Climate change models predict that sea temperatures will rise significantly, including in the tropics. In these areas, rainfall is also predicted to increase, reducing the salt concentration of the surface layer of the sea. Together, these changes would dramatically affect the microscopic communities of bacteria and plankton that inhabit the oceans, impacting species higher up the food chain. Worryingly, future conditions may favour disease-causing bacteria and plankton species which produce toxins, such as the lethal PST (paralytic shellfish toxin). These can accumulate in shellfish such as mussels and oysters, putting human consumers at risk.
Though pesticides are getting all of the attention from environmental groups when it comes to concern about bees, the science community instead knows it is mites and climate - were it as simple as pesticides, places like Australia and the United States, where the neonicotinoids often blamed by activists are common, would show losses, but instead they were limited to one section of Europe.
Using gene therapy, researchers at Boston Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical School have restored hearing in mice with a genetic form of deafness. Their work, published online July 8 by the journal Science Translational Medicine, could pave the way for gene therapy in people with hearing loss caused by genetic mutations.
"Our gene therapy protocol is not yet ready for clinical trials--we need to tweak it a bit more--but in the not-too-distant future we think it could be developed for therapeutic use in humans," says Jeffrey Holt, PhD, a scientist in the Department of Otolaryngology and F.M. Kirby Neurobiology Center at Boston Children's and an associate professor of Otolaryngology at Harvard Medical School.
They may be viewed by some as an invasive species or a commonplace pest of public parks, but a new study from the University of Exeter has shown that grey squirrels are actually quick learners capable of adapting tactics to improve efficiency and reap the best rewards.
To test the animals' intelligence and mental flexibility researchers invented a task involving a box with 12 sunken wells, four of which were hollow. Of the four, two contained hidden hazelnuts.
The five squirrels observed in the study (named Simon, Arnold, Sarah, Leonard and Suzy) were all given training prior to the task so they were proficient at using their paws or teeth to peel back the layer of paper hiding a nut inside the wells.
There may be far fewer galaxies further out in the Universe then might be expected, suggests a new study based on simulations and published this week in the Astrophysical Journal Letters.
The simulations show the first results from the Renaissance Simulations, a suite of extremely high-resolution adaptive mesh refinement (AMR) calculations of high redshift galaxy formation and hundreds of well-resolved galaxies.
"Most critically, we show that the ultraviolet luminosity function of our simulated galaxies is consistent with observations of redshift galaxy populations at the bright end of the luminosity function, but at lower luminosities is essentially flat rather than rising steeply," wrote researchers in their paper.
Television commercials assure us that probiotic products are good for our health, with claims ranging from improved digestion to managing allergies and colds,
If so, why wouldn't plants also benefit from certain microbes?
Quarks and antiquarks are the teeny, tiny building blocks with which all matter is built, binding together to form protons and neutrons in a process explained by quantum chromodynamics (QCD).
According to QCD, quarks possess one of three charges that allow them to pair in various combinations, such as mesons--elementary particles composed of one quark and its corresponding antiquark. Force carrier particles, known as gluons, hold the quarks together by exchanging and mediating the strong forc e, one of the four fundamental forces.
This structure is the foundation of all matter in the universe, but much is still unknown about why QCD works the way it does.
A research group has made a breakthrough discovery which could help thousands of young girls worldwide who are suffering from a rare yet debilitating form of epilepsy. The United States pharmaceutical company Marinus Pharmaceuticals is now recruiting affected girls as part of the world's first clinical trial to test the therapy.
Professor Jozef Gecz, from the University of Adelaide's Robinson Research Institute, was a key player in identifying the responsible gene and mutations in this female-only epileptic syndrome, in 2008 and has now found a treatment for this disorder.
One of the questions raised by the prospect of climate change is whether it could cause more species of animals to interbreed. Two species of flying squirrel have already produced mixed offspring and those have somehow been blamed on climate change, along with a hybrid polar bear and grizzly bear cub (known as a grolar bear, or a pizzly).
A paper in Nature Climate Change tallies the potential number of such pairings and across North and South America it estimates that only about 6 percent of closely related species whose ranges do not currently overlap are likely to come into contact by the end of this century.
One Shake Shack French fry may lead you to eat a whole batch, and don't even get started on the power of Doritos. According to a new study using rats, that high-fat indulgence literally changes the populations of bacteria residing inside the gut and also alters the signaling to the brain.
The result? The brain no longer senses signals for fullness, which can cause overeating--a leading cause of obesity.
The findings presented this week at the Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior liken a high fat diet to how a sudden significant shift in temperature might impact the people who live in the affected area: Some people will be fine. Others will become ill.
Each cell in the body contains a whole genome, 3 billion of "letters" known as bases, so the data packed into a few DNA molecules could fill an entire hard drive.
Instead of having one reference genome for study, more and more people are having their DNA sequenced, and that is a truly massive amount of data that will require massive computational and storage capabilities beyond anything previously anticipated, says a new assessment from computational biologists and computer scientists at the University of Illinois and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.
A mutation found in most melanomas rewires cancer cells' metabolism, making them dependent on a ketogenesis enzyme, researchers at Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University have discovered. The finding points to possible strategies for countering resistance to existing drugs that target the B-raf V600E mutation, or potential alternatives to those drugs. It may also explain why the V600E mutation in particular is so common in melanomas.
The growth-promoting V600E mutation in the gene B-raf is present in most melanomas, and also in some cases of colon and thyroid cancer. Drugs such as vemurafenib are available that target this mutation, but in clinical trials, after a period of apparent remission, cancers carrying the V600E mutation invariably develop drug resistance.
Bringing reusable bags to the grocery store brings self-identification as an environmentally friendly shopper, but it also influences the things you buy, according to a new paper in the Journal of Marketing.
Reusable bags were correlated to organic food - no surprise there - but also junk food.
Think you're a foodie? Adventurous eaters, known as "foodies," are often associated with indulgence and excess. However, a new Cornell Food and Brand Lab study shows just the opposite -adventurous eaters weigh less and may be healthier than their less-adventurous counterparts.
More than 34 million children's lives have been saved since 2000 because of investments in child health programs at a cost of as little as $4,205 per child, according to a new analysis in The Lancet.
This analysis builds off the work of an international collaboration of researchers and, for the first time, creates a scorecard that allows governments, policymakers, and donors to track investments in child health and to link those investments to child deaths averted across countries in a comparable manner.