Latest News

GM Bacterium Helps Destroy Advanced Tumors in Mice

Generally speaking, we go to great lengths to rid our bodies of foreign bacteria, whether it’s by brushing our teeth, washing our hands or taking antibiotics. But new research suggests that when it comes to treating tumors, we may one day invite the bugs in. According to a study published yesterday in the early online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a bacterium that normally resides in soil, dust and dead flesh quickly destroys large tumors in mice when injected along

GM Corn Contaminates Distant Native Plants

In news that will surely fan the flames of the heated debate over genetically modified crops, scientists have found evidence that genes from GM plants can spread far and wide to native ones. According to a report published today in the journal Nature, wild corn from the remote mountains of Oaxaca, Mexico contains transgenic DNA. This, the researchers note, bolsters concerns that such unintentional contamination can threaten the genetic diversity of natural crops.

DNA analyses of the Oaxaca

Global goal frenzy

It’s official: English football teams score fewer goals.

Soccer teams worldwide are scoring more goals than they ought to be, whereas English teams seem to follow statistical expectations. The news may delight fans outside England, but it is puzzling the physicists who have found that the chance of a high-scoring game is significantly greater than it may first appear 1 .

John Greenhough and colleagues at Warwick University in Coventry, England, analysed the s

Distant starlight reveals alien atmosphere

Hubble spots atmosphere on planet 150 light years away.

Astronomers have glimpsed the atmosphere of a planet in a solar system other than our own for the first time. The feat is a first step towards detecting planets capable of supporting life elsewhere in the Universe.

David Charbonneau, of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, and colleagues, pointed the Hubble space telescope at the planet, which lies 150 light years away in the constellation Pegasus. Of the 7

Human clone not miracle cure

Rewiring the egg: mechanism remains murky.

From a scientific viewpoint, the cloning of human embryos may be more of a step than a leap, say sceptics. If the signals that turn adult cells into embryonic ones can be found, the creation of cloned embryos for tissue repair may become redundant.

Researchers at Advanced Cell Technology (ACT) in Worcester, Massachusetts, now report that they have created cloned human embryos. They aimed to make blastocysts, hollow balls of cells fr

Land Size Limits Body Size of Biggest Animals

The size and types of the largest local land animals vary greatly from place to place, prompting scientists to question what controls the success of animals of certain sizes over others. Now a report published in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that the size of a landmass limits the maximal body size of its top animal.

Gary Burness and Jared Diamond of the University of California School of Medicine, together with Timothy Flannery of the South

Researchers Isolate Genes for Mosquito’s Sense of Smell

New research is helping to unravel the machinery that allows a mosquito to sniff out its human quarry, which could lead to more and better ways of foiling the disease-spreading insects. A report published today in the online version of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences describes four genes that appear to produce odor-sensing molecules in Africa’s Anopheles gambiae, a carrier of malaria, the number two killer in the developing world. Understanding how such genes operate could en

DNA repair could reduce sunburn

An immune system chemical may undo skin damage by sunlight.

A chemical involved in immune-system signalling may be able to reverse some types of skin damage caused by sunlight. It could reduce sunburn by activating DNA-repair mechanisms, a new study suggests, raising the possibility that the chemical might be used to prevent or treat skin cancer 1 .

High-energy ultraviolet light is thought to promote skin cancer by damaging the DNA within cells. Skin cancer,

Material bones up

Programmed molecules build themselves into a bone-mimic.

Scientists in the United States have made self-assembling synthetic bone 1 . Carefully designed building-blocks join up to mimic bone’s complex molecular-scale architecture, bringing better prosthetics a step closer.

Materials engineers are keen to emulate the strength and toughness of biominerals such as bone, tooth and shell. Mollusc shells, for example, a composite of the mineral calcium carbonate a

BSE’s epidemic proportions

While prion diseases seem to be waning in humans, they could be waxing in sheep.

Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) may claim only around 200 victims, a new model predicts 1 . This degenerative brain disease is thought to occur when people are exposed to misfolded prion proteins from meat infected with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE or ’mad cow disease’).

Meanwhile, another study warns that a huge BSE epidemic could be brewing in the UK

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Physics and Astronomy

Switching on a superfluid

Exotic phase transitions unlock pathways to future, superfluid-based technologies. We can learn a lot by studying microscopic and macroscopic changes in a material as it crosses from one phase to…

Revealing the secrets of an exotic nucleus

The exotic nucleus tin-100 is challenging to access experimentally, but ab initio calculations provide reliable results. This is shown by new precision mass measurements of indium isotopes in the vicinity…

Ensuring radiation protection together in Europe

EURAMET to start a new European Metrology Network… Central pool of expertise under the coordination of PTB More than 23 million people in the world are exposed to ionizing radiation…

Life Sciences and Chemistry

Scientists develop artificial intelligence method to predict anti-cancer immunity

Machine learning algorithms are shedding light on neoantigen T cell-receptor pairs. Researchers and data scientists at UT Southwestern Medical Center and MD Anderson Cancer Center have developed an artificial intelligence…

How Poxviruses Multiply

Poxviruses have found a unique way of translating their genes into proteins in the infected organism. For the first time, scientists of the University of Würzburg’s Biocenter have been able…

Mouse sperm need a molecular VIP pass to reach the egg membrane

Fertilisation is one of the most fundamental biological processes, yet its underlying molecular mechanisms are unresolved. An international team of scientists at the Research Institute of Molecular Pathology (IMP) and…

Agricultural and Forestry Science

Aptasensors helpful in detection of mycotoxins

A publication saw light in Chemosensors. Mycotoxins are secondary metabolites of fungi that contaminate agriculture products. Their release in the environment can cause severe damage to human health. Aptasensors are…

New model tracks carbon in agroecosystems

Solution Sets the Bar for Quantifying Carbon Budget and Credit. Carbon is everywhere. It’s in the atmosphere, in the oceans, in the soil, in our food, in our bodies. As…

Tracking future forest fires with AI

As temperatures rise, the risk of devastating forest fires is increasing. Researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) are using artificial intelligence to estimate the long-term impact that an…

Information Technology

Winged microchip is smallest-ever human-made flying structure

The size of a grain of sand, dispersed microfliers could monitor air pollution, airborne disease and environmental contamination. Northwestern University engineers have added a new capability to electronic microchips: flight….

Greening the Internet of Things

Sensors have become the ubiquitous companions of our lives. Whether knowingly or not, we use them every day to collect, process, and interpret data and help us make sense of…

Compact amplifier could revolutionize optical communication

Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, present a unique optical amplifier that is expected to revolutionise both space and fiber communication. The new amplifier offers high performance, is compact…