Sunday, September 24, 2017

[NASA HQ News] Vice President Pence to Visit NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center for Update on 21st Century Space Exploration

  September 24, 2017 
MEDIA ADVISORY M17-110
Vice President Pence to Visit NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center for Update on 21st Century Space Exploration

Vice President Mike Pence will visit NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, on Monday, Sept. 25. The Vice President will tour Marshall to get an update on the progress of the Space Launch System rocket and International Space Station science operations as the agency prepares for missions to deep space, around the Moon and ultimately to Mars.

Media who wish to cover the Vice President's visit must contact the Marshall newsroom at 256-544-0034 no later than 5 p.m. CDT, Sunday, Sept. 24. Media should plan to arrive Monday at 11:45 a.m. at the Redstone Arsenal Visitor's Center at Gate 9 for security screening and badging. Transportation to the media event will be provided from the Visitor's Center.

The Vice President will tour Marshall's Payload Operations Integration Facility, where all scientific research aboard the station is managed around-the-clock, 365 days a year. This research is helping people learn how to live and work in space for long periods. The Vice President will see a test with the engine section of the Space Launch System (SLS) core stage --the largest rocket stage ever built for the world's most powerful rocket. The four RS-25 engines and the two solid rocket boosters that attach to the engine section will produce more than 8 million pounds of thrust to help send the Orion crew vehicle farther than any human-rated spacecraft has ever travelled before.

While at Redstone Arsenal, where Marshall is located, Vice President Pence will visit the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center for briefs from Army leaders on current missile defense projects and Army initiatives. Redstone Arsenal is an Army installation with a workforce of around 41,000 active duty military, government civilians and contractors. The arsenal is a Federal Center of Excellence, hosting components of more than 70 government organizations, including NASA, Department of Defense, Missile Defense Agency, FBI, and Department of Justice.

Get more information about Redstone Arsenal at:

https://www.garrison.redstone.army.mil

Get more information about how Marshall Space Flight Center is hard at work building the SLS rocket and the technologies and systems needed to send astronauts into deep space at:

https://www.nasa.gov/marshall

-end-

 

Press Contacts

Jen Rae Wang
Headquarters, Washington
202-358-1600
jenrae.wang@nasa.gov

Kim Newton
Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala.
256-544-0034
kimberly.d.newton@nasa.gov

 

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Friday, September 22, 2017

Science X Newsletter Friday, Sep 22

Dear Reader ,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for September 22, 2017:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

'Lego-electronics' offer simple way to assemble integrated circuits

Analysis of titanium in ancient rocks creates upheaval in history of early Earth

Quantum data takes a ride on sound waves

Alternative splicing, an important mechanism for cancer

Fly me to the Moon: For some, lunar village takes shape

The math of doughnuts: 'Moonshine' sheds light on elliptic curves

NIST's quick test may speed antibiotic treatment and combat drug resistance

Ultra-light aluminum: Chemists report breakthrough in material design

Clues to ancient past—baby mummy, dinosaur skulls scanned

Diamonds show Earth still capable of 'superhot' surprises

Complete structure of mitochondrial respiratory supercomplex decoded

Ecosystem approach makes urinary tract infection more treatable

Revolutionary guitar string rocks the guitar world

The dentition of the wedgefish appears designed to crush shellfish, but it also eats stingrays

Scientists show how to control catalyst that turns a greenhouse gas into a fuel or feedstock

Astronomy & Space news

Fly me to the Moon: For some, lunar village takes shape

By 2040, a hundred people will live on the Moon, melting ice for water, 3D-printing homes and tools, eating plants grown in lunar soil, and competing in low-gravity, "flying" sports.

NASA's asteroid chaser swings by Earth on way to space rock

NASA's asteroid-chasing spacecraft swung by Earth on Friday on its way to a space rock.

Vitamin super-cocktail to combat 60 days of lying in bed

This week will see the second ESA bedrest study investigating a mix of antioxidants and vitamins that could help astronauts to combat the side effects of living in space.

