403 Matching Annotations
  1. Oct 2021
    1. In many reptiles, including the red-eared slider turtle Trachemys scripta elegans (T. scripta), the individual’s sex is determined by the ambient temperature during egg incubation.

      There are increasing concerns about reptile egg nest incubation temperatures as climate temperatures rise. Several news outlets and scientific reports detail the implications of climate change for reptile sex bias and survival.

      You can read more about the concerns for reptiles that undergo temperature-dependent sex detemination, like sea turtles, alligators, and lizards, here:

      1. https://phys.org/news/2021-10-animals-affected-climate.html
      2. https://gizmodo.com/climate-change-could-make-american-alligators-sex-rati-1846918445
      3. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-021-99702-1
      4. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-40597-4
    2. One possibility is an upstream regulator of Kdm6b that acts as a gonad-mesonephros complex–specific temperature sensor.

      In 2020, this laboratory published a follow-up study showing that the signal transducer and activator of transcription 3, better known as STAT3, responds to temperature and represses Kdm6b at warmer FPT.

      You can read more about this exciting new study here: https://www.science.org/doi/epdf/10.1126/science.aaz4165

    3. Identification of the link between temperature and differential expression of an epigenetic regulator may finally solve the puzzle of how the incubation temperature of the egg can exert its effect on sex determination, a problem that has defied explanation for the 50 years since its initial discovery in reptiles.

      KDM6B's role in turtle temperature-dependent sex development and implications for hatchling sex bias and mortality were discussed in this BBC News article: https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-44071220

    1. This implies that a large fraction of the Chinese population remains at risk of COVID-19; control measures may need to be reinstated, in some form, if there is a resurgence of transmission

      In view of the fast spread of the Delta variant, China has initiated stricter border control.

      Read more in South China Morning Post: https://www.scmp.com/news/china/politics/article/3143989/coronavirus-china-steps-border-controls-race-contain-fast

  2. Sep 2021
    1. This would include outplanting commonly consumed native plants (e.g., Pipturus albidus) within plant restoration areas, removing commonly consumed introduced plants in sites with high densities of native fruits, and attracting (e.g., via playback) specific frugivores to restoration sites

      Researcher Sean McDonald placed speakers playing non-native bird calls near native plants in danger of extinction in hopes of attracting these birds to these plants and increasing seed dispersal.

      Read more in Inside Science: https://www.insidescience.org/news/playing-birdsongs-save-trees

    2. For example, in Hawai‘i, large frugivorous birds are absent, resulting in a lack of dispersal of large native fruits (38)

      Islands suffer significant losses of large frugivorous birds due to their small size, isolation from mainlands,and limited amount of species. These large birds tend to be flightless (making them an easy target for predation) and make it possible for large seeded plants, particularly trees, to be dispersed throughout the island.

      More information about the causes and consequences of large frugivorous bird extinction can be found in the Forbes article: https://www.forbes.com/sites/grrlscientist/2018/10/13/does-it-really-matter-if-just-one-species-goes-extinct/#48e3b358610b

    3. Hawaiʻi provides an opportunity to investigate the consequences of an extreme scenario of loss of native species and their replacement by non-native species.

      Native plants on the Hawaiian island of Kauai are threatened by changing climate, invasive species, and destruction by feral pigs. Efforts led by the Plant Extinction Prevention Program (PEPP) are working toward saving these endangered species and preventing the loss of further species.

      Read more in the grist: https://grist.org/article/hawaiis-rarest-plants-are-in-crisis-meet-the-people-fighting-to-save-them/

    1. closing entertainment venues and banning public gatherings

      Tracing and quarantining suspected and infected cases as well as imposing restrictions on high-risk social settings have been shown necessary.

      Read more in Nature Medicine: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-020-1092-0

    2. Control measures taken in China potentially hold lessos for other countries around the world.

      Measures taken by China have been proven effective in a list of countries that carried out lockdowns.

      Read more in Politico: https://www.politico.eu/article/coronavirus-europe-lockdown-effectiveness-graphics/

    3. (9)

      The activation of Level-I alert in Tibet marked the nationalwide activation of this highest-level alert.

      Read more in China Daily: https://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202001/29/WS5e318a36a3101282172739c1.html

    4. The Wuhan shutdown was associated with the delayed arrival of COVID-19 in other cities by 2.91 days

      The Wuhan travel ban has also been found to slow the spread of COVID-19 worldwide.

      Read more in Science: https://science.sciencemag.org/content/368/6489/395

    1. Concern about ozone depletion

      A recent study has shown that if the hole in the ozone layer had not been addressed, it could have made global warming worse by killing carbon-consuming plants.

      Read more at Scientific American: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/ozone-hole-would-have-killed-plants-and-raised-global-temperatures/

    2. halocarbons

      In the 2016 Kiagli amendment to the Montreal Protocol, countries will also begin phasing out the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) because they contribute to global warming.

      Read more at the Weather Channel: https://weather.com/en-IN/india/environment/news/2021-08-20-boost-for-cooling-industry-as-india-approves-kigali-ratification

    3. documenting progress

      This paper's findings that the Antarctic ozone hole is beginning to heal provided evidence that the Montreal Protocol is having the intended effect:

      Read more at BBC News: https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-36674996

  3. Aug 2021
  4. Jul 2021
  5. Jun 2021
    1. Alternatively, reduced waste generation and plastic use would also decrease the amount of mismanaged plastic waste.

      A United Nations resolution seeks to “prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution,” by 2025.

      For more information, see this link: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2017/12/13/193-nations-sign-pledge-tackle-global-crisis-plastic-oceans/

    2. potential mitigation strategies

      The problem of plastic waste in the ocean can be addressed from two sides: allowing less waste to enter the ocean, or collecting the waste after it has entered the ocean. Many proposals have been developed for ways to clean up trash after it arrives in the oceans. One small-scale approach uses a submerged garbage can that pumps water through a filter and captures debris, while one large-scale approach relies on deploying a 1- to 2-km-long floating tube that gathers and concentrates floating plastic debris for eventual transport back to land and recycling.

      Read more about these approaches: https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2016/mar/30/seabin-ocean-pollution-epa-marina-miami-garbage and https://www.theoceancleanup.com/.

  6. Apr 2021
    1. removing inhibitory signals in the costimulatory pathway can enhance antitumor immunity

      The 2018 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded jointly to James Allison and Tasuku Honjo for their work on antitumor immunity. Jim Allison is one of the authors on this seminal paper, in which the significant discoveries on the role of CTLA-4 were beginning to be made. Both James Allison and Tasuku Honjo showed that blocking inhibitory signals received by T cells can greatly enhance antitumor immunity. As you read in this paper, Jim Allison showed that blocking CTLA-4 achieves this effect; Tasuku Honjo was honored for similar work on another inhibitory molecule, PD-1. See the Nobel Prize announcement and an interview by a member of the Nobel committee here, and listen to various interviews with James Allison here.

