Senin, 27 Desember 2010

ScienceDaily Environment Headlines

for Monday, December 27, 2010

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Learning to read the genome: Most detailed annotation of fruit-fly genome points way to understanding all organisms' genomes (December 27, 2010) -- Scientists have recently made major advances in understanding the complex relationships between the Drosophila genome, as recorded by DNA and RNA base pairs, and the patterns and physical organization of its chromosomes. These insights into reading the genome will apply to many organisms, including human beings. ... > full story

Adapting agriculture to climate change: New global search to save endangered crop wild relatives (December 27, 2010) -- The Global Crop Diversity Trust has announced a major global search to systematically find, gather, catalog, use and save the wild relatives of wheat, rice, beans, potato, barley, lentils, chickpea and other essential food crops, in order to help protect global food supplies against the imminent threat of climate change, and strengthen future food security. ... > full story

Unlocking the secrets of a plant’s light sensitivity (December 27, 2010) -- Plants are very sensitive to light conditions, in part due to a signal that activates special photoreceptors that regulate growth, metabolism, and physiological development. Scientists believe that these light signals control plant growth and development by activating or inhibiting plant hormones. New research has altered the prevailing theory on how light signals and hormones interact. The findings could have implications for food crop production. ... > full story

Global rivers emit three times IPCC estimates of greenhouse gas nitrous oxide (December 27, 2010) -- Biologists have demonstrated that streams and rivers receiving nitrogen from urban and agricultural land uses are a significant source of nitrous oxide to the atmosphere. ... > full story

Ever-sharp urchin teeth may yield tools that never need honing (December 26, 2010) -- To survive in a tumultuous environment, sea urchins literally eat through stone, using their teeth to carve out nooks where the spiny creatures hide from predators and protect themselves from the crashing surf on the rocky shores and tide pools where they live. The rock-boring behavior is astonishing, scientists agree, but what is truly remarkable is that, despite constant grinding and scraping on stone, urchin teeth never, ever get dull. The secret of their ever-sharp qualities has puzzled scientists for decades, but now a new report by scientists has peeled back the toothy mystery. ... > full story

Mammalian aging process linked to overactive cellular pathway (December 26, 2010) -- Researchers have linked hyperactivity in the mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 cellular pathway to reduced ketone production in the liver, which is a well-defined physiological trait of aging in mice. During sleep or other times of low carbohydrate intake, the liver converts fatty acids to ketones, which are vital sources of energy during fasting, especially for the heart and brain. As animals age, their ability to produce ketones in response to fasting declines. ... > full story

Sovereign's head identified after more than four centuries (December 26, 2010) -- The skeletons of kings and queens lying in mass graves in the Royal Basilica of Saint-Denis in Paris could finally have the solemn funeral ceremonies they deserve, say experts. ... > full story

Drifting fish larvae allow marine reserves to rebuild fisheries (December 26, 2010) -- Marine ecologists have shown for the first time that tiny fish larvae can drift with ocean currents and "re-seed" fish stocks significant distances away -- more than 100 miles in a new study from Hawaii. ... > full story

Preplay: How past experiences subconsciously influence behavior (December 24, 2010) -- Researchers report for the first time how animals' knowledge obtained through past experiences can subconsciously influence their behavior in new situations. ... > full story

Arsenic agent shuts down two hard-to-treat cancers in animal experiments (December 24, 2010) -- Researchers have found that an arsenic-based agent already FDA-approved for a type of leukemia may be helpful in another hard-to-treat cancer, Ewing's Sarcoma (ES). The research, based on animal studies, also suggests the drug might be beneficial in treating medulloblastoma, a highly malignant pediatric brain cancer. ... > full story

Heat shock protein drives yeast evolution (December 24, 2010) -- Researchers have determined that heat shock protein 90 (Hsp90) can create diverse heritable traits in brewer's yeast by affecting a large portion of the yeast genome. The finding has led the researchers to conclude that Hsp90 has played a key role in shaping the evolutionary history of the yeast genome, and likely others as well. ... > full story