Image: X-plane preliminary design model tests quiet supersonic technology

Samantha O'Flaherty, Test Engineer for Jacobs Technology Inc., finalizes the set-up of the Quiet Supersonic Technology (QueSST) Preliminary Design Model inside the 14- by- 22 Foot Subsonic Tunnel at NASA Langley Research Center. Over the next several weeks, engineers will conduct aerodynamic tests on the 15% scale model and the data collected from the wind tunnel test will be used to predict how the vehicle will perform and fly in low-speed flight. 

Hurricane topples 'Moon Tree' that was on Apollo mission

Winds from Hurricane Irma have toppled a tiny tree that orbited the moon and later grew at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida.

Positive, negative or neutral, it all matters: NASA explains space radiation

Charged particles may be small, but they matter to astronauts. NASA's Human Research Program (HRP) is investigating these particles to solve one of its biggest challenges for a human journey to Mars: space radiation and its effects on the human body.

Supernovae death reveals link to stars' birth

It was previously thought that molecules and dust would be completely obliterated by the tremendous explosions of supernovae. Yet, for the first time, scientists have discovered that this is not actually the case.

Technology news

'Lego-electronics' offer simple way to assemble integrated circuits

(Tech Xplore)—One of the biggest challenges in the drive to miniaturize electronic devices is the difficulty in aligning and assembling the increasingly tiny electronic components with the necessary precision, which is challenging even for robots. In a new study, researchers have developed a method for converting integrated circuits into "Lego-electronics," whose simple lock-and-key design could ease the manufacturing process, enhance the production rate, and reduce the failure rate of the micro-scale interconnects.

Biomass-produced electricity in the US possible, though expensive

If the U.S. wants to start using wood pellets to produce energy, either the government or power customers will have to pay an extra cost, a new University of Georgia study has found.

New technique spots warning signs of extreme events

Many extreme events—from a rogue wave that rises up from calm waters, to an instability inside a gas turbine, to the sudden extinction of a previously hardy wildlife species—seem to occur without warning. It's often impossible to predict when such bursts of instability will strike, particularly in systems with a complex and ever-changing mix of players and pieces.

Handshake team is focused on human-robot interactions

(Tech Xplore)—Applause goes out to all those scientists, developers and engineers who put together robots who can grip tools, lift packages, sling pingpong balls, deliver pizzas and cut into fabric. If we are winning the robot-task race, what about the be-my-pal race? The "soft" side of social robots that interact with humans will be interesting to watch.

Twitter bots for good: Study reveals how information spreads on social media

After an election year marked by heated exchanges and the distribution of fake news, Twitter bots earned a bad reputation—but not all bots are bad, suggests a new study co-authored by Emilio Ferrara, a USC Information Sciences Institute computer scientist and a research assistant professor at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering's Department of Computer Science.

Hearing offers peek at what Uber stands to lose in Waymo trial

With three weeks to go until the explosive Waymo v. Uber trial begins, court-watchers got a peek Wednesday at the hefty price tag Uber could face if it loses.

Tech companies targeted by sophisticated malware attack

Security researchers say hackers compromised popular computer-cleaning software as part of a sophisticated attack that targeted several high-profile technology companies.

Uber loses licence to operate in London (Update)

London transport authorities said Friday they would not renew Uber's licence to operate in the city when it expires due to public safety concerns, although the US-based ride-hailing app has said it will appeal.

Virtual reality tool developed to untangle genes

Researchers from Oxford have been using virtual reality software to compile genetic data to create models which explain how genes are controlled within their natural chromosomal environments.

Hacking a pressure sensor to track gradual motion along marine faults

Deep below the ocean's surface, shielded from satellite signals, the gradual movement of the seafloor—including along faults that can unleash deadly earthquakes and tsunamis—goes largely undetected. As a result, we know distressingly little about motion along the fault that lies just off the Pacific Northwest coast.

Developing robots that can walk more naturally

Walking on two legs isn't as easy as it seems. For robots and their designers, it is an even bigger challenge! Researchers at EPFL's Biorobotics Laboratory are testing novel algorithms to improve humanoids' ability to walk and interact with humans.

