Senin, 21 Maret 2011

ScienceDaily Environment Headlines

for Monday, March 21, 2011

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Making viruses pass for 'safe' (March 21, 2011) -- Viruses can penetrate every part of the body, making them potentially good tools for gene therapy or drug delivery. But with our immune system primed to seek and destroy these foreign invaders, delivering therapies with viruses is currently inefficient and can pose a significant danger to patients. ... > full story

The case for a neoproterozoic oxygenation event (March 21, 2011) -- The Cambrian "explosion" of multicellular animal life is one of the most significant evolutionary events in Earth's history. But what was it that jolted the Earth system enough to prompt the evolution of animals? While we take the presence of oxygen in our atmosphere for granted, it was not always this way. ... > full story

Can bees color maps better than ants? (March 21, 2011) -- In mathematics, you need at most only four different colors to produce a map in which no two adjacent regions have the same color. Utah and Arizona are considered adjacent, but Utah and New Mexico, which only share a point, are not. The four-color theorem proves this conjecture for generic maps of countries, but actually of more use in solving scheduling problems, scheduling, register allocation in computing and frequency assignment in mobile communications and broadcasting. ... > full story

Mutant prions help cells foil harmful protein misfolding (March 21, 2011) -- Misfolded proteins are implicated in many incurable neurological diseases. A new and improved understanding of how naturally occurring variants keep proteins from bunching up and spreading provides more options for developing a treatment than scientists had realized. ... > full story

Natural clay as a potential host rock for nuclear waste repositories (March 21, 2011) -- Nuclear chemists in Germany have studied natural claystone in the laboratory for more than four years in order to determine how the radioactive elements plutonium and neptunium react with this rock. ... > full story

Important structure in the transmission of light signals deciphered (March 21, 2011) -- Scientists have made a new discovery in the basics of signal transduction research. They were able to clarify for the first time, in an important information carrier in the human body, the receptor protein rhodopsin, how such a protein must be designed to accommodate a light signal. ... > full story

Economics and evolution help scientists identify new strategy to control antibiotic resistance (March 20, 2011) -- Scientists have taken lessons from Adam Smith and Charles Darwin to devise a new strategy that could one day slow, possibly even prevent, the spread of drug-resistant bacteria. The scientists show that bacterial gene mutations that lead to drug resistance come at a biological cost not borne by nonresistant strains. ... > full story

Fairy wrens are accountants of the animal kingdom, not altruistic as previously thought (March 20, 2011) -- A puzzling example of altruism in nature has been debunked with researchers showing that purple-crowned fairy wrens are in reality cunningly planning for their own future when they assist in raising other birds' young by balancing the amount of assistance they give with the benefits they expect to receive in the future. ... > full story

Tests on century-old equipment show how far X-rays have come (March 20, 2011) -- Researchers recently tested first-generation x-ray equipment from 1896 and found that it produced radiation doses and exposure times that were vastly higher than those of today's systems, according a new study. ... > full story

Scientists use light to move molecules within living cells (March 20, 2011) -- Using a light-triggered chemical tool, scientists report that they have refined a means of moving individual molecules around inside living cells and sending them to exact locations at precise times. This new tool, they say, gives scientists greater command than ever in manipulating single molecules, allowing them to see how molecules in certain cell locations can influence cell behavior and to determine whether cells will grow, die, move or divide. ... > full story

New process cleanly extracts oil from tar sands and fouled beaches (March 20, 2011) -- An environmentally friendlier method of separating oil from tar sands has now been developed. The method, which utilizes ionic liquids to separate the heavy viscous oil from sand, is also capable of cleaning oil spills from beaches and separating oil from drill cuttings, the solid particles that must be removed from drilling fluids in oil and gas wells. ... > full story

Secrets of plague revealed through super-resolution microscopy technique (March 19, 2011) -- In work that is pushing the "diffraction barrier" associated with microscopic imaging of living cells, researchers have demonstrated the power of a new super-resolution microscopy technique called Stochastic Optical Reconstruction Microscopy (STORM), which can simultaneously image multiple molecules in living immune cells. ... > full story

Chemical-free pest management cuts rice waste (March 19, 2011) -- A novel way of bringing sustainable, pesticide-free processes to protect stored rice and other crops from insects and fungi can drastically cut losses of stored crops and help increase food security for up to 3 billion daily rice consumers. ... > full story

Allergies? Pollen also appears outside flowering season (March 19, 2011) -- Researchers have shown that the pollen levels of certain plants, such as grasses and cupressaceae, can appear before or after the peak moment of flowering. This phenomenon is caused by the "resuspension" of pollen, and its dispersal over large distances, and this is of great use in predicting allergies. ... > full story

World record for DNA analysis (March 19, 2011) -- Until recently, researchers have been limited to running just a few DNA samples at a time, at a cost of about ,000 U.S. per run. Now researchers have hit upon a new method that allows 5,000 samples to be run at the same time and at the same price. This cuts the cost per sample result considerably and constitutes a world record for the number of tests run in a single DNA sequencing analysis. ... > full story

