Δευτέρα, 21 Απριλίου 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News


Researchers rethink 'natural' habitat for wildlife

Posted: 18 Apr 2014 01:14 PM PDT

Protecting wildlife while feeding a world population predicted to reach nine billion by 2050 will require a holistic approach to conservation that considers human-altered landscapes such as farmland, according to researchers. A new study finds that a long-accepted theory used to estimate extinction rates, predict ecological risk and make conservation policy recommendations is overly pessimistic. The researchers point to an alternative framework that promises a more effective way of accounting for human-altered landscapes and assessing ecological risks.

MRI, on a molecular scale: System could one day peer into the atomic structure of individual molecules

Posted: 18 Apr 2014 01:14 PM PDT

A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) system that can produce nano-scale images, and may one day allow researchers to peer into the atomic structure of individual molecules, has been developed by researchers. For decades, scientists have used techniques like X-ray crystallography and nuclear magnetic resonance imaging (NMR) to gain invaluable insight into the atomic structure of molecules, but such efforts have long been hampered by the fact that they demand large quantities of a specific molecule and often in ordered and crystalized form to be effective -- making it all but impossible to peer into the structure of most molecules.

No-till soil organic carbon sequestration rates published

Posted: 18 Apr 2014 01:13 PM PDT

For the past 20 years, researchers have published soil organic carbon sequestration rates. Many of the research findings have suggested that soil organic carbon can be sequestered by simply switching from moldboard or conventional tillage systems to no-till systems. However, there is a growing body of research with evidence that no-till systems in corn and soybean rotations without cover crops, small grains, and forages may not be increasing soil organic carbon stocks at the published rates.

Proteins conspire to make breast cancer cells resistant to drug treatment

Posted: 18 Apr 2014 01:13 PM PDT

The interaction between two proteins called BCAR1 and BCAR3 is responsible for resistance to antiestrogen drugs, paving the way for improved diagnostic and treatment strategies. "Drug resistance is one of the most serious obstacles to breast cancer eradication," said the senior study author. "Our findings suggest that strategies to disrupt the BCAR1-BCAR3 complex and associated signaling networks could potentially overcome this obstacle and ultimately lead to more-effective breast cancer therapies."

Future heat waves pose risk for population of Greater London

Posted: 18 Apr 2014 11:49 AM PDT

The effects of future heat waves on people living in Greater London in 2050 has been modeled in a study, which concludes that the risk of heat-related deaths could be significantly reduced if buildings were adapted properly for climate change. The model, which takes into account future changes to urban land use and human-made heat emissions, estimates an additional 800 heat-related deaths per year by 2050.

Is UK shale gas extraction posing a risk to public health?

Posted: 17 Apr 2014 06:25 PM PDT

More needs to be done to investigate the risks to human health that extracting shale gas poses, suggests one expert, who says that risk reduction technologies should be deployed, but that reviewing the public health implications of shale gas development "requires more than merely gesturing to technological improvements. Best practices should not be mistaken for actual practices." The author asserts that scientific data should drive decisions on health and safety, instead of gestures to understudied assertions of best practice deployment.

First genetic link discovered to difficult-to-diagnose breast cancer sub-type

Posted: 17 Apr 2014 04:16 PM PDT

The discovery of the genetic variant, in conjunction with other markers, could help in the development of future genetic screening tools to assess women's risk of developing invasive lobular cancer, and also gives researchers important new clues about the genetic causes of the disease and a related precursor to cancer called lobular carcinoma in situ.

Progressive neurodegenerative disorder linked to R-loop formation

Posted: 17 Apr 2014 04:16 PM PDT

A new feature of the genetic mutation responsible for the progressive neurodegenerative disorder, fragile X-associated tremor/ataxia syndrome -- the formation of 'R-loops,' has been discovered. Researchers believe it may be associated with the disorder's neurological symptoms, such as tremors, lack of balance, features of Parkinsonism, and cognitive decline.

Live cell imaging reveals distinct alterations of subcellular glutathione potentials

Posted: 17 Apr 2014 01:42 PM PDT

Glutathione is the most abundant cellular redox buffer that both protects cells from oxidative damage and mediates cellular signaling. Perturbation of glutathione balance has been associated with tumorigenesis; however, due to analytical limitations, the underlying mechanisms behind this relationship are poorly understood. Utilizing a recently developed genetically encoded redox-sensitive probe has revealed differentially regulated redox environments within cellular compartments, and evidence of the contributory role of the p53 protein in supporting cytosolic redox poise.

Influenza, bacterial superinfections reviewed in journal

Posted: 17 Apr 2014 01:41 PM PDT

An expert has analyzed the epidemiology and microbiology of co-infections during the 1918, 1957 and 1968 pandemics, as well as more recent 2009 novel H1N1 pandemic, and published a review on this analysis. Specifically, the co-pathogenesis reviewed is characterized by complex interactions between co-infecting pathogens and the host, leading to the disruption of physical barriers, dysregulation of immune responses and delays in a return to homeostasis.

Findings shed light on seagrass needs

Posted: 17 Apr 2014 01:41 PM PDT

Seagrass beds, which provide home and food for fish, manatees, sea turtles and other animals, find themselves in peril. A new study shows how much sunlight is needed to keep the seagrass healthy. Loss of seagrass means fish, crabs and other animals lose their homes and manatees and sea turtles lose a source of food. Nutrients, such as phosphorous, may prevent seagrass from getting the sunlight it needs to thrive. Nutrients may come from many sources, among them fertilizers used in agriculture, golf courses and suburban lawns, pet waste and septic tank waste.

