkey
12/14/2017 01:33 PM
A team of scientists recently completed the first-ever range-wide population census of the Zanzibar red colobus monkey (Piliocolobus kirkii) an endangered primate found only on the Zanzibar archipelago off the coast of East Africa.

Effects of climate change could accelerate by mid-century
12/14/2017 12:45 PM
Environmental models are showing that the effects of climate change could be much stronger by the middle of the 21st century, and a number of ecosystem and weather conditions could consistently decline even more in the future.

Engineers program tiny robots to move, think like insects
12/14/2017 12:19 PM
While engineers have had success building tiny, insect-like robots, programming them to behave autonomously like real insects continues to present technical challenges. Engineers have recently been experimenting with a new type of programming that mimics the way an insect’s brain works, which could soon have people wondering if that fly on the wall is actually a fly.

Artificial intelligence, NASA data used to discover eighth planet circling distant star
12/14/2017 12:14 PM
Our solar system now is tied for most number of planets around a single star, with the recent discovery of an eighth planet circling Kepler-90, a Sun-like star 2,545 light years from Earth. The planet was discovered in data from NASA's Kepler Space Telescope.

To sleep or not: Researchers explore complex genetic network behind sleep duration
12/14/2017 12:04 PM
Scientists have identified differences in a group of genes they say might help explain why some people need a lot more sleep -- and others less -- than most. The study, conducted using fruit fly populations bred to model natural variations in human sleep patterns, provides new clues to how genes for sleep duration are linked to a wide variety of biological processes.

Spaghetti-like, DNA 'noodle origami' the new shape of things to come for nanotechnology
12/14/2017 12:03 PM
Scientists have invented a major new advance in DNA nanotechnology. Dubbed 'single-stranded origami,' their new strategy uses one long, thin noodle-like strand of DNA, or its chemical cousin RNA, that can self-fold -- without even a single knot -- into the largest, most complex structures to date. The strands forming these structures can be made inside living cells, opening up the potential for nanomedicine.

Deadly heart rhythm halted by noninvasive radiation therapy
12/14/2017 08:17 AM
Radiation therapy often is used to treat cancer patients. Now, doctors have shown that radiation therapy -- aimed directly at the heart -- can be used to treat patients with a life-threatening heart rhythm. They treated five patients with irregular heart rhythms, called ventricular tachycardia, who had not responded to standard treatments. The therapy resulted in a dramatic reduction in the number of ventricular tachycardia episodes.

That Feeling in Your Bones
12/14/2017 08:16 AM
Rainy weather has long been blamed for achy joints and back pain. Past research has yielded mixed results. New analysis tracking visits to the doctor with daily rainfall found no relationship between the two.

Ancient genetic mutation helps explain origin of some human organs
12/14/2017 08:08 AM
A genetic mutation that occurred over 700 million years ago may have contributed to the development of certain organs in human beings and other vertebrates. This change, a random error in the evolutionary process, facilitated the connection of the gene networks involved in animal embryogenesis.

Tailgating doesn't get you there faster: Study
12/14/2017 07:23 AM
We've all experienced "phantom traffic jams" that arise without any apparent cause. Researchers recently showed that we'd have fewer if we made one small change to how we drive: no more tailgating.

Synthetic protein packages its own genetic material and evolves
12/14/2017 07:23 AM
Scientists have created computationally designed protein assemblies, that display some functions normally associated with living things, in the search for ways to transport therapeutic cargo into specific types of cells without using viruses as vehicles. These encapsulate their own RNA genomes and evolve new traits in complex environments. They are synthetic versions of the protein shells that viruses use to protect and deliver materials. The synthetic proteins evolved better RNA packaging, resistance against degrading enzymes in blood and longer circulation time.

Mapping the evolutionary history of a sugar gene
12/13/2017 08:01 PM
The gene CMAH, that allows for the synthesis of a sugar called Neu5Gc, is missing from humans. This sugar is present in red meats, some fish and dairy products. When humans consume an animal with that gene, the body has an immune reaction to the foreign sugar, which can cause inflammation, arthritis, and cancer. Researchers have analyzed 322 animal genome sequences looking for animals with the presence of active CMAH genes.

Electricity, eel-style: Soft power cells could run tomorrow's implantables
12/13/2017 12:37 PM
Inspired by the electric eel, a flexible, transparent electrical device could lead to body-friendly power sources for implanted health monitors and medication dispensers, augmented-reality contact lenses and countless other applications.

Hydraulic fracturing negatively impacts infant health, study finds
12/13/2017 12:37 PM
Health risks increase for infants born to mothers living within 2 miles of a hydraulic fracturing site, according to a new study.

East Antarctic Ice Sheet has history of instability
12/13/2017 12:36 PM
The East Antarctic Ice Sheet locks away enough water to raise sea level an estimated 53 meters (174 feet). It's also thought to be among the most stable, not gaining or losing mass even as ice sheets in West Antarctica and Greenland shrink. New research has found that the East Antarctic Ice Sheet may not be as stable as it seems.

