News in Brief
Sweet potatoes farmed worldwide picked up a bit of genetic engineering — without human help.
Samples collected from 291 cultivated sweet potatoes carry at least one stretch of DNA from Agrobacterium, says plant molecular biologist Godelieve Gheysen of Ghent University in Belgium. The Agrobacterium genus includes the main bacterial species that makes intentionally...
A dose of dirt could defend rice plants from the damaging effects of toxic nanoparticles.
Acids naturally found in the organic matter of soil, collectively called humic acid, can protect rice seedlings from the cell damage and stunted root growth caused by copper oxide nanoparticles, researchers report April 13 in...
Plants turn out to be secondhand smokers, taking in nicotine from humankind’s tobacco and fumes. And lab tests suggest that slipping a cigarette butt into a plant’s pot sends a temporary surge of nicotine into its leaves.
Researchers sprinkled 100 milligrams of American Spirit tobacco — about an eighth to a tenth of a cigarette — onto the soil of potted peppermint plants. Nine days later...
Mysterious radio signals detected by the Parkes telescope appear to come from an advanced civilization in the Milky Way. Unfortunately, it’s the one civilization we already know about.
Microwave ovens opened before they’re done cooking have been muddling the hunt for far more distant radio signals, researchers report online April 9 at arXiv....
In 2011, a group of scientists “turned mice gay.” The only issue is, of course, they didn’t.
Rather, Yi Rao and colleagues at Peking University in Beijing, China, showed that male mice will cheerfully mount both male and female mice, as long as their brains are deficient in one chemical...
The Cretaceous period was a tyrannosaur-eat-tyrannosaur world. Bite marks from before and after death scar the skull of an ancient tyrannosaur called Daspletosaurus, researchers report April 9 in PeerJ.
Paleontologists identified a fossilized skull and jaw as that of a teenage Daspletosaurus, a cousin to ...
Fruit flies’ brains may be wired to count calories.
Several genes in the brain appear to help the flies learn to distinguish between normal-calorie and high-calorie foods — and to remember to choose the healthier option later. Feeding the flies a constant diet of high-calorie foods disrupts their ability to make these metabolic memories, researchers...
Polar bears are in for some change. Their Arctic sea ice homes are quickly disappearing. There’s some research showing that polar bears will be OK when the ice is all gone and they are forced to live life completely on land. For example, Linda J. Gormezano, an ecologist at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City reported last year that,...
- Reviews & Previews 04/05/2015 - 08:00 Animals, Evolution
- Reviews & Previews 04/04/2015 - 09:00 Animals, Science & Society, Conservation