  7. Mar 2021
    1. camouflage

      Wearing camouflage while hunting or as a fashion statement is common in most places around the globe. When one thinks about camouflage, the typical image that comes to mind is of camo uniforms in the military. However, some countries and territories ban the use and wearing of camouflage for a variety of reasons. One example of this is in the Philippines. Read more about this Philippian law here:


    2. Biologists studying camouflage/display could use specially designed soft machines to observe how dynamic color, temperature, and pattern influence animal behavior (such as predator/prey relationships)

      Animal testing within the science field is arguably one of the most controversial practices in science. In fact, there are many organizations established to enforce laws and policies involving animal testing and studies. Using inanimate robots like those in this article instead of live animals ensures that research will not face any controversy in the public eye. One prominent organization is the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). Read about their mission and history here:


    3. spectrum

      The electromagnetic spectrum is actually regulated by the government. Many policies and laws are in place for safety and limited space reasons. The Radio Act of 1927 established the Federal Radio Commission, and the Communications Act of 1934 ("the Act", 47 U.S.C. § 51 et seq), established the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). More on this can be found at:


  8. Jul 2020
    1. Beak size and beak shape are involved in all the major evolutionary shifts in the adaptive radiation of Darwin’s finches (1).

      Thanks to the long-term scientific field work of Peter and Rosemary Grant, scientists have developed an understanding of how this speciation has happened.

      Jonathan Weiner provides an introduction to this legendary fieldwork in The Beak of the Finch.

      For a more scholarly background, check out How and Why Species Multiply by Peter and Rosemary Grant.

    2. 2004–2005 selection event

      The 2004–2005 selection event was a severe drought. For a thorough explanation of the climate of the Galapagos islands, see here.

    1. DBS can also encounter limitations as a therapy even for the symptoms that typically respond.

      Part of the ambition in this paper was identifying the contributions of different neurons in a parkinsonian brain. Using optogenetics to better understand DBS can theoretically lead to more effective therapies in the future. Read more from The Cellular Scale.

    2. matter of controversy

      Check out this 2019 episode of NPR's podcast Invisibilia for more on what it's like to be a patient treated with DBS. https://www.npr.org/2019/03/28/707639854/the-remote-control-brain

  9. Jun 2020
    1. regeneration

      Planarians are masters of regeneration, but why? Read this article to find out more: https://www.hhmi.org/news/single-adult-cell-flatworm-crafts-new-body

    2. The mechanisms that differentiate anterior from posterior and direct the replacement of the appropriate missing body parts are unknown

      Find out another method Dr. Alvarado is using to identify the origin of the regenerative abilities in planarians in this article and watch the short video to find out more: https://www.hhmi.org/news/searching-source-planarians-regenerative-powers

    3. planarians

      Why is important to study planarians? This interview with the lead author of this study explains why its important to conduct research on understudied animals: https://biobeat.nigms.nih.gov/2019/10/interview-with-a-scientist-unlocking-the-secrets-of-animal-regeneration-with-alejandro-sanchez-alvarado/

    1. The pattern of warming pulses correlated with biotic change during the earliest Paleocene demonstrates a strong relationship between the biosphere and geosphere.

      J. Rolland et al. reported in Nature Ecology and Evolution that climate change could have a greater impact on reptiles than mammals and birds. By reconstructing historical shifts in geographical ranges and climatic niches, they learned that niche shifts occurred more rapidly in mammals and birds than in cold-blooded species.

      Read more in Nature Ecology and Evolution: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41559-017-0451-9

    2. Detailed records of post-mass extinction biotic recovery, such as the one presented here, will provide a critical framework for predicting ecosystem recovery following mass extinction events including the one we currently face

      Evolution cannot take place quickly enough to keep up with the rate at which humans are exterminating animal and plant species. If conservation efforts are not improved, many mammal species will become extinct in the next few decades that it will take 3 to 5 million years to recover the diversity that will be lost. https://phys.org/news/2018-10-mammals-evolve-fast-current-extinction.html

      The authors are concerned about the ability of Earth's ecosystems to recover from the effects of climate change, habitat destruction, and species extinction. They have concluded that extinctions are occurring at a rate that might indicate that we are in the beginning of the 6th mass extinction.

    3. fossils

      There are regulations regarding fossil collecting on public lands. The Bureau of Land Management has rules for casual collecting.

      Read more about these policies at https://www.blm.gov/sites/blm.gov/files/documents/files/2014%20Rockhounding_14_web.pdf

  10. Apr 2020
    1. rare and extreme events

      Other hybridization events are likely to be caused by climate change and therefore are of concern to conservationists.

      Read more in Aububon News: https://www.audubon.org/magazine/climate-change-causing-some-mixed-wildlife

      Watch more at ibiology.org: https://www.ibiology.org/ecology/loss-biodiversity-human-dominated-world/#part-1

    2. hybrid species

      Hybrids are problematic for conservation policy. Hybrids that do not form new species can be seen as decreasing the "purity" of a species, or as threatening to eliminate one species if it is absorbed into another. Hybrids may be seen as not worthy of conservation, even if they are rare. Conservation guidelines need to be updated.

      Read more in the Related Resources tab or at Current Zoology (will start a PDF download).

    3. new species

      Understanding the mechanisms by which new species form is a central issue in the study of biology.

      Read more at Scientific American: https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/science-sushi/evolution-watching-speciation-occur-observations/

    1. self-assemble vascular networks

      Angiogenesis is essential to the growth and repair of new tissue, providing cells with replenishing resources. Researchers have come up with scaffold-free methods based on self-assembly to generating artificial tissues. Read more on the role of self-assembly and organization in tissue engineering at:


    2. computational method

      Computational modeling is a helpful tool in determining the effectiveness of medical products and experiments. Read more on how computer simulations help speed up discovery of new therapies at:


    3. Engineering smaller-scale vasculature

      Researchers introduced a new method to 3D print smaller-scale vasculature, thereby contributing to the progression of tissue engineering. Read more on the importance of generating blood vessels in artificial tissues at:


    4. creating a regulatory process for clinical translation

      Bioprinting is a new, fast-changing field; and there are no established regulatory processes to evaluate products and approve their effectiveness. To read more about the future of artificial organ implants and their clinical translation:


    1. The use of liquid dielectrics in HASEL actuators enables self-healing with immediate recovery of functionality after numerous dielectric breakdown events.

      Self-healing is key aspect of living things. However, engineers develop technologies which mimic self-healing for a variety of applications. To read more about self-healing robotic technologies:


    2. Thermally activated artificial muscle actuators made from inexpensive polymer fibers can provide large actuation forces and work density, but these are difficult to control and have low efficiency (1.32%) (11).

      Similar to the fibers described in cited article, artificial fibers, capable of lifting above 12,000 times its own weight, were created. These fibers are tightly coiled and when heated they expand in diameter, causing dramatic contractions. Read more about artificial muscles at: https://www.newsweek.com/artificial-muscle-can-lift-12600-times-its-own-weight-893237

  11. Mar 2020
    1. Daily oral pills are favored by a sizeable fraction of the population (16–19), possibly because of their ease of use, opportunity for self-administration, and rapid resumption of fertility upon discontinuation.

      Read more about some of the advantages of using an oral pill over other birth control methods at: https://www.verywellhealth.com/the-pill-pros-vs-cons-906927

    2. Hence, the impact of female contraceptives on global good cannot be underestimated.

      Read more about the efforts that are needed to meet international family planning goals at: https://www.who.int/reproductivehealth/topics/family_planning/contraceptive-access-women-and-girls/en/

    3. expands and resides in the stomach

      A similar oral capsule design has been introduced for a once-weekly HIV medication.

