Senin, 30 Agustus 2010

ScienceDaily Environment Headlines

for Monday, August 30, 2010

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Tiny gulf sea creature could shed light on oil spill’s impact (August 28, 2010) -- A molecular biologist will soon bring dozens of tiny, transparent animals that live in Gulf Coast waters back to his campus laboratory as part of an effort to better understand the oil spill's long-term impact on the coastal environment and creatures living there. ... > full story

Exposure to low doses of BPA alters gene expression in the fetal mouse ovary (August 28, 2010) -- A new study finds that exposure of pregnant female mice to the endocrine-disrupting chemical bisphenol A may produce adverse reproductive consequences on gene expression in fetal ovaries as early as 12 hours after the mother has first been exposed to the chemical. ... > full story

Secrets of the gecko foot help robot climb (August 28, 2010) -- The science behind gecko toes holds the answer to a dry adhesive that provides an ideal grip for robot feet. A mechanical engineer is using the new material, based on the structure of a gecko foot, to keep his robots climbing. ... > full story

Bacteria make thrift a habit, researchers find (August 28, 2010) -- In these lean times, smart consumers refuse to pay a lot for throwaway items, but will shell out a little more for products that can be used again and again. The same is true of bacteria and other microbes, researchers have learned. ... > full story

Fertilizer chemicals linked to animal developmental woes (August 28, 2010) -- Fertilizer chemicals may pose a bigger hazard to the environment -- specifically to creatures that live in water -- than originally foreseen, according to new research. Toxicologists show that water fleas take up nitrates and nitrites -- common chemicals used primarily in agriculture as fertilizers -- and convert those chemicals into nitric oxide. Nitric oxide can be toxic to many organisms. ... > full story

Ugly Betty forced to aim for Average Joe, house sparrow study finds (August 28, 2010) -- Less-pretty female house sparrows tend to lower their aim when selecting a mate. Addressing the lack of studies on condition-dependency of female mate choice, evolutionary biologists found that female sparrows of a low quality prefer males of an equally low quality. ... > full story

Scientists unveil structure of adenovirus, the largest high-resolution complex ever found (August 28, 2010) -- After more than a decade of research, scientists have pieced together the structure of a human adenovirus -- the largest complex ever determined at atomic resolution. ... > full story

Ant colonies shed light on metabolism (August 28, 2010) -- Ants are usually regarded as the unwanted guests at a picnic. But a recent study of California seed harvester ants (Pogonomyrmex californicus) examining their metabolic rate in relation to colony size may lead to a better appreciation for the social, six-legged insects, whose colonies researchers say provide a theoretical framework for understanding cellular networks. ... > full story

Genetic test finds healthiest fish for breeding (August 28, 2010) -- A Norwegian company has developed a new genetic test that quickly determines which salmon have the highest resistance to the IPN virus. The recently launched commercial product could mean a breakthrough in the battle against this costly disease. ... > full story

Black rice rivals pricey blueberries as source of healthful antioxidants (August 27, 2010) -- Health conscious consumers who hesitate at the price of fresh blueberries and blackberries, fruits renowned for high levels of healthful antioxidants, now have an economical alternative. It is black rice, one variety of which got the moniker "forbidden rice" in ancient China because nobles commandeered every grain for themselves and forbade the common people from eating it. ... > full story

Shrinking atmospheric layer linked to low levels of solar radiation (August 27, 2010) -- Scientists link a recent, temporary shrinking of a high atmospheric layer with a sharp drop in the sun's ultraviolet radiation levels. ... > full story

Lethal backfire: Green odor with fatal consequences for voracious caterpillars (August 27, 2010) -- During field studies, scientists discovered that the oral secretions of tobacco hornworm larvae contain a particular substance that promptly alters a green leaf volatile in tobacco leaves into an odor attractant signal. With this signal, called (E)-2-hexenal, they unintentionally lure their own enemies: carnivorous bugs. These bugs start their piercing attacks not only against freshly hatched caterpillar babies; they also devour eggs laid by the female moths. ... > full story

