Ubiquitin Strikes Again

first_imgFor versatility, it’s hard to beat ubiquitin. Found virtually unchanged in organisms from yeast to humans, the little protein participates in myriad cellular processes, including cell division, DNA repair, and programmed cell death. In a paper published online this week by Science, researchers show that in addition to all that, ubiquitin may act as a kind of stopwatch for proteins that switch genes on or off.One of ubiquitin’s best-known roles is to help clean up the cell. Specialized enzymes called ubiquitin ligases attach a chain of ubiquitin molecules to unwanted proteins; the chain alerts a complex called the proteasome, which chews up the protein. This happens to transcription factors, after they have turned genes on; so ubiquitin, in effect, turns the genes off. Curiously, previous research by molecular biologist William Tansey and his colleagues at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York had suggested that ubiquitin might also be involved in starting DNA transcription.Puzzled, the group set out to see what would happen to transcription if ubiquitin-adding enzymes were taken off the scene. The team first made yeast cells produce a modified version of VP16, an easy-to-study viral transcription factor that’s often used in research. When they knocked out the yeast’s Met30, one of the ubiquitin ligases, VP16 remained ubiquitin-free, and it lingered inside the cell rather than being chewed up as usual. But something else happened, too: without Met30, VP16 could no longer activate transcription. The team carried out several control experiments to make sure that VP16 was working fine otherwise, and that it was really the missing ubiquitin that kept it from switching on DNA transcription.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Tansey thinks this need to attach ubiquitin before transcription can begin serves a purpose. “It’s like the cell is granting a license to the protein for a certain period of activity, before it gets destroyed,” Tansey says. “The clock is ticking, and it’s going to get eaten up very quickly.””It’s a great piece of work,” says biochemist Alexander Varshavsky of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, a pioneer in ubiquitin research. He calls the report “one of the most remarkable–and unexpected–discoveries of the past decade.” Indeed, Tansey says, the result is so counterintuitive that it’s meeting enthusiastic support as well as passionate opposition. “This research has generated the most emotional response I’ve ever seen.”Related sitesWilliam Tansey’s home pageThe ubiquitin system, from Nottingham UniversityMore on the ubiquitin systemAbstract of Tansey’s previous ubiquitin paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Scienceslast_img read more

Obama Looks to Protect Reefs From Souring Seas

first_imgThe Environmental Protection Agency has asked scientists to send in information about how ocean acidification may be affecting ecosystems and new techniques for measuring the phenomenon. The move by the Obama Administration comes after long resistance on the issue by the Bush EPA.The Center for Biological Diversity threatened to sue EPA last year before the agency relented, agreeing to review the criteria for regulating the acidity of natural water bodies. Under current rules, EPA designates ocean or freshwater areas as “impaired waters” under the Clean Water Act if the pH of the water is 0.2 units off naturally occurring levels. Scientists want EPA to review these rules for a number of reasons. There’s evidence that marine ecosystems may be affected by change in pH of less than 0.2 units. In addition, a simple numerical limit may not be an adequate safeguard. Perhaps a better standard, says CBD’s Miyoko Sakashita, would be one in which environmental factors, such as the biological health of a particular species in a marine ecosystem, would be used by regulators to set appropriate limits. Plus, there’s new science coming out on the problem all the time.”It’s going to be tricky to set regulations for,” says geochemist Ken Caldeira of the Carnegie Institution for Science in Palo Alto, California. Different organisms in the same ecosystem often have different levels of tolerance for acidic water, he points out; one reef’s threshold may be different than another’s. Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)last_img read more

