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  • 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

    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
  • News

    DNA reveals how cats achieved world domination

    The cat is starting to come out of the bag when it comes to revealing when and how wild felines became couch kitties.

    A tale hidden in ancient cat DNA suggests cats were probably first domesticated in the Middle East. They later spread, first by land, then by sea, to the rest of the world, researchers report June 19 in Nature Ecology & Evolution.

    Early farmers brought...

    06/19/2017 - 17:01 Genetics, Archaeology, Animals
  • Science Visualized

    See the latest stunning views of Jupiter

    Once every 53 days, Jupiter pulls Juno close. Locked in orbit since July 2016, the spacecraft has made five close flybys of the planet so far. More than 1,300 Earths could fit inside Jupiter, but Juno takes only two hours to zip from pole to pole. That mad, north-to-south trek is shown below in a sequence of 14 enhanced-color images taken May 19.

    Each image’s width corresponds to the...

    06/16/2017 - 09:00 Planetary Science
  • News

    How bearded dragons switch their sex

    When things get hot, embryonic bearded dragon lizards turn female — and now scientists might know why. New analyses, reported online June 14 in Science Advances, reveal that temperature-induced changes in RNA’s protein-making instructions might set off this sex switch. The findings might also apply to other reptile species whose sex is influenced by temperature.

    Unlike most mammals, many...

    06/14/2017 - 14:07 Development, Animals, Genetics, Epigenetics
  • Feature

    Life might have a shot on planets orbiting dim red stars

    Our corner of the galaxy teems with alien worlds. In the 25 years since the discovery of the first planets beyond our solar system, astronomers have found more than 3,600 worlds orbiting other stars. A select few have become tantalizing targets in the search for life despite orbiting stars that are much smaller, cooler — and in many ways harsher — than the sun.

    Just 39 light-years away,...

    06/14/2017 - 10:00 Exoplanets
  • Feature

    Live antibiotics use bacteria to kill bacteria

    The woman in her 70s was in trouble. What started as a broken leg led to an infection in her hip that hung on for two years and several hospital stays. At a Nevada hospital, doctors gave the woman seven different antibiotics, one after the other. The drugs did little to help her. Lab results showed that none of the 14 antibiotics available at the hospital could fight the infection, caused by...

    06/13/2017 - 10:49 Health, Microbiology, Biomedicine, Immune Science
  • News

    Faux particles commit physics faux pas

    A weird new particle imitator flouts the established rules of particle physics. The discovery could help scientists simulate how particles behaved just after the Big Bang or lead to the development of new devices with unusual electromagnetic properties.

    The curious new phenomenon involves a particle-like entity called a quasiparticle, formed from a jostling mosh pit of electrons that...

    06/12/2017 - 03:00 Condensed Matter
  • News

    Therapy flags DNA typos to rev cancer-fighting T cells

    Mutations that prevent cells from spell-checking their DNA may make cancer cells vulnerable to immunotherapies, a new study suggests.

    A type of immune therapy known as PD-1 blockade controlled cancer in 77 percent of patients with defects in DNA mismatch repair — the system cells use to spell-check and fix errors in DNA (SN Online: 10/7/15). The therapy was effective against 12 different...

    06/09/2017 - 15:12 Cancer, Immune Science, Genetics, Biomedicine
  • News in Brief

    Swift kick from a supernova could knock a black hole askew

    Gravitational waves are providing new hints about how black holes get their kicks.

    The Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory’s detection of spacetime ripples from two merging black holes on December 26, 2015, indicated that one black hole was spinning like a tilted top as it orbited with its companion (SN: 7/9/16, p. 8). That off-kilter spin could mean that the...

    06/09/2017 - 14:37 Physics