Τετάρτη, 23 Απριλίου 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News


Bioinformatics profiling identifies a new mammalian clock gene

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 11:20 AM PDT

Over 15 mammalian clock proteins have been identified, but researchers surmise there are more. Could big data approaches help find them? To accelerate clock-gene discovery, investigators used a computer-assisted approach to identify and rank candidate clock components, which they liken to online Netflix-like profiling of movie suggestions for customers. This approach found a new core clock gene, which the team named CHRONO.

Critical new protein complex involved in learning, memory

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 11:20 AM PDT

A protein complex that plays a critical but previously unknown role in learning and memory formation has been identified by researchers. "This is a critical building block that regulates a fundamental process -- memory," said the lead author of the study. "Now that we know about this important new player, it offers a unique therapeutic window if we can find a way to enhance its function."

Checking up on crude oil in the ground: Nanoreporters tell 'sour' oil from 'sweet'

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 10:46 AM PDT

Scientists have created a nanoscale detector that checks for and reports on the presence and concentration of hydrogen sulfide in crude oil and natural gas while they're still in the ground.

Mantis shrimp stronger than airplanes: Composite material inspired by shrimp stronger than standard used in airplane frames

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 10:09 AM PDT

Inspired by the fist-like club of a mantis shrimp, researchers have developed a design structure for composite materials that is more impact resistant and tougher than the standard used in airplanes. The peacock mantis shrimp, or stomatopod, is a 4- to 6-inch-long rainbow-colored crustacean with a fist-like club that accelerates underwater faster than a 22-calibur bullet.

New patenting guidelines needed for biotechnology, experts argue

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 10:09 AM PDT

Biotechnology scientists must be aware of the broad patent landscape and push for new patent and licensing guidelines, according to a new paper. Biotechnological inventions have been patented for several decades, though the criteria for patent eligibility have been refined through numerous court decisions. One of the most influential determined that "anything under the sun made by man" could be patented, leading to the diverse biotechnology patent landscape seen today, the authors said.

Neuroimaging Technique: Live from inside the cell in real-time

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 10:09 AM PDT

A novel imaging technique provides insights into the role of redox signaling and reactive oxygen species in living neurons, in real time. Scientists have developed a new optical microscopy technique to unravel the role of 'oxidative stress' in healthy as well as injured nervous systems.

How cells take out the trash

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 10:08 AM PDT

As people around the world mark Earth Day (April 22) with activities that protect the planet, our cells are busy safeguarding their own environment. To keep themselves neat, tidy and above all healthy, cells rely on a variety of recycling and trash removal systems. If it weren't for these systems, cells could look like microscopic junkyards -- and worse, they might not function properly.

A new 'APEX' in plant studies aboard the International Space Station

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 09:57 AM PDT

Growing knowledge in a given field takes time, attention, and ... water? It does when you're talking about plant studies aboard the International Space Station (ISS). All of these things and some scientific know-how come into play as astronauts find out just how green their thumbs are while assisting researchers on the ground.

For an immune cell, microgravity mimics aging

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 09:54 AM PDT

Telling someone to "act your age" is another way of asking him or her to behave better. Age, however, does not always bring improvements. Certain cells of the immune system tend to misbehave with age, leaving the elderly more vulnerable to illness. Because these cells are known to misbehave similarly during spaceflight, researchers are studying the effects of microgravity on immune cells to better understand how our immune systems change as we age.

First size-based chromatography technique for the study of livi

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 09:12 AM PDT

Using nanodot technology, researchers demonstrated the first size-based form of chromatography for studying the membranes of living cells. This unique physical approach to probing cellular membrane structures reveals critical information that can't be obtained through conventional microscopy.

Applying math to biology: Software identifies disease-causing mutations in undiagnosed illnesses

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 09:12 AM PDT

A computational tool has successfully identified diseases with unknown gene mutations in three separate cases. Sequencing the genomes of individuals or small families often produces false predictions of mutations that cause diseases. But this study shows that a new unique approach allows it to identify disease-causing genes more precisely than other computational tools.

Taxonomic study of green algae (chlorophyta) in Langkawi, Malaysia

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 09:08 AM PDT

Tourism is bringing rapid development to the islands of Langkawi, which puts pressure on the marine ecosystem. This research records the diversity and will be a useful baseline record for biomonitoring studies in Malaysia.