      Read more about how expandable pills are being implemented into other medication regimens: https://scitechdaily.com/new-drug-capsule-delivers-a-weeks-worth-of-hiv-drugs-in-a-single-dose/

    1. Apart from small oceanic islands, all regions of our planet supported a megafauna before the rise of Homo sapiens

      Scientists are currently debating how much influence early human migrants had on the extinction of North American megafauna in the Pleistocene and Holocene:


    2. When the impacts of apex consumers are reduced or removed or when systems are examined over sufficiently large scales of space and time, their influences are often obvious

      One of the most widely publicized long-term studies was that of the Greater Yellowstone system. By the early 1900s, wolves were largely extirpated from the Yellowstone basin. After wolves were reintroduced in the 1990s, the region experienced a very quick recovery in biodiversity.

      Read more here: https://www.nps.gov/yell/learn/nature/wolf-restoration.htm

    1. When a DC voltage was applied to the stacked HASEL actuators, the device grasped delicate objects such as a raspberry (Fig. 2, C to E, and movie S4) and a raw egg (Fig. 2, F and G, and movie S4).

      News and Policy:

      Watch this video demonstrating HASEL's ability to pick up fragile objects.


  12. Feb 2020
    1. Pharmacokinetics

      Pharmacokinetics plays a significant role in the development of drugs. Read more about how scientists are getting closer to tracking compounds at the cellular level: https://blogs.sciencemag.org/pipeline/archives/2018/06/20/looking-way-down-into-the-cells

    1. The extinction of all large-bodied vertebrates (5) undoubtedly impacted the post-KPgE taxonomic, ecologic, and body-mass diversification of various clades,

      The National Geographic article, Rise of Mammals, by Rick Gore discusses how the extinction of dinosaurs opened niches for the tiny mammals that survived the asteroid impact. His descriptions of mammalian adaptations and diversity are based on both fossil and genetic evidence.

      Read more in National Geographic https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/prehistoric-world/rise-mammals/#close

    1. He in particular has been used to define large-scale mantle structures

      The news article below highlights the method used to examine the Earth's interior, especially the mantle region. https://phys.org/news/2019-09-gigantic-masses-earth-mantle-untouched.html

    2. The chemical evolution, nature, and scale of these different reservoirs remain problematic.

      It is said that our planet Earth is about 4.54 billion years old. This planet has undergone a series of chemical and biological evolution processes since then. However, many scientists believe that the absolute core of the Earth has remained undisturbed. There has been a lot of debate regarding the chemical composition of the different reservoirs that still exist in these primitive locations. The news article below highlights the important findings of a recent publication in PNAS. It reports the existence of a significant reservoir of methane deep under the ocean. Learn more here: https://www.sciencealert.com/scientists-identify-gigantic-reservoir-of-methane-buried-under-the-ocean

    1. Three-dimensional (3D) bio-printing

      This work builds on a relatively new field, bioprinting. A field that poses a variety of ethical dilemmas to policy makers.

      Read more here: https://jme.bmj.com/content/43/9/618

  13. Nov 2019
    1. blockade of the inhibitory effects of CTLA-4 can allow for, and potentiate, effective immune responses against tumor cells

      The development of immune checkpoint inhibitor therapies for cancer won James Allison, one of the authors of this paper, and Tasuku Honjo the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Read more at The Guardian.

    2. mice

      There are many regulations on the use of animals in research studies. In 2019, these policies became even more stringent with the passing of the HEARTS Act of 2019. Read more here.

  14. Oct 2019
    1. Without bold new ideas and management strategies, current recycling rates will no longer be met, and ambitious goals and timelines for future recycling growth will be insurmountable.

      In response to China's plastics import ban, 187 governments have agreed to alter a pre-existing global waste treaty called the Basel Convention.

      In May 2019, all countries that have ratified the Basel Convention (notably excluding the United States) approved major plastics-related changes. These changes are set to take effect started in 2021.

      Read more from the UN Environment Programme

    2. China has increasingly implemented more rigid waste import policies, starting prior to 2010

      The Basel Convention, which governs the international waste trade, was adopted in 1989 in response to hazardous waste dumping on communities in Africa, the Caribbean, and Asia. China and the United States signed onto the Basel Convention in 1990. China ratified the treaty in 1991, while the United States has yet to ratify.

      Read more from The Conversation

    3. This operation was referred to as the “Green Fence” and highlighted the fragility of global dependence on a single importer.

      Shortly after taking office, China's new president Xi Jinping enacted the 2013 "Green Fence" policy directive aimed to lessen the contamination levels and boost the quality of imported recycled materials. Shipping containers that did not pass import inspection were rejected from entering the country.

    4. China, which has imported a cumulative 45% of plastic waste since 1992, recently implemented a new policy banning the importation of most plastic waste, begging the question of where the plastic waste will go now.

      Enacted in January 2018, China's "National Sword" policy banned 24 types of solid waste, including various plastics, and set a much tougher standard for contamination levels.

      The new policy ups the ante with a ban on plastic waste containing more than 0.5% contamination. Some view this move as an unintended consequence of single-stream recycling.

    5. the emerging markets in China in the 1990s found that the material could be used profitably

      In the 1990s, China emerged as a global manufacturing powerhouse generating a huge increase in demand for raw materials. This offered a market for products that come out at the end of the recycling process, such as the plastic pellets made from recycled materials. For example, these pellets can be turned into the soles of shoes. Read more in the Financial Times

    6. additives

      These are chemicals added in the manufacturing process that can make plastics more flexible, durable, and transparent. A notorious example of a plastic additive includes bisphenol A (BPA). In high doses, BPA has possible health effects on the brain and prostate glands of fetuses, infants, and children.

      Read more from Mayo Clinic.

    7. Management of this large increase and quantity of plastic waste has been challenging, particularly in areas of rapid economic development and population growth. Only 9% of plastic waste has been recycled globally, with the overwhelming majority of global plastic waste being landfilled or ending up contaminating the environment (80%)

      The World Bank estimates that annual waste generation will increase by 70% from 2016 to 3.4 billion MT in 2050. Over 90% of waste, including plastics, produced in low-income countries is disposed of in unregulated dumps or openly burned.

    8. historic growth in production

      A chemist at Dupont named Wallace Carothers invented a synthetic polymer that became known as nylon. Nylon and other early plastics became wide spread in the late 1930s and early 1940s. During World War II, plastic production in the United States increased by 300%.

      Read more about the history of early plastic production from the American Chemical Society and the Science History Institute.

    1. To determine the role of the ZI in feeding and body weight regulation

      The authors set out to understand how the ZI influences food intake and to map the circuits in the brain that underlie these effects.

      Read more in SciTechDaily.

  15. Sep 2019
    1. this coincides with COF values dropping substantially, leading to a superlubric state that is maintained until the end of the simulation.

      Learn more about how the computer simulation led to the discovery of a novel superlubric combination of materials.

    2. Macroscopic friction and wear remain the primary modes of mechanical energy dissipation in moving mechanical assemblies such as pumps, compressors, and turbines, leading to unwanted material loss and wasted energy

      Researchers aim at achieving the lowest possible friction and wear in mechanical systems. The area of superlubricity gained momentum in the last few decades following the discovery of novel 2D materials.

      Please watch the TED talk describing superlubricity and its potential future applications by the lead author here:


    3. MD simulations

      Researchers use supercomputing techniques to replicate complex experimental conditions, in order to envision large-scale systems at the atomic/molecular regions.

      To read more details about the simulation techniques used in this study, please visit:


    1. Our study provides a potential explanation for why clinical deep brain stimulation in the ventral thalamus near the ZI can increase binge eating.