The oldest plesiosaur was a strong swimmer
12/13/2017 12:36 PM
Plesiosaurs were especially effective swimmer. These long extinct 'paddle saurians' propelled themselves through the World's oceans by employing 'underwater flight' -- similar to sea turtles and penguins. The find comes from the youngest part of the Triassic period and is about 201 million years old.

Protein structure could unlock new treatments for cystic fibrosis
12/13/2017 12:36 PM
Biochemists have used cryo-electron microscopy to determine the detailed architecture of the chloride channel TMEM16A. This protein is a promising target for the development of effective drugs to treat cystic fibrosis.

Lyme bacteria survive 28-day course of antibiotics months after infection
12/13/2017 12:36 PM
Lyme bacteria can survive a 28-day course of antibiotic treatment four months following infection by tick bite, according to a new study using a primate model for the disease. Despite testing negative for Lyme disease, some subjects were infected with Lyme bacteria in heart, brain and other organs.

High-resolution climate models present alarming new projections for US
12/13/2017 12:36 PM
Approaching the second half of the century, the United States is likely to experience increases in the number of days with extreme heat, the frequency and duration of heat waves, and the length of the growing season. In response, it is anticipated that societal, agricultural and ecological needs will increase the demand on already-strained natural resources like water and energy.

Chemical tipping point of magma determines explosive potential of volcanoes
12/13/2017 12:35 PM
Scientists provide evidence, for the first time, that a subtle tipping point of the chemistry of magmas clearly separates effusive from explosive eruptions worldwide.

Chimpanzee deaths in Uganda pinned on human cold virus
12/13/2017 11:02 AM
In the wild, chimpanzees face any number of dire threats, ranging from poachers to predators to deforestation. That’s why scientists, investigating an outbreak of respiratory disease in a community of wild chimpanzees in Uganda’s Kibale National Park, were surprised and dismayed to discover that a human “common cold” virus known as rhinovirus C was killing healthy chimps.

Mars mission sheds light on habitability of distant planets
12/13/2017 10:47 AM
Insights from NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution, or MAVEN, mission about the loss of the Red Planet's atmosphere can help scientists understand the habitability of rocky planets orbiting other stars.

Giant storms cause palpitations in Saturn's atmospheric heartbeat
12/13/2017 10:00 AM
Immense northern storms on Saturn can disturb atmospheric patterns at the planet's equator, finds the international Cassini mission.

Tasting colors? Synesthesia induced with hypnosis
12/13/2017 10:00 AM
Hypnosis can alter the way certain individuals information process information in their brain. A new phenomenon was identified by researchers who have successfully used hypnosis to induce a functional analogue of synesthesia. The discovery can open a window into the previously unexplored domains of cognitive neuroscience.

175 years on, study finds where you live still determines your life expectancy
12/13/2017 10:00 AM
Researchers revisited a study carried out 175 years ago which compared life expectancy in different areas of the UK. They found there is still a link between where you live, your social class and the age you live to and that people living in Liverpool still have lower life expectancy than those living in the rural area of Rutland.

Autism therapy: Social behavior restored via brain stimulation
12/13/2017 09:59 AM
Scientists are examining the feasibility of treating autistic children with neuromodulation after a new study showed social impairments can be corrected by brain stimulation.

A single sand grain harbors up to 100,000 microorganisms from thousands of species
12/13/2017 09:58 AM
Just imagine, you are sitting on a sunny beach, contentedly letting the warm sand trickle through your fingers. Millions of sand grains. What you probably can't imagine: at the same time, billions upon billions of bacteria are also trickling through your fingers. Between 10,000 and 100,000 microorganisms live on each single grain of sand, as revealed in a new study. This means that an individual grain of sand can have twice as many residents as, say, the city of Fairbanks, Alaska!

Engineers create plants that glow
12/13/2017 09:58 AM
By embedding nanoparticles into the leaves of watercress, engineers have induced the plant to give off dim light for nearly four hours. They believe engineered plants will one day be bright enough to act as desk lamps or street lights.

Human-caused warming likely intensified Hurricane Harvey's rains
12/13/2017 08:49 AM
New research shows human-induced climate change increased the amount and intensity of Hurricane Harvey's unprecedented rainfall.

Dinosaur parasites trapped in 100-million-year-old amber tell blood-sucking story
12/13/2017 08:47 AM
Fossilized ticks discovered trapped and preserved in amber show that these parasites sucked the blood of feathered dinosaurs almost 100 million years ago.

Oldest ice core ever drilled outside the polar regions
12/13/2017 08:46 AM
The oldest ice core ever drilled outside the polar regions may contain ice that formed during the Stone Age -- more than 600,000 years ago, long before modern humans appeared.

Fossil orphans reunited with their parents after half a billion years
12/13/2017 07:56 AM
Everyone wants to be with their family over the holidays, but spare a thought for a group of orphan fossils that have been separated from their parents since the dawn of animal evolution, over half a billion years ago.

