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Sweet, bitter, fat: Genetics play a role in kids' snacking patterns
02/22/2018 02:21 PM
The types of snacks a child chooses could be linked to genetics, a new study found. The study investigated whether genetic variants in taste receptors related to sweet, fat and bitter tastes influence the snacks preschoolers choose and found nearly 80 per cent carried at least one of these genotypes that could predispose them to poor snacking habits. These findings could help parents tailor their kids' diets based on their genetics of taste.

Surprising new study redraws family tree of domesticated and 'wild' horses
02/22/2018 12:51 PM
New research overturns a long-held assumption that Przewalski's horses, native to the Eurasian steppes, are the last wild horse species on Earth.

Quantum recurrence: Everything goes back to the way it was
02/22/2018 12:50 PM
When a complex system is left alone, it will return to its initial state with almost perfect precision. Gas particles in a container, for example, will return almost exactly to their starting positions after some time. For decades, scientists have investigated how this 'Poincaré Recurrence Theorem' can be applied to the world of quantum physics. Now, researchers have successfully demonstrated a kind of 'Poincaré recurrence' in a multi-particle quantum system.

Neanderthals were artistic like modern humans
02/22/2018 12:49 PM
Scientists have found the first major evidence that Neanderthals, rather than modern humans, created the world's oldest known cave paintings -- suggesting they may have had an artistic sense similar to our own.

Neuroscientists discover a brain signal that indicates whether speech has been understood
02/22/2018 10:57 AM
The presence or absence of a unique brain signal after a listener has heard some speech indicates whether or not that listener has understood what has been said. The discovery has a number of practical applications, including tracking language development, assessing brain function post-injury, and confirming whether important instructions have been understood in high-pressure jobs.

New neurons in the adult brain are involved in sensory learning
02/22/2018 08:36 AM
Scientists have demonstrated that the new neurons produced in adults react preferentially to reward-related sensory stimuli and help speed up the association between sensory information and reward. Adult-born neurons therefore play an important role in both the identification of a sensory stimulus and the positive value associated with that sensory experience. The neurons generated shortly after birth are unable to perform this function.

Laser technology takes Maya archeologists where they've never gone before
02/21/2018 12:09 PM
With the help of airborne laser mapping technology, a team of archeologists is exploring on a larger scale than ever before the history and spread of settlement at the ancient Maya site of Ceibal in Guatemala.

Locomotion of bipedal dinosaurs might be predicted from that of ground-running birds
02/21/2018 12:09 PM
A new model based on ground-running birds could predict locomotion of bipedal dinosaurs based on their speed and body size, according to a new study.

In a first, tiny diamond anvils trigger chemical reactions by squeezing
02/21/2018 11:19 AM
Scientists have turned the smallest possible bits of diamond and other super-hard specks into 'molecular anvils' that squeeze and twist molecules until chemical bonds break and atoms exchange electrons. These are the first such chemical reactions triggered by mechanical pressure alone, and researchers say the method offers a new way to do chemistry at the molecular level that is greener, more efficient and much more precise.

Ancient DNA tells tales of humans' migrant history
02/21/2018 11:18 AM
Fueled by advances in analyzing DNA from the bones of ancient humans, scientists have dramatically expanded the number of samples studied -- revealing vast and surprising migrations and genetic mixing of populations in our prehistoric past.

Theory suggests root efficiency, independence drove global spread of flora
02/21/2018 11:18 AM
Researchers suggest that plants spread worldwide thanks to root adaptations that allowed them to become more efficient and independent. As plant species spread, roots became thinner so they could more efficiently explore poor soils for nutrients, and they shed their reliance on symbiotic fungi. The researchers report that root diameter and reliance on fungi most consistently characterize the plant communities across entire biomes such as deserts, savannas and temperate forests.

