Life

  1. Aerial photo of Florida Keys
    Animals

    The U.S.’s first open-air genetically modified mosquitoes have taken flight

    After a decade of argument, Oxitec pits genetically modified mosquitoes against Florida’s spreaders of dengue and Zika.

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  2. African elephants walking in a line
    Animals

    Elephants are dying in droves in Botswana. Scientists don’t know why

    Some type of pathogen may be behind the recent deaths of 39 elephants, a new wave that follows 350 deaths last summer.

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  3. an illustration depicting a person thinking about writing the word "hello" and "hello" appears on a computer screen
    Neuroscience

    Brain implants turn imagined handwriting into text on a screen

    A person who was paralyzed from the neck down was able to communicate, thanks to brain-to-text technology.

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  4. a long, thin electronic device with microchips in the middle and lights at either end
    Neuroscience

    Scientists remotely controlled the social behavior of mice with light

    New devices — worn as headsets and backpacks — rely on optogenetics, in which bursts of light toggle neurons, to control mouse brain activity.

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  5. divers testing coral disease treatments
    Animals

    A common antibiotic slows a mysterious coral disease

    Applying the antibiotic amoxicillin to infected lesions halted tissue death in corals for at least 11 months after treatment.

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  6. illustration of a brain with parts stimulated highlighted in red and yellow
    Neuroscience

    Mild zaps to the brain can boost a pain-relieving placebo effect

    By sending electric current into the brain, scientists can enhance the pain-relieving placebo effect and dampen the pain-inducing nocebo effect.

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  7. head of T. rex fossil
    Paleontology

    T. rex’s incredible biting force came from its stiff lower jaw

    T. rex could generate incredibly strong bite forces thanks to a boomerang-shaped bone that stiffened the lower jaw, a new analysis suggests.

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  8. Tengchong Yunnan hot springs in China
    Microbes

    These climate-friendly microbes recycle carbon without producing methane

    A newly discovered group of single-celled archaea break down decaying plants without adding the greenhouse gas methane to the atmosphere.

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  9. viruses from the Siphoviridae (left) and Podoviridae (right) families
    Life

    Some viruses thwart bacterial defenses with a unique genetic alphabet

    DNA has four building blocks: A, C, T and G. But some bacteriophages swap A for Z, and scientists have figured out how and why they do it.

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  10. soybean plant leaves infected with Fusarium virguliforme fungus
    Agriculture

    Nanoscale nutrients can protect plants from fungal diseases

    Applied to the shoots, nutrients served in tiny metallic packages are absorbed more efficiently, strengthening plants’ defenses against fungal attack.

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  11. a kulan digging a hole in the ground
    Ecosystems

    Wild donkeys and horses engineer water holes that help other species

    Dozens of animals and even some plants in the American Southwest take advantage of water-filled holes dug by these nonnative equids.

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  12. black and white image of a mantis shrimp larva
    Animals

    Mantis shrimp start practicing their punches at just 9 days old

    The fastest punches in the animal kingdom probably belong to mantis shrimp, who begin unleashing these attacks just over a week after hatching.

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