Friday, June 22, 2018

Science X Newsletter Friday, Jun 22

Dear Reader ,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for June 22, 2018:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

What causes the sound of a dripping tap—and how do you stop it?

How community structure affects the resilience of a network

Kidney cells engineered to produce insulin when caffeine is present in the body

Low-cost plastic sensors could monitor a range of health conditions

Broken shuttle may interfere with learning in major brain disorders

Research team discovers drug compound that stops cancer cells from spreading

New study shows how gut immune cells are kept in control

Printing microelectrode array sensors on gummi candy

Detecting metabolites at close range

New gibbon genus discovered in ancient Chinese tomb

The pho­to­elec­tric ef­fect in stereo

New insights into DNA 'melting' reveal chink in bacteria's armour

Understanding how to control 'jumping' genes

Unconfirmed near-Earth objects

Dynamic modeling helps predict the behaviors of gut microbes

Astronomy & Space news

Unconfirmed near-Earth objects

Near-Earth objects (NEOs) are small solar system bodies whose orbits sometimes bring them close to the Earth, potentially threatening a collision. NEOs are tracers of the composition, dynamics and environmental conditions throughout the solar system and of the history of our planetary system. Most meteorites come from NEOs, which are thus one of our key sources of knowledge about the solar system's development. Because some of them are easier to reach with spacecraft than the Moon or planets, NEOs are potential targets for NASA missions. The total number of known NEOs exceeds 18000. The discovery rate has risen rapidly recently, driven by in part the 1998 mandate of Congress to identify 90 percent of NEOs larger than 1 km (in 2005 Congress, recognizing the danger posed even by smaller NEOs, extended the mandate to sizes as small as 140 meters.)

Rosetta image archive complete

All high-resolution images and the underpinning data from Rosetta's pioneering mission at Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko are now available in ESA's archives, with the last release including the iconic images of finding lander Philae, and Rosetta's final descent to the comet's surface.

New model predicts that we're probably the only advanced civilization in the observable universe

The Fermi Paradox remains a stumbling block when it comes to the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence (SETI). Named in honor of the famed physicist Enrico Fermi who first proposed it, this paradox addresses the apparent disparity between the expected probability that intelligent life is plentiful in the universe, and the apparent lack of evidence of extra-terrestrial intelligence (ETI).

Technology news

Low-cost plastic sensors could monitor a range of health conditions

An international team of researchers have developed a low-cost sensor made from semiconducting plastic that can be used to diagnose or monitor a wide range of health conditions, such as surgical complications or neurodegenerative diseases.

Printing microelectrode array sensors on gummi candy

Microelectrodes can be used for direct measurement of electrical signals in the brain or heart. These applications require soft materials, however. With existing methods, attaching electrodes to such materials poses significant challenges. A team at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has now succeeded in printing electrodes directly onto several soft substrates.

Tracking cancer cell development with 'drinkable' electronic sensors

Thanks to an unorthodox approach being proposed by EPFL researchers, patients may soon be able to track their illness simply by drinking a solution containing millions of tiny electronic sensors disguised as bacteria.

Publication of Digital Key Release 1.0 specification is announced

O tempora o mores. Remember when a "phone" was perceived as a device for incoming and outgoing calls? Now the call function is so by-the-way.

Electric scooter-sharing moves into the fast lane

How fast is the electric scooter-sharingcraze growing?

Artificial vision enables solar field calibration overnight

Researchers have developed a prototype for calibrating an entire solar field in a single night, shaving months off the current calibration system for large size concentrated solar power (CSP) tower plants.

Chile wants to start taxing companies like Uber and Netflix

Chile wants to start taxing digital giants like Uber, Spotify and Netflix to level the playing field for their more traditional counterparts, a minister has said.

Data ethics is more than just what we do with data, it's also about who's doing it

If the recent Cambridge Analytica data scandal has taught us anything, it's that the ethical cultures of our largest tech firms need tougher scrutiny.

