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E.g., 12/17/2017
E.g., 12/17/2017
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Your search has returned 262 articles:
  • Year in Review

    Worries grow that climate change will quietly steal nutrients from major food crops

    2017 was a good year for worrying about nutrient losses that might come with a changing climate.

    The idea that surging carbon dioxide levels could stealthily render some major crops less nutritious has long been percolating in plant research circles. “It’s literally a 25-year story, but it has come to a head in the last year or so,” says Lewis Ziska, a plant physiologist with the U.S....

    12/13/2017 - 08:27 Nutrition, Climate, Sustainability
  • News

    AI eavesdrops on dolphins and discovers six unknown click types

    A new computer program has an ear for dolphin chatter.

    The algorithm uncovered six previously unknown types of dolphin echolocation clicks in underwater recordings from the Gulf of Mexico, researchers report online December 7 in PLOS Computational Biology. Identifying which species produce the newly discovered click varieties could help scientists better keep tabs on wild dolphin...

    12/07/2017 - 14:00 Artificial Intelligence, Animals
  • News

    Bats in China carry all the ingredients to make a new SARS virus

    Viruses in bats may have mixed and matched genes to create the virus that gave rise to the deadly SARS outbreak in 2003, a new study suggests. And it could happen again. All of the ingredients needed to create a new SARS virus are found among viruses currently infecting horseshoe bats, researchers report November 30 in PLOS Pathogens.

    The viruses “are poised to cause future outbreaks,”...

    11/30/2017 - 14:00 Genetics, Microbiology, Animals
  • News

    Current CRISPR gene drives are too strong for outdoor use, studies warn

    Gene-editing tools heralded as hope for fighting invader rats, malarial mosquitoes and other scourges may be too powerful to use in their current form, two new papers warn.

    Standard forms of CRISPR gene drives, as the tools are called, can make tweaked DNA race through a population so easily that a small number of stray animals or plants could spread it to new territory, predicts a...

    11/16/2017 - 15:00 Genetics, Conservation
  • Feature

    Hybrids reveal the barriers to successful mating between species

    It’s a tale as old as wine. Two organisms meet over a barrel of alcohol and decide to mate.

    Geneticist Maitreya Dunham didn’t see it happen. But she has molecular evidence that two yeast species produced a hybrid in an old warehouse turned microbrewery. The two species had grown apart, evolutionarily speaking, about 10 million to 20 million years ago, Dunham, of the University of...

    10/31/2017 - 10:00 Evolution, Molecular Evolution, Animals
  • Feature

    Lena Pernas sees parasitic infection as a kind of Hunger Games

    Lena Pernas, 30ParasitologistUniversity of Padova

    Lena Pernas’ love of parasites began in childhood, when she was plagued with many virtual infections. One of her favorite pastimes as a 9-year-old was playing The Amazon Trail, an educational computer game set near the South American river. One of the dangers players could encounter was malaria, “and I got malaria a lot,” Pernas says. This...

    10/04/2017 - 13:47 Microbiology, Microbes
  • Feature

    Bat brain signals illuminate navigation in the dark

    Ninad Kothari’s workplace looks like something out of a sci-fi film. The graduate student at Johns Hopkins University works in a darkened, red-lit room, where he trains bats to fly through obstacle courses. Shielding within the walls keeps radio and other human-made signals from interfering with transmissions from the tiny electrical signals he’s recording from the bats’ brains as the animals...

    09/20/2017 - 12:30 Animals, Neuroscience
  • Wild Things

    One creature’s meal is another’s pain in the butt

    Anyone who’s had a sandwich stolen out of their hands by a gull at the beach knows firsthand how bold and aggressive these birds can be in their quest for food. But there are gulls that do far worse than steal your sandwich.

    The absolute worst might be the kelp gulls that pick at the skin and blubber on the backs of Southern right whales off the coast of Argentina. The wounds caused by...

    08/04/2017 - 12:30 Animals, Ecology
  • News

    Tardigrades aren’t champion gene swappers after all

    A peek at tardigrades' genetic diaries may dispel a rumor about an amazing feat the tiny creatures were supposed to perform: borrowing large numbers of genes from other organisms.

    Tardigrades — also known as water bears and moss piglets — hardly ever borrow DNA from other creatures, researchers report July 27 in PLOS Biology.

    New analyses of DNA from two species of water bear,...

    07/27/2017 - 14:06 Genetics, Animals, Evolution
  • Feature

    DNA evidence is rewriting domestication origin stories

    One lab full of rats looks pretty much the same as another. But visiting a lab in Siberia, geneticist Alex Cagan can distinguish rats bred to be tame from those bred to be aggressive as soon as he opens the lab door.

    “It’s a completely different response immediately,” he says. All of the tame rats “come to the front of the cage very inquisitively.” The aggressive rats scurry to the backs...

    07/06/2017 - 12:00 Genetics, Animals