Feds, family reach deal on use of DNA information
2013-08-07 18:25:52 UTC
NEW YORK (AP) — Some 60 years ago, a doctor in Baltimore removed cancer cells from a poor black patient named Henrietta Lacks without her knowledge or consent. Those cells eventually helped lead to a multitude of medical treatments and laid the groundwork for the multibillion-dollar biotech indus...
Scientists plan controversial lab-made bird flu
2013-08-07 18:16:52 UTC
WASHINGTON (AP) — Scientists who sparked an outcry by creating easier-to-spread versions of the bird flu for research purposes want to try such experiments again using a worrisome new strain. This time around, the U.S. government is promising extra scrutiny of such high-stakes research up front.
Saturn's tides drive icy moon's plumes
2013-08-03 15:55:27 UTC
Icy geysers repeatedly erupting from Saturn’s moon Enceladus owe their Old Faithful-esque regularity to the planet’s tidal pull. An analysis of 252 images captured by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft proves what many scientists have suspected since the probe discovered the regular eruptions in 2005.
Evolution of mammalian monogamy remains mysterious
2013-08-03 15:38:17 UTC
Why some mammalian species choose to spend their lives with the same mates has long baffled scientists — and will probably continue to do so as two new massive studies present contradictory results.
One group of researchers says monogamy evolved in primates to counter the threat of males killi...
Mummified Incan teen drank, did drugs
2013-08-03 15:32:38 UTC
In the month before her death as a sacrifice to Incan gods, a teenage girl drank heavily and chewed coca leaves, according to a new analysis of her mummified remains. The discovery suggests that the girl, known as the Maiden, was heavily sedated or perhaps already dead when she was entombed aroun...
Scientists find mystery coffin at Richard III site
2013-07-30 04:37:49 UTC
LONDON (AP) — A team of archaeologists said Monday it has unearthed an unusual coffin-within-a-coffin in the central England parking lot where it found the skeleton of King Richard III, and that they hope to identify the remains within.
University of Leicester scientists have been digging at t...
New NASA telescope scours sun in 'grand opening'
2013-07-26 05:55:22 UTC
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — NASA is getting an unprecedented close-up look at the sun, thanks to a new telescope.
NASA's IRIS spacecraft, launched just a month ago, already is providing detailed pictures of the sun. The telescope's door opened last week, and it began observing the lower solar ...
DNA storage: The code that could save civilisation
2013-07-25 19:30:34 UTC
Two scientists think we can safeguard the world's knowledge against an apocalypse if we store it in DNA. How far-fetched is the idea? Ed Yong meets them to find out.
Neither Ewan Birney nor Nick Goldman can remember exactly how they came up with the idea of storing all the world’s knowledge in...
Arctic methane 'time bomb' could have huge economic costs
2013-07-25 07:47:38 UTC
Scientists say that the release of large amounts of methane from thawing permafrost in the Arctic could have huge economic impacts for the world.
The researchers estimate that the climate effects of the release of this gas could cost $60 trillion (£39 trillion), roughly the size of the global ...
Fattened livers prep white sharks for extreme migrations
2013-07-19 07:46:00 UTC
A white shark’s big fat liver, which can plump up to more than a quarter of an animal’s body weight, turns out to be the fuel tank for extreme migrations.
White sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) in the eastern Pacific take a springtime swim from California to Hawaii and return in late summer. A ...
Microbes can draw the line between species
2013-07-19 07:41:47 UTC
Sometimes it takes guts, or rather microbes in the guts, to make a species.
Genes are, of course, important. But the live-in microorganisms of jewel wasps play such an important role in keeping species separate that changing gut microbes can also change whether cross-species offspring live or ...
Will we ever... create a black hole?
2013-07-17 02:56:09 UTC
Before the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) began operations in 2008, a small but noisy group of people were in uproar. The LHC would be so powerful, they thought, that when it rammed protons together at a significant fraction of light-speed, it could produce exotic particles or small black holes. Ear...
Solar system has trailing tail, just like comet
2013-07-16 07:02:39 UTC
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — NASA can prove it now. Our solar system has a tail, just like comets.
Scientists revealed images Wednesday showing the tail emanating from the bullet-shaped region of space under the grip of the sun, including the solar system and beyond. The region is known as the ...