Dismissed Virologist Gets Job Back

first_imgA Japanese virologist fired from his university post for data fabrication will be reinstated.Naoki Mori was canned by the University of the Ryukyus in Nishihara, Japan, last August after an internal investigation found that his group had manipulated image data in numerous papers. He took the matter to court. As a result of a 4 March court-mediated compromise, Mori told ScienceInsider that the dismissal will be converted to a 10-month suspension. He will be eligible to return to his post as professor in June.Mori and his co-authors have now retracted 16 papers, according to Retraction Watch. More retractions could be on the way. University officials told ScienceInsider last year that the university’s investigative committee raised questions about 38 papers published in 17 journals. Mori acknowledges having reused image data from his own previously published papers without proper citation. But he has continued to claim that his results and conclusions are accurate and unaffected by the image problem. “I think that the judges accepted our opinion,” he wrote in an e-mail to ScienceInsider.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Mori also said that some journals are considering accepting corrected papers. He did not identify the journals. The university did not respond to e-mails from ScienceInsider. But local press report that the school is expected to issue a statement after an 8 March meeting of its education and research council.last_img read more

Cambodian Killer Unmasked?

first_imgScientists have identified a possible culprit in the mysterious syndrome that has killed dozens of children in Cambodia since April, the Cambodian Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization announced on 8 July. Since April, 59 children in Cambodia have fallen ill with symptoms that include respiratory illnesses, fever, and convulsions, according to the health ministry. Of those patients, 52 have died. Most were younger than 3 years old. Laboratory work is ongoing and a conclusive diagnosis is not yet in. But tests at Institut Pasteur du Cambodge in Phnom Penh point to hand, foot, and mouth disease, a contagious and sometimes fatal illness, head virologist Philippe Buchy wrote ScienceInsider in an e-mail. A significant clue came when Institut Pasteur virologists tested cerebrospinal, throat, and rectal swab samples from 24 patients. Last weekend, throat and/or rectal swab samples from 15 patients tested positive for Enterovirus 71, one of the pathogens that causes hand, foot, and mouth disease. (The disease is different from foot-and-mouth disease, which infects cattle, sheep, and pigs.) The institute’s scientists earlier had ruled out SARS, Nipah virus, and H5N1 and other influenza viruses as possible causes. They found strains of Streptococcus in throat samples from a number of patients but eliminated it as the cause of death after finding the same strains in samples from children with other symptoms. Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*) Neighboring Vietnam has been badly hit by hand, foot, and mouth disease, so “we were expecting an outbreak sooner or later,” Buchy says. But samples from victims did not initially test positive for Enterovirus 71. It was only after contacting scientists at the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, that the Pasteur team learned that the primers and probes they had designed for the virus in 2009 were out of date. Sequences of more recent Enterovirus 71 strains from Vietnam revealed that the virus had undergone significant genetic drift, Buchy says. If Enterovirus 71 is indeed the culprit, one puzzling aspect may be the high number of fatal cases in a country of only 15 million people. Vietnam, which has a population roughly six times as large, confirmed only 20 deaths from hand, foot, and mouth disease between January and April of this year. In China, meanwhile, the health ministry announced last week that 240 people died of hand, foot, and mouth disease between January and May 2012. (The death toll has been higher this year than in years past, a ministry official told China Daily.) While health officials have no idea how many people might be infected with hand, foot, and mouth disease in Cambodia, Buchy speculates that the population is largely naive to the virus and that “we may have a huge proportion of the child population that is not totally immune.” Institut Pasteur scientists are now testing additional samples from the 24 patients and waiting for cell culture results. They will then start sequencing the Cambodian strain, Buchy says. Eventually, he says, they hope to determine “for how long and at which level the virus has been circulating” in Cambodia. *This item has been updated on 10 July. A significant clue to the discovery that hand, foot, and mouth disease is making Cambodian children sick came when Institut Pasteur du Cambodge virologists tested not just cerebrospinal fluid, but also throat and rectal samples.last_img read more

