Jumat, 04 Maret 2011

ScienceDaily Environment Headlines

for Friday, March 4, 2011

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Flood-tolerant rice plants can also survive drought (March 4, 2011) -- Sensitive to drought due to its high water requirement, rice is particularly vulnerable to how global climate change is altering the frequency and magnitude of floods and droughts. Now plant scientists have made a discovery that can greatly benefit rice growers and consumers everywhere. The researchers have demonstrated in the lab and greenhouse that rice that is flood tolerant is also better able to recover from a drought. ... > full story

California islands give up evidence of early seafaring: Numerous artifacts found at late Pleistocene sites on the Channel Islands (March 4, 2011) -- Evidence for a diversified sea-based economy among North American inhabitants dating from 12,200 to 11,400 years ago is emerging from three sites on California's Channel Islands. ... > full story

New clue to controlling skin regeneration, as well as skin cancer (March 4, 2011) -- Researchers have now found a regulator of gene activity that tells epidermal stem cells when it's time to grow more skin, as well as a "crowd control" molecule that can sense cell crowding and turn the growth off. ... > full story

New findings on drug tolerance in TB suggest ideas for shorter cures (March 4, 2011) -- A study of host-pathogen responses in tuberculosis elucidates molecular mechanisms of antibiotic tolerance in tuberculosis and further suggests a strategy for shortening curative therapy (currently six months) using a class of drugs -- efflux pump inhibitors -- that are already approved for treating high blood pressure and angina, and available for use in people. ... > full story

Oldest objects in solar system indicate a turbulent beginning (March 3, 2011) -- Scientists have found that calcium, aluminum-rich inclusions (CAIs), some of the oldest objects in the solar system, formed far away from our sun and then later fell back into the mid-plane of the solar system. The findings may lead to a greater understanding of how our solar system and possibly other solar systems formed and evolved. ... > full story

Solving the puzzle of Henry VIII (March 3, 2011) -- The numerous miscarriages suffered by the wives of Henry VIII could be explained if the king's blood carried the Kell antigen. If Henry also suffered from McLeod syndrome, a genetic disorder specific to the Kell blood group, it would finally provide an explanation for his dramatic mid-life shift in both physical form and personality. ... > full story

Mapping human vulnerability to climate change (March 3, 2011) -- Researchers already study how various species of plants and animals migrate in response to climate change. Now, a researcher has taken the innovative step of using the same analytic tools to measure the impact of climate change on human populations. They found that if populations continue to increase at the expected rates, those who are likely to be the most vulnerable to climate change are the people living in low-latitude, hot regions of the world. ... > full story

Human ancestors lived on shaky ground (March 3, 2011) -- Our earliest ancestors preferred to settle in locations that have something in common with cities such as San Francisco, Naples and Istanbul -- they are often on active tectonic faults in areas that have an earthquake risk or volcanoes, or both. An international team of scientists has established a link between the shape of the landscape and the habitats preferred by our earliest ancestors. ... > full story

New findings challenge view of key part of immune defense (March 3, 2011) -- The natural killer cells of our immune defense are activated for an extended period after the acute infection, which challenges the prevailing view that the elevation and activation of cells quickly pass. This is shown in a study regarding vole fever. ... > full story

Using artificial, cell-like 'honey pots' to entrap deadly viruses (March 3, 2011) -- Researchers have designed artificial "protocells" that can lure, entrap and inactivate a class of deadly human viruses -- think decoys with teeth. ... > full story

Turning bacteria into butanol biofuel factories: Transplanted enzyme pathway makes E. coli churn out n-butanol (March 3, 2011) -- While ethanol is today's major biofuel, researchers aim to produce fuels more like gasoline. Butanol is the primary candidate, now produced primarily by Clostridium bacteria. Chemists have now transplanted the enzyme pathway from Clostridium into E. coli, replaced two of five genes with enzymes from other microbes, and gotten the bacteria to churn out 10 times more n-butanol than competing microbes, close to the level needed for industrial scale production. ... > full story

Shrinking tundra, advancing forests: how the Arctic will look by century's end (March 3, 2011) -- A shifting of climate types in the Arctic will mean tundra in Alaska, Canada, Scandinavia and Asia giving way to trees and plants typical of more southerly climates, according to climatologists. ... > full story

Four new species of Zombie ant fungi discovered in Brazilian rainforest (March 3, 2011) -- Four new Brazilian species in the genus Ophiocordyceps have been discovered. The fungi belong to a group of "zombifying" fungi that infect ants and then manipulate their behavior, eventually killing the ants after securing a prime location for spore dispersal. ... > full story

Solving the riddle of nature’s perfect spring (March 3, 2011) -- Scientists have unravelled the shape of the protein that gives human tissues their elastic properties in what could lead to the development of new synthetic elastic polymers. ... > full story

Cannabis use precedes the onset of psychotic symptoms in young people, study finds (March 3, 2011) -- Cannabis use during adolescence and young adulthood increases the risk of psychotic symptoms, while continued cannabis use may increase the risk for psychotic disorder in later life, concludes a new study. ... > full story

