Friday, May 5, 2017

Science X Newsletter Friday, May 5

Dear Reader ,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for May 5, 2017:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Researchers achieve direct counterfactual quantum communication

Sandwiched between superconductors, graphene adopts exotic electronic states

Genetic analysis reveals patterns of migration of early Bantu speaking people

Iceland drills 4.7 km down into volcano to tap clean energy

'Smart' denim promises touchscreen tech clothes

Extinction of Alpine plants may remain undetectable for a long time

Planar Elliptical Runner is biped with clever mechanical design

Platelets suppress T cell immunity against cancer

The first one-bit chemical memory unit—the 'chit'

First test flight of stratospheric solar plane (Update)

NASA rover takes samples from active linear dune on Mars

Methylated phenylarsenical metabolites identified in chicken livers

The formation of folds on the surface of the brain

Making 3-D printing as simple as printing on paper

Colony density, not hormones, triggers honeybee 'puberty'

Astronomy & Space news

NASA rover takes samples from active linear dune on Mars

As it drives uphill from a band of rippled sand dunes, NASA's Curiosity Mars rover is toting a fistful of dark sand for onboard analysis that will complete the rover's investigation of those dunes.

Strike-delayed European rocket launches in French Guiana

An Ariane 5 rocket carrying two telecommunications satellites for South Korea and Brazil blasted off Thursday in a launch which had been delayed since March 20 due to a crippling strike in French Guiana.

Image: Listening for Cassini

ESA's sensitive tracking antennas at New Norcia, Western Australia, and Malarg├╝e, Argentina (seen here in 2012), are being called in to help gather crucial science data during Cassini's last months in orbit, dubbed the Grand Finale.

Titan ripe for drone invasion

With its dense and hydrocarbon-rich atmosphere, Titan has been a subject of interest for many decades. And with the success of the Cassini-Huygens mission, which began exploring Saturn and its system of moons back in 2004, there are many proposals on the table for follow-up missions that would explore the surface of Titan and its methane seas in greater depth.

Ariane 5's second liftoff this year

Ariane 5 has delivered two telecom satellites, SGDC and Koreasat-7, into their planned orbits.

Image: Illustration of an Earth-sized 'Tatooine' planet

With two suns in its sky, Luke Skywalker's home planet Tatooine in "Star Wars" looks like a parched, sandy desert world. In real life, thanks to observatories such as NASA's Kepler space telescope, we know that two-star systems can indeed support planets, although planets discovered so far around double-star systems are large and gaseous. Scientists wondered: If an Earth-size planet were orbiting two suns, could it support life?

Technology news

Iceland drills 4.7 km down into volcano to tap clean energy

It's named after a Nordic god and drills deep into the heart of a volcano: "Thor" is a rig that symbolises Iceland's leading-edge efforts to produce powerful clean energy.

'Smart' denim promises touchscreen tech clothes

A young man in a white t-shirt pulls on a dark blue denim trucker jacket, tucks his smartphone in an inside pocket and puts in-ear headphones in his right ear.

Planar Elliptical Runner is biped with clever mechanical design

(Tech Xplore)—Designing robots' capabilities for running and walking intrigues and challenges researchers. A recent video of work done in Florida shows an interesting looking biped that uses, as The Verge put it, mechanics, not computer brains, to move.

First test flight of stratospheric solar plane (Update)

The first solar plane aimed at reaching the stratosphere made an initial low-altitude test flight over Switzerland Friday.

Making 3-D printing as simple as printing on paper

If you haven't used a 3-D printer yet, you may be surprised to learn that it isn't fully automated the way your office's inkjet is.

A touchable tablet to guide the visually impaired

Researchers at EPFL have developed a tablet to help people with a visual impairment find their way around unfamiliar places. The device very quickly forms shapes and relief maps that users can then explore with their fingers, using their sense of touch. The tablet could also be used to help visually impaired schoolchildren learn subjects such as geometry or mathematics.

Study highlights growing significance of cryptocurrencies

More than 3 million people (three times previous estimates) are estimated to be actively using cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, finds the first global cryptocurrency benchmarking study by the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance.

Shape-changing fog screen invented

There is something spooky about being able to see and talk to the pirate Blackbeard while one walks down a dark alley and then stepping right through him as he disappears into thin air. Such entertainment experiences are now possible thanks to a shape-changing fog screen that has been developed at the University of Sussex.

