Body

Hunting for traces of life on Mars calls for two radically different strategies, says Arizona State University professor Jack Farmer. Of the two, he says, with today’s exploration technology we can most easily look for evidence for past life, preserved as fossil "biosignatures" in old rocks.

Farmer is a professor of geological sciences in ASU’s School of Earth and Space Exploration, where he heads the astrobiology program. He is reporting on his work today (Feb. 16) at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in San Francisco.

Though the cell membrane is a protective barrier, it also plays a role in letting some foreign material in — via ion channels that dot the cell’s surface. Now new research from the Nobel Prize-winning laboratory that first solved the atomic structure of several such channels shows that their function is controlled in part by a complex interaction between a channel’s voltage sensor and the cell membrane immediately adjacent to it.

At unprecedented levels of difficulty involving highly biodiverse and continent-sized landscapes, scientists have successfully tested their ability to identify and DNA "barcode" entire assemblages of species -- the prelude to a genetic portrait of all animal life on Earth.

Patients who have gone blind are a step closer to perhaps one day regaining some of their sight.

Researchers at the USC Doheny Eye Institute announced today the next step in their efforts to advance technology that hopefully will help patients with retinitis pigmentosa and macular degeneration regain some vision using an implanted artificial retina.

 A University of Queensland microbiologist is part of an international team that has identified a bacterial gene that may affect climate and weather. Dr Phil Bond, from UQ's Advanced Wastewater Management Centre, and his former colleagues at the University of East Anglia in England, have found how a particular type of marine bacteria – Marinomonas – generates a compound that is a key component in global sulfur and carbon cycles.

A new report on climate over the world's southernmost continent shows that temperatures during the late 20th century did not climb as had been predicted by many global climate models.

This comes soon after the latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that strongly supports the conclusion that the Earth's climate as a whole is warming, largely due to human activity.

Using the highest magnetic fields in the world, an international team of researchers has observed the quantum Hall effect – a much studied phenomenon of the quantum world – at room temperature.

Certain cancer risks can be passed down through families, the result of tiny changes in a family's genetic code. But not all genetic changes are deadly. To help medical counselors and physicians identify the mutations that pose the greatest health risks, researchers at four institutions, including Johns Hopkins, have developed and validated a new computer tool.

The rise of multicellular animals about 540 million years ago was a turning point in the history of life. A group of Finnish scientists suggests a new climate-biosphere interaction mechanism for the underlying processes in a new study, which will be published on February 14, 2007 in PLoS ONE, the international, peer-reviewed, open-access, online publication from the Public Library of Science (PLoS).

Imagine a cancer treatment tailored to the cells in a patient’s body, each person receiving a unique treatment program.

This is what Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council grantee Thomas Ruth and his colleagues hope to accomplish within the next decade. Using the TRIUMF particle accelerator based in Vancouver, British Columbia, they are taking vast amounts of radioactive material and separating the particular atoms they need for therapy.