Eastern cougar is extinct, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service concludes (March 3, 2011) -- Although the eastern cougar has been on the endangered species list since 1973, its existence has long been questioned. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service conducted a formal review of the available information and, in a new report, concludes the eastern cougar is extinct and recommends the subspecies be removed from the endangered species list. ... > full story

'A little off the top' helps map cells with submicrometer resolution (March 3, 2011) -- In an effort to identify the early-onset, subtle chemical changes occurring in a cell heading toward malignancy, researchers have developed a technique that slices off the top of a cell and makes the structures accessible to spectroscopic examination of their chemical "signatures." ... > full story

Clouds amplify ecological light pollution (March 3, 2011) -- The brightness of the nightly sky glow over major cities has been shown to depend strongly on cloud cover. In natural environments, clouds make the night sky darker by blocking the light of the stars but around urban centers, this effect is completely reversed, according to a new study. ... > full story

Arctic blooms occurring earlier: Phytoplankton peak arising 50 days early, with unknown impacts on marine food chain and carbon cycling (March 3, 2011) -- Warming temperatures and melting ice in the Arctic may be behind a progressively earlier bloom of a crucial annual marine event, and the shift could hold consequences for the entire food chain and carbon cycling in the region. ... > full story

What wasps can tell us about sex (March 3, 2011) -- Whether an individual parasitoid wasp reproduces sexually or asexually is determined by a single gene, researchers have discovered. This new finding could help to answer a central question of evolutionary biology – and could also be of interest for biological pest control. ... > full story

How much can a cell uptake? (March 3, 2011) -- Immunological research has revealed a critical component in the "decision-making" process of white blood cells that play a role in the healing process from bacterial inflammation. ... > full story

Diversifying crops may protect yields against a more variable climate (March 3, 2011) -- Farmers could protect crop yields against pest and pathogen outbreaks likely to become more common as climate changes if they used modeling techniques to evaluate the potential of crop diversification. ... > full story

Florida could be 10 to 15 million years older than previously believed, pollen study shows (March 2, 2011) -- A new study of 45-million-year-old pollen from Pine Island west of Fort Myers has led to a new understanding of the state's geologic history, showing Florida could be 10 million to 15 million years older than previously believed. ... > full story

Protein identified that serves as a switch in a key pathway of programmed cell death (March 2, 2011) -- Scientists have identified how cells flip a switch between cell survival and cell death that involves a protein called FLIP. ... > full story

New role found for cancer protein p53 (March 2, 2011) -- The gene for the protein p53 is the most frequently mutated in human cancer. It encodes a tumor suppressor, and traditionally researchers have assumed that it acts primarily as a regulator of how genes are made into proteins. Now, researchers show that the protein has at least one other biochemical activity: controlling the metabolism of the sugar glucose, one of body's main sources of fuel. ... > full story

Two new crustaceans discovered in Iberian Peninsula, Spain (March 2, 2011) -- Scientists have now described two cladocerous crustaceans, which could be endemic to the Iberian Peninsula, and which were found in two lagoons, one in the lower basin of the Guadalquivir river, and the other in the grasslands of Extremadura. Both of these arthropods may today inhabit more areas in the Mediterranean region. ... > full story

Combined molecular study techniques reveal more about DNA proteins (March 2, 2011) -- Researchers have combined two molecular imaging technologies to create an instrument with incredible sensitivity that provides new, detailed insight into dynamic molecular processes. Two physics professors combined their expertise in single-molecule biophysics -- fluorescence microscopy and optical traps -- to create a unique instrument that measures both a DNA-regulating protein's motion and conformational changes as it acts. ... > full story

Effectiveness of wastewater treatment may be damaged during a severe flu pandemic (March 2, 2011) -- Existing plans for antiviral and antibiotic use during a severe influenza pandemic could reduce wastewater treatment efficiency prior to discharge into receiving rivers, resulting in water quality deterioration at drinking water abstraction points, according to a new article. ... > full story

Good fungi might prove even better for plant, human health (March 2, 2011) -- Scientists have come closer to understanding how a common fungus "makes its living in the soil," which could lead to its possible "career change" as a therapeutic agent for plant and human health. ... > full story

Bacteria can communicate with each other through nanotubes, researchers discover (March 2, 2011) -- A pathway whereby bacteria communicate with each other has been discovered. The discovery has important implications for efforts to cope with the spread of harmful bacteria in the body. ... > full story

New 'thermometer' helps scientists accurately measure rock formation (March 2, 2011) -- Researchers have used magnesium isotopes to determine the temperature at which rocks form, which will allow scientists to better study the formation of Earth's crust and mantle as well as the formation of meteorites. ... > full story

World's most powerful optical microscope: Microscope could 'solve the cause of viruses' (March 2, 2011) -- Scientists have produced the world's most powerful optical microscope, which could help us understand the causes of many viruses and diseases. ... > full story