Most challenging Christmas plastic wrapping could be recycled with new technology (December 24, 2010) -- On average we each consume 120 grams of plastic wrapping on Christmas gifts most of which is of a type which almost impossible to recycle. Now researchers have devised a new technique which could process 100% of Christmas and other household plastic instead of the tiny fraction that currently actually gets processed. ... > full story

Pterygotid sea scorpions: No terror of the ancient seas? (December 24, 2010) -- New experiments have generated evidence that questions the common belief that the pterygotid eurypterids ("sea scorpions") were high-level predators in the Paleozoic oceans. ... > full story

Fast sepsis test can save lives (December 24, 2010) -- Blood poisoning can be fatal. If you suffer from sepsis, you used to have to wait as much as 48 hours for laboratory findings. A new diagnostic platform as big as a credit card will now supply the analysis after as little as an hour. This system is based on nanoparticles that are automatically guided by magnetic forces. ... > full story

Six years after the 2004 tsunami disaster, technical setup of the early warning sysem completed (December 24, 2010) -- Six years after the tsunami disaster of Dec. 26, 2004, the set-up of the German-Indonesian Tsunami Early Warning System for the Indian Ocean (GITEWS) has been completed. ... > full story

How to delay Christmas tree needle loss (December 24, 2010) -- Researchers have discovered what causes Christmas tree needles to drop off, and how to double the lifespan of Christmas trees in homes. ... > full story

You are what your father ate, too: Paternal diet affects lipid metabolizing genes in offspring, research suggests (December 24, 2010) -- We aren't just what we eat; we are what our parents ate, too. That's an emerging idea that is bolstered by a new study showing that mice sired by fathers fed on a low-protein diet show distinct and reproducible changes in the activity of key metabolic genes in their livers. Those changes occurred despite the fact that the fathers never saw their offspring. ... > full story

Weird and wonderful plant and fungal discoveries of 2010 (December 24, 2010) -- Scientists at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew are celebrating the diversity of the planet's plant and fungal life by highlighting some of the weird, wonderful and stunning discoveries they've made this year from the rainforests of Cameroon to the UK's North Pennines. But it's not just about the new -- in some cases species long thought to be extinct in the wild have been rediscovered. ... > full story

Learning from leftovers: A history drawn from turkey bones (December 24, 2010) -- Brooklynne Fothergill will have a very different view of Christmas dinner from most people, because the doctoral student is researching the history of turkey domestication by examining old turkey bones. ... > full story

Growing hypoxic zones reduce habitat for billfish and tuna (December 23, 2010) -- Billfish and tuna, important commercial and recreational fish species, may be more vulnerable to fishing pressure because of shrinking habitat, according to a new study. An expanding zone of low oxygen, known as a hypoxic zone, in the Atlantic Ocean is encroaching upon these species' preferred oxygen-abundant habitat, forcing them into shallower waters where they are more likely to be caught. ... > full story

Designer probiotics could reduce obesity (December 23, 2010) -- Specially designed probiotics can modulate the physiology of host fat cells say scientists. The findings could lead to specialized probiotics that have a role in the prevention or treatment of conditions such as obesity. ... > full story

How cells running on empty trigger fuel recycling (December 23, 2010) -- Researchers have discovered how AMPK, a metabolic master switch that springs into gear when cells run low on energy, revs up a cellular recycling program to free up essential molecular building blocks in times of need. ... > full story

Simple screen can help isolate virulent parts of pathogenic bacteria gene structures (December 23, 2010) -- Researchers have developed a new approach to studying potentially deadly disease-causing bacteria which could help speed up the process of finding vaccines. The scientists have pioneered a simple screen which can help isolate the virulent parts of the gene structures of pathogenic bacteria. The screen allows researchers to simultaneously run thousands of tests where genes from the pathogen are pitted against the human blood cells that normally attack them. ... > full story

