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The premier online source for science news since 1996. A service of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
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It's a fish eat tree world

Mar, 03/21/2017 - 22:00
An international team of scientists analyzed 147 northern lakes and found that many rely on nutrients from tree leaves, pine needles, and other land-grown plants to feed aquatic life. The study, published today in Science Advances, offers the most comprehensive analysis to-date on terrestrial subsidies to lake food webs.

Molecular 'treasure maps' to help discover new materials

Mar, 03/21/2017 - 22:00
Scientists at the University of Southampton working with colleagues at the University of Liverpool have developed a new method which has the potential to revolutionise the way we search for, design and produce new materials.

Humans and smartphones may fail frequently to detect face morph photos

Mar, 03/21/2017 - 22:00
Researchers at the University of York have demonstrated that both humans and smartphones show a degree of error in distinguishing face morph photos from their 'real' faces on fraudulent identity cards.

Making 'mulch' ado of ant hills

Mar, 03/21/2017 - 22:00
Research undertaken by scientists in China reveals that ants are hardworking and beneficial insects. In the activities of their daily lives, ants help increase air, water flow, and organic matter in soil. The work done by ants even forms a type of mulch that helps hold water in the soil.

New study shakes the roots of the dinosaur family tree

Mar, 03/21/2017 - 22:00
More than a century of theory about the evolutionary history of dinosaurs has been turned on its head following the publication of new research from scientists at the University of Cambridge and Natural History Museum in London. Their work suggests that the family groupings need to be rearranged, redefined and renamed and also that dinosaurs may have originated in the northern hemisphere rather than the southern, as current thinking goes.

First mutations in human life discovered

Mar, 03/21/2017 - 22:00
The earliest mutations of human life have been observed by researchers at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and their collaborators. Analyzing genomes from adult cells, the scientists could look back in time to reveal how each embryo developed. Published in Nature today, the study shows that from the two-cell stage of the human embryo, one of these cells becomes more dominant than the other and leads to a higher proportion of the adult body.

Study identifies brain cells involved in Pavlovian response

Mar, 03/21/2017 - 22:00
A UCLA study has traced the Pavlovian response to a small cluster of brain cells -- the same neurons that go awry during Huntington's disease, Parkinson's disease and Tourette's syndrome. The research could one day help neuroscientists find new approaches to diagnosing and treating these disorders.

Scientists identify brain circuit that drives pleasure-inducing behavior

Mar, 03/21/2017 - 22:00
MIT neuroscientists have discovered a brain circuit that responds to rewarding events. Scientists have long believed that the central amygdala, a structure located deep within the brain, is linked with fear and responses to unpleasant events, but the new study finds that most of the neurons here are involved in the reward circuit.

Surprising new role for lungs: Making blood

Mar, 03/21/2017 - 22:00
Using video microscopy in the living mouse lung, UC San Francisco scientists have revealed that the lungs play a previously unrecognized role in blood production.

Lack of staffing, funds prevent marine protected areas from realizing full potential

Mar, 03/21/2017 - 22:00
Marine protected areas (MPAs) are an increasingly popular strategy for protecting marine biodiversity, but a new global study demonstrates that widespread lack of personnel and funds are preventing MPAs from reaching their full potential. Only 9 percent of MPAs reported having adequate staff.The findings are published in the journal Nature on March 22.

Scientists evade the Heisenberg uncertainty principle

Mar, 03/21/2017 - 22:00
ICFO Researchers report the discovery of a new technique that could drastically improve the sensitivity of instruments such as magnetic resonance imagers (MRIs) and atomic clocks. The study, published in Nature, reports a technique to bypass the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. This technique hides quantum uncertainty in atomic features not seen by the instrument, allowing the scientists to make very high precision measurements.

Tiller the Hun? Farmers in Roman Empire converted to Hun lifestyle -- and vice versa

Mar, 03/21/2017 - 22:00
New archaeological analysis suggests people of Western Roman Empire switched between Hunnic nomadism and settled farming over a lifetime. Findings may be evidence of tribal encroachment that undermined Roman Empire during 5th century AD, contributing to its fall.

Silence is golden -- Suppressing host response to Ebola virus may help to control infection

Mar, 03/21/2017 - 22:00
The Ebola virus causes a severe, often fatal illness when it infects the human body. Initially targeting cells of the immune system called macrophages, white blood cells that absorb and clear away pathogens, a new study has found a way to potentially 'silence' these Ebola virus-infected macrophages.The findings, which appear in the Journal of Virology, could lead to new treatment options for Ebola virus disease.

Diametric brain circuits switch feeding and drinking behaviors on and off in mice

Mar, 03/21/2017 - 22:00
RIKEN-MIT scientists show that two opposing pathways within the amygdala, an important memory center, act to promote and suppress appetitive behaviors and also drive responses to fear-inducing stimuli.

A rapid, automated and inexpensive fertility test for men

Mar, 03/21/2017 - 22:00
Scientists have developed a low-cost and easy-to-use smartphone attachment that can quickly and accurately evaluate semen samples for at-home fertility testing, providing a potentially helpful resource for the more than 45 million couples worldwide who are affected by infertility.

NSF-funded IUPUI study of non-rainfall water in Namib Desert reveals unexpected origins

Mar, 03/21/2017 - 22:00
In a study conducted in one of the world's oldest and most biologically diverse deserts, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis scientists explore the origins of water other than rainfall and are identifying multiple origins. The study, supported by the National Science Foundation, is the first to report that the ocean is not the sole source of life-sustaining fog and dew for numerous plants and animals living in the Namib Desert.

Using a smartphone to screen for male infertility

Mar, 03/21/2017 - 22:00
Investigators at Brigham and Women's Hospital set out to develop a home-based diagnostic test that could be used to measure semen quality using a smartphone-based device. New findings by the team indicating that the smartphone-based semen analyzer can identify abnormal semen samples based on sperm concentration and motility criteria with approximately 98 percent accuracy are published online on March 22 in Science Translational Medicine.

Brain 'rewires' itself to enhance other senses in blind people

Mar, 03/21/2017 - 22:00
The brains of those who are born blind make new connections in the absence of visual information, resulting in enhanced, compensatory abilities such as a heightened sense of hearing, smell and touch, as well as cognitive functions (such as memory and language) according to a new study led by Massachusetts Eye and Ear researchers.

Huns and settlers may have cooperated on the frontier of Roman Empire

Mar, 03/21/2017 - 22:00
Analysis of isotopes in bones and teeth from fifth-century cemeteries suggests that nomadic Huns and Pannonian settlers on the frontier of Roman Empire may have intermixed, according to a study published March 22, 2017 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Susanne Hakenbeck from University of Cambridge, United Kingdom, and colleagues.

Nature conservation as a bridge to peace in the Middle East

Mar, 03/21/2017 - 22:00
Loss of biodiversity is a major challenge in today's world as is the quest for peace in regions engaged in conflict. But scientists writing in a Review published March 22 in Trends in Ecology & Evolution say that efforts to conserve natural resources present an opportunity to find common ground between communities at odds, building trust and renewed hope for peace.

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