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'Spermbots' - Motorized Artificial Insemination

Science2.0 - January 13, 2016 - 5:38pm

Sperm that don't swim well rank high among the main causes of infertility but these cells may get a boost from motorized "spermbots" that can deliver poor swimmers -- that are otherwise healthy -- to an egg.  


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Ice Sheets May Be Hiding Vast Reservoirs Of Powerful Greenhouse Gas

Science2.0 - January 13, 2016 - 5:07pm

The study indicates that under the frigid weight of Barents Sea Ice sheet, which covered northern Eurasia some 22 000 years ago, significant amounts of methane may have been stored as hydrates in the ground. As the ice sheet retreated, the methane rich hydrates melted, releasing the climate gas into the ocean and atmosphere for millennia.

This finding was published last week in Nature Communications in the paper "Ice-sheet-driven methane storage and release in the Arctic".


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Fires Burning In Africa And Asia Cause High Ozone In Tropical Pacific

Science2.0 - January 13, 2016 - 4:31pm

As decision makers from around the world congregated in Paris to prepare a global climate agreement at the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21), many discussions focused on how to reduce greenhouse gases, including ozone.

While efforts to limit ozone precursor emissions tend to focus on industrial activities and fossil fuel combustion in the United States and China, a new study suggests that future regulations may need to address the burning of forests and vegetation. The study, which was published online January 13, 2016 in the journal Nature Communications, indicates that these types of "biomass burning" may play a larger role in climate change than previously realized.


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Sunshine Vitamin Linked To Improved Fertility In Wild Animals

Science2.0 - January 13, 2016 - 4:31pm

High levels of vitamin D are linked to improved fertility and reproductive success, a study of wild sheep has found.

The study, carried out on a remote Hebridean island, adds to growing evidence that vitamin D - known as the sunshine vitamin - is associated with reproductive health.

Experts hope that further studies will help to determine the relevance of the results for other mammals, including people.


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Scientists Identify Molecule That Appears To Fuel Deadly Genetic Illness

Science2.0 - January 13, 2016 - 12:16pm

CINCINNATI - Researchers have identified a molecular target and experimental treatment strategy for DNA repair defects behind Fanconi anemia - a complex genetic disorder responsible for birth anomalies, organ damage, anemia and cancer.

The findings, published Jan. 12, 2016, in Stem Cell Reports, also create a bit of molecular intrigue. It involves how cells used in the study -- which still had the Fanconi anemia (FA) DNA repair defect -- were able to recover and grow normally after targeted treatment.


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Deep Poverty Puts Young Children At Risk For Poor Health And Development

Science2.0 - January 13, 2016 - 12:16pm

January 12, 2016 -- Young children in deep poverty, whose family income is below 50 percent of the federal poverty line, fare even worse on health and development indicators than children in poverty, according to a study released by the National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP) at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. The study compared the well-being of children in deep poverty to children who are poor, but not in deep poverty, and to non-poor children.


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Free Range Poison: Animals Love To Eat Toxic Food, Less So When It's Warmer

Science2.0 - January 13, 2016 - 12:01pm

A new study found that when temperatures get warmer, woodrats suffer a reduced ability to live on their normal diet of toxic creosote, suggesting that global warming may hurt plant-eating animals.


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Ants Respond To Social Information At Rest, Not On The Fly

Science2.0 - January 13, 2016 - 11:20am

Ants don't get distracted by social information when on the move, only fully responding to it when at rest, a new study from the University of Bristol, UK indicates. Such sporadic monitoring of the social environment may reduce information overload and enhance the robustness of complex societies, the researchers suggest.

Edmund Hunt, a PhD student in Bristol's School of Biological Sciences, and colleagues tracked the movement patterns of lone rock ants (Temnothorax albipennis) exploring a large arena outside the nest, both when the arena was clean and when it contained chemical information (pheromones or other cues) left by previous nest-mates.


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'No-buy' Lists Could Cut Kids' Exposure To Alcohol Ads

Science2.0 - January 13, 2016 - 11:20am

PISCATAWAY, NJ - Young people's exposure to alcohol advertisements on television could be greatly reduced if alcohol companies improved their use of so-called no-buy lists, according to a study in the January issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

Alcohol manufacturers are self-regulated when it comes to advertising: In 2003, the industry set guidelines that limit advertising to media that have a primarily adult audience -- with at least 71.6 percent of the audience being age 21 or older.


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Antisocial Behaviour: Understanding The Influence Of Genes And The Environment

Science2.0 - January 13, 2016 - 11:20am

This news release is available in French.

A gene involved in the regulation of emotions and behaviour could influence the long-term impact of violence experienced in childhood on antisocial behaviour. This is the finding of a longitudinal study carried out by a team of researchers at the Institut universitaire en santé mentale de Montréal (CIUSSS de l'Est-de-l'Île-de-Montréal) and Université de Montréal on 327 young men who live in Quebec (Quebec Longitudinal Study of Kindergarten Children), some of whom were exposed to violence as children.


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Greenland Ice Sheet Melts More When It's Cloudy

Science2.0 - January 13, 2016 - 1:12am

Clouds play a bigger role in the melting of the Greenland ice sheet than was previously assumed. Compared to clear skies, clouds enhance the meltwater runoff by a third. Those are the findings of an international study that was coordinated by KU Leuven and published in Nature Communications.

Greenland's ice sheet is the second largest ice mass in the world - the largest is Antarctica. The ice sheet is losing mass at a high speed and increasingly contributes to the sea level rise on our planet. The role of clouds in this loss of snow and ice has never been calculated before, nor can it be deduced from theoretical climate models. For lack of observations, the different models do not agree on the importance of clouds over the ice sheet.


