Evolution from single-celled ancestors to multi-celled organisms, now with less drama

Evolution from single-celled ancestors to multi-celled organisms, now with less drama

The first animals evolved from their single-celled ancestors around 800 million years ago, but a new paper suggests that this leap was a lot less dramatic than scientists have assumed, because the single-celled ancestor of animals likely already had some of the mechanisms that animal cells use today to develop into different tissue types.

Stickney crater: How a Martian moon became the 'Death Star'

Stickney crater: How a Martian moon became the 'Death Star'

Mars' largest moon, Phobos, has captured public imagination and been shrouded in mystery for decades. But numerical simulations recently conducted at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) have shed some light on the enigmatic satellite.

Proxima Centauri may be more sun-like than thought

Proxima Centauri may be more sun-like than thought

The nearby star Proxima Centauri hosts an Earth-sized planet (called Proxima b) in its habitable zone but the star seems nothing like our sun. It's a small, cool, red dwarf star only one-tenth as massive and one-thousandth as luminous as the sun. However, new research shows that it is sunlike in one surprising way: it has a regular cycle of starspots.

Computers should be able to hold patents

The rapid increase in creative computing is posing new challenges when it comes to patenting an invention. Artificial intelligence is playing an ever larger role in innovation -- with major players such as IBM, Pfizer and Google investing heavily in the field.

Drug deaths: Western drug policies are failing

England has a failing national drug policy, shown in a steep rise in drug related deaths since 2012, warn public health experts in The BMJ this week. Oddly, they claim fiscal responsibility and say giving addicts more free housing would solve the problem, which will baffle economists.

Americans Don't Know How Much Food They Waste

By some estimates, about 2 billion tons of food, about 50 percent of all the food produced on the planet, is wasted before it ever reaches a human stomach.

That's bad, but science, like apples and potatoes that look more appealing for a longer time, can fix some of that, while better pesticides and scientific optimization can improve yields at the agriculture stage, if environmentalists would stop terrorizing people about food.

Using traffic light colors may increase sensitivity to health

Chocolate or apple? Most people are in two minds when buying food: one motivation is to purchase whatever tastes best – so something that is generally sweet or fatty. At the same time, we know attention should be paid on health factors and, for instance, making sure we don’t consume too many calories. A new survey finds that if the packaging information also features food traffic light colors, fewer products are chosen purely based on taste and more based on health aspects compared with nutritional information purely in percentages and grams.

CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing paves way for sickle cell cure

A team of physicians and laboratory scientists has taken a key step toward a cure for sickle cell disease, using CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing to fix the mutated gene responsible for the disease in stem cells from the blood of affected patients. For the first time, they have corrected the mutation in a proportion of stem cells that is high enough to produce a substantial benefit in sickle cell patients.

Soda Company Sponsorship of Health Groups Analyzed

The US has one of the highest rates of obesity in the world, with soda consumption identified as one of the factors. On average, Americans consumed 46 gallons of soda in 2009, giving the US one of the highest rates of per capita soda consumption of any country. A recent report estimated that soda consumption caused one-fifth of weight gain in the US between 1977 and 2007.

Safety Of Natural Alternatives to Estrogen Replacement Therapy Questioned

Although individuals often consume natural products because of their potential health benefits, a new review indicates that it is not clear whether the benefits of plant-derived compounds that mimic estrogen outweigh the possible health risks.

Phytoestrogens are compounds from plants that are similar in structure to estrogen and are found in a variety of foods, especially soy. Some women may consume phytoestrogens promoted as natural alternatives to hormone replacement therapy to help ease menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes or to protect against bone loss.