Amateur astronomer captures rare first light from massive exploding star
02/21/2018 11:18 AM
First light from a supernova is hard to capture; no one can predict where and when a star will explode. An amateur astronomer has now captured on film this first light, emitted when the exploding core hits the star's outer layers: shock breakout. Subsequent observations by astronomers using the Lick and Keck observatories helped identify it as a Type IIb supernova that slimmed down from 20 to 5 solar masses before exploding.

Magnetic field traces gas and dust swirling around supermassive black hole
02/21/2018 10:29 AM
Astronomers reveal a new high resolution map of the magnetic field lines in gas and dust swirling around the supermassive black hole at the center of our Galaxy. The team created the map, which is the first of its kind, using the CanariCam infrared camera attached to the Gran Telescopio Canarias sited on the island of La Palma.

Did humans speak through cave art? Ancient drawings and language's origins
02/21/2018 10:29 AM
When and where did humans develop language? To find out, look deep inside caves, suggests a professor.

Asian elephants have different personality traits just like humans
02/21/2018 10:29 AM
Researchers have studied a timber elephant population in Myanmar and discovered that Asian elephant personality manifests through three different factors. The personality factors identified by the researchers are Attentiveness, Sociability and Aggressiveness.

Some black holes erase your past
02/21/2018 07:13 AM
Physicists insist on determinism: your past and present determine your future uniquely, per Einstein's equations of general relativity. They call this strong cosmic censorship. A mathematician found some types of black holes -- charged, non-rotating objects in an expanding universe -- that allow an observer inside the black hole to travel across a horizon into a place where the past is obliterated and there are an infinite number of possible futures for every initial state.

Wine polyphenols could fend off bacteria that cause cavities and gum disease
02/21/2018 07:13 AM
Evidence suggests that sipping wine may be good for your colon and heart, possibly because of the beverage's abundant and structurally diverse polyphenols. Now researchers report that wine polyphenols might also be good for your oral health.

Brain size of human ancestors evolved gradually over 3 million years
02/20/2018 07:20 PM
Modern humans have brains that are more than three times larger than our closest living relatives, chimpanzees and bonobos. Scientists don't agree on when and how this dramatic increase took place, but new analysis of 94 hominin fossils shows that average brain size increased gradually and consistently over the past three million years.

Largest study of its kind finds alcohol use biggest risk factor for dementia
02/20/2018 04:39 PM
Alcohol use disorders are the most important preventable risk factors for the onset of all types of dementia, especially early-onset dementia. This according to a nationwide observational study of over one million adults diagnosed with dementia in France.

Distant tropical storms have ripple effects on weather close to home
02/20/2018 03:03 PM
Researchers report a breakthrough in making accurate predictions of weather weeks ahead. They've created an empirical model fed by careful analysis of 37 years of historical weather data. Their model centers on the relationship between two well-known global weather patterns: the Madden-Julian Oscillation and the quasi-biennial oscillation.

'Brain on a chip' reveals how the brain folds
02/20/2018 02:13 PM
Our brains are wrinkled like walnuts by the time we are born. Babies born without these wrinkles -- called smooth brain syndrome -- suffer from severe developmental deficiencies and their life expectancy is markedly reduced. Now researchers have developed a method for growing tiny 'brains on chips' from human cells that enabled them to track the physical and biological mechanisms underlying the wrinkling process.

Land use change has warmed Earth's surface
02/20/2018 12:35 PM
Recent changes to vegetation cover are causing Earth's surface to heat up. Activities like cutting down evergreen forests for agricultural expansion in the tropics create energy imbalances that lead to higher local surface temperatures and contribute to global warming.

Researchers achieve 'Olympic ring' molecule breakthrough just in time for Winter Games
02/20/2018 12:35 PM
More than 7,000 miles away from the snowcapped peaks of PyeongChang, scientists in Florida have unlocked a novel strategy for synthesizing a highly versatile molecule called olympicene -- a compound of carbon and hydrogen atoms named for its familiar Olympic ring shape.

Researchers invent tiny, light-powered wires to modulate brain's electrical signals
02/20/2018 10:47 AM
A new study shows how tiny, light-powered wires could be fashioned out of silicon to manipulate electrical signaling between neurons. The research offers a new avenue to shed light on--and perhaps someday treat--brain disorders.