Wheat's genetic code cracked: Draft sequence coverage of genome to aid global food shortage (August 27, 2010) -- A team of UK researchers has publicly released the first sequence coverage of the wheat genome. The release is a step towards a fully annotated genome and makes a significant contribution to efforts to support global food security. ... > full story

Frog skin may provide 'kiss of death' for antibiotic-resistant germs (August 27, 2010) -- Kissing a frog won't turn it into a prince -- except in fairy-tales -- but frogs may be hopping toward a real-world transformation into princely allies in humanity's battle with antibiotic-resistant infections that threaten millions of people. Scientists reported that frog skin contains substances that could be the basis for a new genre of antibiotics. ... > full story

Mayan water reservoir in Mexican rainforest: Archaeologists find huge artificial lake with ceramic-lined floor (August 27, 2010) -- Archaeologists have found an almost seven-foot-deep water reservoir the size of a soccer field, whose floor is lined with ceramic shards, in the Mexican rainforest. It seems that in combination with the limestone on top, the shards were supposed to seal the artificial lake. The system was built about 1,500 years ago. It is the first example of this design found for the Maya. It is not yet known whether the reservoir's entire floor is tiled. ... > full story

Neuron-damaging mechanism discovered in mouse model of inherited ALS (August 27, 2010) -- New research uncovers what may be a primary neuron-damaging insult that occurs in an inherited form of a devastating neurodegenerative disorder. The study describes a critical mechanistic link between a mutant protein and disease pathogenesis in an animal model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). ... > full story

On organic coffee farm, complex interactions keep pests under control (August 27, 2010) -- Proponents of organic farming often speak of nature's balance in ways that sound almost spiritual, prompting criticism that their views are unscientific and naive. At the other end of the spectrum are those who see farms as battlefields where insect pests and plant diseases must be vanquished with the magic bullets of modern agriculture: pesticides, fungicides and the like. ... > full story

Artificial enzyme removes natural poison (August 27, 2010) -- For the first time ever, a completely artificial chemical enzyme has been successfully used to neutralize a toxin found naturally in fruits and vegetables. This is the first evidence that it's possible to design artificial enzymes for this class of task, and might result in a completely new way of designing drug-targets. ... > full story

Genomes of two ant species sequenced: Clues to their extraordinary social behavior (August 27, 2010) -- Scientists have finally sequenced the entire genome of an ant, actually two very different species of ant, and the insights gleaned from their genetic blueprints are already yielding tantalizing clues to the extraordinary social behavior of ants. ... > full story

Light, circadian rhythms affect vast range of physiological, behavioral functions (August 27, 2010) -- A new study of the genetic basis of circadian rhythms -- the biological responses related to daily light exposure -- has found that a few minutes of light exposure in a fungus directly affects a huge range of its biological functions, everything from reproduction to coloring and DNA repair. ... > full story

Vitamin A increases the presence of HIV in breast milk, studies suggest (August 27, 2010) -- Vitamin A and beta-carotene supplements are unsafe for HIV-positive women who breastfeed because they may boost the excretion of HIV in breast milk -- thereby increasing the chances of transmitting the infection to the child, a pair of new studies suggest. ... > full story

Scientists concerned about environmental impact of recycling of e-waste (August 27, 2010) -- Much of the world's electronic waste is being shipped to China for recycling and the cottage industry that has sprung up there to recover usable materials from computers, cell phones, televisions and other goods may be creating significant health and environmental hazards. ... > full story

El Niños are growing stronger, NASA/NOAA study finds (August 27, 2010) -- A relatively new type of El Niño, which has its warmest waters in the central-equatorial Pacific Ocean, rather than in the eastern-equatorial Pacific, is becoming more common and progressively stronger, according to a new study by NASA and NOAA. The research may improve our understanding of the relationship between El Niños and climate change, and has potentially significant implications for long-term weather forecasting. ... > full story

