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  • Food for Thought

    It's Spud Time

    As 2007 winds down, thoughts naturally turn towards what might lie ahead. Meals rich in high-carb tubers, perhaps? That's what the United Nations would like everyone to contemplate throughout 2008, which it is designating the International Year of the Potato.

    Farmers now harvest more than 300 million tons of potatoes (Solanum tuberosum) worldwide. That makes it the fourth biggest food...

    12/18/2007 - 18:43 Nutrition
  • News

    Gene dispensers

    From Chicago, at the American Chemical Society Meeting

    Researchers have developed a new means for transferring genes to treat diseases. The gene therapy method relies on a nanoscale architecture with many alternating layers of polyester and DNA. Once this material is inside the body, water degrades the polyester layer by layer, for a slow, controlled release of genetic material to...

    04/10/2007 - 15:16 Chemistry
  • News

    Too Few Jaws: Shark declines let rays overgraze scallops

    A shortage of big sharks along the U.S. East Coast is letting their prey flourish, and that prey is going hog wild, demolishing bay scallop populations.

    That's the conclusion of researchers led by the late Ransom Myers of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, who died this week. Combining census surveys from the past 35 years, Myers' team found shrinking...

    03/28/2007 - 11:47 Animals
  • News

    Are pollutants shrinking polar bear gonads?

    The more polluted a polar bear's fat, the more likely its reproductive organs will be undersize, scientists find.

    They collected gonads from 55 male and 44 female bears killed legally by subsistence hunters in east Greenland. The scientists then tested the bears' fat for pollutants that might affect sex hormones.

    Especially in immature males, testis length diminished with...

    09/05/2006 - 00:59 Earth & Environment
  • Food for Thought

    Juice May Slow Prostate Cancer Growth (with recipe)

    Prostate cancer will claim the lives of an estimated 30,000 men in the United States this year. The second leading cause of cancer death in men, its incidence climbs with age. In Western countries, the disease is reaching nearly epidemic proportions among the elderly. However, the cancer can grow so slowly that many men with prostate cancer will die of something else first.

    ...
    08/10/2006 - 13:46 Nutrition
  • News

    Fish as Farmers: Reef residents tend an algal crop

    A damselfish cultivates underwater gardens of an algal species that researchers haven't found growing on its own.

    The special alga could be the fishy version of people's domesticated crops, says Hiroki Hata of Kyoto University in Japan. Growth tests of the alga, surveys of its distribution, and genetic analyses support that idea, he and Makoto Kato say in an upcoming Biology...

    08/09/2006 - 12:05 Ecology
  • News

    Social jet lag: Need a smoke?

    From Munich, at the Euroscience Open Forum meeting

    People who have a hard time waking in the morning because their bodies' internal clocks are out of sync with their sleep schedules are said to have "social jet lag." Researchers in Europe have determined that the phenomenon strongly correlates with smoking.

    Battling one's biological clock can leave people weary in the same way as...

    08/01/2006 - 12:19
  • News

    Leaden streets

    From San Diego, at a meeting of the Society of Toxicology

    When Arlene L. Weiss and her colleagues found that urban house dust tends to contain more lead the closer it is to a frequently opened window, they reasoned that most of the heavy metal arrives from outside. Their new survey now confirms that street grit is the probable source of lead in urban homes and that flaking paint from...

    03/21/2006 - 11:06 Earth & Environment
  • News

    Instant Nano Blocks: One-step process makes trillions of DNA pyramids

    As if carrying life's genetic code weren't enough, DNA molecules are in demand these days as raw material for microscopic constructions. For instance, nanotechnologists have fashioned cubic and octahedral cages from the molecules (SN: 2/14/04, p. 99: Available to subscribers at Snappy DNA: Long strand folds into octahedron). Processes for crafting those frameworks, however, have been arduous...

    12/07/2005 - 11:57 Physics
  • News

    Ghostly Electrons: Particles flit through atom-thin islands

    Confine electrons within microscopically thin layers of material and weird things happen. Experiments on semiconductors in the 1980s demonstrated that to physicists (SN: 10/17/98, p. 247).

    Now, two independent research teams have found that electrons imprisoned within a carbon sheet one atom thick behave in yet other odd ways, unlike anything seen in other materials. The...

    11/09/2005 - 13:09 Physics