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Antibiotics in cattle leave their mark in dung

cows in a field in Finland

Dosing cattle with antibiotics affects dung beetles and ups greenhouse gases emitted from cow dung, researchers suggest.

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Dung beetles (Aphodius fossor) make their living on cattle dung pats, which are rich in nutritious microbes. To investigate the effects of cattle antibiotics on this smaller scale, Tobin Hammer of the University of Colorado at Boulder and his colleagues studied the tiny communities around tetracycline-dosed and undosed cows. Compared with untreated cows' dung, microbes in dung produced by treated cows were less diverse and dominated by a genus with documented resistance, the researchers report May 25 in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.  

Beetles typically reduce methane gas wafting off dung, but pats from treated cows showed a 1.8-fold increase in methane output. How this might figure into greater cattle methane production remains to be studied, but Hammer and company speculate that the antibiotics may wipe out the bacterial competition for microbial methane factories

Animals,, Biophysics

Snot could be crucial to dolphin echolocation

By Helen Thompson 5:17pm, May 24, 2016
An acoustic model reveals that echolocation relies on mucus lined tissue lumps in the animal’s nasal passage.
Archaeology

Evidence of 5,000-year-old beer recipe found in China

By Helen Thompson 4:47pm, May 23, 2016
Ancient brewer’s toolkits put barley on tap in China as early as 3400 B.C.
Health,, Microbiology

CDC tracking 279 U.S. pregnant women with possible Zika infections

By Meghan Rosen 1:10pm, May 20, 2016
The number of U.S. pregnant women with evidence of Zika infection has climbed to nearly 300, and includes both women with and without symptoms.
Genetics,, Anthropology

Some Stone Age humans returned to Africa

By Bruce Bower 9:00am, May 19, 2016
DNA from an ancient woman suggests some humans trekked back to Africa.
Animals,, Physiology

Hornbills join toucans in the cool beak club

By Helen Thompson 4:56pm, May 18, 2016
Like toucans, southern yellow-billed hornbills keep things chill with cool beaks.
Agriculture,, Genetics,, Science & Society

New analysis: Genetically engineered foods not a health risk

By Meghan Rosen 6:16pm, May 17, 2016
No real evidence for health or environmental dangers of GE crops.
Health,, Microbiology

This week in Zika: First mouse study proof that Zika causes microcephaly

By Meghan Rosen 1:00pm, May 11, 2016
Three new studies in mice shore up the link between microcephaly and Zika virus infection.
Neuroscience

Social area of the brain sets threat level of animals

By Laura Sanders 5:00pm, May 10, 2016
How people perceive an animal’s danger level is encoded in a particular wrinkle of cortex, a brain scan study suggests.
Particle Physics

Large Hadron Collider starts its 2016 physics run

By Emily Conover 4:14pm, May 9, 2016
Experiments at the Large Hadron Collider are taking data for the first time in 2016.
Animals,, Genetics,, Archaeology

History of road-tripping shaped camel DNA

By Helen Thompson 3:00pm, May 9, 2016
Centuries of caravan domestication and travel left some metaphorical tire marks on Arabian camel genes, researchers find.
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