How Burger King revealed the hackability of voice assistants

Burger King pulled a pretty juicy marketing stunt last month that drew plenty of attention—not just to the Whopper, but also to the intrinsic vulnerabilities of a new type of voice-activated gadget.

Internet of things sensors could connect via ambient radio waves

Internet of things (IoT) systems usually link networks of sensors via radio, but radios demand battery power thus limiting usability. Disney Research has determined that one solution may be to get rid of the radios all together and communicate via the ambient radio waves from TV, radio and cell phones.

Iraqi entrepreneurs find business success in smartphone apps

It didn't take long for Ahmed Subhi and his friends to figure out the best project to launch amid Iraq's acute economic crisis. They just looked at their phones.

Traffic signals in Frisco will soon talk with cars as part of a new technology push

What if you knew when you stopped at a traffic signal whether you had two minutes or 10 seconds before the light turned green?

What will carmakers think of next? Three cool Chevrolet features worth a look

I recently spent time driving a lot of new Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs.

Sweden's booming video game industry is more than just Microsoft's 'Minecraft'

Microsoft raised eyebrows in 2014 with the announcement it was spending a hefty $2.5 billion to buy Mojang, the Swedish developer of world-building game "Minecraft."

With big goals, initiative hopes to prove robots create and complement jobs

Recently in Lawrenceville, Pa., roboticists sat alongside executives of some of the largest manufacturing companies in the country, as hundreds gathered to start a $260 million national initiative headquartered in Pittsburgh.

Review: Big TV sound for big price: Sonos Playbase packs power of 10 speakers

Sonos. It's the gold standard for multi-room audio.

First large Chinese-made passenger jet makes its maiden flight

The first large Chinese-made passenger jetliner completed its maiden test flight on Friday, a milestone in China's long-term goal to break into the Western-dominated aircraft market.

Internet trolls are made, not born, researchers say

You, too, could become a troll. Not a mythological creature that hides under bridges, but one of those annoying people who post disruptive messages in internet discussion groups – "trolling" for attention—and off-topic posters who throw out racist, sexist or politically controversial rants. The term has come to be applied to posters who use offensive language, harass other posters and generally conjure up the image of an ugly, deformed beast.

New effort helps power utilities and others better plan for the future

If you're an electric utility planning a new power plant by a river, it would be nice to know what that river will look like 20 years down the road. Will it be so high that it might flood the new facility? Will the water be so low that it can't be used to cool the plant?

Sustainable biomedical textiles for the future

The textile and clothing industry has a long history in Switzerland. In order to remain competitive in the international market, the industry relies on innovations. The "SUBITEX – Sustainable Biomedicine Textiles" research initiative was set up by Empa and Swiss Textiles, the Swiss textile industry association, for this very purpose. Through innovative approaches and knowledge transfer, researchers and players in the industry are working tirelessly together to promote innovations in the field of biomedical textiles, and to bring them to the market more rapidly.

Buffett cuts stake in IBM and shares slide

Warren Buffett says he's sold about a third of the 81 million shares he holds in IBM, sending the stock down sharply in early trading.

Cancer cells detected more accurately in hospital with artificial intelligence

Cancer cells are to be detected and classified more efficiently and accurately, using ground-breaking artificial intelligence – thanks to a new collaboration between the University of Warwick, Intel Corporation, the Alan Turing Institute and University Hospitals Coventry & Warwickshire NHS Trust (UHCW).

Turkish court rejects Wikipedia appeal on ban

A Turkish court has rejected an appeal filed by Wikipedia against a ban in Turkey on its website.

EU aviation agency proposing rules for drone operation

The European Aviation Safety Agency is proposing rules on the use of small drones that would include a requirement for operators of all but the smallest devices to register with authorities.

Spying made simple: Hackers use old tools to dodge detection

A Romanian security firm says it has discovered a ring of digital spies using bottom-rung tools to break into hundreds of government computers. The find suggests that you don't necessarily need sophistication to steal secrets.

Apple jumps to lead wearable computing with smartwatch

Apple has leapt to the lead in wearable computing on strong sales of it smartwatch, a market survey shows.

