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Study shows plant species' genetic responses to climate change

Study shows plant species genetic responses to climate change
2015-08-27
A study by the University of Liverpool has found that the genetic diversity of wild plant species could be altered rapidly by anthropogenic climate change. Scientists studied the genetic responses of different wild plant species, located in a natural grassland ecosystem near Buxton, to a variety of simulated climate change treatments--including drought, watering, and warming--over a 15-year period. Analysis of DNA markers in the plants revealed that the climate change treatments had altered the genetic composition of the plant populations. The results also indicated a ...

Political polarization on Twitter depends on the issue

2015-08-27
Twitter offers a public platform for people to post and share all sorts of content, from the serious to the ridiculous. While people tend to share political information with those who have similar ideological preferences, new research from NYU's Social Media and Political Participation Lab demonstrates that Twitter is more than just an "echo chamber." The research is published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. "Platforms like Twitter or Facebook are creating unprecedented opportunities for citizens to communicate with ...

New strategy improves detection of genetic mutations in hereditary colorectal cancer

2015-08-27
Philadelphia, PA, August 27, 2015 - About 3% of colorectal cancers are due to Lynch syndrome, an inherited cancer susceptibility syndrome that predisposes individuals to various cancers. Close blood relatives of patients with Lynch syndrome have a 50% chance of inheritance. The role that PMS2 genetic mutations play in Lynch syndrome has been underestimated in part due to technological limitations. A new study in the Journal of Molecular Diagnostics describes a multi-method strategy to overcome existing technological limitations by more accurately identifying PMS2 gene mutations, ...

JBJS 'Watch' cites head-neck troubles with modular hip implants

2015-08-27
Needham, MA.-JBJS Case Connector, an online case report journal published by The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, has issued a "Watch" regarding relatively rare but potentially catastrophic complications from failure of modular head-neck prostheses commonly used in hip-replacement surgery. The arthroplasty community currently feels that the advantages gained from modularity in hip implants outweigh the risks, but this Watch raises that risk-benefit question again. The decision to issue the Watch was prompted by a case report by Swann et al. in the August 26, 2015 JBJS ...

Common 'heart attack' blood test may predict future hypertension

2015-08-27
Analysis of blood samples from more than 5,000 people suggests that a more sensitive version of a blood test long used to verify heart muscle damage from heart attacks could also identify people on their way to developing hypertension well before the so-called silent killer shows up on a blood pressure machine. Results of the federally funded study, led by Johns Hopkins investigators, found that people with subtle elevations in cardiac troponin T -- at levels well below the ranges detectable on the standard version of this "heart attack" test -- were more likely to be ...

Clinical trials of dogs with cancer could lead to better treatments for humans

2015-08-26
Dogs get cancer, too. And they have even fewer treatment options than their human owners do. But an article in Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), the weekly newsmagazine of the American Chemical Society, offers a glimmer of hope. It explores how clinical trials on man's best friend could be a win-win for both dogs and people. Judith Lavelle, an intern at C&EN, notes that only a small percentage of potential human cancer drugs get approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Many of them fail when tested in people in clinical trials. A major reason for this late ...

This week from AGU: Mars' ice, Earth's mantle & 5 new research papers

2015-08-26
GeoSpace Terraced craters: Windows into Mars' icy past Just beneath Mars' dirt surface, or regolith, researchers found an enormous slab of water ice, measuring 40 meters (130 feet) thick, and covering an area equivalent to that of California and Texas combined, according to a new study published today in Geophysical Research Letters. Eos.org What lies deep in the mantle below? For decades, scientists have probed Earth's remote mantle by analyzing how seismic waves of distant earthquakes pass through it. But we are still challenged by the technique's limitations. New ...

Researchers reveal how a common mutation causes neurodegenerative disease

2015-08-26
WORCESTER, MA -- Researchers have determined how the most common gene mutation in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD) disrupts normal cell function, providing insight likely to advance efforts to develop targeted therapies for these brain diseases. Scientists from the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS) and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital led the research, which appeared in the science journal Nature. Investigators reported evidence that mutation of C9ORF72 interferes with the movement of RNAs and proteins into and ...

