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  • Reviews & Previews

    Fox experiment is replaying domestication in fast-forward

    How to Tame a Fox (and Build a Dog)Lee Alan Dugatkinand Lyudmila TrutUniv. of Chicago, $26

    In 1959, Lyudmila Trut rode trains through Siberia to visit fox farms. She wasn’t looking for furs. She needed a farm to host an audacious experiment dreamed up by geneticist Dmitry Belyaev: to create a domestic animal as docile as a dog from aggressive, wily silver foxes.

    Evolutionary...

    04/29/2017 - 08:00 History of Science, Genetics, Animals
  • News

    Lungs enlist immune cells to fight infections in capillaries

    Immune cells in the lungs provide a rapid counterattack to bloodstream infections, a new study in mice finds. This surprising discovery pegs the lungs as a major pillar in the body’s defense during these dangerous infections, the researchers say.

    “No one would have guessed the lung would provide such an immediate and strong host defense system,” says Bryan Yipp, an immunologist at the...

    04/28/2017 - 15:01 Biomedicine, Immune Science, Cells
  • News

    Nerve cell miswiring linked to depression

    Researchers have pinpointed a gene that keeps important brain cells in mice from crossing their wires, providing a possible link between brain wiring and mood disorders like depression.  

    Without the gene, called Pcdhαc2, mice acted more depressed, researchers report April 28 in Science.

    Nerve cells, or neurons, that produce the chemical messenger molecule serotonin extend long...

    04/28/2017 - 13:30 Neuroscience, Mental Health
  • News

    Ocean acidification may hamper food web’s nitrogen-fixing heroes

    A hard look at experimental setups may start to explain dueling predictions on whether ocean acidification will boost, or choke, vital marine nitrogen fixers. So far, the new look trends toward choking.

    As people release more and more carbon dioxide into the air, the ocean takes up the gas and edges closer toward acidity. In these shifting waters, marine microbes called Trichodesmium...

    04/28/2017 - 13:00 Climate, Microbes
  • Science & the Public

    HPV vaccine as cancer prevention is a message that needs to catch on

    Cancer prevention isn’t the first thing that comes to many parents’ minds when they consider vaccinating their preteens against human papillomavirus, or HPV. And the fact that HPV is transmitted sexually gives the vaccine more baggage than a crowded international flight. But what gets lost in the din is the goal of vaccination, to protect adolescents from infection with HPV types that are...

    04/28/2017 - 12:00 Science & Society, Health, Cancer
  • News

    Key Einstein principle survives quantum test

    Particles with mind-bending quantum properties still follow a standard gravitational rule, at least as far as scientists can tell.

    The equivalence principle — one of the central tenets of Einstein’s theory of gravity — survived a quantum test, scientists report online April 7 at arXiv.org.

    In Einstein’s gravity theory — the general theory of relativity — gravity and acceleration...

    04/28/2017 - 07:28 Quantum Physics
  • News in Brief

    Cassini’s ring dive offers first close-up of Saturn’s cloud tops

    Cassini has beamed back stunning images from the spacecraft’s daring dive between Saturn and its rings.

    The first closeup pictures of the planet’s atmosphere reveal peculiar threadlike clouds and puffy cumulus ones, plus the giant hurricane first spotted on Saturn in 2008 (SN: 11/8/08, p. 9). Released April 27, the images of Saturn’s cloud tops are a “big step forward” for understanding...

    04/27/2017 - 17:49 Planetary Science
  • News

    Ancient DNA bucks tale of how the horse was tamed

    DNA from 2,000-year-old stallions is helping rewrite the story of horse domestication.

    Ancient domesticated horses had much more genetic diversity than their present-day descendants do, researchers report in the April 28 Science. In particular, these ancient horses had many more varieties of Y chromosomes and fewer harmful mutations than horses do now. Previous studies based on the...

    04/27/2017 - 14:00 Genetics, Animals
  • News

    Zika hides out in body’s hard-to-reach spots

    Zika virus plays hard to get.  

    Weeks after the virus disappears from the bloodstream, it still lingers in the lymph nodes and the central nervous system of rhesus monkeys, researchers report online April 27 in Cell. That could help explain why Zika infection can cause neurological problems in both infants and adults.

    “Zika does stick around for a lot longer than we originally...

    04/27/2017 - 12:00 Biomedicine
  • Science Ticker

    How a mushroom gets its glow

    The enzyme that turns on the light for a glow-in-the-dark mushroom seems “promiscuous,” researchers say. But in a good way.

    Researchers from Brazil, Russia and Japan have worked out new details of how two Neonothopanus fungi shine softly green at night. The team had earlier figured out that the basic starting material for bioluminescence in these fungi is a compound called hispidin,...

    04/27/2017 - 09:00 Fungi, Chemistry