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Biochemical Transformations Were Possible on Early Earth

May 20, 2013 10:50 am | News | Comments

The study shows that RNA is capable of catalyzing electron transfer under conditions similar to those of the early Earth. Because electron transfer, the moving of an electron from one chemical species to another, is involved in many biological processes, the study’s findings suggest that complex biochemical transformations may have been possible when life began.

Auto Emissions Transform Cholesterol

May 17, 2013 11:44 am | News | Comments

Academic researchers have found that breathing motor vehicle emissions triggers a change in high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, altering its cardiovascular protective qualities so that it actually contributes to clogged arteries. 

Bacteria Photosynthesis Decoded

May 15, 2013 11:30 am | News | Comments

Purple bacteria are among Earth’s oldest organisms, and among its most efficient in turning sunlight into usable chemical energy. Now, a key to their light-harvesting prowess has been explained by scientists through a detailed structural analysis.

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Air Pollution a Possible Link to Hardened Arteries

April 25, 2013 10:53 am | News | Comments

Long-term exposure to air pollution may be linked to heart attacks and strokes by speeding up atherosclerosis, or "hardening of the arteries," according to new research. The study that found that higher concentrations of fine particulate air pollution were linked to a faster thickening of the inner two layers of the common carotid artery.

Bugs Produce Diesel on Demand

April 25, 2013 10:41 am | News | Comments

It sounds like science fiction but a team from the University of Exeter, with support from Shell, has developed a method to make bacteria produce diesel on demand. While the technology still faces many significant commercialisation challenges, the diesel, produced by special strains of E. coli bacteria, is almost identical to conventional diesel fuel.

Ancient DNA Reveals Europe's Genetic History

April 24, 2013 11:56 am | News | Comments

Ancient DNA recovered from a series of skeletons in central Germany up to 7,500 years old has been used to reconstruct the first detailed genetic history of modern Europe. The study reveals a dramatic series of events including major migrations from both Western Europe and Eurasia, and signs of an unexplained genetic turnover about 4000-5000 years ago.

Reproductive Effects of Pesticides Span Generations

April 22, 2013 12:58 pm | News | Comments

Researchers studying aquatic organisms called Daphnia have found that exposure to a chemical pesticide has impacts that span multiple generations– causing the so-called “water fleas” to produce more male offspring, and causing reproductive problems in female offspring.

The Driving Force of Biomimicry

April 22, 2013 11:38 am | by Cynthia Fox | Articles | Comments

It already has its own peer-reviewed journal, its own economic index and its own institute. As Earth Day dawns, it is clear the 15-year-old field of “biomimicry” is robust. Peer-reviewed articles have doubled every two to three years to some 3,000, and there has been a tenfold expansion in biomimicry over 12 years.

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Scientists Decode DNA of ‘Living Fossil’ Fish

April 17, 2013 2:42 pm | by MALCOLM RITTER - AP Science Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

Scientists have decoded the DNA of a celebrated “living fossil” fish, gaining new insights into how today's mammals, amphibians, reptiles and birds evolved from a fish ancestor. The African coelacanth is closely related to the fish lineage that started to move toward a major evolutionary transformation, living on land.

Melanoma-prone Fish Get DNA Decoded

April 16, 2013 10:37 am | News | Comments

Scientists have decoded the genome of the platyfish, a cousin of the guppy and a popular choice for home aquariums. Among scientists, the fish are meticulously studied for their tendency to develop melanoma and for other attributes more common to mammals, like courting prospective mates and giving birth to live young.

190M-Year-Old Dino Bones Hold Development Clues

April 10, 2013 11:26 am | by ALICIA CHANG - AP SCIENCE WRITER | News | Comments

Recently discovered dinosaur embryos are giving scientists their best glimpse yet into how the ancient creatures developed. The 190-million-year-old fossils unearthed in China belonged to Lufengosaurus, a long-necked, plant-eating dinosaur.

Bedbug-trapping Leaves May Lead to Pest Control

April 10, 2013 10:48 am | News | Comments

Inspired by a traditional Balkan bedbug remedy, researchers have documented how microscopic hairs on kidney bean leaves effectively stab and trap the biting insects, according to new research. Bedbugs have made a dramatic comeback in the U.S. in recent years, infesting everything from homes and hotels to schools, movie theaters and hospitals.