Feds probe Uber's use of fake app to stymie city inspectors

The Justice Department is probing allegations that Uber used phony software to thwart city officials looking at whether the ride-hailing company was following local regulations.

Senator says FBI paid $900K for iPhone hacking tool

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Senate committee that oversees the FBI, said publicly this week that the government paid $900,000 to break into the locked iPhone of a gunman in the San Bernardino, California, shootings.

'Worrying lack of strategy' for U.K. smart cities

City residents are not benefitting from a clear strategy for developing cities that are 'smart' according to a new RICS Research Trust report by University of Reading academics.

Medicine & Health news

Platelets suppress T cell immunity against cancer

Blood platelets help disguise cancer from the immune system by suppressing T cells, report scientists at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) in the May 5, 2017 issue of Science Immunology. In extensive preclinical tests, a promising T cell therapy more successfully boosted immunity against melanoma when common antiplatelet drugs such as aspirin were added.

The formation of folds on the surface of the brain

Folds in the human brain enlarge the surface of this important processing organ and in this way create more space for higher functions including thought and action. However, certain species of mammals exist whose brains have smooth surfaces, for example mice. Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology in Martinsried have discovered a previously unknown mechanism for brain folding. Young neurons, which migrate to the cortex during the development of a smooth-surfaced brain, have so-called FLRT receptors on their cell surface. These ensure a certain degree of adhesion between the cells and regular migratory behaviour which favours the formation of a smooth brain surface. Compared to the mouse brain, in the human brain FLRTs are much less abundant. If the expression of FLRTs in the mouse brain is reduced experimentally, folds similar to those found in the human brain form. These findings provide new insights into the evolution of smooth and folded mammalian brains.

Your muscles can 'taste' sugar, research finds

It's obvious that the taste buds on the tongue can detect sugar. And after a meal, beta cells in the pancreas sense rising blood glucose and release the hormone insulin—which helps the sugar enter cells, where it can be used by the body for energy.

Researchers identify gene that controls birth defect common in diabetes

Researchers have identified a gene that plays a key role in the formation of neural tube defects, a problem commonly found in infants of pregnant women with diabetes. This is the first time the gene has been shown to play this role; it opens up a new way to understand these defects, and may one day lead to new treatments that could prevent the problem or decrease its incidence.

Living in a poor area increases the risk of anxiety in women, but not in men

Women living in the most deprived areas are over 60% more likely to have anxiety as women living in richer areas. However, whether men lived in poorer or richer areas made very little difference to their anxiety levels, according to new research from the University of Cambridge.

Spare the praise—spoil the child

That is the key finding of research that is being presented today, Friday 5 May 2017, by Sue Westwood from De Montfort University at the British Psychological Society's Annual Conference in Brighton.

I've only had a couple! Students underestimate their bad drinking behavior

That is the key finding of research conducted by Dr Emma Davies, along with Dr Sarah Hennelly and Emma-Ben Lewis, which is being presented today at the British Psychological Society's Annual Conference in Brighton.

Benefits of antipsychotics outweigh risks, find experts

An international group of experts has concluded that, for patients with schizophrenia and related psychotic disorders, antipsychotic medications do not have negative long-term effects on patients' outcomes or the brain. In addition, the benefits of these medications are much greater than their potential side effects.

MRSA blood infections are less fatal in kids, but cause significant complications

Children with bloodstream infections caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a common antibiotic-resistant bacteria, are less likely to die than adults with this condition and have different risk factors for treatment failure, a new study led by a Children's National Health System clinician indicates. However, the multi-center study shows that young patients have high rates of complications that increase significantly each day infections linger untreated, highlighting the urgent need for effective intervention.

Cervical cancer survivors suffer from fatigue, insomnia and hot flushes

Around half of women who have been treated for locally advanced cervical cancer suffer from symptoms of insomnia, fatigue or hot flushes at some point, according to new research presented at the ESTRO 36 conference.