      Deep brain stimulation sometimes causes binge eating in Parkinson’s patients; now scientists might know why.

      Read more in Scientific American: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/electric-brain-stimulation-offers-binge-eating-clue/

    2. binge eating, which can at times lead to obesity

      Binge eating disorder in humans is characterized by overeating and can lead to weight gain.

      For interviews with sufferers of the condition and scientists working towards understanding the disorder, read more in BBC News.

    1. lower-income countries in the East Asia and Pacific for decades.

      Since China's 2018 policy went into effect, many of the "replacement countries" have also started to crack down.

      Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam have enacted stricter quality standards for waste coming from countries such as the US, UK, and Australia.

      Read more here: http://wastemanagementreview.com.au/battling-sovereign-risk/

  16. Aug 2019
    1. transmitter mutability may constitute a unique mechanism underlying plasticity in the nervous system

      The tadpoles in these experiments tends to attach only to their kin.

      However, there is neurotransmitter phenotype change from one to another. The researchers have found a mechanism that helps in regulation of this neurotransmitter phenotype change. The release of the neurotransmitter caused the tadpoles to bond to those who were not biologically related to them. The switching affected the social bond formation in tadpoles.

      Read more at the Dana Foundation.

    2. At this early stage in our understanding,

      The field of neuroplasticity evolved and expanded since this exploratory 1984 research. While there is still ample debate on the plasticity of our brain cells in adulthood, scientists generally agree that neurons are less flexible as we age. Read more in Science. (This resource can also be found in the Related Content tab).

    3. neuronal plasticity

      Check out this video primer on neuroplasticity from Khan Academy.

    4. Consequently, neurons may respond to environmental information by altering transmitter phenotypic expression and, presumably, the signals sent to other neurons.

      Since this paper was published in 1984, the field of synaptic plasticity has progressed. This NeuWire article is an example to show that, in response to environmental conditions (such as changes in day length), the brain can switch the neurotransmitters they produce and release. These neurotransmitter switches also have an impact on behavior in these animals.

      See the original research in Science in the "Related Content" tab and here.

    5. may change transmitter status during development and maturity, upsetting the tacitly assumed dogma of transmitter immutability, and adding an entirely new dimension to our appreciation of neural plasticity.

      When this paper was published, it was assumed that each neuron produces only one transmitter. However, more recent research has challenged this assertion. Contrary to traditional teaching, this article summarizes the new findings in the field of neurotransmitter plasticity, some of which include mechanisms of neurotransmitter plasticity, mechanisms of neurotransmitter switching, and their impact in neurological disorders.

      Read more here.

  17. Jul 2019
    1. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) affects 1 of 59 children in the United States

      There has been increasing concern about rising rates of autism, although this is a controversial subject. For more information, see:


  18. Jun 2019
    1. biogeochemical exchanges among Earth’s soil, water, and atmosphere.

      A 2019 study highlighted the need to update how the water cycle is taught in school to include human interference.

      Read more in Science Daily.

    2. recent research reveals extensive cascading effects of their disappearance in marine, terrestrial, and freshwater ecosystems worldwide

      The United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity completed a metastudy in 2010, examining biodiversity targets and projecting biodiversity losses into the future. Read more: https://www.cbd.int/gbo3/

    3. Trophic cascades associated with the presence or absence of apex predatory fishes in lakes can affect phytoplankton density, in turn affecting the rate of primary production, the uptake rate of CO2, and the direction of carbon flux between lakes and the atmosphere

      This article from the Chicago Tribune describes how scientists on the Great Lakes are trying to determine whether these large bodies of water are carbon sources or sinks.


    4. even today whale feces return various limiting nutrients from the aphotic to photic zones, thereby directly enhancing primary productivity

      Certain island nations are looking to use this carbon "sink" as a way to meet their own carbon emissions targets:


      Climate change may hamper these efforts by making it difficult for whales to survive in these regions, however.

    5. Similarly, in terrestrial systems wolves protect riparian trees and shrubs from overbrowsing by large ungulates, in turn shading and cooling the adjacent streams, reducing stream bank erosion, and providing cover for fish and other aquatic life

      The 2007 Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Elk and Vegetation Management Plan for Rocky Mountain National Park lists, as Alternative 5, the reintroduction of wolves to the system to manage elk populations and to restore willow and aspen communities throughout the park. Alternative 5 is listed as the Environmentally Preferred Alternative at the end of the report.


    6. The impacts of trophic cascades on communities are far-reaching, yet the strength of these impacts will likely differ among species and ecosystems.

      An additional example of top-down forcing can be seen in this HHMI BioInteractive Scientist at Work video featuring Dr. Brian Silliman and his work in salt marshes here.

    1. Our results, therefore, demonstrate that, even among women who are relatively identified with and accomplished in science, a substantial gender gap exists, women’s performance is negatively related to stereotype endorsement, and gender differences can be reduced with a values-affirmation intervention

      Read more in PBS NewsHour.

    2. Of course, even here, there were structural opportunities for learning in the form of a solid curriculum and qualified teachers; without such basic support, the efficacy of any psychological intervention would be limited (23).

      The authors discuss their results and caution that values affirmation is not a perfect solution. Other education reforms are necessary.

      Read more in AAAS.

    3. Although previous attempts to reduce the gender achievement gap in science have focused mostly on instructional methods, the current results highlight the importance of social-psychological factors.

      There are many factors that affect student performance in college, including intrinsic values which can be supported by values affirmation.

      Read more in The National Academies Press.

    1. Accumulation of this transcription factor is a crucial step in the establishment of addiction to most drugs of abuse and has been used as a molecular marker for these processes.

      The study has identified genetic changes that occur in mice treated with cocaine.

      Read the summary of research findings in Science Daily: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/05/180531102706.htm

    2. In human populations, cigarettes and alcohol generally serve as gateway drugs, which people use first before progressing to marijuana, cocaine, or other illicit substances
    3. Is the hyperacetylation produced by nicotine also a molecular explanation of drug action shared by the two other gateway drugs, alcohol and marijuana?

      Prolonged use of alcohol, another gateway drug also leads to repetitive use of cocaine.

      Read the summary of the research findings in Technology Networks:


    4. Our results showing how nicotine may act as a gateway drug on the brain—an effect likely to occur whether nicotine exposure is from smoked, passive, or nonsmoked forms—emphasize the need for developing more effective public health prevention programs for all products that contain nicotine, especially those targeted toward young people

      The idea and formulation of the gateway hypothesis and how the hypothesis can be tested in animals are explained in the special article written by Dr.Kandel.

      Read the article “A molecular basis for nicotine as a gateway drug” in the New England Journal of Medicine:


    5. In the general population of the United States and other Western societies, there is a well-defined sequence of drug usage in which the use of tobacco or alcohol precedes the use of marijuana, which in turn precedes the use of cocaine and other illicit drugs

      The National Institute of Drug Abuse provides the statistics, trends, and the health effects of cocaine.

      Read more in Drug Abuse website: https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/cocaine

  19. May 2019
    1. Evidence presented by several groups (8, 9, 11) suggest that poly U stimulates the incorporation of both phenylalanine and a lesser amount of leucine. The meaning of this observation is unclear, but it raises the unfortunate possibility of ambiguous triplets-that is, triplets which may code more than one amino acid. However, one would certainly expect such triplets to be in a minority.