Congressional Negotiators Drop Biofuel Restrictions in U.S. Defense Bill

first_img U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ryan Mayes Fueled up. Congress has restored the military’s ability to buy biofuels, such as those that fueled this U.S. Navy exercise earlier this year. Negotiators from the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives have dropped a controversial provision blocking the military’s ability to develop and purchase advanced biofuels. The deal comes as legislators aim to finalize a bill authorizing the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) to spend $633 billion in 2013. The restrictions were adopted by the Republican-controlled House in May, but were left out of the version of the bill that the Democrat-controlled Senate passed late last month. The compromise language is expected to pass both houses of Congress later this week before landing on President Barack Obama’s desk on Friday. The military’s use of biofuels originally sparked the ire of some GOP members of congress and the senate after it was widely reported that the military pays up to $26 a gallon for some “advanced” biofuels, which can be used as direct replacements for petroleum fuels used by ships and aircraft. Proponents of the military’s biofuels program argue that the high cost of advanced biofuels should decline as production ramps up. They add that the military is a vital customer, not only because it is one of the biggest users of fuel on the planet, but also because it tends to purchase goods on long-term contracts, which gives investors confidence that the biofuels market will be stable for years to come. Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*) But those arguments didn’t convince critics of the program, such as senators James Inhofe (R-OK) and John McCain (R-AZ). They argued that DOD shouldn’t be in the business of developing alternative energy, a task that should fall to the Department of Energy and the private sector. Ray Mabus, the secretary of the Navy, responded that the military’s biofuels effort is imperative for national security to reduce U.S. dependence on fossil fuels. Phyllis Cuttino, who heads the clean energy program for The Pew Charitable Trusts in Washington, D.C., says that the House and Senate conferees likely gave up the restrictions when it became clear there was only muted support for the measures among Senate Republicans. The compromise language “was a nice thing to have happen,” she says. “It’s a very important signal for industry and investors that DOD is staying the course on advanced biofuels.” However, Cuttino adds that she expects to see efforts to pass similar restrictions return in the next Congress, because critics of the program retain powerful committee assignments in both the House and Senate. “I don’t see this issue going away,” Cuttino says. So don’t expect the cease fire over the military’s use of biofuels to last long.last_img read more

Scientists Gauge Ancient Die-Off of Pacific Birds

first_imgThe first humans to settle the Pacific islands left a wave of extinct bird species in their wake. But gaps in the fossil record make it difficult to determine just how massive the loss was. Now, a new modeling study accounts for those gaps, pegging the lost-species count at nearly 1000—about 10% of the bird species in the world. Whenever humans settle a land mass for the first time, extinctions tend to follow. The victims are often land animals with enough meat to make them appealing hunting targets, such as mammoths and moas. Numerous large animals in Australia died out after the first human settlers arrived more than 40,000 years ago, and the first North Americans may also have rendered many big mammals extinct between 10,000 and 20,000 years ago. When humans first arrived on remote Pacific islands such as Fiji and Hawaii between 3500 and 700 years ago, they found birds that had evolved to become flightless, plump, and vulnerable after living in ecosystems without major predators. Humans probably hunted many of these birds to extinction, and some species also lost their habitats when humans burned away swaths of trees to make way for agriculture. “You can imagine, when you don’t have chainsaws and things, the easiest way to clear forest is to set it on fire,” says conservation ecologist and lead author Richard Duncan of the University of Canberra. Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*) Scientists see some of these extinct birds in the fossil record, but that record is notoriously incomplete. Rough estimates have placed the total bird extinction count from about 800 to more than 2000. Duncan and his colleagues wanted to get a well-developed picture of exactly how many bird species likely died off when humans arrived. The team decided to look for nonpasserine land birds on 41 of the 269 larger islands in the eastern Pacific. Passerines are birds that perch, such as songbirds, whereas nonpasserines are everything else, including waterfowl, birds of prey, parrots, pigeons, and rails. The team focused on nonpasserine land birds because the same large bodies that made them appealing prey also make their bones easier for archeologists to find. The researchers then used a statistical model to estimate the number of undiscovered, extinct, nonpasserine land birds by comparing their fossils to those of species that are still alive today. “The proportion of living birds that we know are missing from the fossil record gives you an idea of how many extinct species are [also] missing,” Duncan says. When the researchers ran the fossil data through their model, they estimated that at least 983, and as many as 1300, nonpasserine land bird species went extinct across the Pacific islands as human civilization took root there, they report today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. That means the arrival of humans in the Pacific spelled doom for roughly 10% of the world’s bird species. The new numbers fall within the scope of the previous estimates but are more precise. This kind of sophisticated ecological modeling is an important way of nailing down the details of how many extinct species have yet to be discovered, says conservation biologist Stuart Pimm of Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, who was not involved with the study. “There’s a bunch of places where there ought to be a bunch of bodies,” he says. “It points to the fact that there are many more specimens to be found.”last_img read more

