Rabu, 16 Maret 2011

ScienceDaily Environment Headlines

for Wednesday, March 16, 2011

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Malaria drug slows pancreatic cancer growth in mouse models (March 16, 2011) -- Scientists report they have used hydroxychloroquine, a drug routinely prescribed for malaria and rheumatoid arthritis, to shrink or slow the growth of notoriously resistant pancreatic tumors in mice. ... > full story

Unprecedented view of protein folding may help develop brain disease therapies (March 16, 2011) -- When vital proteins in our bodies are misfolded, debilitating diseases can result. If researchers could see the folding happen, they might be able to design treatments for some of these diseases. But many of our most critical proteins are folded, hidden from sight, inside tiny molecular chambers. Now researchers have gotten the first-ever peek inside one of these protein-folding chambers as the folding happened, and the folding mechanism they saw surprised them. ... > full story

Scientists fly through the clouds to piece together climate puzzle (March 16, 2011) -- As scientists try to better understand and put together the puzzle of Earth's climate, the role of clouds remains one of the most important missing pieces. Researchers from four NASA centers, other U.S. agencies and several colleges and universities are set to participate in the Mid-latitude Airborne Cirrus Properties Experiment (MACPEX), an airborne field campaign based at Ellington Field, Texas, that aims to answer some major questions about clouds. ... > full story

New study predicts cholera epidemic in Haiti will far exceed UN projections (March 16, 2011) -- A new study predicts that the cholera epidemic in Haiti this year will be far worse than United Nations' projections, which had estimated 400,000 cases of the diarrheal disease over the course of the epidemic. ... > full story

New vaccine candidate shows strong potential to prevent highly contagious norovirus (March 16, 2011) -- Scientists have found that an experimental vaccine against human norovirus -- the bug behind 90 percent of highly contagious nonbacterial illnesses causing diarrhea and vomiting -- generates a strong immune response in mice without causing the animals any harm. Using a novel viral vector-based method to grow and deliver the vaccine that has shown promise in other agents designed to fight such infections as HIV and hepatitis C, they are the first to test this vaccine design method's effectiveness against the human norovirus. ... > full story

Dairy farmer finds unusual forage grass (March 16, 2011) -- A grass breeder has rediscovered a forage grass that seems just right for today's intensive rotational grazing. ... > full story

Wheels up for NASA mission's most extensive Arctic ice survey (March 16, 2011) -- Researchers and flight crew arrived in Thule, Greenland, on March 14 for the start of NASA's 2011 Operation IceBridge, an airborne mission to study changes in Arctic polar ice. This year's plans include surveys of Canadian ice caps and expanded international collaboration. ... > full story

How tuberculosis bacteria manage to survive inside body’s macrophage cells (March 15, 2011) -- Tuberculosis kills two million people each year. Researchers in Sweden are now presenting new findings that show how the bacterium that causes the disease manages to survive inside the body’s macrophage cells in order eventually to blow them up and spread their infection. ... > full story

Seedlings thrive with distant relatives, seeds with close family (March 15, 2011) -- A variety of angiosperm seedlings suffered from competition when planted with near relatives in home soils and fared best with distant relatives. But, seeds did just the opposite in a new study. And seedlings in potting soil also grew best with near relatives, raising the question of why soils affect competition outcomes. ... > full story

Potentially pathogenic microbes growing on at least half of all orthodontic retainers, study suggests (March 15, 2011) -- Insufficient cleaning could allow build-up of microbes on orthodontic retainers, researchers have found. Researchers looked at the types of microbes which live on retainers. This study found potentially pathogenic microbes growing on at least 50% of the retainers. ... > full story

How pathogenic E. coli bacterium causes illness (March 15, 2011) -- Scientists have shown how the O157:H7 strain of Escherichia coli causes infection and thrives by manipulating the host immune response. The bacterium secretes a protein called NleH1 that directs the host immune enzyme IKK-beta to alter specific immune responses. This process not only helps the bacterium evade elimination by the immune system, it also works to prolong the survival of the infected host, enabling the bacterium to persist and ultimately spread to unaffected individuals. ... > full story

Genetic analysis reveals history, evolution of an ancient delicacy -- morels (March 15, 2011) -- Scientists have completed one of the most detailed genetic analyses ever done on morels, to help identify their ancestry, show how they evolved and what conservation policies may be needed to manage and protect this valuable resource. ... > full story