      Now scientists believe that the genetic code is universal, unambiguous, and redundant. In other words, that all living things use the same code, with few exceptions: "universal." That a codon encodes only one amino acid is "unambiguous," but that there are multiple ways to code for the same amino acid is "redundant."

      But what if we could expand the genetic code or reprogram it? Professor Chin of the University of Cambridge explores this possibility here (see also in the Related Resources tab).

    2. The code is probably much the same in different organisms.

      You may have heard about this concept before, maybe even hearing that we humans share 50% of our genes with bananas!

      However, the story is a bit more complicated; in fact, genes (that is, regions coding for proteins) comprise only about 2% of our DNA. About 8% of our genes are involved in regulatory functions and the other 90% is mostly non-functional.

      Because of our shared evolutionary ancestor (approximately 1.6 billion years ago), bananas and humans have a lot in common!

    3. This article is adapted from the lecture which he delivered in Stockholm, Sweden, 11 December 1962, on receiving the Nobel prize in medicine and physiology, a prize which he shared with James D. Watson and M. H. F. Wilkins. It is published with the permission of the Nobel Foundation.

      Francis Crick, James Watson, and Maurice Wilkins published the seminal papers about the structure of DNA, winning them the Nobel Prize in 1962. Rosalind Franklin was a major contributor to the discovery; her experimental evidence was critical for understanding DNA's structure.

      Rosalind Franklin has often been uncredited and overshadowed in this historical discovery. Read more here and here.

    1. As a result of resource competition, they may diverge in traits associated with exploiting these resources (1, 2).

      In addition to Darwin's finches, this story about lizards provides another great example.

      Jonathan Losos also wrote a popular book, Improbable Destinies: Fate, Chance, and the Future of Evolution, that highlights these anole lizards.

    1. Extension of our rational design approach, such as combining promising mutations and directed evolution, could further increase the specificity and efficiency of the system, while unbiased screening approaches could identify additional residues for improving REPAIR activity and specificity.

      It may also be possible to reduce the size of Cas13b as was done with the Cas9 protein. Or use an ortholog of a different size, as was also done with Cas9.

      Smaller Cas13b variants would have lower chance of interfering with cellular processes, making it an even more useful tool for studying RNA biology.

    2. The REPAIR system offers many advantages compared with other nucleic acid–editing tools.

      REPAIR stands for RNA Editing for Programmable A to I Replacement, i.e. it is a system that precisely edits single bases in nucleic acids. Because it is a base editor, the REPAIR system is mainly compared to other base editors and not to all possible genome editing tools.

      To learn more about base editing systems, read more here.

  20. Apr 2019
    1. due to natural or anthropogenic causes.

      The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) noted in 1995 that humans are influencing the climate. Since the publication of this study in 2000, we have learned even more about the extent to which humans have contributed to climate change. 

      In the latest report from 2013, the IPCC was “95 percent certain that humans are the main cause of current global warming.”

      In 2018, oil companies like Chevron began admitting in court that human activities are changing the climate.

      Read more in Vox: https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2018/3/28/17152804/climate-change-federal-court-chevron

    2. The warming could be due to natural variability, anthropogenic effects, or more likely a combination of both.

      Climate scientists have been working on ways to visualize changing global temperatures. One way is to present a spiraling graphic of monthly temperature data going back to the year 1850, where a series of concentric circles represents incremental increases in global temperature.

      When viewed alongside carbon dioxide concentrations emitted by fossil fuels, there is a clear correlation between temperature and carbon dioxide.

      Since 2010 when this paper was published, enough evidence has accumulated that 95% of climate scientists agree that climate change is being driven primarily by human activities.

      View the animation and read more in the Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/07/28/these-climate-spirals-perfectly-illustrate-the-human-hand-in-global-climate-change/?utm_term=.34a3c771b2e3

    3. 1997 El Ñino

      Want to see how the 1997 event was different from the El Niño event in 2015-2016?

      Check out this Washington Post article: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/capital-weather-gang/wp/2015/08/13/el-nino-then-and-now-a-side-by-side-comparison-of-1997-and-2015/?utm_term=.48a1ef8932e3

      Or read more in the Los Angeles Times: http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-0822-el-nino-1997-20150822-story.html

    4. rest of 1998

      La Niña is the counterpart to El Niño and involves cooler than average waters across the equatorial Pacific Ocean.

      "Both El Niño and La Niña can alter wind and water currents across the globe, causing extreme weather that can kill thousands of people and result in billions of dollars in damage."

      The 1998-1999 La Niña event was particularly extreme, causing droughts in the southwest US and thousands of deaths in regions across the globe, including China, Venezuela, Bangladesh, Honduras, and Nicaragua.

      Read more in the article by LiveScience: https://www.livescience.com/49572-la-nina-events-increase-climate-change.html

    5. minimize computer time required for completion of the time integrations of these numerical experiments

      "A global climate model typically contains enough computer code to fill 18,000 pages of printed text; it will have taken hundreds of scientists many years to build and improve; and it can require a supercomputer the size of a tennis court to run."

      Running a global climate model can take a long time, even with a super computer (days to weeks). Finding ways to run models more efficiently saves both time and money.

      Read more in the Carbon Brief: https://www.carbonbrief.org/qa-how-do-climate-models-work

    6. lack of deep-ocean observations

      The costs of going to sea add up: the captain, crew, and scientists must have food and income, and the ship must have power. Deploying sensors to great depths in the ocean typically requires that a ship remain stationed in place, taking up time that could be spent heading to port.

      Because of the difficulty of reaching it, the deep ocean is still mostly unexplored and is considered by some to be Earth's "final frontier." In addition to studying the unique organisms that thrive deep in the ocean, scientists are also focused on examining how changes in deep sea temperatures affect global climate.

      Read more in LiveScience: https://www.livescience.com/30890-ocean-deep-mysteries-exploration.html

    1. major challenges still hamper the once assumed imminent translation of microbiome monitoring into diagnostic and clinical practice

      Probiotics are live microorganisms that are sold as a therapeutic food used to treat gut microbiome imbalances, but their usefulness has not yet been conclusively demonstrated. To market these probiotics, some diagnostic centers offer a microbiome analysis to characterize shifts from the "normal" composition, even while the definition of "normal" has yet to be broadly defined. In some countries such as the United States, food supplements are not regulated the same as drugs. New policies on therapeutic foods will need to be developed as personalized nutrition and precision medicine become a reality. Read more from the Regulatory Affairs Professionals Society.

    2. The discovery of these associations has stimulated the search for specific microbiome-based biomarkers for a wide range of pathologies

      Gut microbiome studies have suggested many associations between composition and human health. This has prompted the development of fecal transplants for the treatment of Clostridium difficile infections, a bacterium that causes intestinal symptoms like diarrhea. Based on the success of fecal microbiota transfer in recurrent C. diff infections, this potential "treatment" is now being studied for all kinds of diseases that are being linked to the intestinal microbiome, from obesity to autism spectrum disorders.

      Read more in The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/mar/31/bacteria-faecal-transplant-gut-mary-roach-gulp

    1. It seems likely, then, that most of the 64 possible triplets will be grouped into 20 groups.

      Scientists have since tried to extend the genetic code to encode for more than the 20 natural amino acids. Read more in Science.

    1. Current editing tools, based on programmable nucleases

      Check out this interview with author Feng Zhang about the development and potential uses of CRISPR technology. Dr. Zheng also compares Cas9 and Cpf1 nucleases.

      To see an animation for how Cas9 works, check out this video.