Japan Minister Defends New Growth Strategy Emphasizing Targeted Research

first_imgTOKYO—Japanese scientists are proving a bit skeptical about the administration’s new strategy for economic growth, which includes an emphasis on applied biomedical research. Even before it was officially released on 12 June, several life science-related academic societies raised questions about plans for a Japanese version of the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) that would “strongly support the commercialization of innovative medical technologies.” In a joint 11 June statement (in Japanese here), the heads of more than 50 life science-related academic societies expressed interest in the concept of an NIH-like funding entity positioned over and above Japan’s existing ministries; but they also voiced concerns that the details have not been thought through. The statement specifically makes three demands: that the government preserve the bottom-up approach of promoting basic research under which individual researchers pursue their interests; that it support the development of the next generation of researchers; and that it provide adequate funding to foster true innovation. Other societies issued similar statements. At a press conference today, Akira Amari, minister for economic revitalization, sought to reassure the scientific community. “I would like to stress that we have no intention to try to tie down the people who are involved in very fundamental research,” he said. He acknowledged that many academic researchers don’t know if or when something they are working on will eventually lead to practical application. Basic, curiosity-driven research “is something that is very important to maintain,” he said. Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*) But he added that to establish the foundation for long-term economic growth, the administration feels that the government should show leadership in exploring “how to tie basic research to the practical research of industry.” He said he has been told by scientists that they often reach a point where something that they are working on “is beginning to show some signs of eventually having some kind of possible commercial application,” but are unsure of how to take their research in that direction. “We need to try to help these people,” he said. One possibility is to get scientists with private-sector experience involved in academic settings. “It is very important to have someone in [a research] group who can look at the industrialization or commercialization aspects and provide some direction to the research,” he explained. Amari said that a key element of the research aspects of the Growth Strategy will be creating an office within the Japanese Cabinet Secretariat with the power and budget to oversee research efforts that are now scattered among the various ministries. They expect to get this office running in the fiscal year beginning next April.last_img read more

Festival Feat

first_imgThe 55-day Maha or Great Kumbh Mela Hindu festival in Allahabad is expected to be the biggest religious gathering of humanity on Earth, with up to 100 million pilgrims bathing in the holy waters in January and February. Related Itemslast_img

Podcast: Ancient dogs, martian moons, and testing female athletes for testosterone

first_imgHow long ago were dogs domesticated? Where did Mars’s moons really come from? And why do so many ex-cons return to a life of crime? Science’s Online News Editor David Grimm chats about these stories and more with Science’s Susanne Bard. Plus, Katrina Karkazis discusses the controversial use of testosterone testing by elite sports organizations to determine who can compete as a woman.last_img

Video: Infrared movies capture hummingbirds shedding heat in flight

first_imgHummingbirds are impressive flyers, managing 12 meters and 50 wingbeats per second. But all that flapping could put them in danger of overheating. Research published online today in Royal Society Open Science shows that they use their unfeathered regions, particularly their feet and eyes, to regulate body temperature during flight. Scientists used infrared thermal imaging to measure heat dissipation from calliope hummingbirds (Selasphorus calliope) flying in a wind tunnel (shown above). They identified hotspots under the wings, on the feet, and around the eyes, which were at least 8°C warmer than the rest of the body. The birds rely on different hot spots to regulate body temperature when flying at different speeds. Hummingbirds actually find it hardest to maintain a constant temperature when flying slowly, because there is less airflow to keep them cool. At lower speeds, they trebled the size of their eye hot spot and dangled their feet below their bodies to maximize heat loss. The researchers estimated the birds’ heat budget, and found that at speeds of 0 m/s to 12 m/s, they lost enough heat from these hot spots to maintain a safe body temperature. But they note the challenge of keeping cool may become harder as the climate warms.last_img read more