Engineers aim to harness energy from the Kuroshio ocean current

OIST researchers develop turbines to convert the power of ocean waves into clean, renewable energy.

Can two clean energy targets break the deadlock of energy and climate policy?

Malcolm Turnbull's government has been wrestling with the prospect of a clean energy target ever since Chief Scientist Alan Finkel recommended it in his review of Australia's energy system. But economist Ross Garnaut has proposed a path out of the political quagmire: two clean energy targets instead of one.

Singapore ranks first as launchpad for global cyber attacks

Singapore has overtaken nations including the U.S., Russia and China as the country launching the most cyber attacks globally, according to Israeli data security company Check Point Software Technologies Ltd.

Russia floats out powerful nuclear icebreaker

Russia on Friday held a launching ceremony for a powerful nuclear icebreaker, called Sibir (Siberia), in its drive to prepare a fleet for navigating the Northern Passage and hauling goods, particularly energy, to Asian markets.

Carmakers face billions in European CO2 fines from 2021: study

Big-name carmakers including Volkswagen and Fiat Chrysler face fines running into the billions for failure to meet tough new European carbon dioxide emissions limits slated for 2021, a study has found.

Russia firm unveils 'surveillance-proof' smartphone

For Russians who fear that someone may be eavesdropping on their phone conversations, leading IT entrepreneur Natalya Kaspersky says she has a solution.

London ouster of Uber not justified: US commerce chief

The decision by London transport authorities to oust US ride-hailing firm Uber is "not really justified," US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Friday.

Not home? Walmart wants to walk in and stock your fridge

Would you be OK with letting a stranger into your house for the sake of convenience?

Facebook backs off plan for non-voting shares

Facebook on Friday reversed course on a plan to issue a new non-voting class of shares, avoiding a public trial in a suit filed by investors in the huge social network.

Amazon signs deal to boost its restaurant delivery service

Amazon wants to deliver more burritos and hamburgers to your doorstep.

Application of air-sensitive semiconductors in nanoelectronics

A research group consisting of scientists from Tomsk Polytechnic University, Germany and Venezuela proved the existence of chemical bonds between gallium and oxygen. This discovery will allow manufacturing superconducting nanoelectronics based on gallium selenide, which has never been achieved by any research team in the world. The study was published in Semiconductor Science and Technology.

What's next for offshore wind in the U.S.?

Wind farms installed off the coasts of the U.S. could potentially generate more than 2,000 gigawatts of clean, carbon-free energy. That's about twice as much electricity as Americans currently consume. But so far, only the 30-megawatt Block Island Wind Farm off Rhode Island is operating, and America is falling dramatically behind on offshore wind. What's holding us back, and why is there reason to hope for a better future?

Coordinated automated road transport

A new report by the Joint Research Centre (JRC) explores how connected vehicles and intelligent systems could change transport and the (r)evolution these changes could bring to people's lives.

Amazon plans to double staff in New York City

It's not a second headquarters, but Amazon.com says it will add about 2,000 employees in New York City during the next three years, more than doubling an outpost focused on the online retailer's advertising business.

Medicine & Health news

Alternative splicing, an important mechanism for cancer

Cancer, which is one of the leading causes of death worldwide, arises from the disruption of essential mechanisms of the normal cell life cycle, such as replication control, DNA repair and cell death. Thanks to the advances in genome sequencing techniques, biomedical researchers have been able to identify many of the genetic alterations that occur in patients that are common among and between tumor types. But until recently, only mutations in DNA were thought to cause cancer. In a new study published in the journal Cell Reports, researchers show that alterations in a process known as alternative splicing may also trigger the disease.

Ecosystem approach makes urinary tract infection more treatable

The biological term 'ecosystem' is not usually associated with urinary tract infections, but this should change according to Wageningen scientists.

New compound discovered in fight against inflammatory disease

A 10-year study by University of Manchester scientists for a new chemical compound that is able to block a key component in inflammatory illness has ended in success.