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DNA Supply Chain

Science2.0 - January 13, 2016 - 1:12am

CAMBRIDGE, MA -- Cell survival depends on having a plentiful and balanced pool of the four chemical building blocks that make up DNA -- the deoxyribonucleosides deoxyadenosine, deoxyguanosine, deoxycytidine, and thymidine, often abbreviated as A, G, C, and T. However, if too many of these components pile up, or if their usual ratio is disrupted, that can be deadly for the cell.

A new study from MIT chemists sheds light on a longstanding puzzle: how a single enzyme known as ribonucleotide reductase (RNR) generates all four of these building blocks and maintains the correct balance among them.


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Grazing Towards Sustainability

Science2.0 - January 13, 2016 - 1:12am

The first international Global Farm Platform conference hosted by the University of Bristol this week [12 to 15 January] will highlight the benefits of utilising pasture and robust cows over high-yield, intensive systems.

Research findings from data shared between Vet School researcher, Professor Michael Lee and farmer, Neil Darwent, Director of the UK's Free Range Dairy Community Interest Company (CIC), will form part of a keynote address to be given by Professor Lee tomorrow [Wednesday 13 January].

The Global Farm Platform is a multidisciplinary group of scientists working under the Worldwide Universities Network (WUN) to find solutions to the major challenges facing global food security in the twenty first century.


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Ocean Current In Gulf Of Mexico Linked To Red Tide

Science2.0 - January 12, 2016 - 11:53pm

MIAMI - A new study found that a major ocean current in the Gulf of Mexico plays an important role in sustaining Florida red tide blooms. The University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science research team suggest that the position of the Loop Current can serve as an indicator of whether the algal bloom will be sustained, and provide warning of possible hazardous red tide conditions in coastal areas.

Florida red tide is a harmful algal bloom produced by the dinoflagellate Karenia brevis that causes respiratory impairment in humans and marine life, and is responsible for shellfish poisoning.


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Clouds, Like Blankets, Trap Heat And Are Melting The Greenland Ice Sheet

Science2.0 - January 12, 2016 - 11:53pm

MADISON, Wis. -- The Greenland Ice Sheet is the second largest ice sheet in the world and it's melting rapidly, likely driving almost a third of global sea level rise.

A new study shows clouds are playing a larger role in that process than scientists previously believed.

"Over the next 80 years, we could be dealing with another foot of sea level rise around the world," says Tristan L'Ecuyer, professor in the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and co-author of the study. "Parts of Miami and New York City are less than two feet above sea level; another foot of sea level rise and suddenly you have water in the city."


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Dementia: New Insights Into Causes Of Loss Of Orientation

Science2.0 - January 12, 2016 - 11:53pm

New research has revealed how disease-associated changes in two interlinked networks within the brain may play a key role in the development of the symptoms of dementia.

The University of Exeter Medical School led two studies, each of which moves us a step closer to understanding the onset of dementia, and potentially to paving the way for future therapies. Both studies, part-funded by Alzheimer's Research UK, are published in the Journal of Neuroscience and involved collaboration with the University of Bristol.

Both studies shed light on how two parts of the brain's 'GPS' navigation system malfunctions in dementia, and point to likely underpinning causes for loss of orientation that is commonly experienced by people living with the condition.


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Alum Can Lower Greenhouse Gas Emissions From Chicken Coops

Science2.0 - January 12, 2016 - 7:21pm

Now that natural gas has signaled the end of the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions, coal power plants, researchers are turning to other ways to optimize so that efforts to make energy too expensive for poor people won't come into effect.

One such effort is to add alum to chicken litter, which reduces ammonia and greenhouse gas concentrations and emissions, specifically carbon dioxide, in poultry houses. 

Acid-based chemical compounds, alum and PLT - another amendment - that are added to the bedding material in poultry houses prior to the birds entering have proven to be a very effective tool in controlling ammonia emissions.


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The Long-term Benefits Of Improving Your Toddler's Memory Skills

Science2.0 - January 12, 2016 - 7:15pm

Montreal, January 12, 2016 -- If your toddler is a Forgetful Jones, you might want to help boost his or her brainpower sooner rather than later. New research shows that preschoolers who score lower on a memory task are likely to score higher on a dropout risk scale at the age of 12.

"Identifying students who are at risk of eventually dropping out of high school is an important step in preventing this social problem," says Caroline Fitzpatrick, first author of a study recently published in Intelligence, and a researcher at Concordia's PERFORM Centre.

She and the study's other researchers, who are affiliated with the Université Sainte-Anne and Université de Montréal, have suggestions for how parents can help kids improve their memory.


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Uncovering Oxygen's Role In Enhancing Red LEDs

Science2.0 - January 12, 2016 - 7:15pm

Oxygen is indispensable to animal and plant life, but its presence in the wrong places can feed a fire and cause iron to rust.

In the fabrication of solid state lighting devices, scientists are learning, oxygen also plays a two-edged role. While oxygen can impede the effectiveness of gallium nitride (GaN), an enabling material for LEDs, small amounts of oxygen in some cases are needed to enhance the devices' optical properties. GaN doped with europium (Eu), which could provide the red color in LEDs and other displays, is one such case.


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GMO Labeling Is A Smart Marketing Strategy

Science2.0 - January 12, 2016 - 7:00pm

Campbell Soup Co., which makes a variety of foods including the namesake soups and Prego pasta sauce, has declared their intention to put labels on their foods noting they are “partially produced with genetic engineering.”

Some are lamenting this will be a slippery slope to process labels being used as warnings, and undermining confidence in modern agriculture, while anti-science groups are hailing it as a victory. US Right To Know, an outreach group funded by organic food corporations and aided by the partisan attack site SourceWatch, is certainly declaring this a big win for their clients.

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