'Un-growth hormone' increases longevity, researchers find (December 23, 2010) -- A compound which acts in the opposite way as growth hormone can reverse some of the signs of aging, a research team has shown. The finding may be counter-intuitive to some older adults who take growth hormone, thinking it will help revitalize them. ... > full story

A methane-metal marriage: Scientists insert metal atoms into methane gas molecules (December 23, 2010) -- Scientists have inserted metal atoms into methane gas molecules and obtained a detailed structure of the resulting molecule. The discovery could be a key step in making hydrocarbons available to chemical production and broadening our understanding of how nature uses metals in the molecules of living organisms. ... > full story

Researchers train software to help monitor climate change (December 23, 2010) -- A computer program that automatically analyzes mounds of satellite images and other data could help climate scientists keep track of complex, constantly changing environmental conditions. ... > full story

New fossil site in China shows long recovery of life from the largest extinction in Earth's history (December 23, 2010) -- A major new fossil site in south-west China has filled in a sizable gap in our understanding of how life on this planet recovered from the greatest mass extinction of all time, according to researchers. ... > full story

Eating less healthy fish may contribute to America's stroke belt (December 23, 2010) -- People living in the "stroke belt" states eat more fried fish than people living in the rest of the country, which may contribute to the high rate of death from stroke in those states, according to a new study. ... > full story

Scientist uncovers switch controlling protein production (December 23, 2010) -- Scientist have discovered a molecular switch that controls the synthesis of ribosomes. Ribosomes are the large machineries inside all living cells that produce proteins, the basic working units of any cell. These new findings offer a novel target for potential treatments for a range of diseases, including cancer. ... > full story

Component in common dairy foods may cut diabetes risk, study suggests (December 23, 2010) -- Scientists have identified a natural substance in dairy fat that may substantially reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. ... > full story

New annotated database sifts through mountains of sequencing data to find gene promoters (December 23, 2010) -- Researchers announce the release of an online tool that will help scientists find "gene promoters" -- regions along a DNA strand that tell a cell's transcription machinery where to start reading in order to create a particular protein. The Mammalian Promoter Database (MPromDb) integrates sequencing data generated at Wistar with publicly available data on human and mouse genomics. MPromDb pinpoints known promoters and predicts where new ones are likely to be found. ... > full story

Young female chimpanzees treat sticks as dolls: Growing evidence of biological basis for gender-specific play in humans (December 22, 2010) -- Researchers have reported some of the first evidence that chimpanzee youngsters in the wild may tend to play differently depending on their sex, just as human children around the world do. Scientists say female chimpanzees appear to treat sticks as dolls, carrying them around until they have offspring of their own. Young males engage in such behavior much less frequently. ... > full story

Immunity in emerging species of a major mosquito carrer of malaria (December 22, 2010) -- A new study suggests that the mosquitoes' immune response to malaria parasites, mediated by a gene called TEP1, is one of the traits that differ between two evolving species of Anopheles gambiae. ... > full story

Climbing Mount Everest: Noble adventure or selfish pursuit? (December 22, 2010) -- Adventure seekers are plunking down more than ,000 to climb Mount Everest, but a new study finds that people who pay for transformative experiences often lack the communitarian spirit that usually defines such activities. ... > full story

Sex reversal gene: Male mice can be created without Y chromosome via ancient brain gene (December 22, 2010) -- Researchers in Australia are a step closer to unraveling the mysteries of human sexual development, following genetic studies that show male mice can be created without a Y chromosome -- through the activation of an ancient brain gene. ... > full story

Blue-green algae tested for treating amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (December 22, 2010) -- Spirulina, a nutrient-rich, blue-green algae, an ancient food source used by the Aztecs, may have a dual antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect on motor neurons. Spirulina appeared to provide neuroprotective support for dying motor neurons in a mouse model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. ... > full story