Researchers develop treatment to reduce rate of cleft palate relapse complication

Young people with cleft palate may one day face fewer painful surgeries and spend less time undergoing uncomfortable orthodontic treatments thanks to a new therapy developed by researchers from the UCLA School of Dentistry. The treatment incorporates a shiny twist: diamond fragments so small it would take more than 3 million of them to span the diameter of a penny.

Exercise can make cells healthier, promoting longer life, study finds

Whether it's running, walking, cycling, swimming or rowing, it's been well-known since ancient times that doing some form of aerobic exercise is essential to good health and well-being. You can lose weight, sleep better, fight stress and high blood pressure, improve your mood, plus strengthen bones and muscles.

Two Group A Streptococcus genes linked to 'flesh-eating' bacterial infections

Group A Streptococcus bacteria cause a variety of illnesses that range from mild nuisances like strep throat to life-threatening conditions including pneumonia, toxic shock syndrome and the flesh-eating disease formally known as necrotizing fasciitis. The life-threatening infections occur when the bacteria spread underneath the surface of the skin or throat and invade the underlying soft tissue. A 2005 study published in The Lancet attributed half a million deaths worldwide each year to group A Streptococcus.

Researchers describe mechanism that underlies age-associated bone loss

A major health problem in older people is age-associated osteoporosis—the thinning of bone and the loss of bone density that increases the risk of fractures. Often this is accompanied by an increase in fat cells in the bone marrow.

Strong alcohol policies help reduce alcohol-involved homicides

Stronger alcohol policies, including taxes and sales restrictions, have been shown to reduce the likelihood of alcohol involvement among homicide victims, according to a new study from Boston Medical Center (BMC) and Boston University. The study, published online in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, supports the importance of alcohol control policies to reduce violence, including homicide.

Experts say flu season could be severe this year

If last year's active flu season and this year's severe season in the Southern Hemisphere is any indication of what flu season will look like across the country beginning this fall, then it's important to get vaccinated soon against influenza, according to an expert at Baylor College of Medicine.

New study aims to find the best moisturiser for treating eczema in children

Researchers at the Universities of Bristol, Nottingham and Southampton have been awarded £1.4 million by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Technology Assessment Programme to discover which is the best emollient (moisturiser) for treating childhood eczema.

Pancreatic islets study may spur diabetes treatment advances

Investigators in the Vanderbilt Diabetes Research and Training Center (VDRTC) and collaborators at Stanford University have discovered new insights into the molecular mechanisms of cell proliferation in juvenile human pancreatic islets, information that could lead to new treatments for diabetes.

Study finds GPs are unwilling to refer patients for bowel cancer checks

GPs can be reluctant to refer patients with symptoms of bowel cancer for further investigations, a study by the Universities of Birmingham and Exeter has found.

Fitbits could lead to negative impact on pupils' well-being, study finds

Pupils in secondary schools are reluctant to see fitness and health tracking devices such as Fitbits introduced into Physical Exercise lessons in schools and the device could potentially cause a negative impact on students' overall well-being, research led by the University of Birmingham has found.

Smoking quit rates highest in 10 years

Success rates for quitting smoking are at their highest level for a decade, according to a new report.

Pregnant women are not getting enough omega-3

The first ever study on the intakes of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in pregnant women in New Zealand, has found only 30 per cent are getting the recommended daily amount.

A human bi-specific antibody against Zika virus with high therapeutic potential

The journal Cell today published data with a bi-specific antibody against Zika virus infection. The article is titled "A Human Bi-specific Antibody against Zika Virus with High Therapeutic Potential."

Exergames: good for play time, but should not replace physical education

More and more young Australians are playing video games during their leisure time. Fortunately, video game manufacturers have introduced "exergames" in an effort to make this typically sedentary activity more physically engaging. These "active" video game consoles, like the Nintendo Wii, offer gamers sporting experiences that mimic the real game or sport.

Can trying to meet specific exercise goals put us off being active altogether?

Encouraging people to meet specific fitness goals when they are new to exercising can be ineffective. In fact, it may even make it harder to become active, according to an editorial published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

How can we get more people to vaccinate against flu?