Wide variety in nutritional content found in 'senior' dog foods (March 19, 2011) -- The nutritional content of dog foods marketed for old dogs varies as widely as owner's perceptions about them, according to a new study. ... > full story

Human prejudice has ancient evolutionary roots (March 18, 2011) -- The tendency to perceive others as "us versus them" isn't exclusively human but appears to be shared by our primate cousins, a new study has found. ... > full story

Human gender roles influence research on animals, Swedish biologists argue (March 18, 2011) -- Biologists have shown that animals' and plants' traits and behavior in sexual conflicts are colored by a human viewpoint. They want to raise awareness of the issue and provoke discussion among their colleagues in order to promote objectivity and broaden the research field. ... > full story

Ecologists use 70-year-old pressed plants to chart city's vanishing native flora (March 18, 2011) -- More than half of the world's population now lives in cities, yet we know little about how urbanization affects biodiversity. In one the first studies of its kind, ecologists in Indianapolis, USA have used 70-year-old dried plant specimens to track the impact of increasing urbanization on plants. ... > full story

Hospital infections: Unique antibody from llamas provide weapon against Clostridium difficile (March 18, 2011) -- Researchers say they are gaining a deeper understanding of virulent hospital infection and are closer to developing a novel treatment using antibodies from llamas. ... > full story

Record-breaking 2010 Eastern European/Russian heatwave (March 18, 2011) -- Scientists have compared the hot summers of 2003 and 2010 in detail for the first time. Last year’s heatwave across Eastern Europe and Russia was unprecedented in every respect: Europe has never experienced so large summer temperature anomalies in the last 500 years. ... > full story

Scientists take a look at systems biology and cellular networking (March 18, 2011) -- Systems biology holds promise for advances in such important areas as pharmaceuticals, environmental remediation and sustainable energy, but, according to two leading authorities, its most profound impact is that it might one day provide an answer to the central question: What is life? ... > full story

Japanese tsunami underscores need for elder disaster preparedness (March 18, 2011) -- The oldest segment of Japan's population will likely be the hardest hit as a result of the recent earthquake and subsequent tsunami, based on data from previous catastrophic events. Approximately 23 percent of Japanese citizens currently are age 65 and above. ... > full story

Dine or dash? Genes help worm decide when to look for new food (March 18, 2011) -- Researchers have identified a genetic circuit that helps worms decide whether to dine or dash. For worms, choosing when to search for a new dinner spot depends on many factors, both internal and external: how hungry they are, for example, how much oxygen is in the air, and how many other worms are around. A new study demonstrates this all-important decision is also influenced by the worm's genetic make-up. ... > full story

Insight into parasite 'family planning' could help target malaria (March 18, 2011) -- Fresh insight into the way the parasite that causes malaria reproduces could lead to new treatments to help curb the spread of the disease. ... > full story

New technologies to crack down on counterfeit whisky (March 18, 2011) -- Experts are working to create a handheld device which will detect fake whisky and wine – through the bottle. ... > full story

Flowering plant study 'catches evolution in the act' (March 18, 2011) -- A new study shows when two flowering plants are crossed to produce a new hybrid, the new species' genes are reset, allowing for greater genetic variation. ... > full story

World first: Localized delivery of an anti-cancer drug by remote-controlled microcarriers (March 18, 2011) -- Soon, drug delivery that precisely targets cancerous cells without exposing the healthy surrounding tissue to the medication's toxic effects will no longer be an oncologist's dream but a medical reality, new research suggests. Using a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) system, scientists have successfully guided microcarriers loaded with a dose of anti-cancer drug through the bloodstream of a living rabbit, right up to a targeted area in the liver, where the drug was successfully administered. ... > full story

Graphene cloak protects bacteria, leading to better images (March 18, 2011) -- Scientists are wrapping bacteria with graphene to address current challenges with imaging bacteria under electron microscopes. The method creates a carbon cloak that protects the bacteria, allowing them to be imaged at their natural size and increasing the image's resolution. ... > full story

A mutation causing wrinkled skin of Shar-Pei dogs is linked to periodic fever disorder (March 18, 2011) -- An international investigation has uncovered the genetics of the Shar-Pei dog's characteristic wrinkled skin. The researchers, led by scientists at Uppsala University and the Broad Institute, have connected this mutation to a periodic fever disorder and they propose that the findings could have important human health implications. Details appear on March 17 in the open-access journal PLoS Genetics. ... > full story

Resveratrol may be useful tool for reducing body fat (March 18, 2011) -- Scientists have studied the fat-reducing effect of CLA and resveratrol. Resveratrol reduces the accumulation of triglycerides, in part by activation of lipolysis, in both the adipocytes of mice and of humans, new research suggests. Resveratrol is found in red grape skins and red wine. ... > full story

Sink or source? A new model to measure organic carbon in surface waters (March 18, 2011) -- A new carbon model allows scientists to estimate sources and losses of organic carbon in surface waters in the United States. Study results indicate that streams act as both sources and sinks for organic carbon. ... > full story