Analysis of Ashkenazi Jewish genomes reveals diversity, history (August 27, 2010) -- Through genomic analysis, researchers have shown that the Ashkenazi Jewish population is genetically more diverse than people of European descent, despite previous assumptions that Ashkenazi Jews have been an isolated population. In addition, analyses of disease-related genes of higher prevalence in the Ashkenazi Jewish population indicate that only a minority of traits show signs of positive selection, suggesting that most have arisen through random genetic drift. ... > full story

Novel mechanism protects plants against freezing; Insights could add to understanding of drought tolerance also (August 27, 2010) -- New nesearch helps explain how plants protect themselves from freezing temperatures and could lead to discoveries related to plant tolerance for drought and other extreme conditions. ... > full story

Macrophages: The 'defense' cells that help throughout the body (August 27, 2010) -- The term "macrophage" conjures images of a hungry white blood cell gobbling invading bacteria. However, macrophages do much more than that: Not only do they act as antimicrobial warriors, they also play critical roles in immune regulation and wound-healing. They can respond to a variety of cellular signals and change their physiology in response to local cues. ... > full story

Genetic rarity found: A mutation that restores health (August 27, 2010) -- Errors in the copying of genes during cell division can cause numerous diseases, including cancer. Scientists, however, have unraveled the secrets of a much more rare phenomenon with potential therapeutic implications -- disease-causing genes that show a high frequency of self-repair. ... > full story

First 3-D atomic view of key genetic processes (August 27, 2010) -- Scientists have created the first 3-D picture of genetic processes that happen inside every cell of our bodies. The picture is the first-ever image of a protein interacting with DNA in its tightly packed "nucleosome" form. The research, which reveals new information about genetic processes, is expected to aid future investigations into diseases such as cancer. ... > full story

Acidity regulates cell membrane synthesis (August 27, 2010) -- Acidity (pH) in cells of baker's yeast regulate the synthesis of cell membranes by controlling the production of enzymes that synthesize membranes. The elucidated mechanism is so simple and universal that it is highly likely that it determines many cellular processes in all forms of life. ... > full story

'Greening' your flat screen TV: Engineers develop an organic LED light source for home electronics, medicine and clean energy (August 27, 2010) -- An estimated 70 percent of heavy metals in US landfills come from discarded electronics, and as big screen TVs get less expensive, environmental costs continue to mount. To remedy this, researchers are applying organic nano-technology to "green" the optics and electronics industry. Their technology could make flat screen TV production more environmentally friendly and can even make medical devices more sensitive. ... > full story

Adulteration of milk products and pet food with melamine underscores weaknesses of traditional methods, experts say (August 27, 2010) -- Recent incidents of adulteration involving infant formula, other milk products and pet food with the industrial chemical melamine revealed the weaknesses of current methods widely used across the domestic and global food industry for determining protein content in foods. The possible utility of alternative existing and emerging methods is the subject of a new paper. ... > full story

Metop-A completes 20,000th orbit (August 27, 2010) -- Metop-A, Europe's first polar-orbiting satellite dedicated to operational meteorology, will complete its 20,000th orbit of the Earth on 27 August. It will deliver its data to the EUMETSAT Polar System ground station on Svalbard around lunchtime. ... > full story

North American continent is a layer cake, scientists discover (August 26, 2010) -- The North American continent is not one thick, rigid slab, but a layer cake of ancient, 3-billion-year-old rock on top of much newer material probably less than 1 billion years old, according to a new study by seismologists. The new findings also indicate that the continent grew by addition of rock from subducting ocean floor, not by mantle plume upwelling from below. ... > full story

Healthy ears hear the first sound, ignoring the echoes, barn owl study finds (August 26, 2010) -- Voices carry, reflect off objects and create echoes. Most people rarely hear the echoes; instead they only process the first sound received. For the hard of hearing, though, being in an acoustically challenging room can be a problem. For them, echoes carry. ... > full story

Coral off Puerto Rico's coast 'ideal case study' for Gulf oil spill's impact (August 26, 2010) -- Coral living off the coast of Puerto Rico may provide researchers valuable information about the potential impact of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. ... > full story

Toward safer foods for human consumption with anthrax protection (August 26, 2010) -- An antibacterial enzyme found in human tears and other body fluids could be applied to certain foods for protection against intentional contamination with anthrax, scientists say. ... > full story