Surface modification of titanium dioxide for photocatalytic degradation of hazardous pollutants under ordinary visible light

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 09:08 AM PDT

Researchers have developed a modified photocatalyst which is economical and effective at transforming organic pollutants into harmless end products. Photocatalytic degradation is one of the highly effective applications in transforming organic pollutants to harmless end products at ambient conditions using light and a photocatalyst.

Wildlife response to climate change is likely underestimated, experts warn

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 08:34 AM PDT

Analyzing thousands of breeding bird surveys sent in by citizen scientists over 35 years, wildlife researchers report that most of the 40 songbird species they studied shifted either northward or toward higher elevation in response to climate change, but did not necessarily do both. This means that most previous studies of potential climate change impacts on wildlife that looked only at one factor or the other have likely underestimated effects.

Brain size matters when it comes to animal self-control

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 08:34 AM PDT

Chimpanzees may throw tantrums like toddlers, but their total brain size suggests they have more self-control than, say, a gerbil or fox squirrel, according to a new study of 36 species of mammals and birds ranging from orangutans to zebra finches.

Ask yourself: Will you help the environment?

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 08:34 AM PDT

Whether it's recycling, composting or buying environmentally friendly products, guilt can be a strong motivator -- not just on Earth Day. Now, research proves that even just asking ourselves, or predicting, whether we will engage in sustainable shopping behavior can increase the likelihood of following through -- especially when there's an audience.

Turoctocog alfa in patients with hemophilia A: Added benefit not proven, article finds

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 08:33 AM PDT

As no relevant studies and no valid data are available, the added benefit of turoctocog alfa over other blood-clotting agents is not proven, a publication concludes. Turoctocog alfa (trade name: NovoEight) has been approved since November 2013 for the prevention and treatment of bleeding in patients with hemophilia A.

UV-radiation data to help ecological research

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 08:33 AM PDT

Researchers have processed existing data on global UV-B radiation in such a way that scientists can use them to find answers to many ecological questions. According to a new paper, this data set allows drawing new conclusions about the global distribution of animal and plant species.

New design for mobile phone masts could cut carbon emissions

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 08:33 AM PDT

A breakthrough in the design of signal amplifiers for mobile phone masts could deliver a massive 200MW cut in the load on UK power stations, reducing carbon dioxide emissions by around 0.5 million tonnes a year. Researchers have designed an amplifier that works at 50 percent efficiency compared with the 30 percent now typically achieved.

Researchers identify a new variant of Ebola virus in Guinea

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 08:33 AM PDT

In a new article, researchers have published their initial findings on the characteristics of the Ebola virus discovered in Guinea. Initial virological investigations enabled them to identify Zaire ebolavirus as the pathogen responsible for this epidemic.

RNA shows potential as boiling-resistant anionic polymer material for nanoarchitectures

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 08:33 AM PDT

Nanotechnology researchers have discovered new methods to build boiling-resistant nanostructures and arrays using a new RNA triangle scaffold. These new RNA nanoarchitechtures can be used to form arrays with a controllable repeat number of the scaffold, resembling monomer units in a polymerization reaction. Their enhanced structural stability and controllability at the nano scale offer key advantages over traditional chemical polymers.

International team sequences rainbow trout genome

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 08:33 AM PDT

An international team of researchers has mapped the genetic profile of the rainbow trout, a versatile salmonid whose relatively recent genetic history opens a window into how vertebrates evolve. The investigators focused on the rate at which genes have evolved since a rare genome doubling event occurred in the rainbow trout approximately 100 million years ago.

Two genes linked to inflammatory bowel disease

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 07:01 AM PDT

Scientists have done what is believed to be the first direct genetic study to document the important function for the Ron receptor, a cell surface protein often found in certain cancers, and its genetic growth factor, responsible for stimulating cell growth, in the development and progression of inflammatory bowel disease.

Cloaked DNA nanodevices survive pilot mission

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 07:00 AM PDT

By mimicking a viral strategy, scientists have created the first cloaked DNA nanodevice that survives the body's immune defenses. Their success opens the door to smart DNA nanorobots that use logic to spot cancerous tissue and manufacture drugs on the spot to cripple it, as well as artificial microscopic containers called protocells that detect pathogens in food or toxic chemicals in drinking water.

How are we different and what gave us the advantage over extinct types of humans like the Neanderthals?

