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  • News

    Flight demands may have steered the evolution of bird egg shape

    The mystery of why birds’ eggs come in so many shapes has long been up in the air. Now new research suggests adaptations for flight may have helped shape the orbs.  

    Stronger fliers tend to lay more elongated eggs, researchers report in the June 23 Science. The finding comes from the first large analysis of the way egg shape varies across bird species, from the almost perfectly spherical...

    06/22/2017 - 14:00 Evolution, Animals
  • News

    Scientists spy on the secret inner life of bacteria

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    On the surface, bacteria may appear bland. But there’s more going on inside than meets the eye, new research is revealing.

    For many years, scientists thought that bacteria didn’t have internal structures and were basically “bags of enzymes,” says structural and cell biologist Martin Warren of the University of Kent in England.

    Now, one group of researchers has...

    06/22/2017 - 14:00 Microbiology
  • Growth Curve

    When should babies sleep in their own rooms?

    When we brought our first baby home from the hospital, our pediatrician advised us to have her sleep in our room. We put our tiny new roommate in a crib near our bed (though other containers that were flat, firm and free of blankets, pillows or stuffed animals would have worked, too).

    The advice aims to reduce the risk of sleep-related deaths, including sudden infant death syndrome, or...

    06/22/2017 - 07:00 Parenting, Guidelines
  • News

    Bones make hormones that communicate with the brain and other organs

    Long typecast as the strong silent type, bones are speaking up.

    In addition to providing structural support, the skeleton is a versatile conversationalist. Bones make hormones that chat with other organs and tissues, including the brain, kidneys and pancreas, experiments in mice have shown.

    “The bone, which was considered a dead organ, has really become a gland almost,” says Beate...

    06/21/2017 - 15:00 Health, Biomedicine, Cells
  • News

    Protein in Parkinson’s provokes the immune system

    Bits of a protein that builds up in Parkinson’s disease trigger the immune system, causing it to tag them as foreign invaders.

    In a blood test, immune cells called T cells became activated when exposed to the protein in about 40 percent of Parkinson’s patients in a new study. This autoimmune response may contribute to the progression of the disease, the researchers report online June 21...

    06/21/2017 - 13:25 Biomedicine, Health, Immune Science
  • News

    A baby’s DNA may kick off mom’s preeclampsia

    A protein made by the fetus may lead to preeclampsia in moms.

    People born to mothers who had the prenatal disorder were more likely to have certain DNA variations near a gene known to influence blood vessels. The results, published online June 19 in Nature Genetics, point to that gene as a possible preeclampsia culprit, and may help scientists develop ways to stop or prevent the...

    06/21/2017 - 07:00 Biomedicine
  • For Daily Use

    Here’s why your wheelie suitcase wobbles

    Anyone who’s dragged roller luggage knows it’s liable to fishtail. To most people, this is a nuisance. To a few scientists, it’s a physics problem. Researchers detail the precise interplay of forces that set suitcases shimmying in a study published online June 21 in Proceedings of the Royal Society A.

    The researchers simulated and observed the motion of a toy model suitcase on a...

    06/20/2017 - 19:05 Physics
  • Science Ticker

    Satellite trio will hunt gravitational waves from space

    The hunt for gravitational waves is moving upward. A space-based detector called the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna, or LISA, was selected as a mission in the European Space Agency’s science program, the agency announced June 20.

    LISA will consist of three identical satellites arranged in a triangle that will cartwheel through space in orbit around the sun just behind Earth. The...

    06/20/2017 - 16:58 Astronomy, Cosmology, Physics
  • News

    New material could filter water contaminants that others miss

    A new material can pull a toxic, hard-to-degrade industrial chemical from drinking water more effectively than current methods.

    Perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA, hangs around in the environment for years and might cause health problems for people and animals. A new polymer material traps PFOA molecules, making them easy to filter out of water, researchers report in the June 14 Journal of...

    06/20/2017 - 16:23 Toxicology, Pollution
  • News

    Kepler shows small exoplanets are either super-Earths or mini-Neptunes

    Small worlds come in two flavors. The complete dataset from the original mission of the planet-hunting Kepler space telescope reveals a split in the exoplanet family tree, setting super-Earths apart from mini-Neptunes.

    Kepler's final exoplanet catalog, released in a news conference June 19, now consists of 4,034 exoplanet candidates. Of those, 49  are rocky worlds in their stars'...

    06/19/2017 - 18:39 Exoplanets, Planetary Science