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Gene Technology to Help Healthy Skin in Aboriginal Australians
Medicine » Mitochondrial, Dna »
Walter and Eliza Hall Institute − Australian researchers have used cutting-edge genome technologies to reveal the genetic makeup of a widespread skin parasite causing serious health problems in Aboriginal communities. The research team identified the genetic 'map' of the human parasitic scabies mite, accelerating research that could lead to new ways of preventing and treating scabies infestations and prevent lifelong complications for people in remote Aboriginal communities.
UW Scientists Create Ultrathin Semiconductor Heterostructures for New Technologies
Chemistry » Silicon, Electronic »
University of Washington − Heterostructures formed by different three-dimensional semiconductors form the foundation for modern electronic and photonic devices. Now, University of Washington scientists have successfully combined two different ultrathin semiconductors -- each just one layer of atoms thick and roughly 100,000 times thinner than a human hair -- to make a new two-dimensional heterostructure with potential uses in clean energy and optically-active electronics. The team, led by Boeing Distinguished Associate Professor Xiaodong Xu, announced its findings in a paper published Feb. 12 in the journal Science.…
Rare Beluga Data Show Whales Dive to Maximize Meals
Nature » Arctic, Ice »
University of Washington − Children's singer and songwriter Raffi may have brought beluga whales into popular culture with his 1980 song "Baby Beluga," but surprisingly little is actually known about the life and ecology of these elusive marine mammals that live in some of the world's most remote, frigid waters.
Caught in the Act: UW Astronomers Find a Rare Supernova 'Impostor' in a Nearby Galaxy
Space » Magnetar, Supernova »
University of Washington − Breanna Binder, a University of Washington postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Astronomy and lecturer in the School of STEM at UW Bothell, spends her days pondering X-rays.
A New Form of Frozen Water?
Nature » Ice, Plume »
University of Nebraska-Lincoln − Lincoln, Neb., Feb. 12, 2016 -- Amid the season known for transforming Nebraska into an outdoor ice rink, a University of Nebraska-Lincoln-led research team has predicted a new molecular form of the slippery stuff that even Mother Nature has never borne. The proposed ice, which the researchers describe in a Feb. 12, 2016 study in the journal Science Advances, would be about 25 percent less dense than a record-low form synthesized by a European team in 2014.
On Darwin's Birthday, Tomato Genetics Study Sheds Light on Plant Evolution
Biology » Tomatoes, Moyle »
University of Michigan − ANN ARBOR--On Charles Darwin's 207th birthday, a new study of evolution in a diverse group of wild tomatoes is shedding light on the importance of genetic variation in plants. The work, reported today in the journal PLoS Biology, uses genome-wide sequencing to reveal details about the evolutionary mechanisms that drove genetic divergence in 13 species of wild tomatoes that share a recent common ancestor.
Global Agriculture Expert Paul West to Present at AAAS Annual Meeting
Nature » Food, Security »
University of Minnesota − Paul West, co-director and lead of the Institute on the Environment's Global Landscapes Initiative, will present at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science on February 12. West will discuss opportunities for subsistence farmers to enhance productivity while considering climate change, water availability and quality, and habitat loss.
Stem Cell Gene Therapy Could Be Key to Treating Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy
Medicine » Muscle, Muscular »
University of California - Los Angeles Health Sciences − Scientists at the UCLA Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research and Center for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy at UCLA have developed a new approach that could eventually be used to treat Duchenne muscular dystrophy. The stem cell gene therapy could be applicable for 60 percent of people with Duchenne, which affects approximately 1 in 5,000 boys in the U.S. and is the most common fatal childhood genetic disease.
New App Turns Smartphones into Worldwide Seismic Network
Technology » App, Google »
University of California - Berkeley − University of California, Berkeley, scientists are releasing a free Android app that taps a smartphone's ability to record ground shaking from an earthquake, with the goal of creating a worldwide seismic detection network that could eventually warn users of impending jolts from nearby quakes.
Memory Replay Prioritizes High-reward Memories
Psychology » Memories, Memory »
University of California - Davis − Why do we remember some events, places and things, but not others? Our brains prioritize rewarding memories over others, and reinforce them by replaying them when we are at rest, according to new research from the University of California, Davis, Center for Neuroscience, published Feb. 11 in the journal Neuron.
