Minggu, 06 Februari 2011

ScienceDaily Environment Headlines

for Sunday, February 6, 2011

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Discovery of jumping gene cluster tangles tree of life (February 5, 2011) -- Since the days of Darwin, the "tree of life" has been the preeminent metaphor for the process of evolution, reflecting the gradual branching and changing of individual species. The discovery that a large cluster of genes appears to have jumped directly from one species of fungus to another, however, significantly strengthens the argument that a different metaphor, such as a mosaic, may be more appropriate. ... > full story

How the body’s frontline defense mechanism determines if a substance is a microbe (February 5, 2011) -- Researchers have now described how the first line of defense of the human immune system distinguishes between microbes and the body's own structures. The basis of this recognition mechanism has been unclear since the key protein components were discovered over 30 years ago -- and has now finally been cracked. ... > full story

Death in the bat caves: Disease wiping out hibernating bats (February 5, 2011) -- Conservationists across the United States are racing to discover a solution to white-nose syndrome, a disease that is threatening to wipe out bat species across North America. Although WNS has already killed one million bats, there are critical knowledge gaps preventing researchers from combating the disease. ... > full story

Blenny bonanza: Seven new species of fish revealed by genetic analysis (February 5, 2011) -- Things are not always what they seem when it comes to fish -- something scientists are finding out. Using modern genetic analysis, combined with traditional examination of morphology, scientists discovered that what were once thought to be three species of blenny in the genus Starksia are actually 10 distinct species. ... > full story

New twist on the electron beam (February 5, 2011) -- Researchers have found a novel, and potentially widely applicable, method to expand the capabilities of conventional transmission electron microscopes by adding a new twist to their electron beams. ... > full story

Gas stations pollute their immediate surroundings, Spanish study finds (February 5, 2011) -- In Spain, it is relatively common to come across gas stations surrounded by houses, particularly in urban areas. Researchers have studied the effects of contamination at gas stations that is potentially harmful to health, which can be noted in buildings less than 100 meters from the service stations. ... > full story

Cross-species strategy might be a powerful tool for studying human disease (February 4, 2011) -- A new study takes advantage of genetic similarities between mammals and fruit flies by coupling a complex genetic screening technique in humans with functional validation of the results in flies. The new strategy has the potential to be an effective approach for unraveling genetically complex human disorders and providing valuable insights into human disease. ... > full story

Part of New Zealand's submerged 'Pink Terraces' found (February 4, 2011) -- Scientists have located portions of the long-lost Pink Terraces near New Zealand. They were called the Eighth Wonder of the World. Until the late 19th century, New Zealand's Pink and White Terraces along Lake Rotomahana on the North Island, attracted tourists from around the world, interested in seeing the beautiful natural formations created by a large geothermal system. But the eruption of Mt. Tarawera on June 10, 1886, buried the terraces in sediment and caused the lake basin to enlarge, engulfing the land where the terraces stood. For more than a century, people have speculated whether any part of the Pink and White Terraces survived the eruption. ... > full story

Boosting body's immune response may hold key to HIV cure (February 4, 2011) -- Scientists have successfully cleared a HIV-like infection from mice by boosting the function of cells vital to the immune response. Researchers showed that a cell signaling hormone called interleukin-7 reinvigorates the immune response to chronic viral infection, allowing the host to completely clear virus. ... > full story

Oil in Gulf of Mexico: Biologists cite need for critical data to determine ecological consequences (February 4, 2011) -- Twenty years after biologists attempted to determine the ecological damages to marine life from the Exxon Valdez oil spill, scientists dealing with the BP disaster find themselves with the same problem: the lack of critical data to determine the ecological consequences of human-induced environmental disasters. ... > full story

Want more efficient muscles? Eat your spinach (February 4, 2011) -- After taking a small dose of inorganic nitrate for three days, healthy people consume less oxygen while riding an exercise bike. A new study traces that improved performance to increased efficiency of the mitochondria that power our cells. The researchers aren't recommending anyone begin taking inorganic nitrate supplements based on the new findings. Rather, they say that the results may offer one explanation for the well-known health benefits of fruits and vegetables, and leafy green vegetables in particular. ... > full story

Oysters at risk: Gastronomes' delight disappearing globally (February 4, 2011) -- Oysters are in "poor" condition globally, according to a new global assessment. In most of the "bays" and ecoregions where the mollusks were once abundant, reefs are at less than 10 percent of their former extent, the victims of over-exploitation exacerbated by disease. Sustainable management of oyster fisheries could help some populations recover, especially in the Gulf of Mexico, one of the few places in the world where there are still extensive reefs in fair condition. ... > full story

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