Symposium Examines Arsenic Contamination in Food, Water

April 10, 2013 9:57 am | News | Comments

After virtually eliminating arsenic as a useful tool for homicide, science now faces challenges in doing the same for natural sources of this fabled old “inheritance powder” that contaminates water supplies and food, threatening more than 35 million people worldwide.

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Safety Reflectors Reused in Bioterror Detection

April 10, 2013 9:49 am | News | Comments

Tiny versions of the reflectors on sneakers and bicycle fenders that help ensure the safety of runners and bikers at night are moving toward another role in detecting bioterrorism threats and diagnosing everyday infectious diseases, scientists said.

The Ethics of Resurrecting Extinct Species

April 5, 2013 10:15 am | News | Comments

At some point, scientists may be able to bring back extinct animals, and perhaps early humans, raising questions of ethics and environmental disruption.

Toenail Clippings to Measure NJ Chromium Exposure

March 24, 2013 11:08 am | by KATIE ZEZIMA - Associated Press - Associated Press | News | Comments

The neighborhood looks exceedingly normal: single-family homes and apartment buildings packed together, dogs barking from postage-stamp-size lawns, parents hustling down narrow sidewalks to fetch their children from school. But something with very dangerous potential lies below the surface.

Dilution Effect Linking Biodiversity, Disease Challenged

March 20, 2013 10:10 am | News | Comments

More than three quarters of new, emerging or re-emerging human diseases are caused by pathogens from animals, according to the World Health Organization. But a widely accepted theory of risk reduction for these pathogens– one of the most important ideas in disease ecology– is likely wrong, according to a new study.

High Cesium Level Found in Fish by Fukushima Plant

March 17, 2013 3:03 am | by MALCOLM FOSTER - Associated Press - Associated Press | News | Comments

The Japanese utility that owns the tsunami-damaged nuclear power plant says it has detected a record 740,000 becquerels per kilogram of radioactive cesium in a fish caught close to the plant. That's 7,400 times the government limit for safe human consumption. The bottom-dwelling fish called a...

‘Zombie Worm’ Development Unveiled

March 13, 2013 9:40 am | News | Comments

How do bone-eating worms reproduce? A new study sheds light on this question through a detailed observation of the postembryonic development and sexual maturation of Osedax worms, also known as “zombie worms.”

Plant Epigenetics Can Benefit Disease Studies

March 7, 2013 10:06 am | News | Comments

Scientists have identified patterns of epigenomic diversity that not only allow plants to adapt to various environments, but could also benefit crop production and the study of human diseases.

Lamprey Genome Considered Evolutionary Bridge

February 25, 2013 11:14 am | News | Comments

When it comes to evolution, humans can learn a thing or two from primeval sea lampreys. A team of scientists has presented an assembly of the sea lamprey genome– the first time the entire sequence has been decoded.

Pollution No Factor in Cloud Formation

February 20, 2013 10:29 am | News | Comments

Based on aerial and ground-based measurements of droplet formation from ten different areas of the northern hemisphere, researchers report that organic coatings on particles don’t seem to significantly affect the rate at which droplets form. The researchers studied a wide range of particles, including organic, hydrocarbon-rich particles from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Rural Water Treatment Deemed Inconsistent

February 15, 2013 10:57 am | News | Comments

A new study to determine the effectiveness of rural lagoon systems found that sewage treatment lagoons remove most, but not all, of the pharmaceutical and personal care product and hormone contaminants from wastewater.

Microbial Genes Key to Biofuel Production

February 15, 2013 10:15 am | News | Comments

Digesting lignin, a highly stable polymer that accounts for up to a third of biomass, is a limiting step to producing a variety of biofuels. Researchers have figured out the microscopic chemical switch that allows Streptomyces bacteria to get to work, breaking lignin down into its constituent parts.

New Drugs Target Malaria's 'Achilles Heel'

February 14, 2013 12:24 pm | News | Comments

Researchers have discovered how a new class of antimalarial drugs, spiroindolones, kills the malaria parasite, showing that the drugs block a pump at the parasite surface, causing it to fill with salt.

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