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Air Pollution Cut Lifespans in China

July 8, 2013 3:53 pm | by LOUISE WATT - Associated Press - Associated Press | News | Comments

A new study links heavy air pollution from coal burning to shorter lives in northern China. Researchers estimate that the half-billion people alive there in the 1990s will live an average of 5½ years less than their southern counterparts because they breathed dirtier air.

Competing Sensory Cells Control Salt Preference

June 14, 2013 9:47 am | News | Comments

Researchers report that in fruit flies, at least, that the process of how our tongues and brains can tell when the saltiness of our food has crossed the line from yummy to yucky is controlled by competing input from two different types of taste-sensing cells.

Genetic Mutations Crucial to Evolution

June 14, 2013 8:49 am | News | Comments

A new study offers further proof that the divergence of humans from chimpanzees some 4 million to 6 million years ago was profoundly influenced by mutations to DNA sequences that play roles in turning genes on and off. The study provides evidence for a 40-year-old hypothesis that regulation of genes must play an important role in evolution.


Alkaline Spring Creature Linked to Better Biofuels

June 11, 2013 10:27 am | News | Comments

The only truly practical biofuels will be those made from abundant feedstocks like switchgrass, wheat straw and other woody plants, whose cell walls consist of lignocellulose. After pretreatment to remove or reduce the lignin, the sugary remains of cellulose and hemicellulose are fermented by microorganisms to yield the biofuel.

The Fire of Life

June 7, 2013 11:08 am | by Skip Derra | Articles | Comments

Forest fires are powerful, highly destructive events that while being life altering also have come to be appreciated for their clearing effects, from which explosive new forest growth evolves. But why does the forest respond in this way to such a dramatic event, and what triggers the natural growth that follows? Is there some sort of communication among plants to signal that the coast is clear for growth?

Newly Discovered Primate is Ancient Human Cousin

June 5, 2013 1:17 pm | by SETH BORENSTEIN - AP Science Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

New fossil evidence of the earliest complete skeleton of an ancient primate suggests it was a hyperactive, wide-eyed creature so small you could hold a couple of them in your hand — if only they would stay still long enough. The 55 million-year-old fossil dug up in central China is one of our...

Fuels from Woody Biomass Can Reduce Emissions

May 31, 2013 10:38 am | News | Comments

Two processes that turn woody biomass into transportation fuels have the potential to exceed current Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requirements for renewable fuels, according to new research. The EPA’s standard for emissions from wood-based transportation fuels requires a 60 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to using fossil fuels.

Frozen Mammoth Carcass Contains Liquid Blood

May 30, 2013 2:04 pm | by BY VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV - ASSOCIATED PRESS | News | Comments

A perfectly preserved woolly mammoth carcass with liquid blood has been found on a remote Arctic island, fueling hopes of cloning the Ice Age animal, Russian scientists say. The carcass was in such good shape because its lower part was stuck in pure ice, said Semyon Grigoryev, the head of the Mammoth Museum, who led the expedition into the Lyakhovsky Islands off the Siberian coast.


Unapproved, GM Wheat Found in Oregon Field

May 30, 2013 4:21 am | by MARY CLARE JALONICK - Associated Press - Associated Press | News | Comments

Field workers at an Eastern Oregon wheat farm were clearing acres for the bare offseason when they came across a patch of wheat that didn't belong. The workers sprayed it and sprayed it, but the wheat wouldn't die. Their confused boss grabbed a few stalks and sent it to a university lab in early May.

New Study Restores Famed Fossil to 'Bird' Branch

May 29, 2013 3:49 pm | by ALICIA CHANG - AP Science Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

A raven-sized creature that lived about 150 million years ago is back on its perch, a new study says. Widely pegged as the earliest known bird, Archaeopteryx's status was called into question two years ago by Chinese scientists. They proposed yanking the prehistoric creature off the "bird" branch of the evolutionary family tree and moving it onto a closely related lineage of birdlike dinosaurs.

Liquid-repelling Paper May Yield New Biomedical Diagnostics

May 29, 2013 10:35 am | News | Comments

Paper is known for its ability to absorb liquids, making it ideal for products such as paper towels. But by modifying the underlying network of cellulose fibers, etching off surface “fluff” and applying a thin chemical coating, researchers have created a new type of paper that repels a wide variety of liquids– including water and oil.

Smartphones Become Handheld Biosensors

May 24, 2013 9:43 am | News | Comments

Researchers and physicians in the field could soon run on-the-spot tests for environmental toxins, medical diagnostics, food safety and more with their smartphones. Researchers have developed a cradle and app for the iPhone that uses the phone’s built-in camera and processing power as a biosensor to detect toxins, proteins, bacteria, viruses and other molecules.

Scientists Announce Top 10 New Species

May 24, 2013 9:11 am | News | Comments

An amazing glow-in-the-dark cockroach, a harp-shaped carnivorous sponge and the smallest vertebrate on Earth are just three of the newly discovered top 10 species selected by the International Institute for Species Exploration at Arizona State University.


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.

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.

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.

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