New survey on Americans' views on papal encyclical on climate change

2015-08-26
A new national survey conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and researchers at Yale University found that fewer than 1 in 3 Americans, and 40 percent of Catholics, are aware of Pope Francis's efforts to publicize global warming as a priority issue for the Catholic Church. While there is relatively low awareness of the papal encyclical, a majority of Americans say it is appropriate for the pope to take a public position on the issue of global warming. This is true even though very few Americans consider global warming as an issue of religion, ...

ORNL chemical sampling interface features simplicity, speed

2015-08-26
OAK RIDGE, Tenn., Aug. 26, 2015 - In mere seconds, a system developed at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory can identify and characterize a solid or liquid sample, providing a valuable tool with applications in material science, forensics, pharmaceuticals, biology and chemistry. The device and technique, created by Gary Van Berkel and Vilmos Kertesz of ORNL's Chemical Sciences Division, is described in the journal Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry. The appeal of this open port sampling interface, researchers note, is its elegance, speed and ...

Paralysis: Primates recover better than rodents

2015-08-26
Monkeys and humans exhibit greater motor recovery than rats after similar spinal cord injury, according to a study conducted in Grégoire Courtine's lab at EPFL. The study results have been published in Science Translational Medicine. Spontaneous improvement occurs during the first six months after a spinal cord injury, allowing a hemiplegic patient to recover partial motor control. The researchers are using this observation to improve clinical trials and patient therapies. The neuronal mechanisms underlying this extensive recovery in primates are nearly absent in ...

New 'mutation-tracking' blood test could predict breast cancer relapse months in advance

2015-08-26
Scientists have developed a blood test for breast cancer able to identify which patients will suffer a relapse after treatment, months before tumours are visible on hospital scans. The test can uncover small numbers of residual cancer cells that have resisted therapy by detecting cancer DNA in the bloodstream. Researchers at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, and The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust were able to track key mutations that cancer accumulates as it develops and spreads, without the need for invasive biopsy procedures. They hope that by deciphering ...

DNA sequencing used to identify thousands of fish eggs

2015-08-26
Using DNA sequencing, researchers have accurately painted a clear picture of fish spawning activities in a marine protected area (MPA) and have created a baseline for continuing studies on the effects of climate variability on fish populations. A group of Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego researchers led by Ron Burton and Alice Harada collected 260 samples off the Ellen Browning Scripps Memorial Pier over a two-year period and used DNA barcoding to accurately identify over 13,000 fish eggs. This study was also a collaborative effort between the Scripps ...

Self-control saps memory, study says

2015-08-26
DURHAM, N.C. -- You're driving on a busy road and you intend to switch lanes when you suddenly realize that there's a car in your blind spot. You have to put a stop to your lane change -- and quickly. A new study by Duke University researchers suggests that this type of scenario makes a person less likely to remember what halted the action -- for example, the make and model of the car in the blind spot. People and non-human primates excel at "response inhibition." Our sophisticated brains allow us to cancel an action even when it's something engrained, like driving ...

Family farm managers earn less, but gain 'emotional' wealth

2015-08-26
ITHACA, N.Y. - After hours harvesting forage, managing livestock and milking cows, new Cornell University agricultural economic research shows family members who work on the family dairy farm make $22,000 less annually than comparable hired managers, but are handsomely compensated with "socioemotional" wealth. "While $22,000 seems like a large penalty, there are nonfinancial rewards they experience working for the family business," said Loren Tauer, professor at Cornell's Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, who with lead author Jonathan Dressler ...

Colorful potatoes may pack powerful cancer prevention punch

2015-08-26
Compounds found in purple potatoes may help kill colon cancer stem cells and limit the spread of the cancer, according to a team of researchers. Baked purple-fleshed potatoes suppressed the growth of colon cancer tumors in petri dishes and in mice by targeting the cancer's stem cells. Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the U.S. and responsible for more than 50,000 deaths annually, according to the American Cancer Society. Attacking stem cells is an effective way to counter cancer, according to Jairam K.P. Vanamala, associate professor ...

Stiffer breast tissue in obese women promotes tumors

Stiffer breast tissue in obese women promotes tumors
2015-08-26
ITHACA, N.Y. - Women who are obese have a higher risk and a worse prognosis for breast cancer, but the reasons why remain unclear. A Cornell study published this month in Science Translational Medicine explains how obesity changes the consistency of breast tissue in ways that are similar to tumors, thereby promoting disease. The study of mice and women shows obesity leads to a stiffening of a meshwork of material that surrounds fat cells in the breast, called the extracellular matrix, and these biomechanical changes create the right conditions for tumor growth. The findings ...