Best possible night light: Researchers study how light cycles impact zoo animals (March 15, 2011) -- A doctoral student reaches across a Cleveland Metroparks Zoo exhibit with a long pole tipped with a synthetic swab soaked in honey water. A pygmy slow loris, a big-eyed nocturnal primate, climbs down a branch and begins licking and chewing the swab. Something as seemingly innocuous as incorrect lighting may negatively impact the health and reproduction of lorises, pottos and their kin, researchers say. ... > full story

Old-growth tree stumps tell the story of fire in the upper Midwest (March 15, 2011) -- Researchers have constructed a 226-year history of fire in southern Illinois by looking at fire scars in tree stumps. Their study, the most in-depth fire history reported for the upper Midwest, reveals that changes in the frequency of fires dating back to the time of early European settlement permanently altered the ecology of the region. ... > full story

Orchid lures flies with scent of rotting flesh (March 15, 2011) -- Sex and violence, or at least death, are the key to reproduction for the orchid Satyrium pumilum. The orchid lures flies into its flowers by mimicking the smell of rotting flesh. A new study compares the scent of the orchids with that of roadkill. ... > full story

U.S. Geological Survey updates magnitude of Japan’s 2011 Tohoku earthquake to 9.0 (March 15, 2011) -- The U.S. Geological Survey has updated the magnitude of the March 11, 2011, Tohoku earthquake in northern Honshu, Japan, to 9.0 from the previous estimate of 8.9. Independently, Japanese seismologists have also updated their estimate of the earthquake's magnitude to 9.0. This magnitude places the earthquake as the fourth largest in the world since 1900 and the largest in Japan since modern instrumental recordings began 130 years ago. ... > full story

Japan quake may have slightly shortened Earth days, moved axis, theoretical calculations suggest (March 15, 2011) -- The magnitude 9.0 earthquake that struck Japan March 11, 2011 may have slightly shortened the length of each Earth day and shifted its axis. Using a U.S. Geological Survey estimate for how the fault responsible for the earthquake slipped, a NASA research scientist applied a complex model to perform a preliminary theoretical calculation of how the Japan earthquake -- the fifth largest since 1900 -- affected Earth's rotation. The calculations indicate that by changing the distribution of Earth's mass, the Japanese earthquake should have caused Earth to rotate a bit faster, shortening the length of the day by about 1.8 microseconds. ... > full story

Seedless cherimoya, the next banana? (March 15, 2011) -- Mark Twain called it "the most delicious fruit known to man." But the cherimoya, or custard apple, and its close relations the sugar apple and soursop, also have lots of big, awkward seeds. Now new research by plant scientists in the United States and Spain could show how to make this and other fruits seedless. ... > full story

Neanderthals were nifty at controlling fire (March 15, 2011) -- A new study shows clear evidence of the continuous control of fire by Neanderthals in Europe dating back roughly 400,000 years, yet another indication that they weren't dimwitted brutes as often portrayed. But Neanderthal predecessors pushed into cold regions of Europe at least 800,000 years ago without the use of fire. ... > full story

Extent and speed of lionfish spread unprecedented; Invasive marine fish may stress reefs (March 15, 2011) -- The rapid spread of lionfishes along the U.S. eastern seaboard, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean is the first documented case of a non-native marine fish establishing a self-sustaining population in the region, according to recent studies. ... > full story

Hawaii: New high-resolution carbon mapping techniques provide more accurate results (March 15, 2011) -- Scientists have developed new, more accurate methods for mapping carbon in Hawaii's forests. ... > full story

Native trout fare best when dams use natural stream flow management practices (March 15, 2011) -- Natural stream flow suits native trout populations best, according to a new study that is the first to examine the impacts of dam operations on threatened freshwater trout. ... > full story

How the slime mold gets organized (March 15, 2011) -- The so-called cellular slime mold, a unicellular organism that may transition into a multicellular organism under stress, has just been found to have a tissue structure that was previously thought to exist only in more sophisticated animals. What's more, two proteins that are needed by the slime mold to form this structure are similar to those that perform the same function in more sophistical animals. ... > full story