Driverless cars offer new forms of control – no wonder governments are keen

Imagine a state-of-the-art driverless car is zipping along a road with a disabled 90-year-old-passenger. A young mother with a toddler steps into the road. The car must make a decision: drive into the mother and child and kill them, or career into a wall and kill the passenger.

Combating hunger with artificial intelligence

In order to improve world food conditions, a team around computer science professor Kristian Kersting was inspired by the technology behind Google News.

Doomsaying about new technology helps make it better

That new technologies could actually be bad for us, by sapping our attention or ruining our memories, is an argument that goes back to Socrates. It's tempting to summarily dismiss these concerns, but such tech-doomsaying is actually an important part of economic discovery.

Researchers make advances with new automated driving algorithm

A self-driving vehicle has to detect objects, track them over time, and predict where they will be in the future in order to plan a safe manoeuvre. These tasks are typically trained independently from one another, which could result in disasters should any one task fail.

Chinese island eyes oasis from web censorship for foreigners

China's Hainan island has proposed allowing foreign visitors access to censored websites such as YouTube and Facebook, a double standard that has raised cries of indignation from the country's internet users.

EU lawmakers miffed over new Facebook snub

European Union lawmakers are unhappy that Facebook is refusing to comply with their request to send two senior officials to testify at a hearing into the Cambridge Analytica data scandal.

Problem solved—Internet of Things with SDN network scalability

A fresh blueprint outlining how to rebuild the Internet to make it super slick at handling rising traffic from new technologies has been unveiled by scientists.

Justices adopt digital-age privacy rules to track cellphones

Police generally need a warrant to look at records that reveal where cellphone users have been, the Supreme Court ruled Friday in a big victory for privacy interests in the digital age.

GM to build new SUV in Mexico

General Motors confirmed Friday that it will produce a new sport-utility model in Mexico, despite President Donald Trump's efforts to pressure US companies to add manufacturing at home.

Paris slams brakes on electric car-sharing scheme

The city of Paris is pulling the plug on an electric car-sharing system once hailed as the future of urban transport, with officials voting to cancel the contract in the face of mounting losses.

Oregon email restored; official says hack fed scheme

After a multi-day freeze triggered by a wave of spam messages, officials confirmed late Thursday that Oregon government emails could once again reach the public—and described the attack as part of a sophisticated scheme.

Airbus warns could leave UK if no Brexit deal

Aviation giant Airbus has warned it could pull out of Britain if it leaves the European Union without a deal, upping the pressure Friday on Prime Minister Theresa May to make progress in negotiations with Brussels.

Better, faster wireless communication on the horizon for mobile device users

An EU initiative shows promising developments towards improved wireless connectivity between networks and users.

Saudis say 12,000 pirating devices seized amid Qatar rift

Saudi Arabia has said it has confiscated more than 12,000 pirating devices in the country, after rival Qatar's beIN Media accused broadcasters in the kingdom of bootlegging its World Cup broadcasts.

Medicine & Health news

Kidney cells engineered to produce insulin when caffeine is present in the body

A team of researchers from ETH Zurich and the University of Basel in Switzerland and Institut Universitaire de Technologie in France has that found that embryonic kidney cells engineered to produce insulin when exposed to caffeine were able to reduce glucose levels in mouse models. In their paper published in the journal Nature, the group describes their efforts and how well it worked in the mouse models.

Broken shuttle may interfere with learning in major brain disorders

Unable to carry signals based on sights and sounds to the genes that record memories, a broken shuttle protein may hinder learning in patients with intellectual disability, schizophrenia, and autism.

Research team discovers drug compound that stops cancer cells from spreading

Fighting cancer means killing cancer cells. However, oncologists know that it's also important to halt the movement of cancer cells before they spread throughout the body. New research, published today in the journal Nature Communications, shows that it may be possible to freeze cancer cells and kill them where they stand.

