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4/1/2014
Brace for impacts
The latest instalment of the Fifth Assessment Report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change lays out the state of the world — and the challenges ahead.
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4/2/2014
Natural decline
Few biology degrees still feature natural history. Is the naturalist a species in crisis?
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4/2/2014
Brain waves
Above the ‘big neuroscience’ commotion, literature plays its part.
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4/1/2014
Political borders should not hamper wildlife
Given the lack of global legislation, nations should work hard to establish cross-border protections for vulnerable species, says Aaron M. Ellison.
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4/2/2014
Electronics: Stick-on skin sensor measures motion
A wearable device as thin as a temporary tattoo can measure, store and transmit data on muscle activity, and release embedded drugs into the wearer's skin.Dae-Hyeong Kim at Seoul National University in South Korea and his colleagues built their device (pictured) by placing stretchable
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4/2/2014
Neurobiology: Brain map reveals behaviour links
An “atlas” of the fruit-fly brain is the largest yet to map regions that encode specific behaviours, such as walking backwards.Carey Priebe of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, and Marta Zlatic of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Janelia Farm Research Campus in Ashburn,
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4/2/2014
Palaeontology: Ancient starfish spotted predators
Sea stars and some other echinoderms might have had complex visual systems for roughly the past 80 million years.Some existing echinoderms, such as brittle stars, are covered in crystal calcite microlenses that are sensitive to light. To determine the evolutionary history of these structures,
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4/2/2014
Neuroscience: Why babies live hand to mouth
The reason that newborns put their hands into their mouths is probably because this action is hard-wired into the brain as a basic unit of movement.Angela Sirigu at the French National Centre for Scientific Research in Bron and her colleagues used electrodes to stimulate
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4/2/2014
Animal behaviour: Whale dives into record books
A Cuvier's beaked whale has set a new record for the deepest known dive by a mammal, reaching 2,992 metres.Gregory Schorr at the Cascadia Research Collective in Olympia, Washington, and his colleagues attached satellite tags to eight Cuvier's beaked whales (Ziphius cavirostris)
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4/2/2014
Cancer genetics: Cancer survives by silencing a gene
Breast cancer can become resistant to treatment by co-opting a gene-silencing mechanism, reports a team led by Steffi Oesterreich at the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania.The hormone oestrogen, which drives many breast cancers, dampens the activity of the tumour-fighting gene HOXC10, and drug...
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3/28/2014
[News of the Week] This Week's Section
Follow the links below for a roundup of the week's top stories in science, or download a PDF of the entire section. Around the WorldFindingsRandom SamplesNewsmakers
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3/28/2014
[News of the Week] Around the World
In science news around the world, an Ebola outbreak in Guinea kills dozens, the United Kingdom budgets money for a big data institute and cell therapy manufacture, an online platform funded by the European Commission maps global environmental conflicts, and more.
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3/28/2014
[News of the Week] Random Sample
Scientists aboard the Danish Eel Expedition study declining populations in the Sargasso Sea, while diplomats sign a nonbinding international agreement to protect the open-ocean region from pollution and overfishing. And German-based biotech company CureVac plans to honor Friedrich Miescher, the litt...
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3/28/2014
[News of the Week] Newsmakers
Princeton University ecologist Simon Levin receives the 2014 Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement. And two investors known for their philanthropic contributions to biomedical research—Patrick McGovern and James Stowers—have passed away.
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3/28/2014
[News & Analysis] Environmental Science: China Gets Serious About Its Pollutant-Laden Soil
A recent national survey found that 2.5% of China's arable land is too contaminated to grow food safely. The survey's details were so alarming that they were declared a "state secret." Now, the central government appears eager to tackle the problem; China's latest 5-year plan singles out five ind...
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3/28/2014
[News & Analysis] Environment: 25 Years After the <em>Exxon Valdez</em>, Where Are the Herring?
The 24 March 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill—at the time, the largest in U.S. waters—killed an estimated 250,000 seabirds, billions of fish eggs, and many whales and seals in Alaska's Prince William Sound. A $900 million civil settlement has helped fund decades of research into the spill's afterma...
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3/28/2014
[News & Analysis] Human Evolution: Oldest <em>Homo sapiens</em> Genome Pinpoints Neandertal Input
At a meeting, researchers announced the oldest sequenced genome of a modern human, taken from the thighbone of a man who lived in Siberia 45,000 years ago. The as-yet unpublished bone and genome are yielding new insight into when moderns interbred with our extinct cousins, the Neandertals. Author: A...
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3/28/2014
[News & Analysis] Medicine: Pioneering Womb Transplant Trial Highlights Risks and Ethical Dilemmas
Scientists hope that womb transplants can give women whose uterus is dysfunctional or missing—usually because of a congenital condition called MRKH or cancer surgery—the option of bearing their own children. But transplanting a womb poses unique challenges, in part because of the rigors of pregn...
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4/4/2014
It takes patience and persistence to get negative feedback about patients' experiences: a secondary analysis of national inpatient survey data
Background: Patient experience surveys are increasingly used to gain information about the quality of healthcare. This paper investigates whether patients who respond before and after reminders to a large national survey of inpatient experience differ in systematic ways in how they evaluate the care...
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4/4/2014
Composition and cytotoxic activity of essential oils from Xylopia aethiopica (Dunal) A. Rich, Xylopia parviflora (A. Rich) Benth.) and Monodora myristica (Gaertn) growing in Chad and Cameroon
Background: Cancer has become a global public health problem and the search for new control measures is urgent. Investigation of plant products such as essential oils from Monodora myristica, Xylopia aethiopica and Xylopia parviflora might lead to new anticancer therapy. In this study, we have inves...
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4/4/2014
Open questions: are the dynamics of ecological communities predictable?
In a contribution to <em>BMC Biology</em>'s open questions series, Charles Godfray and Robert May ask which of complexity or simplicity might be the key to accurately predicting how ecosystems will behave.
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4/4/2014
Comparison of the biopsy and cytobrush techniques for diagnosis of subclinical endometritis in mares
Background: Endometritis is a major cause of infertility in the mare. Therefore, the diagnosis of this disease is very important in veterinary practice. The objective of this study was to compare bacteriological and cytological results obtained from the mare uterus using biopsy (EB) and cytobrush (C...
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4/4/2014
Intracellular activity of tedizolid phosphate and ACH-702 versus Mycobacterium tuberculosis infected macrophages
Background: Due to the emergency of multidrug-resistant strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, is necessary the evaluation of new compounds.FindingsTedizolid, a novel oxazolidinone, and ACH-702, a new isothiazoloquinolone, were tested against M. tuberculosis infected THP-1 macrophages. These two com...
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4/4/2014
Voluntary undergraduate technical skills training course to prepare students for clerkship assignment: tutees' and tutors' perspectives
Background: Skills lab training has become a widespread tool in medical education, and nowadays, skills labs are ubiquitous among medical faculties across the world. An increasingly prevalent didactic approach in skills lab teaching is peer-assisted learning (PAL), which has been shown to be not onl...
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4/4/2014
A double blind randomized controlled trial in neonates to determine the effect of vitamin A supplementation on immune responses: The Gambia protocol
Background: Vitamin A supplementation significantly reduces all-cause mortality when given between 6-59 months of age, but has a null or detrimental effect when given between 1-5 months. Studies of neonatal vitamin A supplementation conducted across Africa and South Asia have produced conflicting fi...
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