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  • News

    Folding with a little help from friends

    A chaperone protein (bottom, yellow) called SecB guides the folding of another protein (transparent) in this artist's illustration. "Interactions with chaperones are very common for all proteins," says Sander Tans of the FOM Institute for Atomic and Molecular Physics in Amsterdam, and they exert a strong influence on protein shape and function.

    But previous studies of the...

    11/28/2007 - 14:27 Earth
  • News

    Base Load: Currents add detail to DNA structure

    Researchers have made the first precise measurements of DNA's ability to conduct electricity laterally, across its double helix structure. The team's newly improved methods confirm that DNA has some properties in common with those of semiconductors and might help in the development of new genome-sequencing technology as well as DNA-based electronics.

    Life's double helix is not a metal,...

    11/28/2007 - 14:19
  • News

    Falling Behind: North American terrain absorbs carbon dioxide too slowly

    Long-term growth of North America's vegetation soaks up millions of tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year. Though impressive, that rate doesn't keep pace with the prodigious emissions of the planet-warming gas due to human activity.

    Scientists have several ways of monitoring the movement of carbon through the world's ecosystems. So-called bottom-up approaches...

    11/28/2007 - 13:38 Earth
  • News

    Calculated Risk: Shedding light on fracture hazards in elderly

    When doctors evaluate an older person who has fallen and broken a bone, they immediately look for signs of osteoporosis, the brittle-bone disease. Conventional wisdom holds that low bone-mineral density, the hallmark of osteoporosis, is chiefly responsible for fractures when elderly people fall from a standing position. But when an elderly person breaks a bone in a high-trauma accident, such...

    11/28/2007 - 13:16 Biomedicine
  • News

    So Sproutish: Anti-aging gene for plants gives drought protection

    A gene for simulating youth in plants offers an unusual approach to protecting crops from drought, says an international research team.

    The gene IPT, borrowed from a bacterium, codes for an enzyme that can delay the stress-triggered senescence of plant leaves.

    Tobacco plants genetically engineered to express IPT at critical moments stayed green during a lab test when...

    11/28/2007 - 12:34 Plants
  • News

    Northwest Passage: Americas populated via Alaska, genetics show

    A single population of prehistoric Siberians crossed the Bering Strait into Alaska and subsequently fanned out to populate North and South America, according to a new genetic analysis of present-day indigenous Americans.

    The study also hints that early Americans reached Central and South America by migrating down the Pacific coast by land or sea and only later spread into the interior...

    11/28/2007 - 12:10 Anthropology
  • News

    Sister Planet: Mission to Venus reveals watery past

    Dense clouds of sulfuric acid blanketing Venus have posed a problem for scientists seeking inside information about Earth's nearest planetary neighbor.

    Now, the Venus Express probe, launched by the European Space Agency in 2005, has ventured beneath those clouds and found evidence that Venus once had more water than it does today. The probe also provided detailed new...

    11/28/2007 - 11:27 Planetary Science
  • Feature

    Rolling Back the Years

    Archaeologists agree that Neandertals lost their evolutionary fight with Homo sapiens to become the Earth's dominant humanoid life form. But controversy continues over how long that fight lasted, and whether it was modern humans or changing climate that played the primary role in orchestrating the Neandertals' demise.

    Scientists dispute how long Neandertals...

    11/27/2007 - 13:15 Archaeology
  • News

    Dengue virus found in donated blood

    From Philadelphia, at a meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene

    The virus that causes dengue fever has turned up in a dozen units of blood donated in Puerto Rico. The disturbing finding suggests that authorities might need to screen for the mosquito-borne virus in endemic areas, says epidemiologist Hamish Mohammed of the Centers for Disease Control and...

    11/26/2007 - 14:41 Biomedicine
  • News

    Sleeping sickness pill may work as well as injections

    From Philadelphia, at a meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene

    An orally delivered drug for treatment of sleeping sickness is demonstrating considerable effectiveness in its first large-scale test in Africa.

    Researchers used blood tests obtained at clinics in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Angola, and Sudan to identify 273 people who had the West...

    11/26/2007 - 14:16 Biomedicine