New ideas enhance efficiency of wind turbines (December 22, 2010) -- One issue confronting the efficiency of wind as a promising renewable energy source is the wind itself -- specifically, its changeability. While the aerodynamic performance of a wind turbine is best under steady wind flow, the efficiency of the blades degrades when exposed to conditions such as wind gusts, turbulent flow, upstream turbine wakes and wind shear. Now, a new type of air-flow technology may soon increase the efficiency of large wind turbines under many different wind conditions. ... > full story

Fossil finger bone yields genome of a previously unknown human relative (December 22, 2010) -- A 30,000-year-old finger bone found in a cave in southern Siberia came from a young girl who belonged to a previously unknown group of human relatives who may have lived throughout much of Asia. Although the fossil evidence consists of just a bone fragment and one tooth, DNA extracted from the bone has yielded a genome sequence that leads to some startling conclusions about this extinct branch of the human family tree. ... > full story

Toxin-laden nectar poses problems for honeybees (December 22, 2010) -- Researchers in the UK have shown for the first time that chemical seratonin enables the honeybee to learn to avoid nectar containing toxins. ... > full story

Stress can enhance ordinary, unrelated memories (December 22, 2010) -- Stress can enhance ordinary, unrelated memories, a team of neuroscientists has found in a study of laboratory rats. Their results may bolster our understanding of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and could offer a pathway for addressing PTSD and related afflictions. ... > full story

Africa has two elephant species, genetic analysis confirms (December 22, 2010) -- By comparing the DNA of modern elephants from Africa and Asia to DNA extracted from two extinct species, the woolly mammoth and the mastodon, researchers have concluded that Africa has two -- not one -- species of elephant. Since 1950, all African elephants have been conserved as one species. Now that we know the forest and savanna elephants are two very different animals, the forest elephant should become a bigger priority for conservation purposes. ... > full story

Long-lasting chemicals threaten the environment and human health (December 22, 2010) -- New research suggests that a number of high production volume chemicals are likely to become sequestered in post-treatment sludge and enter the environment when these biosolids are deposited on land. ... > full story

Singing fish: Choir of electric fish makes debut in interactive 'scale' exhibit at Netherlands festival (December 22, 2010) -- A neurobiologist, an artist, and a composer recently presented their collaborative "singing electric fish" installation to thousands of people attending the STRP Festival, one of the largest art and technology festival venues in Europe. Many visitors had the chance to grab a baton and direct the unusual choir. ... > full story

Natural supplement, echinacea, may reduce common-cold duration by only half a day (December 22, 2010) -- An over-the-counter herbal treatment believed to have medicinal benefits has minimal impact in relieving the common cold, according to new research. ... > full story

Sea-level study brings good and bad news to Chesapeake Bay (December 22, 2010) -- A study of sea-level trends brings both good and bad news to localities concerned with coastal inundation and flooding along the shores of Chesapeake Bay. Dr. John Boon, the study's lead author, says the good news is that "absolute sea level in Chesapeake Bay is rising only about half as fast as the global average rise rate." The bad news, says Boon, is that "local subsidence more than makes up for it." ... > full story

New Miscanthus hybrid discovery in Japan could open doors for biofuel industry (December 22, 2010) -- In the minds of many, Miscanthus x giganteus is the forerunner in the race of viable feedstock options for lignocellulosic bioenergy production. But researchers believe "putting all their eggs in one basket" could be a big mistake. Scientists recently reported the first natural occurrence in several decades of Miscanthus hybrid plants in Japan. ... > full story

Being good moms couldn't save the woolly mammoth (December 21, 2010) -- Woolly mammoths living north of the Arctic Circle during the Pleistocene Epoch (approx. 150,000 to 40,000 years ago) began weaning infants up to three years later than modern day African elephants due to prolonged hours of darkness, new research suggests. This adapted nursing pattern could have contributed to the prehistoric elephant's eventual extinction. ... > full story

Biomagnification of nanomaterials in simple food chain demonstrated (December 21, 2010) -- Researchers have produced a groundbreaking study of how nanoparticles are able to biomagnify in a simple microbial food chain. ... > full story

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