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Scientists at the University of Illinois have conducted a genetic analysis of vespid wasps that revises the vespid family tree and challenges long-held views about how the wasps’ social behaviors evolved.

In the study, published in the Feb. 21 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers found genetic evidence that eusociality (the reproductive specialization seen in some insects and other animals) evolved independently in two groups of vespid wasps.

A penalty kick places a goalkeeper at such a disadvantage that only approximately 18% of penalty kicks are saved. However, some soccer fans think goalkeepers might save penalty kicks more easily by standing marginally to the left or right.

It turns out they're right! In an article published in the March issue of Psychological Science, Professors Rich Masters, John van der Kamp and Robin Jackson of the Institute of Human Performance at the University of Hong Kong found that penalty takers are more likely to direct the football to the side with more space.

Researchers have taken advantage of the unique coupled semiconducting and piezoelectric properties of zinc oxide nanowires to create a new class of electronic components and devices that could provide the foundation for a broad range of new applications.

Sweat may be another way to pass on hepatitis B infection during contact sports, suggests research published ahead of print in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

Hepatitis B virus attacks the liver and can cause lifelong infection, cirrhosis (scarring) of the liver, liver cancer, liver failure, and death.

The research team analysed blood and sweat samples from 70 male Olympic wrestlers for evidence of hepatitis B infection (HBV).

An international group of scientists has expanded the universal language for the genes of both disease-causing and beneficial microbes and their hosts. This expanded "lingua franca," called The Gene Ontology (GO), gives researchers a common set of terms to describe the interactions between a microbe and its host.

The Plant-Associated Microbe Gene Ontology (PAMGO) consortium and the GO consortium staff at the European Bioinformatics Institute approved and released more than 450 new terms for describing gene products involved in microbe-host interactions.

New research shows that a form of vitamin A used to treat acute promyelocytic leukemia induces changes in an unusual class of small molecules called microRNAs (miRNAs) in the leukemic cells.

The study also shows that three of these miRNAs inhibit the action of two genes important for cancer development, helping to explain how the drug works.

The drug is called all-trans-retinoic acid (ATRA) and it is considered the gold standard for treating the disease.

A widely practiced, stress-reducing meditation technique significantly decreases the severity of congestive heart failure, according to a first-of-its-kind randomized study published in Ethnicity & Disease (Winter 2007).

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania evaluated 23 African American men and women, average age 64, who were recently hospitalized with New York Heart Association class II or III congestive heart failure. Participants were randomized to either the Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique or health education—in addition to usual medical care.

Scientists at North Carolina State University have discovered that the fungus-like pathogen that caused the 1840s Irish potato famine originally came from the Andes of South America.

In the March 2007 issue of BioScience, an international team of 19 researchers calls for better forecasting of the effects of global warming on extinction rates. The researchers, led by Daniel B. Botkin, note that although current mathematical models indicate that many species could be at risk from global warming, surprisingly few species became extinct during the past 2.5 million years, a period encompassing several ice ages.

Researchers at Yale have identified multiple pathogenic "alien islands" in the genome of the A. baumannii, bacteria that has been responsible for new and highly drug-resistant infections in combat troops in the Middle East, according to a report in the March 1 issue of Genes and Development.