Highly effective new anti-cancer drug shows few side effects in mice

Highly effective new anti-cancer drug shows few side effects in mice

Initial studies of the drug, and a precursor called OTS514, found they were effective in killing cancer cells. But they could disrupt the production of new red and white blood cells, causing hematopoietic toxicity such as mild anemia and increasing the risk of infection. At the same time, the drugs increased the production of platelets, which help in blood clotting.

Males of great bustard self-medicate to appear more attractive to females

Males of great bustard self-medicate to appear more attractive to females

Males of great bustard consume small doses of poison with a dual purpose: to eliminate intern parasites and, especially, to look healthier and stronger before females, allowing them to achieve a greater reproductive success. A team of researchers from the Spanish National Research Council has now suggested for the first time that this function of self-medication could be a mechanism of sexual selection. The study results are published in the PLOS ONE journal.

Secret wing colors attract female fruit flies

Secret wing colors attract female fruit flies

Bright colours appear on a fruit fly's transparent wings against a dark background as a result of light refraction. Researchers from Lund University in Sweden have now demonstrated that females choose a mate based on the males' hidden wing colours.

"Our experiment shows that this newly-discovered trait is important in female choice in fruit flies, and is the first evidence that wing interference patterns have a biological signalling function between the sexes during sexual selection", said Jessica Abbott, a biologist at Lund University.

Thermal paper cash register receipts account for high bisphenol A (BPA) levels in humans

Thermal paper cash register receipts account for high bisphenol A (BPA) levels  in humans

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical that is used in a variety of consumer products, such as water bottles, dental composites and resins used to line metal food and beverage containers, and also is used in thermal paper cash register receipts. Now, research conducted at the University of Missouri is providing the first data that BPA from thermal paper used in cash register receipts accounts for high levels of BPA in humans. Subjects studied showed a rapid increase of BPA in their blood after using a skin care product and then touching a store receipt with BPA.

Cause of aging remains elusive

Cause of aging remains elusive

A report by Chinese researchers in the journal Nature a few months ago was a small sensation: they appeared to have found the cause for why organisms age. An international team of scientists, headed by the University of Bonn, has now refuted a basic assumption of the Nature article. The reasons for aging thus remain elusive.

The Chinese article caused a stir amongst experts worldwide. Using a simple measurement in young nematode worms, the researchers reported they had been able to predict how long they would live .

Two families of comets found around nearby star

Two families of comets found around nearby star

Beta Pictoris is a young star located about 63 light-years from the Sun. It is only about 20 million years old and is surrounded by a huge disc of material — a very active young planetary system where gas and dust are produced by the evaporation of comets and the collisions of asteroids.

Flavien Kiefer (IAP/CNRS/UPMC), lead author of the new study sets the scene: "Beta Pictoris is a very exciting target! The detailed observations of its exocomets give us clues to help understand what processes occur in this kind of young planetary system."

Rescued 'abandoned' penguin chicks survival similar to colony rates

Abandoned penguin chicks that were hand-reared and returned to the wild showed a similar survival rate to their naturally-reared counterparts, according to a study published October 22, 2014 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Richard Sherley from University of Cape Town and colleagues.

Camera-traps capture wild chimps' nighttime raiding activities

Wild chimpanzees living in disturbed habitat may use innovative strategies, like foraging crops at night, to coexist with nearby human activities, according to a study published October 22, 2014 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Sabrina Krief from Muséum national d'histoire naturelle and colleagues.

Baby cries show evidence of cocaine exposure during pregnancy

A new study conducted by University of North Carolina School of Medicine researchers provides the first known evidence of how a similar acoustic characteristic in the cry sounds of human infants and rat pups may be used to detect the harmful effects of prenatal cocaine exposure on nervous system development.

Thermal receipt paper may be a potentially significant source of BPA

Thermal paper, sometimes used in cash register receipts, may be a potential source of exposure to the hormone disruptor bisphenol-A (BPA), according to a study published October 22, 2014 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Annette Hormann from University of Missouri and colleagues.

Results showed that when men and women handled a thermal receipt after using a hand sanitizer, there was a very large amount of BPA transferred from the receipt to the hand, resulting in a rapid increase in blood levels of BPA.