A new evolutionary history of primates (March 18, 2011) -- A robust new phylogenetic tree resolves many long-standing issues in primate taxonomy. The genomes of living primates harbor remarkable differences in diversity and provide an intriguing context for interpreting human evolution. The phylogenetic analysis was conducted by international researchers to determine the origin, evolution, patterns of speciation, and unique features in genome divergence among primate lineages. ... > full story

Intervention offers 'best chance' to save species endangered by climate change, expert argues (March 18, 2011) -- A scientist is proposing a radical program of "assisted colonization" to save species endangered by climate change. He says the strategy is applicable across the world, and he suggests Britain as a potential haven for species such as the Iberian lynx, the Spanish Imperial Eagle, the Pyrenean Desman and the Provence Chalkhill Blue butterfly. ... > full story

Vitamin A plays key role in the human body, study suggests (March 18, 2011) -- In a recently published study mapping the structure and function of the so-called "orphan" nuclear receptor TR4, investigators suggest that vitamin A may play a more direct role than was previously known in certain physiological functions including sperm cell formation and the development of the central nervous system. ... > full story

Biodiversity conservation: Zoos urged to breed animals from threatened populations (March 17, 2011) -- Zoological gardens breed animals from threatened populations and can thus make a greater contribution towards biodiversity conservation. ... > full story

Bio-inspired sensors hold promise (March 17, 2011) -- Scientists are using insights from nature as inspiration for both touch and flow sensors -- areas that currently lack good sensors for recording and communicating the senses. ... > full story

New tool to monitor coral reef 'vital signs' (March 17, 2011) -- Scientists have created a new tool to monitor coral reef vital signs. By accurately measuring their biological pulse, scientists can better assess how climate change and other ecological threats impact coral reef health worldwide. ... > full story

Electric grid reliability: Increasing energy storage in vanadium redox batteries by 70 percent (March 17, 2011) -- Researchers have discovered that the vanadium redox battery's performance can be significantly improved by modifying its electrolyte solution. The finding could improve the electric grid's reliability and help connect more wind turbines and solar panels to the grid. ... > full story

E. coli engineered to produce record-setting amounts of alternative fuel (March 17, 2011) -- Scientists have produced 15 to 30 grams per liter of n-butanol by constructing a biochemical pathway and adding a driving force to E. coli, setting a record beyond current production practices. ... > full story

Why are the elderly so vulnerable to pneunomia? (March 17, 2011) -- Scientists are providing insight into why the elderly are so vulnerable to pneumonia and other bacterial infections. ... > full story

Fossils record reveals ancient migrations, trilobite mass matings (March 17, 2011) -- Fossilized snapshots are providing paleontologists with new insights into the behavior of ancient marine creatures. Like modern crabs and lobsters, trilobites appear to have gathered in large groups for protection when they shed their protective exoskeletons. During molting, there was safety in numbers. And, like their modern cousins, trilobites seem to have used these molting gatherings as opportunities for mating. ... > full story

New tool debuts for measuring indoor air pollutants (March 17, 2011) -- A promising new approach for checking the accuracy of measurements of hazardous indoor air pollutants may soon be ready for prime time, researchers report. The measurement tool, a reference sample for volatile organic compounds (VOCs), would be a boon to testers of indoor air quality and to manufacturers of paints, rugs, cleaners and other building products. ... > full story

New technique enables much faster production of inexpensive solar cells (March 17, 2011) -- Researchers have demonstrated that the speed at which inexpensive solar cells are produced can be increased by a factor of 10 -- and that this can be achieved without any detriment to the energy yield of the cells. This will almost certainly result in a further reduction in the price of the cells, which are made of amorphous silicon. ... > full story

New laser technique opens doors for drug discovery (March 17, 2011) -- Researchers have demonstrated that a new laser technique can be used to measure the interactions between proteins tangled in a cell's membrane and a variety of other biological molecules. These extremely difficult measurements can aid the process of drug discovery. ... > full story

Not so eagle eyed: New study reveals why birds collide with human-made objects (March 17, 2011) -- From office block windows to power lines and wind turbines, many species of bird are prone to colliding with large human-made objects, many of which appear difficult not to notice to human eyes. A new study outlines a new approach to understanding how birds see the world and why they find pylons and turbines so hard to avoid. ... > full story

Saint Patrick didn’t have it easy ... but at least the food wasn’t bad (March 17, 2011) -- Shipped to Ireland as a slave, it must have been a cold, hungry journey for Patrick. But through her researches, an Irish food expert has been able to recreate the diet available in 5th century Ireland to a young saint-in-the-making. ... > full story

Sounds of Japan earthquake and aftershocks from underwater observatories (March 17, 2011) -- Researchers in Spain have recorded the sound of the earthquake that shook Japan on Friday, March 11. The recording, now available online, was provided by a network of underwater observatories located on either side of the earthquake epicenter, close to the Japanese island of Hatsushima. ... > full story

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