New study shows how gut immune cells are kept in control

Every day, the human gut works on a fine-tuned balance that ensures the retention of essential nutrients while preventing infection by potential armful microbes. Contributing to this surveillance system is a specialised group of immune cells that are held back due to unknown reasons, although they have many characteristics of activated cells. Now, a new study led by Marc Veldhoen, group leader at Instituto de Medicina Molecular João Lobo Antunes (iMM; Portugal) shows how these cells are kept under control. The work published now in Science Immunology reveals that the mitochondria of these cells have a different composition that reduces their energy production capacity, keeping them in a controlled activated mode. This knowledge can give rise to new diagnostics and treatments for conditions affecting the digestive tract such as gut inflammation or infections.

New technique helps uncover changes in ALS neurons

Northwestern Medicine scientists have discovered that some neurons affected by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) display hypo-excitability, using a new method to measure electrical activity in cells, according to a study published in Stem Cell Reports.

Study reveals new therapeutic target for slowing the spread of flu virus

Influenza A (flu A) hijacks host proteins for viral RNA splicing and blocking these interactions caused replication of the virus to slow, according to new research published in Nature Communications by Kristin W. Lynch, Ph.D., chair of the department of Biochemistry and Biophysics in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and doctoral student Matthew Thompson. Their results also suggest that infection with flu A may reduce splicing of some host genes, which could point to novel strategies for antiviral therapies.

Police killings of unarmed black Americans affect mental health of black community

Black Americans are nearly three times more likely to be killed by police than their white counterparts, with even larger disparities among those who are unarmed. The trend is also harming the mental health of the black community, according to new research published in The Lancet from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and the Boston University School of Public Health.

New technology helps to improve treatment for NHS patients with depression

A new web-based "feedback" technology which allows therapists to accurately monitor how patients with depression are coping has been found to reduce the probability of deterioration during psychological treatment by 74%, a new study has found.

Accurate measurements of sodium intake confirm relationship with mortality

Eating foods high in salt is known to contribute to high blood pressure, but does that linear relationship extend to increased risk of cardiovascular disease and death? Recent cohort studies have contested that relationship, but a new study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology by investigators from Brigham and Women's Hospital and their colleagues using multiple measurements confirms it. The study suggests that an inaccurate way of estimating sodium intake may help account for the paradoxical findings of others.

Inhaled nitric oxide may reduce kidney complications from heart surgery

Administration of nitric oxide gas during and for 24 hours following heart surgery decreased the risk of patients developing acute and chronic kidney problems, a randomized, controlled trial conducted in China found.

Normalisation of 'plus-size' risks hidden danger of obesity, study finds

New research warns that the normalisation of 'plus-size' body shapes may be leading to an increasing number of people underestimating their weight—undermining efforts to tackle England's ever-growing obesity problem.

Study suggests bias for sons remains among second-generation women of South Asian descent

A preference for male children persists among second-generation mothers of South Asian descent, according to new study that found a skewed ratio of male-to-female babies born to these women in Ontario.

Few receive all high-priority clinical preventive services

(HealthDay)—Only 8 percent of U.S. adults aged 35 years and older receive all high-priority clinical preventive services, according to a report published in the June issue of Health Affairs.

More cash-pay patients means docs need billing strategies

(HealthDay)—More patients are paying for health care services with cash, and this means physician practices need a comprehensive billing policy, according to an article published in Medical Economics.

Many physicians not prepared for end-of-life talks with patients

(HealthDay)—While nearly all physicians say end-of-life conversations are important, many report lacking the training to have such conversations, according to a brief report published online May 23 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Cured by a virus: Woman receives experimental treatment for debilitating infection

For five years, Patti Swearingen battled an infection that refused to go away. Doctors prescribed round after round of antibiotics, but the infection kept coming back. Eventually, the microscopic war inside her body left Swearingen so weak and debilitated she could barely leave her living room couch.

Expert discusses how border separations can traumatize children

Unplanned separation from parents is among the most damaging events a young child can experience, according to trauma research. A Stanford expert explains how it can hurt kids' development.

Separating children from parents can have significant health consequences, psychologist says

The Trump administration's "zero tolerance" immigration policy has led to more than 2,300 children being separated from their parents.

Probiotics effective in keeping cantaloupes safe to eat

Just as probiotics can bring a wide range of benefits to your health, they can also make produce safer, according to new UConn research on cantaloupes.