Study shows white blood cell boosting drugs safe during chemo-radiotherapy of lung cancer

A late breaking subanalysis of the phase III CONVERT trial presented at the European Lung Cancer Conference (ELCC) shows that white blood cell boosting drugs are safe during concurrent chemo-radiotherapy of small cell lung cancer (SCLC).1

Osimertinib improves symptoms in advanced lung cancer patients

Osimertinib improves cancer-related symptoms in patients with advanced lung cancer, according to an analysis of patient-reported outcomes from the AURA3 phase III clinical trial presented at the European Lung Cancer Conference (ELCC).1

Some lung cancer patients benefit from immunotherapy even after disease progression

Some advanced lung cancer patients benefit from immunotherapy even after the disease has progressed as evaluated by standard criteria, according to research presented at the European Lung Cancer Conference (ELCC).1 The findings pave the way for certain patients to continue treatment if the disease is not progressing according to new, more specific, criteria.

Swearing aloud can make you stronger

In the research, Dr Stephens and his team conducted two experiments. In the first, 29 participants completed a test of anaerobic power—a short, intense period on an exercise bike—after both swearing and not swearing. In the second, 52 participants completed an isometric handgrip test, again after both swearing and not swearing.

Stretching may reduce walking pain among peripheral artery disease patients

Simple calf muscle stretching may reduce leg pain when walking and increase blood flow for people living with peripheral artery disease, according to a preliminary abstract presented at the American Heart Association's Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology Peripheral Vascular Disease 2017 Scientific Sessions.

Supplement industry flies under the radar, poses deadly risk

Beny Mesika and Wes Houser had little in their backgrounds besides criminal convictions and failed businesses, but their fortunes turned when they began concocting dietary supplements.

Lifestyle changes and treatment options may help with snoring

Dear Mayo Clinic: Is there anything that can be done for snoring other than using a CPAP machine? I have tried using one for the past year, and while my wife says it does prevent me from snoring, I cannot sleep comfortably with it on.

Urgent care sites cater to cancer patients, letting them check some worries at door

On an afternoon a few weeks ago, Faithe Craig noticed that her temperature spiked to just above 100 degrees. For most people, the change might not be cause for alarm, but Craig is being treated for stage 3 breast cancer, and any temperature change could signal a serious problem.

Seattle health startup speeds up lab tests to improve use of antibiotics

Patients who are in pain from infections often can't wait two days until lab-test results come in, so doctors prescribe antibiotics right away. But without test results, they might not suggest the most effective medicine.

Poisoning appears cause of mystery Liberia illness: WHO

Evidence suggests a mysterious illness that has killed 12 people in Liberia is linked to food or drink poisoning and is not a viral infection, the UN said Friday, confirming three new cases.

Young adults' perceptions of marijuana, cigarette and e-cigarette safety may be based on mistaken beliefs

When young people consider the potential harm of tobacco and marijuana products, their assessment may be based on mistaken beliefs about the risks of various ingredients and methods of ingesting the substances, according to a study led by a tobacco researcher from the School of Public Health at Georgia State University.

Newly discovered genetic mutation predisposes osteoporosis patients to femur fracture

Researchers at the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute (IMIM) and the University of Barcelona have uncovered a genetic mutation that makes bone vulnerable to bisphosphonates, drugs used to combat osteoporosis. Instead of strengthening bone and preventing fractures, these medicines induce a critical problem that makes the femur more prone to breaks. This discovery has been published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

More restaurants list calories on their menus—what about salt?

Which do you think has more salt: a Panera Bread wild blueberry scone or a large order of Burger King french fries?

Prolonged military-style training causes changes to intestinal bacteria, increases inflammation

A new study finds that long periods of physiological stress can change the composition of microorganisms residing in the intestines (intestinal microbiota), which could increase health risks in endurance athletes and military personnel. The study, published ahead of print in the American Journal of Physiology—Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology, is the first to study the response of the intestinal microbiota during military training. The manuscript was chosen as an APSselect article for May.

Beware the hype – springy soles won't make you run much faster

Most runners believe a good pair of running shoes is worth the investment. But advances in running shoe technology have sparked debate about whether shoes help you run faster.

Scientists discover genetic mutation that causes rare skin disease keratolytic winter erythema

Scientists have discovered the genetic mutation that causes the rare skin disease, keratolytic winter erythema (KWE), or 'Oudtshoorn skin', in Afrikaners.

Psychologists investigate the broccoli paradox

If we think our friends really enjoy eating broccoli, we are less likely to consume it ourselves.

