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  • Science Ticker

    Rainbow trout genome shows how genetic material evolved

    About 100 million years ago, the genome of the rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) duplicated itself. Since then, about half of the duplicated protein-coding genes have been lost, but nearly all of the original and duplicate genes that control how genes are expressed still exist, researchers report...
    04/23/2014 - 09:09 Genetics, Animals
  • News in Brief

    Submariners’ 'bio-duck' is probably a whale

    It quacks like a duck, sort of. But the mystery creature of the Antarctic is more likely a whale.Submariners in the 1960s recorded strings of quick heartbeatlike pulses and nicknamed the unknown source a “bio-duck.” Whatever it is sounds off mostly in winter and spring in the Weddell Sea off Antarctica and the waters off Western Australia.The sound is “way too loud for a fish,” says marine...
    04/22/2014 - 19:02 Animals, Conservation
  • Context

    Doctors flunk quiz on screening-test math

    Imagine a hypothetical baseball player. Call him Alex. He fails a drug test that is known to be 95 percent accurate. How likely is it that he is really guilty?If you said 95 percent, you’re wrong. But don’t feel bad. It puts you in the company of a lot of highly educated doctors.OK, it’s kind of a trick question. You can’t really answer it without knowing some other things, such as how many...
    04/22/2014 - 18:24 Numbers
  • News

    Pain curbs sex drive in females, but not males

    Pain makes female mice less amorous, but males ignore burning injections in pursuit of females, a new study finds. The results, published in the April 23 Journal of Neuroscience, highlight stark differences between male and female sexual behavior in mice.But it’s not clear whether the findings apply to the vagaries of human...
    04/22/2014 - 17:02 Neuroscience, Health, Evolution
  • Growth Curve

    Babies cry at night to prevent siblings, scientist suggests

    When a baby cries at night, exhausted parents scramble to figure out why. He’s hungry. Wet. Cold. Lonely. But now, a Harvard scientist offers more sinister explanation: The baby who demands to be breastfed in the middle of the night is preventing his mom from getting pregnant again.This devious intention makes perfect sense, says evolutionary biologist David Haig, who describes his idea in ...
    04/22/2014 - 12:32 Evolution, Human Development
  • Science Ticker

    New antibiotic resistance genes found in cow manure

    Dairy cow waste harbors more antibiotic resistance genes from the animals' gut bacteria than scientists expected.Because manure is used as a farm soil fertilizer, the waste may be a potential source of...
    04/22/2014 - 12:30 Genetics
  • Science Ticker

    Neandertal, modern human DNA deviates even more

    An analysis of genetic material from Neandertal remains from Spain, Croatia and Siberia suggests that the populations of this extinct hominid species were small and isolated compared with those of modern humans. Neandertals also experienced more changes to their skeletons but fewer changes in behavior and skin pigmentation than modern humans,...
    04/22/2014 - 08:00 Genetics, Ancestry
  • News in Brief

    Mountains on Saturn moon may have come from space

    A mysterious mountain ridge ringing the equator of Saturn’s moon Iapetus may be a load of space rubble.Ever since the Cassini spacecraft spied the jagged belt wrapped around Iapetus’ middle in 2004, scientists have debated the ridge’s origin. Some think volcanoes shoved it up from beneath the moon’s surface or that tectonic activity created the range. Others think that the towering mountains,...
    04/21/2014 - 17:55 Planetary Science, Astronomy
  • Science Ticker

    Lead levels in ancient Rome’s water were high, but not toxic

    Ancient Romans probably drank tap water with up to 100 times as much lead as that found in the local spring water of the time, thanks to the metal pipes used for the earliest plumbing in the city. The higher levels of lead in the drinking water, however, were probably not excessive enough to be harmful, researchers report April...
    04/21/2014 - 17:53 Pollution, Anthropology
  • Scicurious

    Bingeing rats show the power of food habits

    Many of us have experienced that depressing sight: The bottom of the ice cream pint. You get to the end of your favorite movie and suddenly realize the ice cream is gone — and you’re far too full for comfort. We’re left wondering why we did it. But when it comes to forgetting ourselves and bingeing on the pint, the power of habit can be strong.It could be that our previous eating experiences make...
    04/21/2014 - 17:28 Neuroscience, Nutrition, Mental Health