Mutant enzyme RECQ4 connected to cancer's 'Warburg effect'

Posted: 17 Apr 2014 01:40 PM PDT

A cancer-prone mutation of the gene RECQ4 causes its corresponding enzyme, RECQ4, to accumulate in the mitochondria. This can cause mitochondrial dysfunction, possibly explaining cancer's "Warburg effect" of preferring lactic acid fermentation over aerobic respiration to generate energy. While this study provides important clues to solving the Warburg effect puzzle, the senior author said further studies are needed on RECQ4 and p32 to better explain cancer's biological processes.

New perspective on sepsis published

Posted: 17 Apr 2014 12:12 PM PDT

It's time to take a fresh look at the medical community's approach to treating sepsis, which kills millions worldwide every year, including more than 200,000 Americans, one expert says. Sepsis occurs when molecules released into the bloodstream to fight an injury or infection trigger inflammation throughout the body. Persistent and constant inflammation often results in organ dysfunction or damage, leading to death -- 28 to 50 percent of people who suffer from sepsis die from the condition.

Trisomy 21: How an extra little chromosome throws entire genome off balance

Posted: 17 Apr 2014 10:35 AM PDT

A new study sheds light on how the extra chromosome 21 upsets the equilibrium of the entire genome, causing a wide variety of pathologies. Occurring in about one per eight hundred births, Down syndrome -- or trisomy 21 -- is the most frequent genetic cause of intellectual disability. It results from a chromosomal abnormality where cells of affected individuals contain a third copy of chromosome 21 (1% of the human genome).

Saving the lesser prairie chicken: What landowners should know

Posted: 17 Apr 2014 10:34 AM PDT

The recent U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announcement, listing the lesser prairie chicken as a threatened species, brings to mind how agricultural producers, livestock ranchers and those with land enrolled in CRP could be affected. The listing might pose a challenge for some landowners, particularly in western Kansas, where the lesser prairie chicken lives. Significant habitat changes must occur to meet the 67,000-bird decade goal, and those changes will most likely have to come from livestock ranchers and grazers implementing conservation practices that benefit lesser prairie chickens.

New orchid: 'Lophiaris silverarum' is known to grow only in central Panama

Posted: 17 Apr 2014 09:47 AM PDT

One day about eight years ago a postdoctoral scholar and her father were on a field trip in a mountainous area in central Panama when they stumbled upon an orchid they had never seen before. Unable to identify it, they contacted an orchid expert. The orchid, which turned out to be an unnamed species, has now been named after the these two: 'Lophiaris silverarum.'

Food shortages could be most critical world issue by mid-century

Posted: 17 Apr 2014 09:47 AM PDT

The world is less than 40 years away from a food shortage that will have serious implications for people and governments, according to a scientist. "For the first time in human history, food production will be limited on a global scale by the availability of land, water and energy," said a senior science advisor on food security. "Food issues could become as politically destabilizing by 2050 as energy issues are today."

Recommendations on climate change mitigation

Posted: 17 Apr 2014 09:41 AM PDT

Changing agricultural practices and ending food waste around the world are among recommendations made by scientists charged with looking at ways to mitigate global climate change. "Agriculture globally contributes about 10 to 12 percent to greenhouse gas emissions," the author said. "If you add in forestry it moves it up to around 25 percent. Agriculture is significant but not the major contributor and has declined slightly, percentage-wise, since the last report in 2007, not so much because agriculture has changed that much but because the energy sector is contributing more."

After hurricane Sandy, residents support government mitigation, but not footing the bill

Posted: 17 Apr 2014 09:41 AM PDT

Only a small fraction of New Jersey residents are willing to pay more to reduce the likelihood of severe damage from future hurricanes that hit the state. In trying to understand what attributes would make respondents most supportive of government policies in response to hurricanes and other such disasters, the researchers focused on issues relating to concerns about climate change and trust in scientists who study it. They also focused on views towards the federal government playing a major role in land use and building management programs.

Atom probe assisted dating of oldest piece of Earth

Posted: 17 Apr 2014 09:41 AM PDT

It's a scientific axiom: big claims require extra-solid evidence. So when a geoscience professor dated an ancient crystal to 4.4 billion years ago, skeptics questioned the dating. Then, in 2013, researchers put the zircon inside an ultra-precise atom probe and got "data that answered the most serious of the challenges going back to 2001."

Dual role: Key cell division proteins also power up mitochondria

Posted: 17 Apr 2014 09:41 AM PDT

The cyclin B1/Cdk1 protein complex, which plays a key role in cell division, also boosts the mitochondrial activity to power that process, research has shown. This is the first time the complex has been shown to perform both jobs. This newfound ability could make cyclin B1/Cdk1 an excellent target to control cellular energy production, potentially advancing cancer care and regenerative medicine.

Structure of sodium channels different than previously believed

Posted: 17 Apr 2014 07:11 AM PDT

Sodium channels are implicated in many serious conditions such as heart disease, epilepsy and pain, making them an important potential target for drug therapies. Unfortunately, there is still much scientists do not know about the molecules. New research provides fresh and unexpected insight into the structure of sodium channels and, specifically, one of its components -- ²-subunit molecules -- which are responsible for 'fine-tuning' the activity of the channel.

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