Astronomers Find Blue Planet Outside Solar System
2013-07-16 06:57:38 UTC
Data from the Hubble Space Telescope has helped astronomers determine that a planet orbiting a nearby star likely shares Earth's deep-blue tones. While Earth looks blue from space because of its oceans, the astronomers said the planet's color was created by a hazy turbulent atmosphere of silicate...
New tiny moon found orbiting faraway Neptune
2013-07-16 06:38:32 UTC
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Chalk up one more moon for Neptune.
NASA announced the discovery of Neptune's 14th moon Monday. The Hubble Space Telescope captured the moon as a white dot in photos of Neptune on the outskirts of our solar system.
The new moon — Neptune's tiniest at just 12 mile...
Fluorescent Fingerprint Tag Aims to Increase IDs from 'Hidden' Prints On Bullets and Knives
2013-07-03 08:32:33 UTC
A new way of detecting and visualizing fingerprints from crime scenes using colour-changing fluorescent films could lead to higher confidence identifications from latent (hidden) fingerprints on knives, guns, bullet casings and other metal surfaces. The technique is the result of a collaboration ...
Bat Maps: The Conservation Crusade
2013-07-03 08:23:30 UTC
Conservation efforts have taken an important step forward, thanks to observations of bats -- creatures that make up a quarter of all of the UK's native mammal species.
In a paper published today, researchers at the University of Leeds describe how they recorded the echolocation calls of more tha...
Honeybees use right antennae to tell friend from foe
2013-07-03 08:19:41 UTC
To avoid a scuffle, a wayward honeybee might do best to stay on a stranger’s left. That’s because honeybees preferentially use their right antenna to distinguish between compadres and intruders, researchers report June 27 in Scientific Reports.
Scientists knew that the bees’ left and right ant...
Ancient horse's DNA fills in picture of equine evolution
2013-06-30 21:33:43 UTC
A frozen fossil of a horse has yielded the oldest genome sequence ever compiled. Clocking in at about 700,000 years old, the horse DNA is nearly 10 times older than the previous record holder, the genome of an 80,000-year-old Denisovan, an extinct evolutionary cousin of Neandertals and modern peo...
Space capsule returns from mission to Chinese lab
2013-06-26 09:58:26 UTC
BEIJING (AP) — A Chinese space capsule with three astronauts landed safely Wednesday on the country's northern grasslands after a 15-day trip to a prototype space station, marking the latest success for China's manned space program as it enters its second decade.
The Shenzhou 10's descent modu...
Alaska volcano erupts with new intensity
2013-06-26 06:51:22 UTC
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) - An Alaska volcano spewing ash and lava for the past six weeks erupted with new intensity early on Tuesday, belching a plume of cinders 5 miles into sky and onto a nearby town and disrupting local flights, officials said.
The eruptions from Pavlof Volcano, on the Ala...
Snails trace Stone Age trek from Iberia to Ireland
2013-06-24 13:41:53 UTC
Stone Age people may have carried land snails on a voyage from the Pyrenees to Ireland, an examination of the snails’ DNA reveals.
Scientists have struggled to explain why Ireland shares some plant and animal species with the Iberian Peninsula, but not with the rest of Europe or the British Is...
In dark fishing spiders, males' postmating nap is permanent
2013-06-24 13:29:33 UTC
Once is apparently enough for male dark fishing spiders. After delivering only half of their available sperm to a single female, males curl up and wait for death.
In the considerable annals of spider sex ending badly, male Dolomedes tenebrosus suffer a fate not described before, says behaviora...
Digital 3-D atlas of brain reveals tiny details
2013-06-21 06:58:44 UTC
NEW YORK (AP) — Scientists have a new brain atlas to help them study their favorite organ. It's a digital, three-dimensional model called "BigBrain."
Its resolution is finer than a human hair, so it can reveal clusters of brain cells and even some large individual cells. It is being made avail...
NASA picks 8 new astronauts, 4 of them women
2013-06-17 15:19:24 UTC
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — NASA has eight new astronauts — its first new batch in four years.
The space agency announced its newest astronaut class Monday. Among the lucky candidates: the first female fighter pilot to become an astronaut in nearly two decades. A female helicopter pilot also i...