Scientists gain insights into how fragile X syndrome disrupts perception

A collaboration between scientists in Belgium, the United States, Norway, France and the UK has resulted in a study that sheds light on the neural mechanisms of fragile X syndrome. This genetic disorder, which affects males twice as often as females due to males' single X chromosome, causes disruptions in the way neurons transmit information to each other. Led by one current and two former VIB scientists during their tenure at VIB, the multidisciplinary team used fruit fly models to demonstrate that the Fragile X mutation causes signals between neurons to be more widely spread, possibly leading to confusion in the perception and discrimination of information from the environment.

A magic hood for artificial heart pumps

Ten million people in Europe alone suffer from cardiac insufficiency, or a weak heart. One day, many of them may require a heart transplant. Artificial heart pumps are frequently used to bridge the wait for the transplant. However, these pumps also have their drawbacks. A project involving Empa offers a possible solution.

First molecular diagnostics for insecticide resistance in sandflies

A study led by LSTM identifies a potent molecular mechanism for insecticide resistance in the world's most medically-important sandfly species and develops DNA-diagnostics for monitoring future impact on visceral leishmaniasis control and elimination programs.

Lack of nurses linked to missed care and higher patient mortality

There is a clear correlation between the number of registered nurses working at an acute hospital, the amount of nursing care that is left undone and the number of patients who die, a new thesis from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden shows. Moreover, the higher death rate associated with low nurse staffing levels does not decline if the nurses are replaced by support workers.

Team cures diabetes in mice without side effects

A potential cure for Type 1 diabetes looms on the horizon in San Antonio, and the novel approach would also allow Type 2 diabetics to stop insulin shots.

Retirement associated with lower stress, but only if you were in a top job

A new paper published in the Journal of Gerontology suggests that the period around retirement may widen socio-economic inequalities in stress and health.

Researchers discover a potential new target for cancer treatment

Dr. Florian Weinberg, from Prof. Dr. Tilman Brummer's research group at the Institute of Molecular Medicine and Cell Research (IMMZ) of the University of Freiburg, joined forces with scientists from the Departments of Clinical Pathology and Medicine I of the University Medical Centre Freiburg and the Kinghorn Cancer Centre/Garvan Insitute in Australia in an international team that has identified a new target for cancer therapy. The researchers discovered that the enzyme RIOK1 collaborates with the RAS protein, which is often mutated in tumors and therefore promotes tumor growth and the development of metastases. These secondary tumors are spread by the primary tumor, if it is not removed in time, and are the cause of death in most cancer patients. The researchers believe it may be possible to use so-called inhibitors to block the enzymatic activity of RIOK1, thereby slowing down the disease's progression. The team has recently published its findings in the translational journal EBioMedicine.

Immune cells derived from specialised progenitors

Dendritic cells are gatekeepers of Immunity and are crucial for the detection and initiation of Immunity against pathogens and foreign substances. Up to now dendritic cell subtypes were thought to develop from one common progenitor. Now, in a joint effort, researchers from A*STAR Singapore Immunology Network, LIMES-Institute and cluster of excellence ImmunoSensation from University of Bonn and the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases were able to show with single cell resolution that this important component of the human immune system develops from specialized progenitors. These findings are now published in Science and have implications for the development and optimization of vaccines.

Group rituals can make us biased against outsiders

From our greetings to our celebrations to how we take our coffee, everyday life is full of shared rituals. The effort and commitment involved in these rituals can help us bond with others - but new research suggests that they may also push us away from those who don't share the same practices. Findings from a series of experiments, published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, suggest that people trust others who did not engage in the same ritual less than those who did.

Regions with stronger gun laws have fewer gun-related pediatric emergency department visits

Regions of the United States with the strictest gun laws also have the fewest emergency department visits for pediatric firearm-related injuries, according to a new study by Children's National Health System researchers. The findings, presented at the 2017 annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies, could inform policies at the state and regional levels.

Obese women less likely to suffer from dangerous preeclampsia complications

Despite having higher rates of preeclampsia, a dangerous high-blood pressure disorder of late pregnancy, obese women may be less than half as likely to suffer strokes, seizures, and other serious complications of the disorder. The findings are among those from two new studies of preeclampsia by researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at University of Pennsylvania showing how obesity may help clinicians identify risk for the condition or other complications. The second study highlighted risk factors, including obesity, for persistent high blood pressure after delivery among women with preeclampsia. The studies (posters 31C and 20B, respectively) will be presented at the American Congress of Obstetricians & Gynecologists' (ACOG) Annual Clinical and Scientific Meeting in San Diego.

