Παρασκευή, 28 Μαρτίου 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News


First genome methylation mapping in fruit fly

Posted: 27 Mar 2014 11:24 AM PDT

The first mapping of genome methylation in the fruit-fly Drosophila melanogaster has been released by a team of scientists. This paper represents a major advance in the study of DNA methylation in insects. No previous study has succeeded in pinpointing the location of DNA methylation in the fly genome.

Cancer researchers find key protein link

Posted: 27 Mar 2014 11:00 AM PDT

A new understanding of proteins at the nexus of a cell's decision to survive or die has implications for researchers who study cancer and age-related diseases. Experiments and computer analysis of two key proteins revealed a previously unknown binding interface that could be addressed by medication.

Seasonal Arctic summer ice extent still hard to forecast, study says

Posted: 27 Mar 2014 09:36 AM PDT

Scientists analyzed 300 summer Arctic sea ice forecasts from 2008 to 2013 and found that forecasts are quite accurate when sea ice conditions are close to the downward trend that has been observed in Arctic sea ice for the last 30 years. However, forecasts are not so accurate when sea ice conditions are unusually higher or lower compared to this trend.

Foraging bats can warn each other away from their dinners

Posted: 27 Mar 2014 09:35 AM PDT

A new call that some bats use to tell other foraging bats to 'back off' from bugs they've claimed for themselves has been identified by scientists. This sound, called a 'frequency-modulated bout,' warns other bats away from prey. The researchers are first to report this ultrasonic social call produced exclusively by flying, foraging male big brown bats, in a new article.

To grow or not to grow: A step forward in adult vertebrate tissue regeneration

Posted: 27 Mar 2014 09:33 AM PDT

The reason why some animals can regenerate tissues after severe organ loss or amputation while others, such as humans, cannot renew some structures has always intrigued scientists. In a study, a research group provided new clues to solve this central question by investigating regeneration in an adult vertebrate model: the zebrafish.

A Tale of Two Species: How woodrats keep to two species

Posted: 27 Mar 2014 09:31 AM PDT

A pair of new studies look at the surprising variety of factors that prevent two closely related species of woodrats from becoming a single hybrid species despite the existence of hybrid individuals where the two species come into contact. After finding that two closely related species could interbreed and produce hybrid offspring, scientists set out to determine why only 14 percent of the population in a "contact zone" had genetic signatures from both species.

'Mini heart' invented to help return venous blood

Posted: 27 Mar 2014 09:31 AM PDT

A new organ to help return blood flow from veins lacking functional valves has been invented in an American lab.

Potential Target for Treating Mitochondrial Disorders

Posted: 27 Mar 2014 09:31 AM PDT

Mitochondria are essential for proper cellular functions. Mitochondrial defects are often observed in a variety of diseases, including cancer, Alzheimer's disease, and Parkinson's disease, and are the hallmarks of a number of untreatable genetic mitochondrial disorders whose manifestations range from muscle weakness to organ failure. Scientists have identified a protein whose inhibition could hold the key to alleviating suffering caused by such disorders.

New function for important player in immune response uncovered

Posted: 27 Mar 2014 08:17 AM PDT

A new function of AID, a crucial enzyme for the immune response has been uncovered by researchers. The discovery helps explain a rare genetic disorder that causes an immunodeficiency syndrome. AID initiates a mechanism whereby a break occurs in the DNA, within the antibody genes, and a segment is removed. The free ends on either side of the removed fragment must be rejoined to repair the DNA strand and, thus, produce a new class of antibody.

Dynamics behind Arctic ecosystems revealed

Posted: 27 Mar 2014 08:17 AM PDT

Species such as the musk ox, Arctic fox and lemming live in the harsh, cold and deserted tundra environment. However, they have often been in the spotlight when researchers have studied the impact of a warmer climate on the countryside in the north. Until now, the focus has been concentrated on individual species, but an international team of biologists has now published an important study of entire food-web dynamics.

A more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, methane emissions will leap as Earth warms

Posted: 27 Mar 2014 08:17 AM PDT

New research indicates that for each degree that the Earth's temperature rises, the amount of methane entering the atmosphere from microorganisms dwelling in lake sediment and freshwater wetlands -- the primary sources of the gas -- will increase several times.

The first insects were not yet able to smell well: Odorant receptors evolved long after insects migrated from water to land

Posted: 27 Mar 2014 08:16 AM PDT

An insect's sense of smell is vital to its survival. Only if it can trace even tiny amounts of odor molecules is it is able to find food sources or avoid enemies. According to scientists, many proteins involved in the highly sensitive odor perception of insects emerged rather late in the evolutionary process.

Students on field course bag new spider species

Posted: 27 Mar 2014 08:16 AM PDT

As a spin-off of their Tropical Biodiversity course in Malaysian Borneo, a team of biology students discover a new spider species, build a makeshift taxonomy lab, write a joint publication and send it off to a major taxonomic journal. The new species Crassignatha danaugirangensis was named after the field center's idyllic setting at the Danau Girang oxbow lake.

Dying cells in fruit fly alert neighboring cells to protect themselves: As a result, neighbors become harder to kill

Posted: 27 Mar 2014 08:12 AM PDT

Cells usually self-destruct when irreparable glitches occur in their DNA. Programmed cell death, or apoptosis, helps insure that cells with damaged DNA do not grow and replicate to produce more mutated cells. Apoptosis thereby helps protect and insure the survival of the organism. Scientists now report that a dying Drosophila melanogaster larvae cell alerts neighboring cells that they are in danger of suffering a similar fate.

Natural plant compounds may assist chemotherapy

Posted: 27 Mar 2014 07:15 AM PDT

Plant compounds present in carrots and parsley may one day support more effective delivery of chemotherapy treatments, new research has found. Specific plant compounds are able to inhibit transport mechanisms in the body that select what compounds are absorbed into the body, and eventually into cells. These same transport mechanisms are known to interfere with cancer chemotherapy treatment.