Gecko adhesion technology moves closer to industrial uses
12/13/2017 07:56 AM
While human-made devices inspired by gecko feet have emerged in recent years, enabling their wearers to slowly scale a glass wall, the possible applications of gecko-adhesion technology go far beyond Spiderman-esque antics. A researcher is looking into how the technology could be applied in a high-precision industrial setting, such as in robot arms used in manufacturing computer chips.

Humans can feel molecular differences between nearly identical surfaces
12/13/2017 07:55 AM
How sensitive is the human sense of touch? Sensitive enough to feel the difference between surfaces that differ by just a single layer of molecules, a team of researchers has shown. Researchers say this fundamental knowledge will be useful for developing electronic skin, prosthetics that can feel, advanced haptic technology for virtual and augmented reality and more.

Humans, unlike monkeys, turn a competitive situation into cooperative one
12/12/2017 04:41 PM
Rhesus macaques and capuchin monkeys can find a stable solution when playing a competitive game in which one opponent always does better than the other, but only humans can find a solution that benefits both competitors equally, turning a competitive situation into a cooperative one, according to a study.

Electrical and chemical coupling between Saturn and its rings
12/12/2017 12:17 PM
A Langmuir probe, flown to Saturn on the Cassini spacecraft, has made exciting discoveries in the atmosphere of the planet. They discovered that there is a strong coupling, both chemically and electrically, between the atmosphere of Saturn and its rings.

Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation
12/12/2017 12:17 PM
Scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Life's building blocks observed in spacelike environment
12/12/2017 10:54 AM
Where do the molecules required for life originate? It may be that small organic molecules first appeared on earth and were later combined into larger molecules, such as proteins and carbohydrates. But a second possibility is that they originated in space, possibly within our solar system. A new study shows that a number of small organic molecules can form in a cold, spacelike environment full of radiation.

Suburban ponds are a septic buffet
12/12/2017 10:54 AM
Human waste accounts for a high percentage of nutrients consumed by some animals and plants in suburban ponds, new research indicates. Researchers found that residential, suburban land use is altering the dynamics of the food chain, as well as where nutrients originate and how they move through pond ecosystems.

3-D printed microfibers could provide structure for artificially grown body parts
12/12/2017 10:51 AM
Much as a frame provides structural support for a house and the chassis provides strength and shape for a car, a team of engineers believes they have a way to create the structural framework for growing living tissue using an off-the-shelf 3-D printer.

Action games expand the brain's cognitive abilities, study suggests
12/12/2017 08:21 AM
The human brain learns and adapts. Numerous research studies have focused on the impact of action video games on the brain by measuring cognitive abilities, such as perception and reaction time. An international team of psychologists has assembled data from the last fifteen years to quantify how action video games impact cognition. The research has resulted in two meta-analyses, which reveal a significant improvement in the cognitive abilities of gamers.

Telescopes team up to study giant galaxy
12/12/2017 07:10 AM
Astronomers have used two Australian radio telescopes and several optical telescopes to study complex mechanisms that are fuelling jets of material blasting away from a black hole 55 million times more massive than the Sun.

Common psychological traits in group of Italians aged 90 to 101
12/12/2017 07:10 AM
In remote Italian villages nestled between the Mediterranean Sea and mountains lives a group of several hundred citizens over the age of 90. Researchers have identified common psychological traits in members of this group.

Forest resilience declines in face of wildfires, climate change
12/12/2017 07:05 AM
The forests you see today are not what you will see in the future. That's the overarching finding from a new study on the resilience of Rocky Mountain forests.

Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake
12/11/2017 05:27 PM
Engineers have developed a realistic proposition for creating a water cloak that moves water around an object by applying forces on dissolved ions through a carefully designed electromagnetic field.

Two holograms in one surface
12/11/2017 05:27 PM
Engineers have developed a way to encode more than one hologram in a single surface with no loss of resolution.

The force is strong: Amputee controls individual prosthetic fingers
12/11/2017 01:16 PM
Luke Skywalker's bionic hand is a step closer to reality for amputees in this galaxy. Researchers have created an ultrasonic sensor that allows amputees to control each of their prosthetic fingers individually. It provides fine motor hand gestures that aren't possible with current commercially available devices.

How much can late Permian ecosystems tell us about modern Earth? A lot
12/11/2017 12:04 PM
New paleontological research shows that during the late Permian, the equator was dry and desert-like, yet surprisingly a hotspot for biodiversity. Similarly to modern rainforests, equator ecosystems were home to a unique diversity of species, including those both anciently and newly evolved. After the late Permian extinction, this diversity was decimated, and the climate change event that triggered an extinction back then is informative as we move forward with protecting our planet's species diversity.

Injuries from window blinds send two children to the emergency department every day
12/11/2017 11:55 AM
Almost 17,000 children under six years of age were treated in hospital emergency departments in the US for window blind-related injuries from 1990 through 2015, averaging almost two per day. While the majority of children were treated and released, there was about one child death each month -- most from strangulation when a child became entangled by the neck in a window blind cord.