New survey examines racial and ethnic differences in technology use by millennials

2015-08-26
A new study conducted by the Media Insight Project, a collaboration between the American Press Institute and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, found that while the similarities to the rest of their generation are numerous, there are some distinct differences in the way that Hispanic and African American Millennials use technology to access news and information. The source of their information is one area of difference: these young adults are more likely to use YouTube and Instagram for news than Millennials in general, though all groups rely ...

Neurodegenerative disease clogs nuclear pores

2015-08-26
Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) scientists have discovered how the most common genetic defect in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis kills nerve cells. Their study suggests that the pores that allow molecules into and out of a cell's nucleus get jammed, a finding that could speed the search for other genes that promote this fatal illness. In people who have amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), the motor neurons that operate the muscles deteriorate. Over time, the disease deprives patients of the ability to walk, swallow, and breathe, and they usually die within three ...

Antimatter catches a wave at SLAC

Antimatter catches a wave at SLAC
2015-08-26
A study led by researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and the University of California, Los Angeles has demonstrated a new, efficient way to accelerate positrons, the antimatter opposites of electrons. The method may help boost the energy and shrink the size of future linear particle colliders - powerful accelerators that could be used to unravel the properties of nature's fundamental building blocks. The scientists had previously shown that boosting the energy of charged particles by having them "surf" a wave of ionized ...

Capturing cancer

2015-08-26
They're among the most powerful tools for shedding new light on cancer growth and evolution, but mathematical models of the disease for years have faced an either/or stand off. Though models have been developed that capture the spatial aspects of tumors, those models typically don't study genetic changes. Non-spatial models, meanwhile, more accurately portray tumors' evolution, but not their three-dimensional structure. A collaboration between Harvard, Edinburgh, and Johns Hopkins Universities including Martin Nowak, Director of the Program for Evolutionary Dynamics ...

Methanotrophs: Could bacteria help protect our environment?

2015-08-26
New insight into methanotrophs, bacteria that can oxidise methane, may help us develop an array of biotechnological applications that exploit methane and protect our environment from this potent greenhouse gas. Publishing in Nature, scientists led by Newcastle University have provided new understanding of how methanotrophs are able to use large quantities of copper for methane oxidation. They have identified a new family of copper storage proteins called Csp that are present in a range of bacteria. These proteins store metal in a way that has not been seen previously ...

Scientists discover mechanism behind 'strange' earthquakes

2015-08-26
It's not a huge mystery why Los Angeles experiences earthquakes. The city sits near a boundary between two tectonic plates -- they shift, we shake. But what about places that aren't along tectonic plate boundaries? For example, seismicity on the North American plate occurs as far afield as southern Missouri, where earthquakes between 1811 and 1812 estimated at around magnitude 7 caused the Mississippi River to flow backward for hours. Until now, the cause of that seismicity has remained unclear. While earthquakes along tectonic plate boundaries are caused by motion ...

Pacific Northwest wildfires severe in intensity

Pacific Northwest wildfires severe in intensity
2015-08-26
The Pacific Northwest is abundantly dotted with wildfires in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana. There are over 27 fires listed in the Inciweb database for the state of Washington. The largest active fire listed is the Okanogan Complex Fire which is currently at 256,567 acres and has 1,250 personnel working the fire. This fire began as a lightning strike on August 15, 2015. It is only 10% contained at present. Governor Inslee's request for a federal Emergency Declaration to provide additional resources to cover some of the costs related to multiple wildfires burning ...

Unusual use of blue pigment found in ancient mummy portraits

2015-08-26
Mostly untouched for 100 years, 15 Roman-era Egyptian mummy portraits and panel paintings were literally dusted off by scientists and art conservators from Northwestern University and the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology as they set out to investigate the materials the painters used nearly 2,000 years ago. What the researchers discovered surprised them, because it was hidden from the naked eye: the ancient artists used the pigment Egyptian blue as material for underdrawings and for modulating color -- a finding never before documented. Because blue has to be manufactured, ...
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