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 05:47 AM PDT

In parallel with modern man (Homo sapiens), there were other, extinct types of humans with whom we lived side by side, such as Neanderthals and the recently discovered  Denisovans of Siberia. Yet only Homo sapiens survived. What was it in our genetic makeup that gave us the advantage?

Tarantulas' personality determines whether they copulate with males or cannibalize them

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 05:47 AM PDT

Sexual cannibalism in spiders – the attack and consumption of males by females before or after copulation – is very widespread. A new investigation analyses the reason behind such extreme behavior, at times even before the females have ensured the sperm's fertilization of their eggs.

Higher solar-cell efficiency achieved with zinc-oxide coating

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 05:45 AM PDT

Researchers have achieved 14-percent efficiency in a 9-millimeter-square solar cell made of gallium arsenide. It is the highest efficiency rating for a solar cell that size and made with that material.

European Eel Expedition 2014: First phase successfully completed

Posted: 21 Apr 2014 06:14 PM PDT

Denmark's largest marine research vessel has spent three weeks exploring and gathering samples in the spawning grounds of the European eel in the Sargasso Sea, between Bermuda and the West Indies. The first phase of the Danish Eel Expedition 2014 has been successfully completed. The expedition is in the Sargasso Sea to investigate whether climate-related changes to the eel spawning grounds or the ocean currents that carry the eel larvae to Europe have caused the dramatic decline in eel numbers.

Sleeping away infection: Researchers find link between sleep, immune function in fruitflies

Posted: 21 Apr 2014 06:13 PM PDT

When we get sick it feels natural to try to hasten our recovery by getting some extra shuteye. Researchers found that this response has a definite purpose, in fruitflies: enhancing immune system response and recovery to infection. "These studies provide new evidence of the direct and functional effects of sleep on immune response and of the underlying mechanisms at work. The take-home message from these papers is that when you get sick, you should sleep as much as you can -- we now have the data that supports this idea," researchers conclude.

Queuing theory helps physicist understand protein recycling

Posted: 21 Apr 2014 06:13 PM PDT

A picture of waiting in line helps one physicist understand how cells operate, especially as it relates to what the consequences could be of protein traffic jams inside cells. "If you consider the analogy of a subway, it's a fairly apt one," the researcher said. "A subway can deal with a certain number of customers with its limited number of outlets. If the flow is correct, the system works fine. If people arrive in bunches, it can jam the system. The same is true in cells."

Today's Antarctic region once as hot as California, Florida

Posted: 21 Apr 2014 01:43 PM PDT

Parts of ancient Antarctica were as warm as today's California coast, and polar regions of the southern Pacific Ocean registered 21st-century Florida heat, according to scientists using a new way to measure past temperatures.

Earth Week: Bark beetles change Rocky Mountain stream flows, affect water quality

Posted: 21 Apr 2014 01:43 PM PDT

On Earth Week -- and in fact, every week now -- trees in mountains across the western United States are dying, thanks to an infestation of bark beetles that reproduce in the trees' inner bark. In Colorado alone, the mountain pine beetle has caused the deaths of more than 3.4 million acres of pine trees. What effect do all these dead trees have on stream flow and water quality? Plenty, according to new research findings reported this week.

First Eurasians left Africa up to 130,000 years ago

Posted: 21 Apr 2014 01:42 PM PDT

Scientists have shown that anatomically modern humans spread from Africa to Asia and Europe in several migratory movements. The first ancestors of today's non-African peoples probably took a southern route through the Arabian Peninsula as early as 130,000 years ago, the researchers found.

Krypton used to accurately date ancient Antarctic ice

Posted: 21 Apr 2014 12:19 PM PDT

Scientists have successfully identified the age of 120,000-year-old Antarctic ice using radiometric krypton dating -- a new technique that may allow them to locate and date ice that is more than a million years old. This will allow them to reconstruct the climate much farther back into Earth's history and potentially understand the mechanisms that have triggered the planet to shift into and out of ice ages.

'Dustman' protein helps kill cancer cells

Posted: 21 Apr 2014 12:19 PM PDT

Cancer researchers have discovered a new 'dustman' role for a molecule that helps a drug kill cancer cells according to a study. The new findings point to a possible test that could identify patients who would be most responsive to a new class of cancer drugs and also those who might develop resistance, as well as suggesting new approaches to discovering more effective drugs.