Flu (influenza) has traditionally been the underdog of vaccine-preventable diseases. People tend not to worry about the flu too much, and there are various myths about its prevention and the vaccine. It's true most people experience flu as a mild disease, but many don't recognise it can be more severe.

What are mitochondria and how did we come to have them?

We've probably all heard of mitochondria, and we may even remember learning in school that they are the "powerhouses of the cell" – but what does that actually mean, and how did they evolve? To answer this question, we have to go back about two billion years to a time when none of the complexity of life as we see it today existed.

Obesity is about much more than an unhealthy lifestyle

Despite an abundance of evidence illustrating that weight gain is caused by a complex cocktail of factors, obesity is often solely attributed to poor individual lifestyle choices – such as diet and exercise.

Link between sexually transmitted virus and underweight babies

Women carrying the sexually transmitted HPV infection prior to two years of giving birth are 50 per cent more likely to have a tiny baby, new research shows.

Discovery of a new genetic syndrome that predisposes the body to cancer

A new syndrome caused by biallelic mutations in the FANCM gene predisposes the body to the appearance of tumours and causes rejection to chemotherapy treatments. Contrary to what scientists believed, the gene does not cause Fanconi anaemia. Researchers recommend modifying the clinical monitoring of patients with these mutations.

Cryolipolysis with colder temp, shorter time safe, effective

(HealthDay)—Cryolipolysis with colder temperature and reduced treatment time is safe and effective for noninvasive reduction of submental fat, according to a study published online Sept. 12 in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology.

Oral beats topical isotretinoin for treatment of warts

(HealthDay)—Oral isotretinoin shows a better and earlier response than topical isotretinoin for the treatment of plane warts, according to a small study published online Sept. 13 in the International Journal of Dermatology.

Alcohol aids cerebellar deficit from movement disorder

(HealthDay)—Alcohol improves cerebellar-learning deficit in the movement disorder myoclonus-dystonia, according to a study published online Sept. 4 in the Annals of Neurology.

No proven way to prevent celiac disease

Dear Mayo Clinic: Is there anything I can do now to prevent my 1-year-old from getting celiac disease?

Smartphone apps reduce depression

New Australian-led research has confirmed that smartphone apps are an effective treatment option for depression, paving the way for safe and accessible interventions for the millions of people around the world diagnosed with this condition.

Multi-gene test predicts Alzheimer's better than APOE E4 alone

A new test that combines the effects of more than two dozen genetic variants, most associated by themselves with only a small risk of Alzheimer's disease, does a better job of predicting which cognitively normal older adults will go on to develop Alzheimer's dementia than testing only for the well-known genetic variant APOE E4, a scientific team led by researchers at UC San Francisco and UC San Diego has found.

Emergency contraception not as accessible as it should be, says study

Efforts to remove barriers to accessing emergency contraception (EC) scored victories in 2013, when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration removed age restrictions on over-the-counter sales of the levonogestrel drug Plan B. But those who need EC can still encounter cost and availability barriers.

Residents: Frontline defenders against antibiotic resistance?

Antibiotic resistance continues to grow around the world, with sometimes disastrous results. Some strains of bacteria no longer respond to any currently available antibiotic, making death by infections that were once easily treatable a renewed reality.

Low screening rates for adolescents diagnosed with PID in the nation's emergency departments

The nation's emergency departments had low rates of complying with recommended HIV and syphilis screening for at-risk adolescents, though larger hospitals were more likely to provide such evidence-based care, according to a study presented during the 2017 American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) national conference.

Families of survivors of ECMO for heart conditions report favorable quality of life

One of the few large studies to report long-term outcomes in cardiac patients treated in childhood with extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) has found overall favorable outcomes among survivors, as reported by families. ECMO provides short-term breathing and heart support for critically ill children while doctors treat the underlying illness.

Leaders highlight early education for drug misuse prevention

More than 100 children in New Hampshire's largest city have witnessed an adult overdose in their home since 2016. Now, a police program that officials hope will be replicated elsewhere is working to prevent kids from meeting the same fate.