Gene mutations in flies, humans produce similar epilepsy syndromes

Posted: 27 Mar 2014 07:14 AM PDT

New findings that build on and expand a previous discovery that mutations in the 'prickle' gene in Drosophila were responsible for much more than merely altering the bristles on the fly's body to point them in the wrong direction are now presented by researchers.

Caffeinated fruit flies help identify potential genes affecting insecticide resistance

Posted: 27 Mar 2014 07:14 AM PDT

To understand genetic mechanisms underlying insecticide resistance, scientists employed fruit flies and caffeine, a stimulant surrogate for xenobiotics in lab studies on resistance. Crop pests are capable of outwitting the chemical compounds known as xenobiotics that are devised to kill them. This development of resistance to insecticides is a serious problem because it threatens crop production and thereby can influence the availability and costs of many foods as well as the economy.

Inherited muscle diseases: 'Sunday driver' gene headed the wrong way

Posted: 27 Mar 2014 07:14 AM PDT

Skeletal muscle cells with unevenly spaced nuclei, or nuclei in the wrong location, are telltale signs of inherited muscle diseases. Scientists now report on findings from research to determine what goes wrong during myogenesis, the formation and maintenance of muscle tissue, to produce these inherited muscle diseases.

DNA provides information on origins of yeast, helps evolutionaly biologists

Posted: 27 Mar 2014 07:14 AM PDT

A problem in evolutionary biology has been turned into a new tool to better understand phylogeny in closely related species. Resequencing ribosomal DNA in closely related yeast species has given them new information about the origins of modern yeast strains and a useful tool for evolutionary biologists.

Data mining disaster: Computer technology can mine data from social media during disasters

Posted: 27 Mar 2014 07:06 AM PDT

Computer technology that can mine data from social media during times of natural or other disaster could provide invaluable insights for rescue workers and decision makers, according to scientists.

Computing with slime: Logical circuits built using living slime molds

Posted: 27 Mar 2014 07:03 AM PDT

A future computer might be a lot slimier than the solid silicon devices we have today. Researchers have revealed details of logic units built using living slime molds, which might act as the building blocks for computing devices and sensors.

One gene, many tissues

Posted: 27 Mar 2014 07:03 AM PDT

Genes are the "code" for building the biological elements that form an organism. The DNA that makes up genes contains the instructions to synthesize proteins, but it's wrong to think that, for a given gene, these instructions are always the same for all parts of the organisms. In actual fact, the gene varies depending on the tissue where it is located (cerebral cortex, cerebellum, olfactory epithelium, etc.); in particular, what varies is the point in the "string" of code at which protein synthesis starts.

Targeting enforcement where needed most in Africa's heart of biodiversity

Posted: 26 Mar 2014 03:22 PM PDT

Scientists seeking a more efficient way of protecting the heart of Africa's wildlife -- the Greater Virunga Landscape -- have developed a method to make the most of limited enforcement resources, according to a new study.

Function of cancer-causing gene explored by researchers

Posted: 26 Mar 2014 03:22 PM PDT

Developmental biologists are discovering new roles for a specific gene known as Max's Giant Associated protein, or MGA. A little studied protein, MGA appears to control a number of developmental processes, and also may be connected to cancer development.

Indian rhinoceroses: Reproductive tract tumors reduce female fertility in early stages

Posted: 26 Mar 2014 03:19 PM PDT

Reproduction of the Indian rhinoceros faces greater difficulties than was previously recognized. Researchers discovered that benign vaginal and cervical tumors cause infertility even in young females. This substantially affects breeding success in zoological gardens.

Phloem production in Huanglongbing-affected citrus trees

Posted: 26 Mar 2014 12:37 PM PDT

Researchers monitored the progression of phloem production over time in field-grown HLB-affected citrus trees to determine how the trees are capable of sustaining new growth. Results showed that new phloem cells are produced during the periodic flushes of vegetative growth and their subsequent collapse and plugging over a six-month period. The weeks immediately before and after the spring and summer flush were determined to be critically important in the management of citrus health.

Some breast cancer tumors hijack patient epigenetic machinery to evade drug therapy

Posted: 26 Mar 2014 12:37 PM PDT

A breast cancer therapy that blocks estrogen synthesis to activate cancer-killing genes sometimes loses its effectiveness because the cancer takes over epigenetic mechanisms, including permanent DNA modifications in the patient's tumor, once again allowing tumor growth, according to an international team of scientists.

Natural history must reclaim its place, experts say

Posted: 26 Mar 2014 11:23 AM PDT

Scientists argue that the study of natural history has waned in recent decades in developed countries. Declining course requirements and support for herbaria are among the documented evidence. Yet costly mistakes in policy relating to natural resources, agriculture, and health might have been avoided by paying attention to organisms' natural history, and future policies will be improved if natural history knowledge is used and expanded. New technologies offer ways to increase natural history research partnerships.

Certain genetic variants may put bladder cancer patients at increased risk of recurrence

Posted: 26 Mar 2014 06:25 AM PDT

In the Western world, bladder cancer is the fourth most common cancer in men and the eighth most common in women, with many patients experiencing recurrence after treatment. A new study indicates that inheriting certain DNA sequences can affect a patient's prognosis. The findings may help physicians identify sub-groups of bladder cancer patients who should receive intensive treatment and monitoring.

Plant growth enhanced through promotion of pore opening

Posted: 26 Mar 2014 06:18 AM PDT

By inducing the pore opening of leaves, researchers have developed a strategy for enhancing photosynthesis and plant growth, which may be applied to crops and fuel plants to support global food production and a sustainable low-carbon society.

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