Scientists working in the vanguard of new genetic technologies have issued a cautionary call to ensure that possible applications in conservation will only affect local populations. Experts have now examined the possible consequences of the accidental spread of existing self-propagating gene drive systems.
Researchers find that the relationship between prairie vole couples suffers when the male has access to alcohol, but his female partner doesn't - similar to what has been observed in human couples. The researchers also found changes in a specific brain region in the male voles. The results could help researchers find strategies to overcome the negative effects of alcohol on human relationships.
With a miniaturized space probe capable of being accelerated to a quarter of the speed of light, we could reach Alpha Centauri, our nearest star, in 20 to 50 years. However, without a mechanism to slow it down, the space probe could only collect data from the star and its planets as it zoomed past. A theoretical physicist has now examined whether interstellar spacecraft can be decelerated using 'magnetic sails'.
Chimps show increased latencies to feed, and tendencies to maintain greater distances from possible contaminants and/or outright refusals to consume food in test conditions, hinting at the origins of disgust in humans.
A leaf-eating beetle has evolved a symbiotic relationship that allows the insect to break down pectin. The findings on the novel function of the bacterium, which has a surprisingly tiny genome -- much smaller than previous reports on the minimum size required for an organism not subsisting within a host cell.
The first genetic mutation that appears to protect against multiple aspects of biological aging in humans has been discovered in an extended family of Old Order Amish living in the vicinity of Berne, Indiana, report scientists. An experimental “longevity” drug that recreates the effect of the mutation is now being tested in human trials to see if it provides protection against some aging-related illnesses.
The gas composition of a planet's atmosphere generally determines how much heat gets trapped in the atmosphere. For the dwarf planet Pluto, however, the predicted temperature based on the composition of its atmosphere was much higher than actual measurements taken by NASA's New Horizons spacecraft in 2015. A new study proposes a novel cooling mechanism controlled by haze particles to account for Pluto's frigid atmosphere.
The mysterious flowers of Aspidistra elatior are found on the southern Japanese island of Kuroshima. Until recently, scientists thought that A. elatior had the most unusual pollination ecology among all flowering plants, being pollinated by slugs and amphipods. However, direct observation of their ecosystem has revealed that they are mainly pollinated by fungus gnats, probably thanks to their resemblance to mushrooms.
A new study has revealed a chain mail-like woven microstructure that gives parrotfish teeth their remarkable ability to chomp on coral all day long - the structure could serve as a blueprint for designing ultra-durable synthetic materials.
The invasive Japanese knotweed causes much more severe damage to floodplain forests along the Susquehanna River, Pennsylvania, USA, than previously thought. Furthermore, the researchers point to a key role for the often-maligned poison-ivy as a native species that can not only compete with knotweed but also help sustain the growth of new trees.
Reservoirs of oxygen-rich iron between the Earth's core and mantle could have played a major role in Earth's history, including the breakup of supercontinents, drastic changes in Earth's atmospheric makeup, and the creation of life, according to recent research.
Skilful voice impersonators are able to fool state-of-the-art speaker recognition systems, as these systems generally aren't efficient yet in recognising voice modifications, according to new research. The vulnerability of speaker recognition systems poses significant security concerns.
Researchers have developed transgenic mosquitoes that stably express the Cas9 enzyme in their germline. The addition of Cas9 will enable the use of the CRISPR gene editing tool to make efficient, targeted changes to the mosquitoes' DNA. As proof of concept, the researchers used the system to disrupt cuticle, wing, and eye development, producing completely yellow, three-eyed and wingless mosquitoes. Their long-term goal is to develop new pest control strategies.
A faster collision detection algorithm could enable robots to work more fluidly in the operating room or at home for assisted living. The algorithm, dubbed 'Fastron,' runs up to eight times faster than existing collision detection algorithms. It uses machine learning to help robots avoid moving objects and weave through complex, rapidly changing environments in real time.
In 2009, the world's largest dinosaur tracks were discovered in the French village of Plagne, in the Jura Mountains. Since then, a series of excavations at the site has uncovered other tracks, sprawling over more than 150 meters. They form the longest sauropod trackway ever to be found. Scientists have concluded these tracks were left 150 million years ago by a dinosaur at least 35 m long and weighing no less than 35 tons.
In a unique experiment, researchers have clocked how long it takes for an electron to be emitted from an atom. The result is .00000000000000002 seconds, or 20 billionths of a billionth of a second. The researchers' stopwatch consists of extremely short laser pulses. Hopefully, the results will help to provide new insights into some of the most fundamental processes in nature.