Antibiotics and biocidal cleaners may spread multidrug resistance in MRSA

Antibiotic use on people or pets, and use of biocidal cleaning products such as bleach, are associated with multidrug resistance in methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in the home. This contamination of the home environment may contribute to reinfection of both humans and animals with MRSA, and to subsequent failure of treatment. The research is published September 22nd in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Study finds public-private partnerships key to making telemedicine sustainable

Proper health care is more difficult in remote parts of India.

Forgoing chemo linked to worse survival in older patients with advanced colon cancer who had dementia

A pre-existing diagnosis of dementia was associated with increased risk of death for older patients with advanced colon cancer; however, some of the effects of dementia on survival could be mediated by receipt of chemotherapy.

When neurogenesis goes wrong

Neurogenesis is a complex biological process by which neurons are generated from neural stem cells and progenitor cells. Indeed, the discovery of a dynamic neurogenesis in the adult brain (in both humans and animals) was a kind of extraordinary revelation. In fact, contrary to common popular belief, neurogenesis continuously occurs in specific regions in the adult brain, such as in the hippocampus and the striatum. Neurogenesis occurs in both physiological and pathological conditions.

Breaking memory circuits with marijuana

Paranoia. Munchies. Giggles. Sleepiness. Memory loss. Although the effects of cannabinoids–the active components of marijuana–are familiar to many, their neurobiological substrates are poorly characterized. Perhaps the effect of greatest interest to both neuroscientists and to cannabis users hoping to preserve their cognitive function, is short-term memory impairment that often accompanies marijuana use. Our partial understanding of its physiological and behavioral effects is not for want of studies into its neural effects. Ample research has shown a range of changes to neurotransmission, receptors, ion channels and mitochondria following cannabinoid exposure. However, knowledge of its cellular and molecular properties alone cannot offer a complete picture of its system-wide effects leading to cognitive and behavioral changes. A recent study published in PLOS Computational Biology took a novel approach to address this issue, combining computational modeling with electrophysiological brain recordings from rats performing a memory task, to unravel the dynamics of neural circuits under the influence of cannabinoids.

White supremacy—the dark side of eugenics

Whenever I work on a new edition of my human genetics textbook and reach the section on eugenics, at the end of an evolution chapter, I'm relieved that it's history. But this summer, as I wrapped up the 12th edition, the eugenics coverage took on a frightening new reality.

Greece makes measles vaccination appeal amid European spike

Health authorities in Greece have issued a public appeal to participate in vaccination and booster shot programs following a spike in measles cases in the country amid an outbreak in Europe.

New gene delivery approach could allow long-term persistence in proliferating cells

Researchers added a scaffold/matrix attachment region (S/MAR) to a conventional adeno-associated virus (AAV) vector used for gene transfer, and the modified vectors were able to establish colonies and maintain long-term transgene expression in HeLa cells, as reported in Human Gene Therapy.

Florida to require nursing home generators after Irma deaths

Florida's top health care regulator, in the aftermath of the nursing home deaths that followed Hurricane Irma, says the state will "aggressively" enforce new rules that require nursing homes and assisted living facilities to have generators.

Biology news

Complete structure of mitochondrial respiratory supercomplex decoded

(Phys.org)—Piece by piece, the circuit diagram for electron transport in the mitochondria has come closer to completion. Each new structure obtained for any of the five respiratory complexes further constrains the assembled puzzle. Eventually, big blocks are arranged into their final placements. The exact composition of the biggest block, the so-called megacomplex, has long eluded researchers. Now, after imaging 140 individual subunits down to 3.9 anstrom resolution, the Full Monty is has been laid bare. Researchers describe in Cell exactly how the human respiratory megacomplex is put together and appears to function.