Wild dogs have adapted to threats by hunting more like cheetahs

first_imgWild dogs have a reputation they no longer deserve. Distant relatives of man’s best friend, these carnivores once hunted antelopelike animals across the open plains of East Africa for tens of kilometers before taking their quarry down as a group. But that’s not how they operate today. A 5-month study of wild dogs wearing special tracking collars shows that these animals tend to stick to short chases, rarely, if ever, coordinating their hunting—a strategy that may help the endangered species survive.Wild dogs—brown- and black-spotted, big-eared distant relatives of dogs and wolves that stand less than a meter tall—used to be common throughout much of Africa, but a couple hundred years ago people began shooting them as vermin. Now, just 7000 remain. Most live on wooded or partially wooded savanna, not open plains. Conservationists have struggled to help this species recover, but packs can roam hundreds of kilometers, making them difficult to keep track of.Alan Wilson, a biomechanist at the Royal Veterinary College, Hertfordshire, in the United Kingdom, first became interested in wild dogs when he was studying cheetahs. Often praised as the fastest land animal on the planet, the cheetah tends to hunt and feed alone, capturing antelope, impala, and other prey with short bursts of incredible agility and rapid acceleration, his team found in 2013. Wild dogs (Lycaon pictus) live in the same places and eat the same foods as these big cats, but supposedly hunt much differently.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)To compare the efficiency of the two strategies, Wilson and his colleagues put battery- and solar-powered GPS collars on all six adult members of a wild dog pack in Botswana and on a few wild dogs from a dozen other packs. (They shy away from people—their primary predator—but are approachable by car, which they seem to have no fear of.) The collars also had sensors that detect how fast the animal is moving. By recording and mapping the simultaneous movement of the six animals, Wilson’s team could reconstruct the pack’s activity.”The application of [these] new technologies allow greater insights into the study of a species that is hard to observe and moves over great distances,” says Joshua Ginsberg, a wildlife ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, New York, who was not involved with the work.All together, the tags catalogued more than 1500 runs of up to 3 meters per second—a fast trot—and during two-thirds of them, the wild dog more than doubled its speed temporarily, indicating it was chasing an impala, dik-dik, or other prey down. They never approached the maximum speed of a cheetah, about 29 meters per second, but often sustained a chase almost twice the distance as the big cat. The researchers almost never saw two or more wild dogs homing in on the same spot during a chase, they report online today in Nature Communications. But once the chase was over, the team knew when the quarry was caught because other dogs quickly converged to share that food and stayed in one place for a while, following a strict pecking order with respect to which pack member eats first.Thus, the current strategy for these wild dogs seems to be that rather than chasing down a few large prey by traveling long distances at low speeds, they go after a lot of different prey, using short bursts of speed to run them down. In these endeavors, they are successful less than 16% of the time, Wilson finds. But because impala are often too much for one wild dog to eat, food sharing helps make up for inefficient hunting, Wilson adds. So although they still live as packs, they don’t seem to cooperate in the hunting, only in the eating.In a second paper in Nature Communications, Wilson and his colleagues calculate the energy expended by cheetahs or wild dogs to hunt and the energy gained from catching and eating prey. Cheetahs use athleticism and bring down large animals that they rarely finish off, whereas dogs are less efficient. They make up for their inefficiency by having multiple hunters, each of which sometimes catches prey big enough to share, the researchers report.The work “shows wild dogs can significantly alter their hunting strategies to meet the challenges of different habitats,” Ginsberg says. That’s good news for saving wild dogs, he adds, as “it shows that they are able to live across a diversity of habitats.” So perhaps with even with their fewer numbers, wild dogs will do OK in the long run.last_img read more