Study shows association between gut microbes and brain structure in people with IBS

A new study by researchers at UCLA has revealed two key findings for people with irritable bowel syndrome about the relationship between the microorganisms that live in the gut and the brain.

Pregnancy linked to higher risk of death from traumatic injury, study finds

Studies have found that one in six pregnant women have been abused by a partner - beaten, stabbed, shot, or even murdered. New research shows the risks to these women may be especially profound: Pregnant women are twice as likely to be a victim of an assault-related trauma (including suicide) - and die from their injuries - than an accident-related trauma like car accidents or falls, compared to women who are not pregnant, according to a new study from researchers in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. The findings come from a Pennsylvania statewide analysis of hospital trauma cases occurring over a decade, and will be presented Sunday at the American Congress of Obstetricians & Gynecologists' (ACOG) Annual Clinical and Scientific Meeting in San Diego (poster 36G).

Head and neck cancer recurrence following radiation associated w high tumor PD-L1 expression

Recurrence of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) negative for human papillomavirus (HPV) following radiation therapy was associated with high tumor levels of the protein PD-L1.

'World's heaviest woman' hospitalised in Abu Dhabi

An Egyptian believed to have been the world's heaviest woman before her surgery was hospitalised in Abu Dhabi on Thursday to continue treatment after a drastic weight-loss operation in India.

Experts: Those already sick still face coverage problems

The Republican push to replace the Affordable Care Act was revived this week in Congress by a small change to their plan designed to combat concerns over coverage for those with pre-existing health problems.

Trump savors win as House passes Obamacare repeal

US President Donald Trump extracted a much-needed victory from Congress Thursday as Republicans narrowly pushed a bill through the House of Representatives repealing the landmark health reforms of his predecessor.

Analysis of mortality risks after different types of kidney surgery

By analyzing data on 21,380 nephrectomies performed throughout the United Kingdom, investigators found several lines of evidence to suggest that UK surgeons are highly competent. The 30-day mortality rate after nephrectomy was only 0.5%. Also, mortality rates following radical, partial, and simple nephrectomy were 0.6%, 0.1%, and 0.4%, respectively.

Jury awards record-setting $110.5M in baby powder lawsuit

A St. Louis jury has awarded a Virginia woman a record-setting $110.5 million in the latest lawsuit alleging that using Johnson & Johnson's baby powder caused cancer.

Pennsylvania's Marcho Farms recalls meat over E. coli scare

An eastern Pennsylvania business is recalling more than 5,600 pounds of boneless veal, ground veal, beef and pork because of concerns it may be tainted with a potentially deadly E. coli bacteria.

Biology news

Extinction of Alpine plants may remain undetectable for a long time

How do alpine plants react to warmer climatic conditions? Due to their longevity, the plants may survive longer than expected in their habitats, but produce offspring that are increasingly maladapted. Population size may decrease faster than the contraction of the species range, as UZH researchers show using computer models. Scientists who wish to track the precise extinction risk of plant species must not only measure their dispersal, but also the densities of the local populations.

Colony density, not hormones, triggers honeybee 'puberty'

New research helps answer a long-standing mystery of how honeybees sense the size and strength of their colony, a critical cue for the bees to switch from investing solely in survival to also investing in reproduction.

Sexually deceptive spider orchids fool wasps

Scientists at The University of Western Australia, in collaboration with researchers from The Australian National University, have uncovered the chemical compounds used by a species of spider orchid (Caladenia) to sexually seduce male wasp pollinators.

Fruit fly brains found to have a ring of cells that work as a compass

(Phys.org)—A team of researchers with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute has found that a ring of cells in the middle of the fruit fly brain acts as a compass, helping the insect understand where it is, where it has been and where it is going. In their paper published in the journal Science, the team explains how they expanded on research they began two years ago and what their findings may mean for mammal internal navigation.

New defence mechanism against bacteria discovered

Researchers in dermatology at Lund University in Sweden believe they have cracked the mystery of why we are able to quickly prevent an infection from spreading uncontrollably in the body during wounding. They believe this knowledge may be of clinical significance for developing new ways to counteract bacteria.