The dentition of the wedgefish appears designed to crush shellfish, but it also eats stingrays

The diet of some animals is not what the shape of their teeth would have you think. That's the conclusion from a recent study on the jaw of a wedgefish by a team headed by Mason Dean, scientist at the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces in Potsdam-Golm. Although these batoid fish, i.e. relatives of sharks and rays, have wide teeth and normally eat shellfish and shrimp, fragments of tail spines in their jaws reveal that they also hunt stingrays. This suggests that, in the future, zoologists and may need to look harder for evidence of animals' dietary habits and behaviours, as they may not be immediately apparent.

Stressed-out meerkats less likely to help group

Dominant female meerkats use aggression to keep subordinates from breeding, but a new study finds this negative behavior also can result in the latter becoming less willing to help within the group.

Crowning the 'King of the Crops': Sequencing the white Guinea yam genome

An international collaboration involving the Earlham Institute, Norwich, UK, and the Iwate Biotechnology Research Centre, Japan, has for the first time provided a genome sequence for the white Guinea yam, a staple crop with huge economic and cultural significance on the African continent and a lifeline for millions of people.

Australian police hunt killer of giant crocodile

A manhunt has begun for the killer of a giant saltwater crocodile in Australia, as authorities warned its death would trigger more aggressive behaviour among younger crocs in the area.

Re-introduction of native mammals helps restore arid landscapes

Small native mammals eat more plant seeds than had been realised, and their loss to predators such as foxes and feral cats has likely caused significant changes to vegetation in outback Australia.

Dams and other barriers to salmon spawning grounds create challenges for fisheries managers

Wild salmon, historically, are born in rivers, swim to sea to live out their adulthoods, and find their way back to their freshwater spawning grounds to reproduce before dying.

In defence of great crested newts—why these elusive amphibians are worth the worry

You have probably never seen a great crested newt. If you're in the UK, you'll usually only hear about them when construction work is halted because they are found at a building site. In the past month alone, relocating these protected animals has caused delays to new roads, a huge rail freight hub, a 1,400-home development and a football club's state-of-the-art £14m training complex. Even an illegal rave in Norfolk only made the news because it was too close to a protected breeding site.

Marine snails know how to budget their housing costs

For nearly 50 years, researchers have been stumped as to why sea shells from warm tropical waters are comparatively larger than their cold water relatives. New research, led by the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (Coral CoE) at James Cook University in Australia with researchers at British Antarctic Survey, suggests that it all comes down to 'housing cost.'

The hectic around-the-clock effort to save an endangered, orphaned bat

Early one Wednesday morning in January, in an exhibit at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, a fruit bat named Patty went into labor.

Party discipline for jumping genes

Jumping genes, transposons, are part of the genome of most organisms, aggregated into families and can damage the genome by jumping. How hosts suppress the jumping is well investigated. Why they still can jump has hardly been understood so far. Researchers from Vetmeduni Vienna investigated for the first time in all transposons of the host organism, which properties and host environments facilitate jumping. They showed that family affiliation is more important than position.

Rainbow colors reveal cell history

Tracing the history of individual cells in the developing organism can reveal functional differences among seemingly uniform cells. This knowledge is important for defining the characteristics of highly regenerative cells in order to target them for cellular therapies, as well as to prevent the formation of unfit cells, which compromise the overall health of the organism. The study introduced here presents a new method for tracing the history of β-cells, which perform the essential function of secreting insulin in response to glucose.

New pollinator guidelines aim to get Ireland's farmland buzzing again

Researchers behind the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan (AIPP) this week unveiled new Farmland Guidelines to add another strand to a coordinated drive to help Ireland's pollinators survive and thrive. The guidelines were launched at the National Ploughing Championships by Minister of State at Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Andrew Doyle TD.

Development of an artificial orchid cultivation kit

Orchids are loved by gardeners around the world but are notoriously difficult to cultivate. Japanese researchers have developed a new orchid cultivation kit that allows seed germination, flowering, and fruiting, and have succeeded in the complete artificial cultivation of an autonomous orchid. Since this kit can be made from materials costing only a few dollars, it can broaden the range of opportunities for orchid cultivation in general households. It is also expected to be a useful tool for preserving the genetic diversity of orchidaceous plants, many of which are in danger of extinction.


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