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Maps have long been used to show the animal kingdom’s range, regional mix, populations at risk and more. Now a new set of maps reveals the global distribution of genetic diversity.
“Without genetic diversity, species can’t evolve into new species,” says Andreia Miraldo, a population geneticist at the Natural History Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen. “It...
New hope for control of staph infections10/20/2016 - 12:00 Health, Microbes, Biomedicine
Staphylococcal infections — especially rampant in hospitals and responsible for … some fatal disorders — may be virtually stamped out. Researchers … have extracted teichoic acid from the bacteria’s cell wall and used it to protect groups of mice from subsequent massive doses of virulent staph organisms. — Science News, October 29, 1966...
This year’s Nobel Prizes honored scientific achievements that dedicated Science News readers (with good memories) would have found familiar. A dive into our archives revealed some interesting results.10/19/2016 - 16:37 Science & Society
The physiology or medicine prize recognized autophagy, the cellular process by which living cells dispose of — or recycle — their biochemical garbage. Molecular biology writer Tina...
Letters to the Editor
Gene and tonic10/19/2016 - 16:36 Genetics, Health
Lab rats bred to drink a lot or hardly at all have revealed 930 genes linked to a preference for alcohol, a recent study shows. Tina Hesman Saey reported the findings in “Rats offer DNA clues to alcoholism” (SN: 9/3/16, p. 8).
John M. Wozniak Jr. wondered if the drinking rats were truly alcoholic, or if they gained nutritional or energy benefits from the alcohol....
Michael Snyder’s genes were telling him that he might be at increased risk for type 2 diabetes. The Stanford University geneticist wasn’t worried: He felt healthy and didn’t have a family history of the disease. But as he monitored other aspects of his own biological data over months and years, he saw that diabetes was indeed emerging, even though he showed no symptoms.
Book lovers: Scientists have devised a way to read without cracking a volume’s spine or risking paper cuts (and no, we’re not talking about e-books). The new method uses terahertz radiation — light with wavelengths that are between microwave and infrared waves — to view the text of a closed book. The technique is not meant for your average bookworm, but for reading rare books that are too...
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For widemouthed, musical midshipman fish, melatonin is not a sleep hormone — it’s a serenade starter.
In breeding season, male plainfin midshipman fish (Porichthys notatus) spend their nights singing — if that’s the word for hours of sustained foghorn hums. Males dig trysting nests under rocks along much of North America’s Pacific coast, then await females drawn in...
Coral reefs are bustling cities beneath tropical, sunlit waves. Thousands of colorful creatures click, dash and dart, as loud and fast-paced as citizens of any metropolis.
Built up in tissue-thin layers over millennia, corals are the high-rise apartments of underwater Gotham. Calcium carbonate skeletons represent generations of tiny invertebrate animals, covered in a living layer of...
Two electrifying light shows were much more than flashes in the pan. A 2007 thunderstorm over Oklahoma produced a lightning flash that stretched more than 321 kilometers horizontally — roughly the distance from Washington, D.C., to New York City. In southern France in 2012, a single lightning flash lit up the sky nonstop for 7.74 seconds, enough time for light to make about three round trips...
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Citizen ScientistMary Ellen HannibalThe Experiment, $25.95
You don’t need a degree in science to monitor backyard owls or measure trees. And anyone with a computer can help scientists track seal populations in Antarctica. Citizen science projects like these — which depend on crowdsourced data — are booming. And when faced with a planet scarred by industrialization and climate change...