New desalination process developed using carbon nanotubes (March 15, 2011) -- A faster, better and cheaper desalination process enhanced by carbon nanotubes has just been developed. The process creates a unique new architecture for the membrane distillation process by immobilizing carbon nanotubes in the membrane pores. Conventional approaches to desalination are thermal distillation and reverse osmosis. ... > full story

Gulf oil spill: Airborne chemistry measurements assess flow rate, fate of spilled gases and oil (March 15, 2011) -- Scientists have found a way to use air chemistry measurements taken hundreds of feet above last year's BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill to estimate how fast gases and oil were leaking from the reservoir thousands of feet underwater. The scientists also determined the fate of most of those gas and oil compounds using atmospheric chemistry data collected from the NOAA WP-3D research aircraft overflights in June. ... > full story

'Fly tree of life' mapped, adds big branch of evolutionary knowledge (March 14, 2011) -- Calling it the "new periodic table for flies," researchers around the globe have mapped the evolutionary history of flies, providing a framework for further comparative studies on the insects that comprise more than 10 percent of all life on Earth. ... > full story

Lessons from Japan's earthquake (March 14, 2011) -- While Japan's 8.9-magnitude earthquake and accompanying tsunami represent a devastating natural disaster for the country's residents, scientists should also seize upon the massive temblor as an important learning tool for future quakes around the world, including the Pacific Northwest coast of the United States, according to U.S. experts. ... > full story

Toxoplasmosis: The strain explains severity of infection (March 14, 2011) -- Providing clues into why the severity of a common parasitic infection can vary greatly from person to person, a new study shows that each one of three strains of the cat-borne parasite Toxoplasma gondii sets off a unique reaction in the nerve cells it invades. ... > full story

Arctic on the verge of record ozone loss (March 14, 2011) -- Unusually low temperatures in the Arctic ozone layer have recently initiated massive ozone depletion. The Arctic appears to be heading for a record loss of this trace gas that protects the Earth's surface against ultraviolet radiation from the sun. ... > full story

Antioxidants in pregnancy prevent obesity in animal offspring (March 14, 2011) -- New biological research may be relevant to the effects of a mother's high-fat diet during pregnancy on the development of obesity in her children. An animal study suggests that a high-fat, high-carbohydrate diet causes oxidative stress -- an excess of deleterious free radicals -- during pregnancy, predisposing the offspring to obesity and diabetes. Feeding rats antioxidants before and during pregnancy completely prevented obesity and glucose intolerance in their offspring. ... > full story

Japanese nuclear plants damaged by earthquake, tsunami pose no risk to U.S., experts say (March 14, 2011) -- Although the situation with damaged nuclear reactors in Japan is still uncertain, every hour without further incidents is good news, according to nuclear energy experts. And in any case, the events pose virtually no risk to people in the United States or Canada. ... > full story

Used woodwind and brass musical instruments harbor harmful bacteria and fungi, study suggests (March 14, 2011) -- Used woodwind and brass instruments were found to be heavily contaminated with a variety of bacteria and fungi, many of which are associated with minor to serious infectious and allergic diseases, according to a new study. ... > full story

Salmonella bacteria used to fight cancer (March 14, 2011) -- Researchers are using salmonella -- the bacteria commonly transmitted through food that sickens thousands of US residents each year -- to do what was once unthinkable: help people. Researchers believe salmonella may be a valuable tool in the fight against cancer in organs surrounding the gut -- such as the liver, spleen, and colon -- since that's where salmonella naturally infects the body. ... > full story

Multiple taste cell sensors contribute to detecting sugars (March 14, 2011) -- A new research study dramatically increases knowledge of how taste cells detect sugars, a key step in developing strategies to limit overconsumption. Scientists have discovered that taste cells have several additional sugar detectors other than the previously known sweet receptor. ... > full story

Scientists discover genetic abnormalities after creation of stem cells (March 14, 2011) -- Scientists have identified genetic abnormalities associated with reprogramming adult cells to induced pluripotent stem cells. The findings give researchers new insights into the reprogramming process, and will help make future applications of stem cell creation and subsequent use safer. ... > full story

Unique frog helps amphibian conservation efforts (March 14, 2011) -- A tropical frog -- the only one of its kind in the world -- is providing conservationists with exclusive insights into the genetic make-up of its closest endangered relatives. ... > full story