Ocean viruses may have impact on Earth’s climate

first_imgViruses—already the bane of human existence—may also be having an impact on Earth’s climate. A new study reveals that the pathogens steal energy from ocean bacteria, preventing them from sucking up the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. As a result, viruses could be responsible for billions of metric tons of extra carbon dioxide every year, though the impact on the environment is unclear. “I think it’s a great study,” says Adam Martiny, a microbial ecologist at the University of California, Irvine, who was not involved in the work. “It adds to this growing notion that to understand the global carbon [cycle], there’s just a lot of different biological interactions.”The ocean is full of microbes that breathe in carbon dioxide and get their energy from the sun. In fact, by converting this carbon into the building blocks of bodies, so-called cyanobacteria and other ocean microbes sequester—or “fix”—about half of the carbon dioxide on Earth.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)But viruses can impact this process. When they attack cyanobacteria, they inject their genetic material, turning the microbes into virtual virus factories. The injected DNA includes photosynthetic genes, suggesting that the viruses—known as cyanophages—might be changing how the bacteria process carbon.To find out whether that’s the case, scientists at the University of Warwick in Coventry, U.K., infected one of the smallest and most abundant photosynthetic microbes on the planet—Synechococcus—with cyanophages from either the English Channel or the Red Sea. They fed the bacteria baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, which served as a source of CO2. By using radioactive carbon in the baking soda, the researchers were able to track precisely how much carbon dioxide the bacteria were sequestering—or “fixing”—over time.Several hours after the scientists introduced the viruses, carbon fixation stalled, they report this month in Current Biology. Bacteria infected with the Red Sea and English Channel phages fixed 4.8 and 2.3 times less carbon, respectively, than uninfected hosts. Carbon fixation fell no matter how much light was hitting the bacteria.Critically, the team found that the reduction in carbon fixation didn’t stem from changes early in the photosynthesis process, when cyanobacteria use sunlight to generate energy. Infected cells converted sunlight into energy just as well as uninfected cells. Instead, it appeared that the viruses interfered during the later stages, when the bacteria normally use the energy from the sun to fix inorganic carbon by transforming it into sugars. By redirecting that energy toward their own reproduction, the viruses block the bacteria’s ability to fix carbon.“Viruses are just selfish machines,” says Dave Scanlan, a marine microbiologist at the University of Warwick, and one of the study’s senior authors. “The energy that’s being made is being siphoned off by the virus to make more of itself.”The team estimates that the cyanophages are preventing the fixation of between 20 million and 5.39 billion metric tons of carbon each year. At its upper end, that would be equivalent to about 10% of the carbon fixed every year by the entire ocean, or 5% of the carbon fixed globally. The true number depends on how many bacteria are infected at any one time—something scientists don’t yet have a good handle on. Previous studies indicate that anywhere from 1% to 60% of cyanobacteria in the ocean could be infected at once.There are other questions as well. For example, how might different viruses affect other species of cyanobacteria in the open ocean? “This is a lab study of a very specific virus and a very specific host cell,” Martiny says. “How that translates to an ocean environment I think is a big unknown.”The findings, says study author Andrew Millard, also at the University of Warwick, will help scientists better understand the full impact of cyanophages on the environment. While in this particular case less carbon fixation would seem to tip the scales toward more CO2 and more warming, it’s just one aspect of what viruses are doing in the ocean. “Whether or not it’s good or bad, it’s part of the system,” he says. “And we have to understand the system if we ever want to understand global warming.”last_img read more

