My picks from ScienceDaily


How A Brain Chemical Changes Locusts From Harmless Grasshoppers To Swarming Pests:

Scientists have uncovered the underlying biological reason why locusts form migrating swarms. Their findings, reported in today’s edition of Science, could be used in the future to prevent the plagues which devastate crops (notably in developing countries), affecting the livelihood of one in ten people across the globe.

Many New Species Discovered In Hidden Mozambique Oasis With Help Of Google Earth:

Space may be the final frontier, but scientists who recently discovered a hidden forest in Mozambique show the uncharted can still be under our noses. BirdLife were part of a team of scientists who used Google Earth to identify a remote patch of pristine forest. An expedition to the site discovered new species of butterfly and snake, along with seven Globally Threatened birds.

Vaccines And Autism: Many Hypotheses, But No Correlation Found:

An extensive new review summarizes the many studies refuting the claim of a link between vaccines and autism. The review, in the February 15, 2009 issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases and now available online, looks at the three main hypotheses and shows how epidemiological and biological studies refute these claims.

College Freshmen In US And China: Chinese Students Know More Science Facts But Neither Group Especially Skilled In Reasoning:

A study of college freshmen in the United States and in China found that Chinese students know more science facts than their American counterparts — but both groups are nearly identical when it comes to their ability to do scientific reasoning.

Single Gene Lets Bacteria Jump From Host To Host:

All life — plants, animals, people — depends on peaceful coexistence with a swarm of microbial life that performs vital services from helping to convert food to energy to protection from disease. Now, with the help of a squid that uses a luminescent bacterium to create a predator-fooling light organ and a fish that uses a different strain of the same species of bacteria like a flashlight to illuminate the dark nooks of the reefs where it lives, scientists have found that gaining a single gene is enough for the microbe to switch host animals.

Tigers ‘Took The Silk Road’ To Russia:

DNA from an extinct sub-species of tiger has revealed that the ancestors of modern tigers migrated through the heart of China – along what would later become known as ‘the Silk Road’ – a team of scientists from Oxford University and the NCI Laboratory of Genomic Diversity in the USA report.

Ancient Turtle Migrated From Asia To America Over Tropical Arctic:

In Arctic Canada, a team of geologists from the University of Rochester has discovered a surprise fossil: a tropical, freshwater, Asian turtle. The find strongly suggests that animals migrated from Asia to North America not around Alaska, as once thought, but directly across a freshwater sea floating atop the warm, salty Arctic Ocean.

Secretive Immune System Of Salmon:

During his doctoral thesis, Erlend Haugarvoll discovered new aspects of the salmon immune system. His research looked at the immune cells in the gills of salmon and at immune responses to vaccination. A special type of tissue, rich in immune cells, was found in the gills, and new properties of immune cells that produce brown pigment were discovered.

New Bird Species: New Species Of Babbler Discovered In China:

A new species of babbler has been described from Guangxi province in south-west China close to the border with Vietnam. Named Nonggang Babbler Stachyris nonggangensis, after the reserve at which it was discovered, this new species is closely related to Sooty Babbler S. herberti but is larger and has white crescent patches behind the ear coverts and dark spots on the upper breast and throat.

New Class Of Non-protein Coding Genes In Mammals With Key Functions Uncovered:

A research team at the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center has uncovered a vast new class of previously unrecognized mammalian genes that do not encode proteins, but instead function as long RNA molecules.

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