New CU Study Confirms Giant Flightless Bird Wandered the Arctic 50 Million Years Ago
Biology » Fossil, Fossils »
University of Colorado at Boulder − It's official: There really was a giant, flightless bird with a head the size of a horse's wandering about in the winter twilight of the high Arctic some 53 million years ago.
Poor Air Quality Kills 5.5 Million Worldwide Annually
Medicine » Air, Pollution »
University of British Columbia − New research shows that more than 5.5 million people die prematurely every year due to household and outdoor air pollution. More than half of deaths occur in two of the world's fastest growing economies, China and India.
Stability in Ecosystems: Asynchrony of Species Is More Important Than Diversity
Nature » Diversity, Plant »
Technical University of Munich (TUM) − Whether an animal or plant community remains stable despite external impacts does not depend on biological diversity alone: asynchrony across the species is also a crucial factor. The more asynchronous the species in an ecosystem fluctuate in their abundances, the less likely it becomes unstable. As a result, diversity takes second place in terms of the factors to be considered in the context of ecosystem stability. A team of scientists spearheaded by the TU Munich and TU Darmstadt have published these findings in…
For a Special Valentine? Beyond Diamonds And Gems: The World's Rarest Minerals
Nature » Minerals, Dco »
American Mineralogist − Scientists have inventoried and categorized all of Earth's rare mineral species described to date, each sampled from five or fewer sites around the globe. Individually, several of the species have a known supply worldwide smaller than a sugar cube.
Scientists in Panama Call for Alert as Cobia, a Potentially Invasive Fish, Spreads
Nature » Lionfish, Johnston »
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute − Cobia, a promising fish for aquaculture, lives throughout the world's oceans except in the Central and Eastern Pacific. In August 2015, a large number of young fish escaped from offshore cages in Ecuador. Cobia have recently been reported from the Colombian and Panamanian Pacific coast, indicating their rapid spread from the release site. Voracious carnivores, cobia could have far-reaching impacts on fisheries and marine ecology in the Eastern Pacific, Smithsonian scientists warn.
Ants Were Socializing - And Sparring - Nearly 100 Million Years Ago, Rutgers Study Finds
Biology » Ants, Ant »
Rutgers University − Like people, ants have often fought over food and territory. But ants began fighting long before humans: at least 99 million years ago, according to Phillip Barden, a fossil insect expert who works in the Insect and Evolution Lab of Jessica L. Ware, an assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Rutgers University-Newark.
Not Your Grandfather's House, but Maybe It Should Be
Nature » Concrete, Spills »
Penn State − Everyone wants a house to live in, and more and more, people around the world want the kinds of houses seen in Europe and North America, rather than those they grew up with, according to a Penn State engineer. However, industrial building materials are often scarce and expensive and alternative, locally sourced, sustainable materials are often a better choice.
It Takes More Than a Village to Build a House
Economics » Families, Housing »
Penn State − Adequate housing is difficult to find in many parts of Africa even for the middle class and wealthy, but it is particularly difficult for the poor, according to an international team of housing specialists.
Shaping Crystals with the Flow
Chemistry » Nist, Sample »
Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) Graduate University − One of goals of the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) is to foster collaboration between different disciplines. Recently, OIST scientists combined techniques from soft matter physics and structural biology to create and visualise crystals made of surfactants, surface-acting agents that are added in a multitude of products like detergents, cosmetics and paints. Crystals, high ordered arrangement of atoms in 3D, are sought after in both biology and physics, but are often very challenging to produce. This interdisciplinary study, published…
New Experimental Test Detects Signs of Lyme Disease Near Time of Infection
Medicine » Bacteria, Bacterial »
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) − When it comes to early diagnosis of Lyme disease, the insidious tick-borne illness that afflicts about 300,000 Americans annually, finding the proverbial needle in the haystack might be a far easier challenge--until now, perhaps. An experimental method developed by federal and university researchers appears capable of detecting the stealthy culprit Lyme bacteria at the earliest time of infection, when currently available tests are often still negative.