Songbird's strategy for changing its tune could inform rehab efforts (March 2, 2011) -- Scientists have discovered that the male Bengalese finch uses a simple mental computation and an uncanny memory to create its near-perfect mate-catching melody. ... > full story

Scientists unravel the mysterious mechanics of spider silk (March 2, 2011) -- Scientists now have a better understanding of why spider silk fibers are so incredibly strong. Recent research describes the architecture of silk fibers from the atomic level up and reveals new information about the molecular structure that underlies the amazing mechanical characteristics of this fascinating natural material. ... > full story

HIV vaccine impacts the genetic makeup of the virus (March 2, 2011) -- An AIDS vaccine tested in people, but found to be ineffective, influenced the genetic makeup of the virus that slipped past. This is the first evidence that vaccine-induced cellular immune responses against HIV-1 infection exert selective pressure on the virus. The findings suggest new strategies for developing HIV vaccines that put selective pressure in a controlled manner that debilitates the virus and that avoids selecting for strains that can escape immune defenses. ... > full story

Mini or massive? For turtles and tortoises, it all depends on where you live (March 2, 2011) -- Life scientists report the first quantitative evidence for an evolutionary link in turtles and tortoises between habitat and body size. ... > full story

Herbal teas may provide health benefits (March 2, 2011) -- Those who enjoy the caffeinated lift that comes from drinking traditional coffees and teas may tend to overlook the benefits of drinking herbal infusions. Now, the idea that herbal teas may provide a variety of health benefits is no longer just folklore. ... > full story

Algae converted to butanol; Fuel can be used in automobiles (March 2, 2011) -- Chemical engineers have developed a method for converting common algae into butanol, a renewable fuel that can be used in existing combustible engines. The green technology benefits from and adds greater value to a process being used now to clean and oxygenate U.S. waterways by removing excess nitrogen and phosphorus from fertilizer in runoff. ... > full story

Findings on pollution damage to human airways could yield new therapies (March 2, 2011) -- Researchers have identified how nanoparticles from diesel exhaust damage lung airway cells, a finding that could lead to new therapies for people susceptible to airway disease. The scientists also discovered that the severity of the injury depends on the genetic make-up of the affected individual. ... > full story

Pakistan floods last summer could have been predicted, experts say (March 2, 2011) -- Five days before intense monsoonal deluges unleashed vast floods across Pakistan last July, computer models at a European weather-forecasting center were giving clear indications that the downpours were imminent. Now, a new scientific study that retrospectively examines the raw data from these computer models, has confirmed that, if the information had been processed, forecasters could have predicted extremely accurate rainfall totals 8-10 days beforehand. ... > full story

Analysis of bread mold genomes demonstrates 'reverse-ecology' tool (March 1, 2011) -- In a demonstration of "reverse-ecology," biologists have shown that one can determine an organism's adaptive traits by looking first at its genome and checking for variations across a population. The study offers a powerful new tool in evolutionary genetics research, one that could be used to help monitor the effects of climate change and habitat destruction. ... > full story

'Social-IQ score' for bacteria developed (March 1, 2011) -- Researchers have developed a "Social-IQ score" for bacteria -- and it may lead to new antibiotics and powerful bacteria-based "green" pesticides for the agricultural industry. ... > full story

Florida citrus industry: Mechanical harvesting creates up to 250 percent more debris than hand harvesting, study finds (March 1, 2011) -- Harvesting can account for as much as 50 percent of the production cost for Florida's citrus crops. In a recent research study debris samples were collected from three harvesting systems; results indicated that mechanical harvesting increased debris per load by as much as 250 percent compared with hand-harvested fruit. The study results will aid growers in evaluating the costs and benefits of mechanical harvesting techniques as well as engineers who design debris elimination systems for mechanical harvesting. ... > full story

Technique for measuring methane gas from cattle (March 1, 2011) -- Recently, scientists developed a methane release measuring technique as way of tracking the discharge of the gas without disrupting the regular management of the herd. ... > full story

Rare 89-million-year-old flying reptile fossil from Texas may be world's oldest pteranodon (March 1, 2011) -- Fossil bones discovered in Texas are from the left wing of an ancient flying reptile that died 89 million years ago, representing what may be the world's earliest occurrence of the prehistoric creature Pteranodon, says paleontologists. If the reptile is pteranodon, it would be the first of its kind discovered as far south as Texas within the ancient Western Interior Seaway. ... > full story

Sugar-sweetened drinks associated with higher blood pressure (March 1, 2011) -- Soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages such as fruit drinks are associated with higher blood pressure levels, according to a new study. Adults with higher sodium intake had a stronger association between sugar-sweetened beverages and high blood pressure. ... > full story

Scientists identify new implications for perennial bioenergy crops (March 1, 2011) -- Scientists have found that converting large swaths of land to bioenergy crops could have a wide range of effects on regional climate. ... > full story

Mating mites trapped in amber reveal sex role reversal (March 1, 2011) -- In the mating game, some female mites are mightier than their mates, new research suggests. The evidence comes, in part, from 40 million-year-old mating mites preserved in Baltic amber. ... > full story

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