Video: Your dog understands more than you think

first_imgIt’s the eternal question for pet owners: Does your dog understand what you’re saying? Even if Fido doesn’t “get” your words, surely he gets your tone when you let loose about another accident on the carpet. But a new imaging study shows that dogs’ brains respond to actual words, not just the tone in which they’re said. The study will likely shake up research into the origins of language, scientists say, as well as gratify dog lovers.“It’s an important study that shows that basic aspects of speech perception can be shared with quite distant relatives,” says Tecumseh Fitch, a cognitive biologist at the University of Vienna, who was not involved in the work.Words, the basic building blocks of human languages, are seldom found among other species. Bottlenose dolphins and green-rumped parrotlets make sounds that function like names, and animals including chickens, prairie dogs, and some primates utter alarm calls that identify specific predators. Dogs don’t produce words, but some are known to recognize more than 1000 human words—behavior that suggests they may attach meaning to human sounds. The new study shows that it is indeed the words themselves—and not the tone in which they’re spoken or the context in which they’re used—that dogs comprehend.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)To find out how dogs process human speech, Attila Andics, a neuroscientist at Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, and his colleagues used brain scanners and 13 willing family dogs from four breeds: border collies, golden retrievers, Chinese crested dogs, and German shepherds. The dogs had been trained to lie motionless in the scanner while they listened to recordings of their trainer’s voice. The dogs heard meaningful words (“well done!” in Hungarian) in a praising tone and in a neutral tone. They also heard meaningless words (“as if”) in a neutral or praising tone of voice.When the scientists analyzed the brain scans, they saw that—regardless of the trainer’s intonation—the dogs processed the meaningful words in the left hemisphere of the brain, just as humans do, they write this week in Science. But the dogs didn’t do this for the meaningless words. “There’s no acoustic reason for this difference,” Andics says. “It shows that these words have meaning to dogs.”The dogs also processed intonation in the right hemisphere of their brains, also like humans. And when they heard words of praise delivered in a praising tone, yet another part of their brain lit up: the reward area. Meaning and tone enhanced each other. “They integrate the two types of information to interpret what they heard, just as we do,” Andics says.The new results add to scientists’ knowledge of how canine brains process human speech. Dogs have brain areas dedicated to interpreting voices, distinguishing sounds (in the left hemisphere), and analyzing the sounds that convey emotions (in the right hemisphere).The finding “doesn’t mean that dogs understand everything we say,” says Julie Hecht, who studies canine behavior and cognition at City University of New York in New York City and who was not involved in the study. “But our words and intonations are not meaningless to dogs.” Fitch hopes that similar studies will be done on other domestic animals and on human-raised wolves to see how much of this ability is hardwired in dogs and how much is due to growing up among talking humans.last_img read more

And the winner of this year’s Dance Your Ph.D. contest is …

first_img By John BohannonOct. 26, 2016 , 9:00 AM BiologyCarla Brown at the University of Glasgow in the United Kingdom, focused on a problem created by one of the great successes of science: the genetic spread of antibiotic resistance. Social SciencesMargaret  Danilovich at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, Illinois, proposes a solution to the problem of deteriorating physical fitness in aging populations. She used popping to explore her subject. Think you’ve got what it takes to dance your Ph.D.? Next year is the 10th anniversary! Don’t be intimidated, says Brubert, who is now at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. All it took was several weekends and “some very willing friends” to win the contest. “My adviser thought I was crazy, but he was supportive.”Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Contest judges:Alexa MeadeCarl FlinkWeidong YangEmily KentJonathan EisenSuzanne Walshand members of the Berkeley Institute for Data ScienceFor more information on this contest, visit our Dance Your Ph.D. Contest page. If you want to understand what Jacob Brubert’s Ph.D. in biomedical engineering was all about, you just need to watch him and his friends dance. To explain the science of heart valve bioengineering, Brubert’s crew, from the University of Cambridge, used tap dance, salsa, circus, and what can only be described as a cow doing the worm. And in the final scene, the group depicts the ugly truth about Ph.D. research: Sometimes it just doesn’t work. A dancing scientist laments “Whyyyyy …?” as the experiment—and the entire dance—falls apart.The spectacle put Brubert over the top in this year’s Dance Your Ph.D., Science’s annual contest that challenges researchers to explain their research in the form of a dance. He wins $1000 for his effort and a trip to Boston next year for a screening and talk at the AAAS annual meeting. (AAAS is the publisher of Science.) It wasn’t all experimental agony this year. Below are winners in the other categories. They each win $500.center_img ChemistryEvgeny Sogorin, stuck with a fundamental science problem at the heart of his Ph.D. at the Institute of Protein Research in Moscow. Using an elaborate ballroom dance, he focused on the mystery of what prevents ribosomes from “jamming up” as they move along RNA strands expressing genes. People’s ChoiceAnd what was your favorite? The internet has spoken. The People’s Choice Award goes to Emmanuelle Alaluf for a dance based on her biomedical Ph.D. research at the Free University of Brussels. You could read her papers about myeloid-derived heme oxygenase-1 and cancer—or you can watch her stunning ballet. And the winner of this year’s Dance Your Ph.D. contest is …last_img read more