    2. small enough to fit within the packaging limit of AAV vectors

      The wild type Cas9 is also a relatively big protein at 1368 amino acids. It is too long for many applications, including packaging into viral particles. Recently, scientists have developed a way to dramatically reduce the Cas9 size while retaining its DNA binding properties.

      Smaller orthologs of Cas9, like saCas9, can also be used. Some therapeutic companies are now using this for viral delivery.

  21. Mar 2019
    1. This example shows that reproductive isolation, which typically develops over hundreds of generations, can be established in only three.

      Read more from two of the authors of this paper explaining how Darwin's finches in the Galapagos provided the basis for novel insights into genetic divergence.

      In Science: http://science.sciencemag.org/content/355/6328/910

    2. Interbreeding of two species

      Though interbreeding can be a source of genetic diversity for populations, it also can be a challenge when deciding which populations of a species are eligible for protection when conservation decisions are made.

      Read more in Science: http://science.sciencemag.org/content/362/6416/789.3

    1. A major promise of optogenetics has been the potential for dissection of disease circuitry and treatment mechanisms.

      Learn more about the history and potential of optogenetics from Karl Deisseroth's piece in Scientific American.

    2. major depression

      To learn more about deep brain stimulation as a treatment for depression, check out this 2018 article in The Atlantic.

    1. world ocean could store large amounts of heat

      It is possible to think of "global warming" as "ocean warming" because so much heat from the atmosphere makes its way into the world ocean.

      It is difficult to measure the temperature of the oceans because of how large and deep they are. It is also challenging to track this data over time and examine long-term trends. 

      Read more in The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2017/jun/26/new-study-confirms-the-oceans-are-warming-rapidly

    1. Transmitter plasticity adds a newly recognized dimension of flexibility to nervous system function.

      Learn more about the concept of neuroplasticity with this iBiology video. Nobel Prize-winning neurobiologist Dr. Eric Kandel explains how neuroplasticity modifies our nervous system. 

  22. Feb 2019
    1. public opinion and social pressure may very well shift

      his article from Science discusses how companies and academic researchers are trying to change the public's distrust of self-driving cars, through advertising, free rides in a safe environment, and other methods.

      Read more at Science: http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/12/people-don-t-trust-driverless-cars-researchers-are-trying-change

    2. liability considerations

      This article from Gizmodo asks transportation experts, ethicists, and lawyers who will be blamed if a self-driving car hurts someone. There is no clear answer.

      Read more at Gizmodo: https://gizmodo.com/if-a-self-driving-car-kills-a-pedestrian-who-is-at-fau-1790049637

    3. these same people have a personal incentive to ride in AVs that will protect them at all costs

      This 2016 article from Fortune discusses how the car manufacturer Mercedes-Benz has decided to program its Level 4 (highly automated) and Level 5 (fully automated) self-driving cars to protect their passengers above everything else.

      Read more at Fortune: http://fortune.com/2016/10/15/mercedes-self-driving-car-ethics/

    1. substantially reduce crop yields

      An increase in temperature of 2-4 degrees C could significantly reduce corn yields and other vegetables, making it even harder for people to get the necessary nutrients they need.

      Read more at Inside Climate News: https://insideclimatenews.org/news/11062018/climate-change-research-food-security-agriculture-impacts-corn-vegetables-crop-prices

  23. Jan 2019
    1. we compiled evidence for the earliest dog remains across Eurasia

      Remains aren't the only type of archaeologically significant findings. Recently, cliff drawings were found in northwest Saudi Arabia depicting hunting dogs wearing leashes. These carvings date back to more than 8000 years ago, making them the earliest depictions of dogs ever found.

      Read more in Science Magazine: https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/11/these-may-be-world-s-first-images-dogs-and-they-re-wearing-leashes

    2. Two genetically differentiated and potentially extinct wolf populations in Eastern (8, 9) and Western (7) Eurasia may have been independently domesticated before the advent of settled agriculture

      Scientists don't always agree. A paper published in 2017 disagrees with the dual origins theory presented here. To learn more about the disagreement, check out this article in the Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2017/07/18/your-dogs-ancestor-came-from-a-group-of-wolves-40000-years-ago-study-says/

    3. transportation of dogs from east to west

      It was already known that American dogs came from Europe, but in 2017 scientists found evidence that dogs also came with humans across the Bering land bridge—a small piece of land that once connected North America and Russia.

      Read more in Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/sites/grrlscientist/2017/04/25/old-dog-new-dog-genetic-map-tracks-the-evolution-of-mans-best-friend/

    4. evolutionary history of dogs

      After their domestication, dogs were selected to perform specific tasks. Some were used for hunting, some for sledding.

      The domestication of cats doesn't appear to have been as deliberate as dog domestication. As a result, dog breeds are very different from each other, whereas cats didn't change very much from their wild ancestors when they were domesticated.

      Read more at National Geographic: https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/06/domesticated-cats-dna-genetics-pets-science

  24. Dec 2018
    1. Human-based studies such as the ENCODE (Encyclopedia of DNA Elements) (Ecker et al. 2012) and “Human Microbiome” projects (Turnbaugh et al. 2007) demonstrate the extraordinary power of genomic technologies to produce data resources that can promote hypothesis generation and more powerful analytical tools.

      Read more on New York Times, which illustrates the founding and main goal in regards to the Human Microbiome projects.

    2. These include the sessile mangrove tunicate, Ecteinascidia turbinata, and the development of the anti-cancer drug, ET-743 (Yondelis®).

      Read more in The Pharmaletter's article, where Zeltia's president has begun second-phase testing with the ET-743 anti-cancer drug for breast cancer and sarcomas.

    3. Invertebrates are becoming increasingly important sources of protein for human nutrition worldwide. Particularly with the collapse of a number of vertebrate fisheries

      Read more in New York Times, where China's overfishing led to the inevitable diminishing of multiple species, which led to the collapse of fisheries whose livelihoods depended on the fish.


    1. a prominent position in current scenarios

      Looking at phenology through generations can aid us in understanding how the globe is changing. The video linked below shows how recording events can help humans connect and interact with biotic communities. URL: http://climatewisconsin.org/story/phenology

    2. conservation science

      As concern for extinction rates rises, the need for conservation efforts to counteract these rates grows as well. Areas are being mapped out throughout Earth that are ranked by their ecological and economic significance for sustaining life on our planet. For more information about applications of conservation science, follow this link to see research and applications done by Groves and his colleagues. (https://academic.oup.com/bioscience/article/52/6/499/240341)

    3. habitat fragmentation

      Habitat fragmentation is a direct cause for the extinction of many plant and animal species. However, a recent study found that timely actions could easily slow extinction rates and save species as we implement more effective conservation efforts.

      Read more in Science Daily: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/07/160725090002.htm

    1. Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs)

      As one of the consequences in the bloom of red algal in the Southern East coat waters, will lead to changes in the marine ecosystems that inhabit the waters by releasing toxicity as Harmful Algal Blooms.

      Read more at: https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/hazards/hab/

    2. Overall, the present work provides a basis to better understand how epi-genetic mechanisms participate in responses to environmental stress in marine invertebrates

      Another news story about possible epigenetic effects on marine life. This news story focuses on the current effects of the 1989 oil spill in Alaska on current herring populations.


    3. causing high mortality rates and annual losses in excess
    1. commercial cultivation in artificial settings

      Read More: In vitro seed germination and seedling growth of an endangered epiphytic orchid, Dendrobium officinale, endemic to China using mycorrhizal fungi (Tulasnella sp.)