Antibiotic promise in superbug war

An entirely new class of antibiotics has been shown to be effective against 100 different samples of Clostridium difficile, often the cause of drug-resistant infections picked up by patients while in hospital.

Watching stem cells repair spinal cord in real time

Monash University researchers have restored movement and regenerated nerves using stem cells in zebra fish where the spinal cord is severely damaged.

Miniature testing of drug pairs on tumour biopsies

Combinations of cancer drugs can be quickly and cheaply tested on tumour cells using a novel device developed by EMBL scientists. The research, reported in Nature Communications on June 22, marks the latest advancement in the field of personalised medicine.

Why your summer might be full of mosquitoes, according to a scientist

As you pack your bags for the cottage or campground this weekend, don't forget to bring light clothes with long sleeves—and a truckload or two of insect repellent.

Sex and gender both shape your health, in different ways

When you think about gender, what comes to mind? Is it anatomy or the way someone dresses or acts? Do you think of gender as binary —male or female? Do you think it predicts sexual orientation?

How mega-mansions increase risks of heart disease and diabetes

Farmland is disappearing in many provinces across Canada. According to Larry Davis of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, 350 acres of farmland are now lost per day in Ontario alone to non-agricultural uses such as luxury housing.

Urgent call for prevention strategies for sleep-related infant deaths

Dr. Kyran Quinlan and colleagues at Rush issue an urgent call for prevention strategies for sleep-related infant deaths in his viewpoint, "Protecting Infants From Sleep-Related Deaths" published in the June 18 online issue of JAMA Pediatrics.

The key to good cancer care? Better admin

One of the most important factors in people's overall experience of cancer care is good administration, according to results from a major new study funded by Macmillan Cancer Support and led by the University of Exeter Medical School in collaboration with University College London.

Nuts pack a nutritional (and brainy) punch, researchers say

Children aged 8-13 years are being sought for a University of South Australia study to test whether nuts can improve their cognitive ability.

Nearly all adolescents have eating, activity or weight-related issues

A new study from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health found that nearly all young people have struggles with eating, activity and weight as they move from adolescence to adulthood.

Study finds a novel and more practical way to measure kidney function

Researchers working on a study to improve kidney function measurements have found a way to provide more accurate readings. Using an injectable biomarker, physicians were able to read the actual working capacity of the kidney in a clinical setting in half the time it used to take.

Cancer immunotherapy—broadening the scope of targetable tumours

The field of cancer immunotherapy has experienced alternating periods of success and failure in recent years. Open Biology has published a Review on cancer immunotherapy, which looks at therapies that have revolutionised the way we treat cancer. The first author of the review, Jitske van den Bulk, tells us more.

CPR is key to survival of sudden cardiac arrest

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation increases the possibility of surviving sudden cardiac arrest. But it's not just trained professionals who can jump in to perform CPR. There are simple, life-saving steps any bystander can take.

CPAP machines for sleep apnea could decrease heart failure risk

People with sleep apnea, especially those over 60, could decrease their risk of heart failure by using CPAP masks at night to help with breathing, according to new research.

Can you catch germs from a public toilet seat?

We've all been there, you're desperate for the loo, and frantically hunting for a toilet, only to find when you get there, that the seat is covered with "droplets" from the previous user. So what should you do – carry on regardless, or try and squat while you do your business?

Your exposure to air pollution could be much higher than your neighbour's – here's why

Each year, tens of thousands of people in the UK die early due to air pollution, which is linked to asthma, heart disease and lung cancer. The health risk presented by air pollution depends on how much dirty air we breathe over time. Pollution levels in UK cities regularly exceed the limits set by the World Health Organisation. But people's exposure to pollution can vary greatly between people living on the same street, or even the same house.

Toward a computer model that predicts the outcome of eye diseases

The eye hosts a powerful biological computer, the retina. Understanding how the retina transforms images from the outside world into signals that the brain can interpret would not only result in insights into brain computations, but could also be useful for medicine. As machine learning and artificial intelligence advance, eye diseases will soon be described in terms of the perturbations of computations performed by the retina. Do we have enough knowledge of retinal circuits to understand how a perturbation will affect the computations the retina performs? An international team of scientists has addressed this question in a set of experiments combining genetics, viral and molecular tools, high-density microelectrode arrays, and computer models. The work shows that their newly developed model of the retina can predict with high precision the outcome of a defined perturbation. The work is an important step towards a computer model of the retina that can predict the outcome of retinal diseases.