New butterfly species discovered in Israel for the first time in 109 years

Vladimir Lukhtanov, entomologist and evolutionary biologist at the Zoological Institute in St. Petersburg, Russia, made a startling discovery: what people had thought was a population of a common species, turned out to be a whole new organism and, moreover - one with an interesting evolutionary history. This new species is named Acentria's fritillary (Melitaea acentria) and was found flying right over the slopes of the popular Mount Hermon ski resort in northern Israel. It is described in the open access journal Comparative Cytogenetics.

Scientists reveal new and improved genome sequence of Daphnia pulex

For many, experience with Daphnia, commonly known as water fleas, ends in high school. The organism is often used for science experiments exploring water toxicity, because of its sensitivity to environmental factors. But the tiny, transparent microcrustaceans have been studied intensively for more than 150 years, and new research published and featured on the cover of the journal G3 reveals scientists can now take a closer look at its genome.

Researchers discover how flu viruses hijack human cells

Much is known about flu viruses, but little is understood about how they reproduce inside human host cells, spreading infection. Now, a research team headed by investigators from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai is the first to identify a mechanism by which influenza A, a family of pathogens that includes the most deadly strains of flu worldwide, hijacks cellular machinery to replicate.

New dog virus found in Australia for the first time

A new form of the common and highly contagious dog virus canine parvovirus (CPV) has been discovered in Australia for the first time by researchers from the University of Adelaide.

A small RNA molecule in cyanobacteria affects metabolic acclimation

International researchers working in collaboration with Professor Wolfgang R. Hess and Dr. Jens Georg, both from the University of Freiburg's Faculty of Biology, have discovered a small RNA molecule that plays a key role in how cyanobacteria adjust their metabolism to the amount of iron available in the environment. Oxygenic photosynthesis – in which plants, algae and cyanobacteria generate oxygen and harvest solar energy for the synthesis of organic matter – is a process that depends on iron. When only low amounts of iron are available, cyanobacteria are able to reduce their photosynthetic activity by using what the researchers are calling IsaR1, which stands for "iron stress activated RNA 1." The team of researchers have published their findings in the latest issue of Current Biology.

Agronomist urges farmers to commit to weed control to prevent herbicide resistance

Farmers faced with tight profit margins may consider cutting back on weed control efforts this growing season, but an Iowa State University agronomist said doing so may cost farmers money in the long term.

Gene drives may cause a revolution, but safeguards and public engagement are needed

A "gene drive" occurs when a specific gene is spread at an enhanced rate through an animal or plant population.

Study looks to safeguard red squirrels' future

Researchers are embarking on a new project aimed at helping to safeguard the future of the red squirrel in the UK.

Researchers one step closer to understanding deadly facial tumor in Tasmanian devils

New findings in research funded by Morris Animal Foundation offer valuable insight on how to fight devil facial tumor disease (DFTD) that has resulted in a catastrophic decline in wild Tasmanian devils. Researchers have shed light on how the tumors successfully evade the immune system, which may offer possible strategies to protect the endangered devils from this devastating disease.

A mutation giving leaves with white spots has been identified

Garden and potted plants with white spots on their leaves are so popular that they are specially selected for this feature. An international research team has now identified a new mutation in the plant Lotus japonicus which gives leaves with white spots. These results could be important for the improvement of garden and potted plants.

Vitamin A deficiency is detrimental to blood stem cells

Lack of vitamin A in the body has a detrimental effect on the hematopoietic system in the bone marrow. The deficiency causes a loss of important blood stem cells, scientists from the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) and the Heidelberg Institute of Stem Cell Research and Experimental Medicine (HI-STEM) now report in the latest issue of the journal Cell. These findings will open up new prospects in cancer therapy.

Scientists track porpoises to assess impact of offshore wind farms

A new study by scientists at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science's Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, Cornell University and Duke University is the first in a series to understand how marine mammals like porpoises, whales, and dolphins may be impacted by the construction of wind farms off the coast of Maryland. The new research offers insight into previously unknown habits of harbor porpoises in the Maryland Wind Energy Area, a 125-square-mile area off the coast of Ocean City that may be the nation's first commercial-scale offshore wind farm.

New rules for lobstering in southern New England up for vote

New restrictions on lobster fishing are up for a vote early next week as regulators try to slow the loss of the valuable crustaceans from southern New England waters.


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