Brain aging may begin earlier than expected
02/20/2018 10:45 AM
Physicists have devised a new method of investigating brain function, opening a new frontier in the diagnoses of neurodegenerative and aging related diseases.

Low-fat or low-carb? It's a draw, study finds
02/20/2018 10:31 AM
New evidence might dismay those who have chosen sides in the low-fat versus low-carb diet debate. Cutting either carbs or fats shaves off excess weight in about the same proportion, according to the study.

No relation between a supermassive black hole and its host galaxy?
02/20/2018 10:30 AM
Using ALMA to observe an active galaxy with a strong ionized gas outflow from the galactic center, a team has obtained a result making astronomers even more puzzled -- the team clearly detected CO gas associated with the galactic disk, yet they have also found that the CO gas which settles in the galaxy is not affected by the strong ionized gas outflow launched from the galactic center.

New shark species confirmed
02/20/2018 10:29 AM
Using 1,310 base pairs of two mitochondrial genes, biologists have identified a new species, the Atlantic sixgill shark.

Quintillionths of a second in slow motion
02/20/2018 08:41 AM
Many chemical processes run so fast that they are only roughly understood. To clarify these processes, researchers have now developed a methodology with a resolution of quintillionths of a second. The new technology stands to help better understand processes like photosynthesis and develop faster computer chips.

Astronomers reveal secrets of most distant supernova ever detected
02/20/2018 08:24 AM
Astronomers have confirmed the discovery of the most distant supernova ever detected -- a huge cosmic explosion that took place 10.5 billion years ago, or three-quarters the age of the Universe itself.

'Ultramassive' black holes discovered in far-off galaxies
02/20/2018 07:32 AM
Thanks to data collected by NASA’s Chandra X-ray telescope on galaxies up to 3.5 billion light years away from Earth, an international team of astrophysicists was able to detect what is likely to be the most massive black holes ever discovered in the universe. The team’s calculations showed that these “ultramassive” black holes are growing faster than the stars in their respective galaxies.

Plants colonized Earth 100 million years earlier than previously thought
02/19/2018 01:50 PM
A new study on the timescale of plant evolution has concluded that the first plants to colonize the Earth originated around 500 million years ago -- 100 million years earlier than previously thought.

Some viruses produce insulin-like hormones that can stimulate human cells -- and have potential to cause disease
02/19/2018 01:50 PM
Scientists have identified four viruses that can produce insulin-like hormones that are active on human cells. The discovery brings new possibilities for revealing biological mechanisms that may cause diabetes or cancer.

First video of 'Dumbo' octopod hatchling shows that they look like mini-adults
02/19/2018 10:48 AM
Researchers who've gotten the first look at a deep-sea 'dumbo' octopod hatchling report that the young octopods look and act much like adults from the moment they emerge from an egg capsule. Dumbo octopods are so named because their fins resemble Dumbo the elephant's ears.

Fifteen new genes identified that shape our face
02/19/2018 09:52 AM
Researchers have identified fifteen genes that determine our facial features.

The starry sky shows nocturnal animals the way
02/19/2018 08:39 AM
Nocturnal animals can use the stars and the Milky Way to find their way during the darkest hours.

Unconventional superconductor may be used to create quantum computers of the future
02/19/2018 05:17 AM
With their insensitivity to decoherence what are known as Majorana particles could become stable building blocks of a quantum computer. The problem is that they only occur under very special circumstances. Now researchers have succeeded in manufacturing a component that is able to host the sought-after particles.

Hidden talents: Converting heat into electricity with pencil and paper
02/16/2018 09:05 AM
Thermoelectric materials can use thermal differences to generate electricity. Now there is an inexpensive and environmentally friendly way of producing them with the simplest of components: a normal pencil, photocopy paper, and conductive paint are sufficient to convert a temperature difference into electricity via the thermoelectric effect.