High levels of oral disease among elite athletes affecting performance

Significantly high levels of oral disease found among GB's elite athletes is leading to poorer on-field performance, research by UCL's Eastman Dental Institute has concluded.

Physical therapy could lower need for opioids, but lack of money and time are hurdles

Physical therapists help people walk again after a stroke and recover after injury or surgery, but did you know they also prevent exposure to opioids? This is timely, given we are in a public health emergency related to an opioid crisis.

Picking an exercise boot camp

(HealthDay)—Exercise boot camps get you in shape through one or more days of intensive training.

Overdose risk quintuples with opioid and benzodiazepine use

In the first 90 days of concurrent opioid and benzodiazepine use, the risk of opioid-related overdose increases five-fold compared to opioid-only use among Medicare recipients, according to a new study from the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy, published today in JAMA Network Open.

Health insurance plans may be fueling opioid epidemic

Health care insurers including Medicare, Medicaid and major private insurers have not done enough to combat the opioid epidemic, suggests a study led by researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Starving fungi could save millions of lives each year

Researchers have identified a potentially new approach to treating lethal fungal infections that claim more than 1.6 million lives each year: starving the fungi of key nutrients, preventing their growth and spread.

Gender-specific differences in intestinal lining

A new study published online in The FASEB Journal pinpoints several gender-specific differences in intestinal environment that could be significant for both intestinal and non-intestinal disorders in which the intestinal lining or microbiome have been altered.

Blood test predicts spastic cerebral palsy

A Delaware team including Erin Crowgey, Ph.D., associate director of Bioinformatics with Nemours Biomedical Research, has published a study in the peer-reviewed journal BMC Bioinformatics, showing that DNA patterns in circulating blood cells can be used to help identify spastic cerebral palsy (CP) patients (Crowgey et al.).

Challenging our understanding of how platelets are made

Platelets are uniquely mammalian cells, and are the small cells of the blood that are critical for us to stop bleeding when we cut ourselves. They are also a central part of the process of thrombosis, which underlies heart attacks and stroke, and form the target of major drugs used in the treatment of these diseases, such as aspirin. These cells are formed from large precursor cells, megakaryocytes, in the bone marrow and the lung, at a remarkable rate of 100 billion platelets per day in adult humans (that is one million platelets per second).

Collaborative model for post-disaster behavioral health recovery may serve as standard

Faculty in LSU Health New Orleans schools of Medicine and Public Health and colleagues report that a collaborative effort to build capacity to address behavioral health and promote community resilience after the 2016 Great Flood in Baton Rouge, LA successfully expanded local behavioral health services delivery capacity and that the model may be useful to other disaster-struck communities. The Case Study on the project was published this month in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

People with schizophrenia account for more than one in ten suicide cases

A new CAMH and Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) study shows that people with schizophrenia account for more than 1 in 10 cases of suicide in Ontario, and that young people are disproportionately affected.

Men tolerate stress incontinence years before seeking help

Men often tolerate stress urinary incontinence for more than two years before seeking medical help—and one-third put up with it for more than five years, making it important for doctors to check for this problem, a new study from UT Southwestern researchers advises.

Nearly 400 people used California assisted death law in 2017

California health officials say 374 terminally ill people took drugs to end their lives in 2017, the first full year after a law making the option legal took effect.

Antidiabetic action of natural fatty acid derivatives not confirmed

A research collaboration between the healthcare company Sanofi and Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) has investigated the antidiabetic action of certain natural fatty acids, so-called FAHFAs, which U.S. scientists reported in 2014. Elevated levels of 5-PAHSA and 9-PAHSA were found in mice which overexpressed the glucose transporter Glut4. This transporter is controlled by insulin and causes the uptake of blood glucose into muscle cells. It had been reported that both PAHSA isomers occur in food and are also produced by human cells. Diabetics have lower blood levels of these compounds than healthy individuals. When mice were fed with a FAHFA-enriched diet, their blood glucose levels were found to decrease and insulin was released.