      Tan et al. 2014


    1. The assumption that stratified lichens are constructed by a single fungus with differentiated cell types is so central to the definition of the lichen symbiosis that it has been codified into lichen nomenclature

      Check out this video from SciShow where Hank Green interviews lead author, Toby Spribille, about his research and conclusions. The interview describes the findings, clarifies the different groups of fungi discussed, and describes how they are related to one another. Spribille describes the differences between Ascomycetes and Basidiomycetes and the radiations in the fungal lineage.

    2. over 140 years

      Well-known children's book author Beatrix Potter was one of the earliest proponents of the symbiotic nature of lichens in the English-speaking world.

      Read more in the BBC: http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20160215-beatrix-potter-pioneering-scientist-or-passionate-amateur

    1. Drosophila is a useful and accessible model system in which to decipher the mechanisms by which social experiences interact with reward systems

      The authors of this paper have made good on this assertion. In a follow-up study published recently (2018)30368-3), researchers have shown that the mere act of ejaculation, even if triggered artificially in the lab, can affect how much male flies drink. This more recent research is summarized in the following article: https://www.sciencenews.org/article/male-fruit-flies-enjoy-ejaculation

    2. Flies from each cohort

      Here is a video showing the distinct experiences of the males in the two groups. In the first portion of the video, you will see a male successfully mate with a receptive female. You will then see a male unsuccessfully attempt to mate with an unreceptive female.


    3. Here, we extend studies in the Drosophila model

      Fruit flies are a good model organism for this kind of research; however, there is a danger of applying these findings too heavily to human behavior which is much more complex.

      Read more: https://mappingignorance.org/2016/11/23/sex-alcohol-flies/

    1. dogs, like pigs (22), may have been independently domesticated twice

      Some of the authors of this paper have also looked at the genetic information for domestication in other species, like pigs.

      To learn more about the similarities and differences of pig domestication compared to dog domestication, check out this article in Science Magazine: https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2015/08/taming-pig-took-some-wild-turns

  25. Nov 2018
    1. A start has been made to construct polynucleotides whose exact sequence is known at one end, but the results obtained so far are suggestive rather than conclusive (12).

      The 1980 Nobel Prize in chemistry went to Paul Berg, Walter Gilbert, and Frederick Sanger for successfully sequencing DNA! This scientific feat is now commonplace, generating a mixed response of enthusiasm and concern.

      Read more at NPR.org:


    1. Drosophila melanogaster

      The fruit fly. This particular species is commonly used by scientists as a model organism.

      To learn more about why Drosophila have become so commonly used in genetics research, check out this profile in The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/science/2016/sep/25/in-praise-of-the-humble-fruit-fly-genetics-research

    2.  Yob represents an excellent tool to be used in transgenic technology

      A lot of laboratory technologies derive from natural phenomena (PCR, restriction enzymes, viral vectors, etc.). The discovery of Yob is just the beginning of unlocking the power of what lies within. In an interview with The Scientist, the authors suggest pairing this new knowledge of the mosquito sex determination system with the use of CRISPR gene editing technologies to create mosquitoes that can express Yob on the autosomes. This would allow female-lethality to be passed on to subsequent generations.

      Read more in The Scientist: https://www.the-scientist.com/news-opinion/maleness-gene-found-in-malaria-mosquito-33283

    3. The sterile insect technique and other genetic control methods have been proposed to complement current efforts to suppress mosquito populations

      There are many scientific efforts afoot to control mosquito populations (especially those species who are vectors for disease) through the use of genetic methods. One such method used in California in 2017 released sterile A. aegypti mosquito males (sterile due to a bacterial infection) into the wild in efforts to reduce the local population.

      Read more at NPR: https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/07/21/538470321/to-shrink-the-mosquito-population-scientists-are-releasing-20-million-of-them

    4. This female-killing property may be an invaluable tool for creation of conditional male-only transgenic Anopheles strains for malaria control programs

      Malaria is a severe illness caused by parasites that are transmitted to humans (and other animals) from the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitos. With over 200 million cases of life-threatening malaria each year, scientists are looking for ways to eradicate the disease. Learning about the genetic pathways of sex determination in mosquitos can help, along with genetic technologies like CRISPR.

      Learn more about about how genetic modification of mosquitos might help in the fight against malaria in Vox. https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2018/5/31/17344406/crispr-mosquito-malaria-gene-drive-editing-target-africa-regulation-gmo

    1. we successfully isolated a bacterium capable of degrading and assimilating PET.

      There have been a variety of recent scientific reports focusing on degrading PET. While they are scientifically exciting, Chemical and Engineering News (C&EN News) wrote an article detailing work that needs to be done before such methods could be viable on a large scale.

      Read more at C&EN News: https://cen.acs.org/environment/sustainability/Plastics-recycling-microbes-worms-further/96/i25

    2. accumulation of PET in ecosystems

      In 2015, the Ocean Conservancy and McKinsey Center for Business and Environment showed that there will be 1 pound of plastic for every 3 pounds of fish by 2025.

      Here is the report in full: https://oceanconservancy.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/full-report-stemming-the.pdf

    1. incomplete nature of the archaeological record

      A recent study (2017) on fossils found in Siberia provides evidence for the earliest dog breeding program, but it doesn't necessarily contradict the research presented here. Read more in Science News: https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/05/earliest-evidence-dog-breeding-found-remote-siberian-island

    2. admixture signatures from wolves into Western Eurasian dogs

      In this 2016 study, we see that there's evidence of wolf DNA in dogs, but a study published in 2018 showed the first evidence for dog DNA in wild wolf populations. Read more: https://phys.org/news/2018-03-extent-cross-breeding-wild-wolves-domestic.html

    3. Despite their importance in human history

      Humans have had an emotional bond with dogs for a very long time—14,000 years, according to new archaeological evidence.

      Read more: https://phys.org/news/2018-02-emotional-bond-humans-dogs-dates.html

    1. Here we report on impairments in cocaine-addicted patients to act purposefully toward a given goal and on the influence of extended training on their behavior.

      For a summary of this article, see lead author Dr. Karen Ersche's story on the UK Medical Research Council's website:


  26. Oct 2018
    1. fruit fly

      Fruit flies have a long history of use in scientific (and especially medical) research. But why are they so popular? As insects, how do they contribute to our understanding of humans and other mammals?

      Fruit flies can perform many of the same essential neural functions (albeit in a simpler form) as mammalian brains, and they are very tractable to study (there are genetic tools to measure and manipulate neural circuitry, and their brain size is order of magnitudes smaller than mice or other mammals). The hope is that by understanding fruit flies, it will offer researchers a basis or framework for studying more sophisticated brains.

      Read more in The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2016/sep/25/in-praise-of-the-humble-fruit-fly-genetics-research

    1. large-scale cross-sectional fecal sampling effort in a confined geographic region

      Many other gut flora projects have since followed, including one that suggested there may be an association between household cleaners and BMI due to varying abundance of the microbe, Lachnospiraceae.

      Read more: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/article-household-cleaners-may-alter-kids-gut-flora-contribute-to-being-2/

    1. We next sought to determine whether this uncharacterized basidiomycete was specific to the studied Bryoria species or could be found in other lichens.

      How do scientists learn to ask the right questions about novel data?

