News in Brief
Coffee consumption may be in the genes.
Activity of a gene that lowers levels of caffeine-degrading enzymes in the liver is associated with how much coffee people drink, researchers say August 25 in Scientific Reports. The more active the gene, called PDSS2, the less coffee people drank.
Researchers tracked the coffee-drinking habits of 1,207 people in remote...
News in Brief
WASHINGTON — Vocally warming up puts more dazzle into a bird’s singing for the day, a new test shows, perhaps helping to explain widespread outbursts of birdsong at dawn.
Males of Puerto Rico’s Adelaide’s warblers (Setophaga adelaidae) start trilling through their repertoires of 30 or so songs while it’s still pitch black. Tracking the songs of individual males...
When my friend Steve Finkel and I get together, the talk is almost always about bacteria. He and I are both huge fans, from different angles. I’m a spectator. He studies them (E. coli) in...
Letters to the Editor
Rooting out terrorism
Anthropologists have moved to the front lines to determine what drives people to join terrorist organizations such as the Islamic State. New research shows that...
A blood cancer uses a secret weapon for tearing bone apart. That same mechanism may allow breast cancer and other types of tumors to spread to bones, a new study suggests.
In patients with the blood cancer multiple myeloma, an enzyme called thymidine phosphorylase sets off a chain reaction that leads to bone...
Earth might have a kindred planet orbiting the star next door. A world at least 1.3 times as massive as Earth appears to orbit the closest star to the sun: Proxima Centauri, a dim red orb about 4.2 light-years away.
Dubbed Proxima b, the planet is cozied up to its star, needing just 11.2 days to complete one orbit. But despite the proximity to...
Climate change flaunted its deadly side during the 2003 European heat wave, which killed over 70,000 people across the continent. In London and Paris alone, global warming led to 570 more heat-related deaths than would be expected without human-caused warming, researchers estimate in the July Environmental Research Letters.
Daniel Mitchell of the University of Oxford and...
COLUMBIA, Mo. — If you find a daddy longlegs in your house, don’t be scared. “Daddy longlegs are actually pretty docile animals when it comes to interacting with humans,” says evolutionary biologist Kasey Fowler-Finn, who studies the arachnids at St. Louis University. Specifically, she studies daddy longlegs sex. She is using this common group of arachnids (they’re not spiders) to explore...
Scientists usually shy away from using the word miracle — unless they’re talking about the gene-editing tool called CRISPR/Cas9. “You can do anything with CRISPR,” some say. Others just call it amazing.
CRISPR can quickly and efficiently manipulate virtually any gene in any plant or animal. In the four years since CRISPR has been around, researchers have used it to fix genetic...