A sudden and lasting separation from a parent can permanently alter brain development

At birth, the brain is the most underdeveloped organ in our body. It takes up until our mid-20s for our brains to fully mature. Any serious and prolonged adversity, such as a sudden, unexpected and lasting separation from a caretaker, changes the structure of the developing brain. It damages a child's ability to process emotion and leaves scars that are profound and lifelong.

Rapid declines in child and maternal mortality in Rwanda, Madagascar share common roots

Deaths of children under 5 have dropped by nearly 20 percent in just two years in a poor, rural district in Madagascar—despite the island nation having the lowest health-spending level in the world. This transformation echoes the strength of results seen across the last decade in rural Rwanda, where under-5 mortality dropped 60 percent between 2005 and 2010 in Southern Kayonza and Kirehe districts.

Brain cortex neural reservoir analysed

A recent study headed by Dr. Juan Nácher of Valencia University has shed light on a new function of neural plasticity and confirms the presence of a 'reservoir' of neurons that are added to the networks during adult life rather than during the developmental stage, as is normally the case.

Diaphragm linked to chronic low back pain, study shows

Researchers of the Physical Therapy and Medicine departments of the CEU Cardenal Herrera University recently published a study on patients with chronic, non-specific low back pain, in which they conducted the first clinical trial of the effectiveness of osteopathic manual therapy with or without specific techniques on the diaphragm. The results have been published in Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. About 69 percent of the Spanish population is said to be suffering chronic lower back pain for a period of over three years, which makes lumbago the most common cause that forces Spaniards to take time off work, and the main cause of disability in under-45s.

Repurposing promising cancer drugs may lead to a new approach to treating tuberculosis

Promising experimental cancer chemotherapy drugs may help knock out another life-threatening disease: tuberculosis (TB). A new study published by scientists at Texas Biomedical Research Institute in San Antonio pinpoints a mechanism in regulating cell death called apoptosis that is a potential new target for helping to control the bacterial infection (Mycobacterium tuberculosis or M.tb) that causes the lung disease TB.

Sex, drugs, and heart failure

Heart failure is almost as common in women as men, but its characteristics vary by sex. A new review summarizes the current state of sex-sensitive issues related to heart failure drugs included in treatment guidelines, and suggests future directions for improved care.

Researchers report novel method to quickly make therapeutic proteins from human blood

UMBC researchers report novel method to quickly make therapeutic proteins from human blood

Decellularized cartilage-based scaffold promotes bone regeneration at fracture site

To help prevent possible complications such as nonunion at large fracture sites, researchers have developed a cartilage matrix that mimics the early stages of repair and provides the essential structural and biological properties needed by bone-forming cells to divide and grow. A new study describing the methods used for matrix decellularization and optimization to promote bone regeneration is published in Tissue Engineering, Part A.

About face: Special collection of papers celebrates research on how the human face forms

Our faces can reveal a lot about us, and now scientists are revealing a lot about faces. PLOS Genetics announces a special collection of papers to highlight recent advances in our understanding of how faces form, curated by Seth Weinberg of the University of Pittsburgh, and colleagues. The collection, entitled "Craniofacial genetics: where have we been and where are we going," publishes June 22 and features research on the development of the face and skull, facial birth defects and normal facial variation.

Biology news

New insights into DNA 'melting' reveal chink in bacteria's armour

Scientists have shed light on DNA 'melting' – a crucial process fundamental to all life.

Understanding how to control 'jumping' genes

A team of Texas A&M University and Texas AgriLife Research scientists have made a new discovery of how a single protein, Serrate, plays dual roles in controlling jumping genes.

Dynamic modeling helps predict the behaviors of gut microbes

The human gut is teeming with microbes, each interacting with one another in a mind-boggling network of positive and negative exchanges. Some produce substances that serve as food for other microbes, while others produce toxins—antibiotics—that kill their neighbors.

