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E.g., 10/17/2017
E.g., 10/17/2017
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  • News

    To understand the origins of pain, ask a flatworm

    Hydrogen peroxide, a molecule produced by cells under duress, may be a common danger signal, helping to alert animals to potential harm and send them scurrying. New details from planarian flatworms of how this process works may deepen scientists’ understanding of how people detect pain, and may ultimately point to better ways to curb it.

    “Being able to get a big-picture view of how these...

    10/16/2017 - 12:46 Animals, Neuroscience, Genetics
  • News in Brief

    We’re more Neandertal than we thought

    Modern people of European and Asian ancestry carry slightly more Neandertal DNA than previously realized.

    About 1.8 to 2.6 percent of DNA in non-Africans is an heirloom of ancient human-Neandertal interbreeding, researchers report online October 5 in Science. That corresponds to 10 to 20 percent more Neandertal ancestry than previous estimates — and it may carry consequences for human...

    10/10/2017 - 17:30 Genetics, Ancestry
  • News

    Ancient humans avoided inbreeding by networking

    DNA of people who lived around 34,000 years ago reveals an especially lively social scene that may have been a key to humans’ evolutionary success.

    Much like hunter-gatherers today, ancient Eurasians married outside their home groups and formed webs of friends and in-laws vital for eventually building cities and civilizations, a new study suggests.

    Long-gone hunter-gatherers lived...

    10/05/2017 - 14:00 Genetics, Anthropology, Human Evolution
  • Feature

    José Dinneny rethinks how plants hunt for water

    José Dinneny, 39Plant stress biologistCarnegie Institution for Science 

    José Dinneny wants us to see plants as stranger things.

    “They’re able to integrate information and make coherent decisions without a nervous system, without a brain,” he points out. Plus, plants find water without sight or touch. For too many of us, however, lawns, salads and pots on a sunny windowsill make plants so...

    10/04/2017 - 13:52 Plants, Genetics, Agriculture
  • Feature

    Christina Warinner uncovers ancient tales in dental plaque

    Christina Warinner, 37Molecular anthropologistUniversity of OklahomaMax Planck Institute for theScience of Human History

    In a pitch-black rainforest with fluttering moths and crawling centipedes, Christina Warinner dug up her first skeleton. Well, technically it was a full skeleton plus two headless ones, all seated and draped in ornate jewelry. To deter looters, she excavated through the night...

    10/04/2017 - 13:45 Anthropology, Genetics, Archaeology
  • Feature

    Luhan Yang strives to make pig organs safe for human transplants

    Luhan Yang, 31BiologisteGenesis

    Biologist Luhan Yang dreams of pig organs that will one day fly — into people. If she has her way, animal farms will raise herds of bioengineered pigs, designed to produce kidneys, livers and other organs that could be transplanted into humans. Animal parts would slip seamlessly into people, easing their suffering.

    “There are millions of patients worldwide...

    10/04/2017 - 13:44 Biomedicine, Cells, Genetics
  • News

    Cracking the body clock code wins trio a Nobel Prize

    Discoveries about the molecular ups and downs of fruit flies’ daily lives have won Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael W. Young the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine.

    These three Americans were honored October 2 by the Nobel Assembly at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm for their work in discovering important gears in the circadian clocks of animals. The trio will...

    10/02/2017 - 17:22 Physiology, Genetics, Cells
  • News

    A mutation may explain the sudden rise in birth defects from Zika

    A single genetic mutation made the Zika virus far more dangerous by enhancing its ability to kill nerve cells in developing brains, a new study suggests.

    The small change — which tweaks just one amino acid in a protein that helps Zika exit cells — may cause microcephaly, researchers report September 28 in Science. The mutation arose around May 2013, shortly before a Zika outbreak in...

    09/28/2017 - 14:00 Genetics, Microbiology, Health
  • News

    Ancient boy’s DNA pushes back date of earliest humans

    A boy who lived in what’s now South Africa nearly 2,000 years ago has lent a helping genome to science. Using the long-gone youngster’s genetic instruction book, scientists have estimated that humans emerged as a distinct population earlier than typically thought, between 350,000 and 260,000 years ago.

    The trick was retrieving a complete version of the ancient boy’s DNA from his skeleton...

    09/28/2017 - 14:00 Genetics, Anthropology, Human Evolution
  • News

    Gene variant linked to Alzheimer’s disease is a triple threat

    A genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease is a double, make that triple, whammy.

    In addition to speeding up the development of brain plaques associated with Alzheimer’s, a gene variant known as APOE4 also makes tau tangles — another signature of the disease — worse, researchers report online September 20 in Nature. APOE4 protein also ramps up brain inflammation that kills brain cells...

    09/22/2017 - 09:00 Neuroscience, Genetics, Cells