Improving understanding of valley-wide stream chemistry

Posted: 21 Apr 2014 12:18 PM PDT

Understanding the chemistry of streams at a finer scale could help to identify factors impairing water quality and help protect aquatic ecosystems. A geostatistical approach for studying environmental conditions in stream networks and landscapes has been successfully applied at a valley-wide scale to assess headwater stream chemistry at high resolution, revealing unexpected patterns in natural chemical components.

Safer alternatives to nonsteroidal antinflamatory pain killers

Posted: 21 Apr 2014 12:18 PM PDT

Building on previous work that showed that deleting an enzyme in the COX-2 pathway in a mouse model of heart disease slowed the development of atherosclerosis, researchers have now extended this observation by clarifying that the consequence of deleting the enzyme mPEGS-1 differs, depending on the cell type in which it is taken away. They are now working on ways to deliver inhibitors of mPGES-1 selectively to the macrophages.

Gene within a gene contributes to aggressiveness of acute myeloid leukemia

Posted: 21 Apr 2014 11:54 AM PDT

A small gene that is embedded in a larger gene plays a much greater role in promoting acute myeloid leukemia than the better-known host gene, according to a new study. The research also identified a drug that inhibits expression of the smaller gene. The larger host gene is called BAALC (pronounced "Ball C"). The smaller embedded gene is called microRNA-3151 (miR-3151). The study investigated the degree to which each of the genes contributes to the development of acute myeloid leukemia (AML).

New technology for greenhouses developed

Posted: 21 Apr 2014 11:54 AM PDT

Agricultural and fruit producers could acquire high-tech greenhouses at a considerably less cost, thanks to researchers who are developing computer systems to control climatic variables within such infrastructures. The technology consists of a motherboard, embedded computer systems (for specific functions), a graphical interface for monitoring variables such as humidity, temperature , wind speed and radiation, as well as elements that enable wireless connectivity between the greenhouse and mobile devices like cell phones.

Taking the pulse of mountain formation in the Andes

Posted: 21 Apr 2014 10:59 AM PDT

New research shows that the Altiplano plateau in the central Andes -- and most likely the entire mountain range -- was formed through a series of rapid growth spurts. "This study provides increasing evidence that the plateau formed through periodic rapid pulses, not through a continuous, gradual uplift of the surface, as was traditionally thought," said one researcher. "In geologic terms, rapid means rising one kilometer or more over several millions of years, which is very impressive."

Lack of breeding threatens blue-footed boobies' survival

Posted: 21 Apr 2014 10:59 AM PDT

Blue-footed Boobies are on the decline in the Galápagos. A new study indicates numbers of the iconic birds, known for their bright blue feet and propensity to burst into dance to attract mates, have fallen more than 50 percent in less than 20 years. Scientists started noticing a strange trend at the Galápagos' 10 or so blue-footed booby breeding colonies in 1997. The colonies were simply empty. The researchers suspect a lack of sardines, a highly nutritious and easy to find source of food, is the culprit behind the birds' nose-diving population for a number of reasons.

Anti-inflammatory factory: The role lipids play

Posted: 21 Apr 2014 10:59 AM PDT

Lipid mediators are molecules playing an important role in inflammation process. Now, scientists have discovered how lipid mediators are produced. Lipid mediators are produced from polyunsaturated fatty acids, but until recently, scientists did not know how or where this process runs. New studies show that polyunsaturated fatty acids are being oxidized inside mitochondria with the help of cytochromes stored between the internal and external mitochondrial membranes. This is a fundamentally new way to synthesize lipid molecules used in metabolism regulation.

Rice gets trendy, adds nutrients, so much more

Posted: 21 Apr 2014 10:55 AM PDT

Rice is becoming a trendy culinary selection of many restaurant menus, but also the go-to solution for consumers looking for gluten-and allergen-free choices rich in nutrients. The National Restaurant Association's 2014 What's Hot Culinary Forecast predicts diners will see more rice selections on restaurant menus including black rice and red rice. Food scientists are looking for new ways to incorporate rice into many consumer products.

Top 10 functional food trends for 2014

Posted: 21 Apr 2014 10:55 AM PDT

Insights on the top 10 functional food trends for 2014 have been recently published, based on data from a multitude of industry resources. The article details many of the social and physical benefits of trends and choices people have when grocery shopping.

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