Culture

Scientists at the University of Cambridge have uncovered striking similarities in how two distantly related plants defend themselves against pathogens despite splitting from their common ancestor more than 400 million years ago.

An evaluation of the global energy return on investment for fossil fuels and renewable sources reveals a much more level playing field than previously believed.

An enduring argument for the ongoing use of fossil fuels is their high energy return on energy investment. This refers to the ratio of how much energy a source such as coal or oil will produce compared to how much energy it takes to extract.

Stem cells self-renew and give rise to cells that are differentiated during development. These differentiated cells can change into stem cells under appropriate conditions in most plants, in which this process is more readily apparent, and some animals. Researchers have previously succeeded in forming new shoots from intact leaves by inducing single transcription factors in Arabidopsis. However, it has not been clear whether these transcription factors induce meristematic tissue that subsequently induces stem cells or directly induces them.

Last week's massive southern California earthquakes shut down Ridgecrest Regional Hospital throughout the July 4 holiday weekend while the tiny town of Ridgecrest assessed the damages. A new optical sensor developed at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) could speed up the time it takes to evaluate whether critical buildings like these are safe to occupy shortly after a major earthquake.

Plants with green leaves and stems are a common sight and are one of the most natural things on earth. But when considering that this colouring is achieved by small chlorophyll-filled organelles called chloroplasts, distributed within plant cells, where they utilise their green pigmentation to convert solar energy into chemical energy, this green colouration no longer seems to be such a trivial thing. Because of their fundamental role in plant biology, chloroplasts and their ability to colour plants have been since long in the focus of intense research.

Agriculture contributes to 70% of total emissions by humans of nitrous oxide (N2O), a potent polluting gas and the one to blame for the hole in the ozone layer. The root of this issue is in the widespread use of chemical fertilizers, such as urea and ammonium nitrate. Once these products have been used in soil for crops, a portion of them are lost in the form of N2O, which goes directly into the atmosphere. The pollution problem of fertilizers is heightened with the growing rise in the demand for foods that require these fertilizers in order to attain profitable agricultural production.

A simple finger-prick blood test could help prevent unnecessary prescribing of antibiotics for people with the lung condition chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), according to a new study by researchers from Cardiff University, University of Oxford and King's College London.

With funding from the National Institute for Health Research, the team demonstrated that using a CRP finger-prick blood test resulted in 20% fewer people using antibiotics for COPD flare-ups.

"All matter consists of positively charged atomic nuclei and negatively charged electrons," explains Professor Dr.-Ing. Rolf Findeisen from the Institute of Automation Technology at the University of Magdeburg. "These generate electrical potentials. Using conventional methods, until now it has been barely possible to measure these very weak fields, which are responsible for many of the characteristics and functionalities of materials."

Some people tend to postpone actions. In women, this trait is associated with a genetic predisposition towards a higher level of dopamine in the brain. This is what researchers from Ruhr-Universität Bochum and the Technical University of Dresden discovered using genetic analyses and questionnaires. They were unable to identify this correlation in men. "The neurotransmitter dopamine has repeatedly been associated with increased cognitive flexibility in the past," says Dr. Erhan Genç from the Bochum Department of Biopsychology.

The Asian tropopause aerosol layer (ATAL) is located at twelve to 18 kilometers height above the Middle East and Asia. This accumulation of aerosols in the Asian monsoon was discovered first in 2011. Its composition and effect, however, have been unknown so far. A European consortium of scientists has now found at this layer consists of crystalline ammonium nitrate. In the AIDA cloud chamber, climate researchers of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) demonstrated how this substance is formed in the upper troposphere. The results are reported in Nature Geoscience.

Upset by something unpleasant? We have all been there. Fortunately, it also passes. A new day, a new beginning. At least: if you have restful REM sleep. Researchers at the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience discovered why you will be better able to bear tomorrow what you are distressed about today. And why that can go wrong.

Siren of the brain

New research from the University of East Anglia (UEA) says there is a "clear need" for more support for young carers of parents with a mental illness as they move into adulthood.

The study argues that services need to be flexible, combining both practical support, such as the provision of additional support to the parent as they manage the transition of their child - and carer - leaving home, and emotional support for the young person and their parent to renegotiate boundaries within their relationship.

The acidification of the oceans is recorded in the crystals of the coral skeleton. This is a new tool for studying past environmental changes and combating climate change. Such is the main conclusion of a study led by the Spanish scientist Ismael Coronado Vila, from the Institute of Paleobiology in Warsaw (Poland).

Since light-emitting diodes only produce monochrome light, manufacturers use various additive colour-mixing processes to produce white light.

ANN ARBOR--An injection of nanoparticles can prevent the body's immune system from overreacting to trauma, potentially preventing some spinal cord injuries from resulting in paralysis.

The approach was demonstrated in mice at the University of Michigan, with the nanoparticles enhancing healing by reprogramming the aggressive immune cells--call it an "EpiPen" for trauma to the central nervous system, which includes the brain and spinal cord.