Plants have unique lock to control expression of genes, study finds

Purdue University scientists have discovered evidence that the repressive structures that plants use to keep genes turned off is built with a potential self-destruct switch. The findings offer insight into ways to control gene expression to alter plants' characteristics.

Receptor networks underpin plant immunity

Fresh insights into plant immunity amount to a new field of discovery that could advance the next generation of disease-resistant crops.

European eels found to suffer muscle damage due to cocaine in the water

A team of researchers from the University of Naples Federico II and the University of Salerno has found that eels exposed to very small amounts of cocaine in the water suffer health problems. In their paper published in Science of The Total Environment, the group describes their study of the eels and what they found.

Yellowstone's 'landscape of fear' not so scary after all

After wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park in the mid-1990s, some scientists thought the large predator reestablished a 'landscape of fear' that caused elk, the wolf's main prey, to avoid risky places where wolves killed them. This fueled the emerging idea that predators affect prey populations and ecosystems not only by eating prey animals, but by scaring them too. But according to findings from Utah State University ecologists Michel Kohl and Dan MacNulty, Yellowstone's 'landscape of fear' is not as scary as first thought.

Sticklebacks infected with parasites influence behavior of healthy fish

Parasites passed on via the food chain often influence the behaviour of their host to their own benefit. One example of this is the tapeworm Schistocephalus solidus, which makes three-spined sticklebacks behave carelessly. The infected fish venture more often into open waters, making themselves easier prey for piscivorous birds, e.g. kingfishers. This is just what the tapeworm wants, because it reproduces in the bird's intestines. A team of evolutionary biologists around Dr. Jörn Peter Scharsack at the University of Münster (Germany) have now demonstrated for the first time that the tapeworm not only influences the behaviour of the infected fish—indirectly, it can also induce equally risky behaviour in other healthy fish in the group. The study is published in the current issue of the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Lipid metabolism discovered in cell nucleus

The cell nucleus is an organelle, in which the DNA of an organism is protected and duplicated. The nucleus of this organ-like structure in the cell plasma is surrounded by an outer and an inner nuclear envelope, which is penetrated by openings – so-called nuclear pores. The outer nuclear envelope is also connected to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), another organelle. Up until now, scientists assumed that only the ER and the outer nuclear envelope were involved in the cell's lipid metabolism and that the inner envelope obtained its lipids exclusively through the nuclear pores. A team of researchers from Max F. Perutz Laboratories, a subsidiary of the University of Vienna and Medical University of Vienna, has discovered that the inner membrane exhibits a unique type of metabolic activity.

In old age, efficiency is key to successful parenting

Old albatrosses that are more efficient at finding food during migration are more likely to successfully raise young, new research shows.

Feeding frenzy—public accuse the media of deliberately fuelling shark fear

Are you scared of sharks? If you never read or watched the news, would you still be?

African wild dogs make comeback at Mozambican wildlife park

The African wild dogs are back.

First step to lasting wheat health

Substantial reductions in a deadly root disease of wheat crops and corresponding increases in yields of grain and straw mark a significant advance in the continuing war to protect the staple cereal from the ravages of the take-all soil pathogen, to which it is highly susceptible.

California officials call for endangered listing for marten

A cat-sized, weasel-like animal whose habitat in forests along California's northern coast is under threat from marijuana cultivation should receive endangered species status, state fish and wildlife officials said.

Wildlife death match—ants versus termites

Ants and termites are at war, and it's not the strongest one who wins, but the fastest.

Five groups get $250,000 to research Florida lionfish removal

Florida wildlife officials are awarding $250,000 to five organizations to research new ways to remove invasive lionfish from deep-water habitats.

GA4GH streaming API htsget a bridge to the future for modern genomic data processing

The Large Scale Genomics Work Stream of the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health (GA4GH) has announced eight new implementations of its htsget protocol, a standard released in October 2017 for accessing large-scale genomic sequencing data online without using file transfers. The protocol and interoperability testing are reported in a paper released online this week in the journal Bioinformatics.


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