High levels of microplastics found in Northwest Atlantic fish
02/16/2018 09:05 AM
A new study finds 73 percent of mesopelagic fish caught in the Northwest Atlantic had microplastics in their stomachs -- one of the highest levels globally. Typically living at depths of 200-1,000 meters, these fish could spread microplastic pollution throughout the marine ecosystem, by carrying microplastics from the surface down to deeper waters. They are also prey for fish eaten by humans, meaning that microplastics could indirectly contaminate our food supply.

Bringing a hidden superconducting state to light
02/16/2018 09:05 AM
Using high-intensity pulses of infrared light, scientists found evidence of superconductivity associated with charge 'stripes' in a material above the temperature at which it begins to transmit electricity without resistance -- a finding that could help them design better high-temperature superconductors.

Soft tissue fossil clues could help search for ancient life on Earth and other planets
02/16/2018 06:49 AM
Fossils that preserve entire organisms (including both hard and soft body parts) are critical to our understanding of evolution and ancient life on Earth. However, these exceptional deposits are extremely rare. New research suggests that the mineralogy of the surrounding earth is key to conserving soft parts of organisms, and finding more exceptional fossils. The work could potentially support the Mars Rover Curiosity in its sample analysis, and speed up the search for traces of life on other planets.

Women who clean at home or work face increased lung function decline
02/16/2018 06:49 AM
Women who work as cleaners or regularly use cleaning sprays or other cleaning products at home appear to experience a greater decline in lung function over time than women who do not clean, according to new research.

Consumer and industrial products now a dominant urban air pollution source
02/15/2018 12:18 PM
Chemical products that contain compounds refined from petroleum, like household cleaners, pesticides, paints and perfumes, now rival motor vehicle emissions as the top source of urban air pollution, according to a surprising new study.

How the cuttlefish spikes out its skin: Neurological study reveals surprising control
02/15/2018 12:18 PM
Wouldn't it be useful to suddenly erect 3-D spikes out of your skin, hold them for an hour, then even faster retract them and swim away? Octopus and cuttlefish can do this as a camouflage tactic. A new study clarifies the neural and muscular mechanisms that underlie this extraordinary defense tactic.

CRISPR-based diagnostic tool advanced, miniature paper test developed
02/15/2018 12:17 PM
The team that first unveiled the rapid, inexpensive, highly sensitive CRISPR-based diagnostic tool called SHERLOCK has greatly enhanced the tool's power to work with a miniature paper test, similar to a pregnancy test, allowing rapid and simple detection in any setting. Additional features greatly expand both the breadth and sensitivity of the diagnostic information, including the ability to detect multiple targets at once and quantify the amount of target in a sample.

Specific set of nerve cells controls epileptic seizures' spread through brain
02/15/2018 12:17 PM
Experimental activation of a small set of nerve cells in the brain prevents convulsive seizures in a mouse model of temporal lobe epilepsy, the most common form of epilepsy among human adults.

CRISPR scissors, Cas12a, enables cutting-edge diagnostics
02/15/2018 12:17 PM
Utilizing an unsuspected activity of the CRISPR-Cas12a protein, researchers created a simple diagnostic system called DETECTR to analyze cells, blood, saliva, urine and stool to detect genetic mutations, cancer and antibiotic resistance and also diagnose bacterial and viral infections. The scientists discovered that when Cas12a binds its double-stranded DNA target, it indiscriminately chews up all single-stranded DNA. They then created reporter molecules attached to single-stranded DNA to signal when Cas12a finds its target.

Physicists create new form of light
02/15/2018 12:17 PM
Physicists have created a new form of light that could enable quantum computing with photons.

The more kinds of bees, the better for humans
02/15/2018 12:17 PM
The bigger the area to pollinate, the more species of wild bees you need to pollinate it.

Comes naturally? Using stick insects, scientists explore natural selection, predictability
02/15/2018 12:16 PM
Predicting evolution remains difficult. Scientists have studied evolution of cryptic body coloration and pattern in stick insects for insights.