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  • The Name Game

    Wolves in jackals’ clothing

    Some canids in Africa could bristle at being called jackals. Using DNA evidence, scientists have built a case that African golden jackals deserve a name change.

    Canids known as golden jackals (Canis aureus) roam Eurasia and Africa. The African and Eurasian animals closely resemble each other, but their looks are deceiving. The two are actually separate species, Klaus-Peter...

    07/30/2015 - 12:07 Genetics, Animals, Evolution
  • Science Ticker

    Experimental MERS vaccine battles virus in mice and monkeys

    New experimental vaccines use viral DNA and proteins to help animals’ immune systems fight the virus that causes Middle East respiratory syndrome. The vaccines stimulate the production of antibody proteins that latch onto and disable the MERS virus, researchers report July 28 in Nature Communications....

    07/30/2015 - 06:30 Immune Science
  • Letters to the Editor

    Global warming unpaused, how space affects the brain and more reader feedback

    Space travel vs. the brain

    Getting to Mars may leave a mark on astronauts’ minds. In “Trip to Mars could damage brain cells” (SN...

    07/29/2015 - 15:27 Neuroscience, Climate, Cells
  • Feature

    The tree of life gets a makeover

    The tree of life might seem like a stable design, appropriate for indelible ink. Plenty of people think so. An Internet search for “phylogenetic tattoos” turns up some showy skin art.

    But the branches are shifting. Since a radial diagram based on 1990s genetics inspired a rush for tree-of-life tattoos, technical diagrams of life’s ancestral connections have been redrawn. And the...

    07/29/2015 - 15:00 Evolution, Microbes, Genetics
  • News

    Resveratrol’s anticancer benefits show up in low doses

    Less can be more.

    Low doses of resveratrol, a chemical found in red grapes and some other foods, were better than higher ones at stimulating cancer-fighting processes, researchers report July 29 in Science Translational Medicine. Mice with a genetic predisposition for colon cancer also developed...

    07/29/2015 - 14:00 Biomedicine, Cancer, Physiology
  • News in Brief

    Antibody that fights MERS found

    By mining the immune cells of a patient that beat the MERS virus, scientists have identified a protein that could help prevent and treat the deadly disease.

    When tested in mice, the protein targeted the virus that causes Middle East respiratory syndrome. The protein could be used to develop vaccines or treatments to protect people from the MERS virus,...

    07/27/2015 - 15:00 Immune Science, Microbes
  • News

    Laser light made inside cells

    Biologists often use lasers to probe cells. Now, for the first time, cells have returned fire.

    Harvard University researchers have created intracellular lasers by implanting microscopic beads and oil droplets into animal cells. When energized by an outside laser pulse, an implant traps and amplifies light and then emits a laser pulse of its own. “It’s a wonderful way of coupling optics...

    07/27/2015 - 11:00 Biophysics, Cells, Microbiology
  • Science Ticker

    Stink bug moms are color conscious when it comes to their eggs

    Stink bug moms appear to carefully choose the color of their eggs.

    A female Podisus maculiventris stink bug can lay eggs in a range of colors from pale yellow to black. P. maculiventris moms control the color of the eggs they lay, seemingly pairing darker eggs with darker surfaces, researchers...

    07/24/2015 - 17:36 Animals, Physiology
  • News

    Cells from grandma help keep fetus safe

    Parents often complain that grandparents meddle in child-rearing. New research suggests that such meddling starts in the womb, where cells from grandma manipulate the mother’s immune system.

    Scientists already knew that during pregnancy some cells from the fetus invade the mother, while cells from mom sneak into the offspring. These interloping cells can survive for decades (...

    07/23/2015 - 12:00 Cells, Immune Science
  • Culture Beaker

    Microbes may be a forensic tool for time of death

    There is life after death. And it’s kind of gross.

    For most of us, death means life (as we know it) is over, kaput, finis. Whatever we believe about a continued existence metaphysically, when we die, our body’s time on Earth comes to an end. But for the microbes living within us, time marches on. And if you are a microbial ecologist, that’s when things get interesting.

    “Once your...

    07/22/2015 - 11:30 Science & Society, Microbiology