      Read about the life and academic path of the first author in The Atlantic at: https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2016/07/how-a-guy-from-a-montana-trailer-park-upturned-150-years-of-biology/491702/

    2. The structurally important lichen cortex, long treated as a zone of differentiated ascomycete cells, appears to consistently contain two unrelated fungi.

      A 60-second podcast on the findings of this paper from Scientific American at: https://www.scientificamerican.com/podcast/episode/for-lichens-3-s-not-a-crowd/

    3. Here we show that many common lichens are composed of the known ascomycete, the photosynthesizing partner, and, unexpectedly, specific basidiomycete yeasts.

      Two's Company, Three's a Lichen?

      Read more about the results of this study in The New York Times Science column at: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/22/science/lichen-symbiotic-relationship.html

    1. environmentally benign

      Plastics are wreaking havoc to ecosystems all over the planet. An ecologically harmless solution for plastic recycling is desperately needed.

      Learn more from this 2012 case study created by Montana State University: https://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/health/case_studies/plastics.html

    2. Large quantities of PET have been introduced into the environment through its production and disposal,

      Plastic waste that ends up in the ocean can have a negative impact on aquatic wildlife. Furthermore, finding places to dispose of plastic on land can be challenging. Many countries are responding to the high levels of plastic pollution by regulating the use of single-use plastic.

      Read more about a recent agreement (2018) signed by many countries to combat ocean pollution: http://www.dw.com/en/g7-minus-two-leaders-agree-to-ocean-plastics-charter/a-44107774

    1. chlorofluorocarbons

      Compounds that contain chlorine, fluorine, and carbon. These types of compounds have previously been used in refrigerators, air conditioners, and in aerosol spray cans. These molecules were determined to be main contributors to the ozone hole in the stratosphere.

      In 1987 the Montreal Protocol was passed as an international treaty to limit the emissions of chlorofluorocarbons and protect the ozone layer.

      Read more about the ozone layer at the EPA: https://www.epa.gov/ozone-layer-protection

      See how the world might look if the Montreal Protocol did not exist at NASA: https://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/3586

    2. Chemical manufacturers have reformulated products to reduce aromatic content, such as in cleaning agents (33). However, single- and multiple-ring aromatics are still present in products and in indoor air (32), and they contribute to SOA outdoors (44, 58).

      Manufacturers of various products have tried to eliminate the use of VOCs that are known air toxins, but many VOCs that are precursors to SOAs are still present in everyday products.

    3. The rest is from upstream sources associated with oil and natural gas production and distribution.

      To see how this finding was covered in traditional media.

      Read more at the Los Angeles Times: http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-la-smog-petroleum-20180215-story.html

    4. At national and urban scales, we attribute 15 to 42% of petrochemical VOCs to mobile sources and 39 to 62% of petrochemical VOCs to VCPs.

      To see how this finding was covered in traditional media.

      Read more at The New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/16/climate/perfume-pollution-smog.html

    5. he relatively low VOC emission factor for on-road gasoline engines today (Fig. 2) results from (i) combustion oxidizing most hydrocarbons in fuel to carbon dioxide, and (ii) the increasing effectiveness of modern three-way catalytic converters in reducing tailpipe VOC emissions over multiple decades (5–7).

      Air pollution from automobiles has been greatly reduced by the use of catalytic converters. Catalytic converters have an interesting history.

      Read more at the Royal Society of Chemistry:


    6. Chemical feedstocks are almost entirely derived from fossil hydrocarbons (18) and are transformed to chemicals found in everyday household products (tables S1 to S3).

      Chemicals are primarily made with fossil fuels. An ever growing field of research in chemistry, known as Green Chemistry, seeks to find ways of performing chemistry that reduce environmental impacts.

      Read more at Scientific American:


    7. It is thus critical to identify and quantify the most important human-produced sources of VOC emissions to effectively mitigate air pollution and improve human health.

      Regulations on sulfur content of automobiles helps improve air quality.

      Read more at Scientific American:


    8. Existing U.S. regulations on VCPs emphasize mitigating ozone and air toxics

      Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) have been shown to have a negative impact on human health, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In October 2018, the EPA announced it would disband its Particulate Matter Review Panel.

      Read more in The New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/11/climate/epa-disbands-pollution-science-panel.html

    9. A gap in emission inventories

      When we think of air pollution, automobile exhaust is one of the first images that comes to mind, but other sources of air pollution are also responsible.

      Read more at CBS News:


    1. Assessments of climate change on species’ ranges need to account for observations across the full extent of species’ latitudinal and thermal limits and explicitly test for interactions with other global change drivers.

      This type of assessment is important for determining threat statuses for species, such as International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species (see here to look at an assessment done for the Rusty Patched Bumbebee).

      These assessments are also important for planning conservation actions as part of initiatives like the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Environmental Protection Agency's Pollinator Health Task Force, which was established to "[promote] the health of honey bees and other pollinators (including birds, bats, butterflies, and insects)".

    2. Neonicotinoid effects known from individual and colony levels certainly contribute to pollinator declines and could degrade local pollination services.

      This was shown again in some recent 2017 studies, find out more in this Science Perspectives piece.

    3. contribute more to these services than bumblebees (Bombus)

      Visit the Bumblebee Conservation Trust for more info on what makes bumblebees such great pollinators.

    1. Image of a water-harvesting prototype with activated MOF-801
    2. Although MOFs have already been considered in numerous applications

      MOFs are porous materials that can be used to capture and release a variety of ions and small molecules.

      Read more and listen to a podcast in Chemistry World: https://www.chemistryworld.com/podcasts/mofs-metalorganic-frameworks-/3007204.article

    3. Two-thirds of the world’s population is experiencing water shortages

      Less than 1% of the total water on Earth is drinkable and easily accessible. Due to an uneven distribution, the world is facing a global water crisis, and billions of people do not have regular access to clean drinking water.

      Read more on National Geographic: https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2018/03/world-water-day-water-crisis-explained/

    4. low humidity levels (down to 20%)

      In arid areas, where an efficient water-harvesting system is most needed, the relative humidity can go as low as about 20% with extremely large temperature variations.

      Read more on Sciencing: https://sciencing.com/humidity-mojave-desert-19526.html

    5. The water in the form of vapor and droplets in the atmosphere, estimated to be about 13 thousand trillion liters

      Where is Earth's water? The water contained in the atmosphere represents about 0.001% of the total water on Earth, and about 3% of the accessible freshwater.

      Read more on USGS: https://water.usgs.gov/edu/earthwherewater.html

  27. Sep 2018
    1. ambient VOC measurements

      The VOC measurements were part of a large community-wide effort by atmospheric scientists to better understand issues posed by air pollution and climate change in California. A link to the field study (including a white paper and policy-relevant findings) can be found at: https://www.esrl.noaa.gov/csd/projects/calnex/.

    1. SST and the maximum potential hurricane intensity

      According to a CBS News article from 2017:

      Numerous studies have "confirmed the importance of sea surface temperature in controlling hurricane maximum intensity, and suggest an increase of 2-3 percent in hurricane strength per 1 Celsius degree increase in sea surface temperature under favorable conditions."

      However directly connecting individual storms to the increasing sea surface temperatures related to climate change is still a difficult proposition. This is because "on top of the day-to-day intensity fluctuations due to local environmental conditions, hurricanes may also possess chaotic behaviors that cause their intensity to highly vary."

      Read this article at CBS News: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/does-climate-change-affect-hurricanes/