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Ashley Yeager

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Protein that gets sperm into egg identified

Chemical signals sent between mammalian sperm's Izumo1 protein and the egg protein Juno or Folr4 ensure that the reproductive cells fuse.

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Exactly what molecule in a mammal's egg cell talks to sperm to let them wriggle inside has been difficult to identify. 

In 2005, scientists discovered that sperm carry a protein called Izumo1 that gets them to fuse with an egg. Now, research on mice shows that it's the protein folate receptor 4, or Folr4, on the egg that plays the partner role to bring the reproductive cells together. The discovery, published April 16 in Nature, could lead to better contraceptives and fertility treatments. The team also suggests renaming the protein Juno after the Roman goddess of fertility and marriage. 

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Microbiology,, Microbes

Amoebas’ munching may cause diarrheal disease

By Ashley Yeager 5:20pm, April 9, 2014
Amoebas biting and swallowing pieces of human cells may be what causes amebic dysentery, a potentially fatal diarrheal disease in the developing world.
Quantum Physics

Small step taken for quantum communication

By Ashley Yeager 1:07pm, April 9, 2014
A single atom can change the state of a photon, which may help build quantum networks.
Technology

Atlantic razor clam inspires robot to dig deeper

By Ashley Yeager 12:07pm, April 9, 2014
A robot digs using the same method as the Atlantic razor clam.
Astronomy

El Gordo galaxy cluster as hefty as 3 million billion suns

By Ashley Yeager 11:52am, April 8, 2014
The galaxy cluster El Gordo, which is Spanish for “the fat one," is roughly 43 percent more massive than earlier estimates.
Health,, Genetics,, Epigenetics

Changes in kids’ genomes linked to chronic stress

By Ashley Yeager 10:59am, April 8, 2014
In a study of 40 nine-year-old boys, kids from underprivileged backgrounds had telomeres that were 19 percent shorter than those of boys from more privileged environments.
Physics,, Astronomy

Meet Big Bird, highest-energy neutrino ever detected

By Science News Staff 5:30pm, April 7, 2014
Big Bird, the neutrino, struck the Antarctic ice with a record 2 million billion electron volts of energy.
Human Development,, Health,, Neuroscience

Father’s obesity linked to autism in children

By Ashley Yeager 3:05pm, April 7, 2014
A father-to-be’s body mass may be a greater risk factor for his child’s development of autism than the body mass of the mother.
Planetary Science,, Astronomy

Mercury’s surface once exploded in volcanoes

By Science News Staff 2:30pm, April 4, 2014
Newly released images show ancient vents and ash scattered within craters on Mercury's surface.
Quantum Physics,, Technology

U.S. marches to tick of new clock

By Science News Staff 3:09pm, April 3, 2014
The atomic clock NIST-F2 has launched as the country’s official civilian time and frequency standard.
Paleontology

Footprints of dino chase digitally reconstructed

By Ashley Yeager 6:03pm, April 2, 2014
Footprints of a T. rex-type dinosaur chasing an Apatosaurus-like animal have been turned into a 3-D fly-through, giving researchers a way to verify maps of the tracks drawn 70 years ago. (includes video)
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