Ants use multiple antibiotics as weed killers (August 26, 2010) -- Fungus-farming ants are using multiple antibiotics as weed killers to maintain their fungus gardens, according to new research. This is reminiscent of the use of multi-drug therapy to treat infections in humans. The work has also identified a new antibiotic that could be used to treat fungal infections. ... > full story

'Soyscreen': Sunscreen for fungus to expand biological control of crop pests (August 26, 2010) -- Scientists report the development and successful initial tests on a substance that acts as a sunscreen for the microscopic spores of a fungus, brightening prospects for wider use of the fungus as a means of wiping out insect pests that attack food crops. ... > full story

'Legacy of Katrina' report details impact of stalled recovery on mental health status of children (August 26, 2010) -- Five years after Hurricane Katrina and the flooding of New Orleans caused the evacuation of 1.5 million Gulf Coast residents, substantial consequences from this prolonged displacement have resulted in widespread mental health issues in children living in the region, and 60 percent of children -- as many as 20,000 -- displaced by Katrina either have serious emotional disorders behavioral issues and/or are experiencing significant housing instability. ... > full story

Use the common cold virus to target and disrupt cancer cells? (August 26, 2010) -- A novel mechanism used by adenovirus to sidestep the cell's suicide program could go a long way to explain how tumor suppressor genes are silenced in tumor cells and pave the way for a new type of targeted cancer therapy, researchers report. ... > full story

Supplement produces a 'striking' endurance boost (August 26, 2010) -- Taking a dietary supplement to boost nitric oxide in the body can significantly boost stamina during high-intensity exercise. The study has important implications for athletes, as results suggest that taking the supplement can allow people to exercise up to 20 percent longer and could produce a 1-2 percent improvement in race times. ... > full story

Tofu ingredient yields formaldehyde-free glue for plywood and other wood products (August 26, 2010) -- In a real-life "back to the future" story, scientists have reported that the sustainable, environmentally-friendly process that gave birth to plywood a century ago is re-emerging as a "green" alternative to wood adhesives made from petroleum. Researchers have described development of new soy-based glues that use a substance in soy milk and tofu and could mean a new generation of more eco-friendly furniture, cabinets, flooring and other wood products. ... > full story

Federal school lunches -- but not breakfasts -- linked to childhood obesity, research finds (August 26, 2010) -- Children who eat school lunches that are part of the U.S. federal government's National School Lunch Program are more likely to become overweight, according to new research. Yet children who eat both the breakfast and lunch sponsored by the federal government are less heavy than children who don't participate in either, and than children who eat only the lunch, says an economist. ... > full story

'Dry water' could make a big splash commercially, help fight global warming (August 26, 2010) -- An unusual substance known as "dry water," which resembles powdered sugar, could provide a new way to absorb and store carbon dioxide, the major greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming, scientists report. ... > full story

Cement, the glue that holds oyster families together (August 26, 2010) -- Researchers have shown that oysters produce a unique adhesive material for affixing themselves to each other, a cement that differs from the glues used by other marine organisms. ... > full story

Electricity collected from the air could become the newest alternative energy source (August 26, 2010) -- Imagine devices that capture electricity from the air -- much like solar cells capture sunlight -- and using them to light a house or recharge an electric car. Imagine using similar panels on the rooftops of buildings to prevent lightning before it forms. Strange as it may sound, scientists already are in the early stages of developing such devices, according to a new report. ... > full story

Thar she blows! Novel method for collecting dolphin DNA (August 26, 2010) -- A team of scientists has announced it is the first to extract DNA from dolphin blow (breath exhalations). The researchers found that blow-sampling, which involves collecting exhalations from the blowholes of whales, dolphins and porpoises, could be developed as a less invasive method for DNA collection. ... > full story

Banana plantain fibers could treat Crohn's disease, research suggests (August 26, 2010) -- Scientists have found that soluble fibers found in plantain, a type of large banana, could be used to treat patients with Crohn's disease. ... > full story

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