When humans have a third copy of chromosome 21, they are usually diagnosed with Down’s syndrome. Scientists thought that the additional copy of the chromosome resulted in most of the traits characteristic of the condition. But the DNA of identical twins, one with Down’s and one without, suggests that there are genetic...
04/16/2014 - 18:20
Genetics, Human Development
News in Brief
Fruit fly larvae’s alluring and socially important odor turns out not to come from the flies at all, but from their gut microbes.Scent is a big deal to Drosophila melanogaster fruit flies. Both adults and larvae tend to shun untouched food in favor of clustering where larvae have already fed, researchers at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada,...
04/16/2014 - 18:00
Around 7,000 years ago, a bacterium that lives on humans and causes acne leaped to a very different host: domesticated grapevines. Since then, an essential DNA-repair gene in the microbe, Propionibacterium acnes, has mutated and no longer functions. Without the gene, the microbe is unable to function on its own and appears to rely on the grapevine for these DNA repairs. This is...
04/16/2014 - 15:30
Microbes, Genetics, Animals
There’s no treatment for measles, but an experimental compound might do the trick by bogging down a key viral enzyme, a study of ferrets finds. When given to animals infected by a virus similar to the one that causes measles, the compound prevented illness.“This is still a ways away from human testing,” says Alan Hinman, a public health physician at the Task Force for Global Health, a nonprofit...
04/16/2014 - 14:00
Bony fishes, not modern sharks, may provide a better understanding of the earliest jawed animals and the evolution of the jaw itself.Fossils of a 325-million-year-old sharklike creature show that the newly named Ozarcus mapesae had a gill structure more similar to bony fishes, such as sunfish, than to modern sharks, rays and other non-...
04/16/2014 - 13:45
The number of 8-year-olds with an autism spectrum disorder rose from 1 in 88 (or 11.3 per 1,000) in 2008 to 1 in 68 (14.7 per 1,000) in 2010, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates. An uptick in diagnoses, perhaps due to better detection, may explain the increase and the regional...
04/16/2014 - 13:27
Quasiparticles called excitons transfer energy through materials such as solar cells, LEDs, semiconductor circuits and even plant cells. Now, that motion has been observed and captured in images, researchers report April 16 in ...
04/16/2014 - 12:45
It’s hard living far away from family, especially when you have a sweet little toddler whose every action is hilarious and/or adorable. Like many other parents, we use an iPad to close the distance. Every week, we fire up FaceTime and call the grandparents. During our sessions, Baby V roams around with her turtle, pulls out all the tissues from a Kleenex box and tries to eat the Velcro on her...
04/16/2014 - 07:54
Every hipster knows that something is only cool before it becomes popular. There’s no point in liking a band once it hits the big time. That shirt is no good once it’s no longer ironic. And it’s certainly not enough to go clean shaven or grow a short beard — that’s much too mainstream. Recent years have seen a resurgence of moustaches, mutton chops and Fu Manchus. A style that really stands out...
04/15/2014 - 19:01
One question fascinates people like no other: Where did we come from? In a new PBS series, Your Inner Fish, paleobiologist Neil Shubin hosts a journey through time that answers the question in evolutionary terms. The six-hour, three-part documentary shows how the human body came to be the way it is today, starting with the first fish...
04/15/2014 - 17:24