Latest News

Lessons in landscape

Keeping parks pretty means tailoring the trees to their source of water.

Irrigation water recycled from sewage can damage many plant species, new research has found 1 . The results show that landscape architects should tailor their choice of plants to the type of water they will receive.

Dale Devitt of the University of Nevada at Reno and colleagues began studying the effects of different water sources on plants after reports that ’reuse’ water had damaged tr

New Data Kicks Up ’Snowball Earth’ Fight

In 1998, Paul F. Hoffman and Daniel P. Schrag at Harvard University put forth a chilling description of earth’s climate some 650 million years ago. Their theory, dubbed snowball earth, held that between 750 million and 580 million years ago, ice repeatedly enveloped our planet, coating the seas from pole to pole and killing off early life almost completely. During the past few years, the idea has stirred up a great deal of debate. And new data published in the December issue of Geology only furt

The littlest lizard

World’s smallest reptile is discovered in the Caribbean forest.

At just 16 mm from nose to tail, the Jaragua lizard is the world’s smallest. In fact, it’s the smallest vertebrate that can reproduce on dry land 1 .

The newly discovered lizard lives on Isla Beata, a small, forest-covered island in the Caribbean off the Dominican Republic. Blair Hedges, an evolutionary biologist at Pennsylvania State University, together with Richard Thomas of the

Quantum computers spread the risk

A balanced portfolio of programs could mean a faster quantum computer.

Strategies from the world of finance could help get the best out of quantum computers, say US researchers 1 . The right portfolio of programs could solve a problem many times faster than a single strategem.

Quantum computers – purely hypothetical as yet – would be fast, but you could never be sure whether a program was going to work or not. You would have to keep running the program until

Radiation zaps bystanders

Radon may pose a greater cancer threat than has been thought.

Radon damage from irradiated cells spreads to their neighbours, a new study finds 1 . The result suggests that small amounts of this radioactive gas could cause widespread harm.

The study “is a reason for concern but not panic”, says Gerhard Randers-Pehrson of Columbia University, New York, a member of the team that performed the study. “We’re talking about the acceptable level of radon changing pe

Study Suggests Predators Are Vital to Health of Ecosystems

The question of which forces control terrestrial ecosystems lies at the heart of a long-standing debate among ecologists. One theory, the so-called bottom-up theory, suggests that plant defense mechanisms exert control by limiting food availability for herbivores. Top-down theorists, however, suggest that predators limit the numbers of herbivores and hence their impact on the vegetation. Now new findings in the current issue of the journal Science that describe animal communities isolated for 15 year

Transgenic Tobacco Detoxifies TNT

For more than 150 years, people around the world have made ample use of the explosive trinitrotoluene, otherwise known as TNT. Its use has had unintended consequences, however: the manufacture, storage and disposal of TNT—which ranks among the most toxic explosives employed by the military—have left large areas of land contaminated and polluted. So far, effective and affordable cleanup technologies have remained out of reach. But new research suggests that help may come from what might seem an unlike

Massive hole makes theories leaky

Surprising black hole weigh-in has astronomers scratching their heads.

Forty thousand light years away, on the other side of the Milky Way, lies object GRS1915+105. It is a giant star and a black hole orbiting one another, blasting out X-rays and ejecting gas and dust at close to the speed of light.

Now measurements of this “extreme and puzzling” object are casting doubt on current theories of how such binary systems form and behave. Astronomers have weighed its black hole,

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

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Physics and Astronomy

Can the diffraction limit overcome in the linear imaging system?

A chip-compatible 3D nanoscopy answers. Compared with the superresolution microscopy that bases on squeezing the point spread function in the spatial domain, the superresolution microscopy that broadens the detection range…

New evidence for electron’s dual nature found in a quantum spin liquid

Results from a Princeton-led experiment support a controversial theory that the electron is composed of two particles. A new discovery led by Princeton University could upend our understanding of how…

Current trend reversed

Physicists at ETH Zurich demonstrate that a tiny cloud of atoms can be turned from a heat engine into a cooler by cranking up the interactions between the particles. When…

Life Sciences and Chemistry

In milliseconds from polluted to clear water

New discoveries in the field of nanoscience … Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces developed a membrane that is composed of a bundle of nanometer-sized tubes….

Rotating forces get embryos in shape

Dresden researchers discover how a protein creates the rotatory forces essential for animal development. Our body appearance is symmetric from the outside. If you take a look inside, you will…

New findings in genome research

The working group around Dr. Philipp Rathert at the Institute for Biochemistry and Technical Biochemistry investigates the regulation of epigenetic networks of certain cancers and ways of treating them. The…

Agricultural and Forestry Science

Symbiotic bacteria in root cells may be key to producing better crops

A Rutgers study finds that symbiotic bacteria that colonize root cells may be managed to produce hardier crops that need less fertilizer. The study appears in the journal Microorganisms. Bacteria…

Winning gene combination takes all

Researchers have traced the remaining last steps of the biological pathway that gives oats resistance to the deadly crop disease take-all. The discovery creates opportunities for new ways of defending…

UMD reports six novel variants for CRISPR-Cas12a in plants …

– expanding genome engineering … In a new publication in Nature Communications, associate professor of Plant Science at the University of Maryland Yiping Qi continues to innovate genome editing and…

Information Technology

Above the noise

Researchers at Osaka University use deep learning to reduce noise in the electrical current data collected from nanopores, which may lead to higher precision measurements when working with very tiny…

Smaller chips open door to new RFID applications

Researchers at North Carolina State University have made what is believed to be the smallest state-of-the-art RFID chip, which should drive down the cost of RFID tags. In addition, the…

Better integrated circuits with glide symmetry

Glide symmetry offers a compact, flexible solution for suppression of channel crosstalk in SSPP transmission lines. Surface plasmon polaritons (SPPs) are highly localized surface waves on the interface between metal…