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  • News

    LSD’s grip on brain protein could explain drug’s long-lasting effects

    Locked inside a human brain protein, the hallucinogenic drug LSD takes an extra-long trip.

    New X-ray crystallography images reveal how an LSD molecule gets trapped within a protein that senses serotonin, a key chemical messenger in the brain. The protein, called a serotonin receptor, belongs to a family of proteins involved in everything from perception to mood.

    The work is the...

    01/31/2017 - 14:00 Chemistry
  • News

    Rogue antibody linked to severe second dengue infections

    The playground ditty “first the worst, second the best” isn’t always true when it comes to dengue fever. Some patients who contract the virus a second time can experience more severe symptoms. A rogue type of antibody may be to blame, researchers report in the Jan. 27 Science. Instead of protecting their host, the antibodies are commandeered by the dengue virus to help it spread, increasing...

    01/27/2017 - 15:55 Health, Immune Science
  • Editor's Note

    Endings make way for new beginnings for Earth and SN

    Life on Earth has survived at least five major extinction events, but it is the dinosaurs’ mass die-off that most captures our imagination. It appears to have been a dramatic one, as Thomas Sumner writes in "Devastation detectives try to solve dinosaur disappearance" (SN: 2/4/17, p. 16). A fiery asteroid impact carved out a chunk of what’s now below the Caribbean Sea, killing many animals...

    01/25/2017 - 15:06 Animals, Paleontology, Evolution
  • Science Visualized

    Bony head ornaments signal some supersized dinosaurs

    Dinosaur fashion, like that of humans, is subject to interpretation. Bony cranial crests, horns or bumps may have served to woo mates or help members of the same species identify one another. While the exact purpose of this skull decor is debated, the standout structures tended to come with an even more conspicuous trait: bigger bodies.

    Terry Gates, a paleontologist at North Carolina...

    01/25/2017 - 13:46 Paleontology, Evolution
  • News

    New molecular knot is most complex yet

    View the video

    One hundred and ninety-two atoms have tied the knot.

    Chains of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen atoms, woven together in a triple braid, form the most complex molecular knot ever described, chemists from the University of Manchester in England report in the Jan. 13 Science.

    Learning how to tie such knots could one day help researchers weave molecular...

    01/12/2017 - 14:00 Chemistry, Materials
  • News

    Pain promoter also acts as pain reliever

    A protein that sounds the alarm when the body encounters something painful also helps put out the fire.

    Called Nav1.7, the protein sits on pain-sensing nerves and has long been known for sending a red alert to the brain when the body has a brush with pain. Now, experiments in rodent cells reveal another role for Nav1.7: Its activity triggers the production of pain-relieving molecules....

    01/11/2017 - 16:09 Neuroscience, Cells
  • Letters to the Editor

    Readers weigh in on dinos, dark matter and more

    Prehistoric tweet

    Researchers uncovered the fossilized voice box, called a syrinx, of an ancient bird that lived 68 million to 66 million years ago. The bird may have sounded like a honking duck, Meghan Rosen reported in “Ancient avian voice box unearthed” (SN: 11/12/16, p. 7).

    Online reader David Spector wondered if researchers could 3-D print the syrinx to replicate the ancient bird’s...

    01/11/2017 - 12:15 Paleontology, Particle Physics, Health
  • Reviews & Previews

    ‘Furry Logic’ showcases how animals exploit physics

    Furry LogicMatin Durrani and Liz KalaugherBloomsbury, $27

    Warning: Furry Logic is not, as the title might suggest, a detailed exploration of mammals’ reasoning skills. Instead, it’s a fun, informative chronicle of how myriad animals take advantage of the laws of physics.

    Science writers Matin Durrani and Liz Kalaugher cite a trove of recent (and often surprising) research findings...

    01/07/2017 - 08:00 Animals, Biophysics
  • Feature

    What’s ahead for science in 2017?

    View the video

    As science journalists look back on the top stories of the year, scientists push on, asking the next questions and chasing fresh data. What big discoveries might they deliver in 2017? Science News writers reveal what they are watching for — and hoping for — in the year ahead. 

    Bruce BowerBehavioral Sciences

    “I look forward to seeing where the reproducibility debate...

    12/20/2016 - 09:00 Science & Society
  • Feature

    Year in review: Sea ice loss will shake up ecosystems

    In a better world, it would be the big news of the year just to report that Arctic sea ice shrank to 4.14 million square kilometers this summer, well below the 1981–2010 average of 6.22 million square kilometers (SN Online: 9/19/16). But in this world of changing climate, extreme summer ice loss has become almost expected. More novel in 2016 were glimpses of the complex biological consequences...

    12/14/2016 - 07:37 Climate, Animals, Plants