Top stories: Filthy kitchen sponges, Cold War espionage, and Greeks’ near-mythical origins

first_img Your kitchen sponge harbors zillions of microbes. Cleaning it could make things worseThat sponge in your kitchen sink harbors zillions of microbes, including close relatives of the bacteria that cause pneumonia and meningitis, according to a new study. Surprisingly, boiling or microwaving the sponges doesn’t kill off these microbes. Indeed, the researchers have found that sponges that had been regularly sanitized teemed with a higher percentage of bacteria related to pathogens than sponges that had never been cleaned.The Greeks really do have near-mythical origins, ancient DNA revealsSign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Ever since the days of Homer, Greeks have long idealized their Mycenaean “ancestors” in epic poems and classic tragedies that glorify the heroes who went in and out of favor with the Greek gods. Although these ancestors were fictitious, scholars have long debated whether today’s Greeks descend from the actual Mycenaeans, who dominated mainland Greece and the Aegean Sea from about 1600 B.C.E. to 1200 B.C.E. Now, ancient DNA suggests they did, and that only a small proportion of their DNA comes from later migrations to Greece.Could diabetes spread like mad cow disease?Prions are insidious proteins that spread like infectious agents and trigger fatal conditions such as mad cow disease. A protein implicated in diabetes, a new study suggests, shares some similarities with these villains. Researchers transmitted diabetes from one mouse to another just by injecting the animals with this protein. The results don’t indicate that diabetes is contagious like a cold, but blood transfusions, or even food, may spread the disease.After French drug trial tragedy, European Union issues new rules to protect study volunteersThe European Medicines Agency has issued new, stricter rules for studies that test drugs in people for the first time. They aim to better protect participants in such first-in-human studies—often healthy volunteers who receive a financial reward. The guideline will take effect in February 2018 and comes in the wake of a tragedy in a French drug study last year that led to the death of one man and serious neurological damage in four others. But some say the revision isn’t going far enough.Elderly chimps may get Alzheimer’s, renewing interest in studying these animalsResearchers have discovered tell-tale signs of Alzheimer’s disease in 20 elderly chimpanzee brains, rekindling a decades-old debate over whether humans are the only species that develop the debilitating condition. Whether chimps actually succumb to Alzheimer’s or are immune from symptoms despite having the key brain abnormalities is not clear. But either way, the work suggests that chimps could help scientists better understand the disease and how to fight it—if they could get permission to do such studies on these now-endangered animals.Cold War espionage paid off—until it backfired, East German spy records revealFrom 1957 to 1985, former Nazi party member and physicist Hans Rehder stole thousands of invaluable files from his employers, West German electronics firms Telefunken and AEG, and delivered them to East German agents for a monthly fee. Although spying paid off for Rehder, economists and historians have long wondered whether industrial espionage is worth it for the country doing the spying. Now, researchers have analyzed more than 150,000 previously classified documents from the former East German Ministry for State Security (also known as the Stasi) to reach a surprising conclusion: Stealing can boost economic productivity in the short term, but it cannibalizes long-term investment in research and development. (Left to right): © Leonard Freed/Magnum Photos; BlankeZr/iStockphoto; siraanamwong/iStockphoto By Giorgia GuglielmiAug. 4, 2017 , 3:30 PMcenter_img Top stories: Filthy kitchen sponges, Cold War espionage, and Greeks’ near-mythical originslast_img read more