Miniature 'wearable' PET scanner: Simultaneous study of behavior and brain function in animals (March 14, 2011) -- Scientists have demonstrated the efficacy of a "wearable," portable PET scanner they've developed for rats. The device will give neuroscientists a new tool for simultaneously studying brain function and behavior in fully awake, moving animals. ... > full story

Shape memory polymers shed light on how cells respond to physical environment (March 14, 2011) -- Researchers have used shape memory polymers to provide greater insight into how cells sense and respond to their physical environment. ... > full story

Study of 90 animals' thigh bones reveals how they can efficiently carry loads (March 14, 2011) -- The structures inside animals' thigh bones that enable them to support huge loads whilst being relatively lightweight are revealed in a new study. The researchers say their work could lead to the development of new materials based on thigh bone geometry. ... > full story

Researchers use lasers, custom microscope to show gene splicing process in real time (March 14, 2011) -- Researchers have developed a way to use lasers to study the splicing of pre-messenger RNA molecules, an essential process in creating proteins to sustain advanced organisms, including human life. Now this process of splicing, carried out by a cellular micro-machine called the spliceosome, can be viewed in real time. The research paper culminates a five-year-long collaboration of three research laboratories. ... > full story

Untapped crop data from Africa predicts corn peril if temperatures rise (March 14, 2011) -- Researchers have found a valuable, untapped resource in historical data from crop yield trials conducted across sub-Saharan Africa. Combined with weather records, they show that yield losses would occur across 65 percent of maize-growing areas from a temperature rise of a single degree Celsius, even with sufficient water. Data from yield tests in other regions of the world could help predict changes in crop yields from climate change. ... > full story

Back pain in both master and dog, Swedish research shows (March 14, 2011) -- Both humans and dogs can develop back problems. Slipped discs have similar symptoms and can be treated with the same methods regardless of whether the patient has two legs or four, according to new research from Sweden ... > full story

Non-native snakes are taking a toll on native birds in Florida, scientists find (March 13, 2011) -- The Everglades National Park in Florida is home to hundreds of species of native wildlife. It has also become the well-established home of the non-native Burmese python -- known to be a predator of native species. Now scientists, for the first time, have conducted a detailed analysis of the avian component of the python's diet and the negative impact the snakes may have on Florida's native birds, including some endangered species. ... > full story

NASA images tsunami's effects on northeastern Japan (March 13, 2011) -- The extent of inundation from the destructive and deadly tsunami triggered by the March 11, 2011, magnitude 8.9 earthquake centered off Japan's northeastern coast about 130 kilometers (82 miles) east of the city of Sendai is revealed in this before-and-after image pair from the Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) instrument on NASA's Terra spacecraft. ... > full story

Chilly times for Chinese dinosaurs: Abundance of feathered dinosaurs during temperate climate with harsh winters (March 13, 2011) -- Dinosaurs did not always enjoy mild climates. New findings show that during part of the Early Cretaceous, north-east China had a temperate climate with harsh winters. They explain the abundance of feathered dinosaurs in fossil deposits of that period. ... > full story

Scientists reveal role of light sensor in temperature sensation (March 13, 2011) -- A light-sensing receptor that's packed inside the eye's photoreceptor cells has an altogether surprising role in cells elsewhere in the body, scientists have discovered. Using fruit flies, they showed that this protein, called rhodopsin, also is critical for sensing temperature. ... > full story

Mouse nose nerve cells mature after birth, allowing bonding, recognition with mother (March 13, 2011) -- For rodent pups, bonding with mom isn't hard-wired in the womb. It develops over the first few weeks of life, which is achieved by their maturing sense of smell, possibly allowing these mammals a survival advantage by learning to identify mother, siblings, and home. Blending electrophysiological, biochemical and behavioral experiments, researchers demonstrated that neurons in the noses of mice mature after birth. ... > full story

Atlantis found? Film highlights professor’s efforts to locate fabled lost city (March 13, 2011) -- Could the fabled lost city of Atlantis have been located? Using satellite photography, ground-penetrating radar and underwater technology, a team of experts has been surveying marshlands in Spain to look for proof of the ancient city. If the team can match geological formations to Plato's descriptions and date artifacts back to the time of Atlantis, we may be closer to solving one of the world's greatest mysteries. ... > full story

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