When the Boss's Ethical Behavior Breaks Bad
Psychology » Ethical, Temptation »
Michigan State University − EAST LANSING, Mich. -- Is your boss ethical? Does he or she do what's right, as opposed to what's profitable? If so, they may turn downright abusive the next day. New research on leader behavior by Russell Johnson, associate professor of management at Michigan State University, suggests ethical conduct leads to mental exhaustion and the "moral licensing" to lash out at employees.
Imaging with an 'Optical Brush'
Technology » Image, Pixels »
Massachusetts Institute of Technology − Researchers at the MIT Media Lab have developed a new imaging device that consists of a loose bundle of optical fibers, with no need for lenses or a protective housing. The fibers are connected to an array of photosensors at one end; the other ends can be left to wave free, so they could pass individually through micrometer-scale gaps in a porous membrane, to image whatever is on the other side.
Food Availability a Problem in Smaller Urban Cities, a Kansas State University Study Finds
Economics » Neighborhoods, Cities »
Kansas State University − MANHATTAN, KANSAS -- Average neighborhood income may play a role in creating food deserts in cities of all sizes, according to a Kansas State University study.
Alliterative Product Promotions Pique Purchasers
Psychology » Word, Authors »
Journal of Retailing at New York University − New research shows that promotional messages that use alliteration - the phonetic overlap of the beginnings of words - hold a greater appeal for consumers than non-alliterative messages, even accounting for cost differences.
On Darwin's Birthday, IU Study Sheds New Light on Plant Evolution
Biology » Tomatoes, Moyle »
Indiana University − BLOOMINTON, Ind.--On Charles Darwin's 207 birthday, a study from Indiana University is shedding new light on the importance of genetic diversity in plants. The work, reported today in the journal PLOS Biology, employs genome-wide sequencing to the reveal highly specific details about the evolutionary mechanisms that drove genetic divergence in 13 species of wild tomatoes that share a recent common ancestor.
Gene Switch May Repair DNA And Prevent Cancer
Biology » Dna, Enzymes »
Institute for Integrated Cell-Material Sciences, Kyoto University − A team of scientists in Japan has found that a DNA modification called 5hmC - thought to be involved in turning genes on and off - localizes at sites of DNA damage and repair. They also found that a family of recently discovered enzymes, called TETs for short, is important in maintaining 5hmC's reparative role.
Using Stories to Teach Human Values to Artificial Agents
Technology » Robots, Robot »
Georgia Institute of Technology − The rapid pace of artificial intelligence (AI) has raised fears about whether robots could act unethically or soon choose to harm humans. Some are calling for bans on robotics research; others are calling for more research to understand how AI might be constrained. But how can robots learn ethical behavior if there is no "user manual" for being human?
Most Precise Measurement of Reactor Antineutrino Spectrum Reveals Intriguing Surprise
Physics » Neutrino, Daya »
Brookhaven National Laboratory − Members of the International Daya Bay Collaboration, who track the production and flavor-shifting behavior of electron antineutrinos generated at a nuclear power complex in China, have obtained the most precise measurement of these subatomic particles' energy spectrum ever recorded. The data generated from the world's largest sample of reactor antineutrinos indicate two intriguing discrepancies with theoretical predictions and provide an important measurement that will shape future reactor neutrino experiments. The results have been published in the journal Physical Review Letters. …
How True Is Conventional Wisdom About Price Volatility of Tech Metals?
Nature » Firms, Yen »
Ames Laboratory − It's often assumed that exotic metals and minerals critical to clean energy technologies are more price volatile than more common commodity metals. They're mined in much smaller quantities and often as by-products of other high-volume production materials, and even slight changes in production, demand, and consumer end-uses can greatly affect markets.
Science Predicts More Frequent Extreme Events Will Shock the Global Food System
Nature » Food, Security »
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council − A panel of British and American researchers, speaking at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Washington DC, will present updated research revealing how extreme events which affect the food system are increasingly likely to occur, resulting in 'food shocks'. Food shocks have the potential to wreak havoc on food markets, commodity exports, and families around the world.

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