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Earth’s early atmosphere may have been toxic like the one on Venus

Genetically modified organisms (GMO) - Wed, 2020-11-25 21:00
After the moon formed, Earth was probably left with an ocean of molten rock, which may have given the planet a thick atmosphere full of carbon dioxide like the one on Venus
Categories: Science and society

Huge reservoir of fresh water found beneath the sea off Hawaii

Genetically modified organisms (GMO) - Wed, 2020-11-25 21:00
A huge cache of fresh water found beneath the sea floor off the western coast of Hawaii’s Big Island could lift the threat of drought for people living there
Categories: Science and society

Wasps in Australia are endangering planes by building nests on them

Genetically modified organisms (GMO) - Wed, 2020-11-25 21:00
Keyhole wasps, notorious for building nests in manufactured structures, have caused aircraft safety incidents by inhabiting crucial plane parts at Brisbane Airport
Categories: Science and society

The fluid in between your cells could help reveal health problems

Genetically modified organisms (GMO) - Wed, 2020-11-25 21:00
The liquid between your cells accounts for around a quarter of all of your bodily fluid. A patch consisting of tiny needles could monitor this liquid to check for health conditions like diabetes
Categories: Science and society

Can mass testing schemes stop the spread of the coronavirus?

Genetically modified organisms (GMO) - Wed, 2020-11-25 19:25
Widespread testing can help contain the coronavirus, but only when combined with other vital measures
Categories: Science and society

Superintelligence review: A fun take on the AI apocalypse storyline

Genetically modified organisms (GMO) - Wed, 2020-11-25 19:00
In Superintelligence, Melissa McCarthy plays a character who must show a sentient AI that humanity is worth saving. The film is a strange but captivating mix of rom-com sci-fi and action
Categories: Science and society

Covid-19 news: Third wave is likely after UK Christmas covid-19 plan

Genetically modified organisms (GMO) - Wed, 2020-11-25 18:57
The latest coronavirus news updated every day including coronavirus cases, the latest news, features and interviews from New Scientist and essential information about the covid-19 pandemic
Categories: Science and society

Tiny toucan-like bird with a single tooth flew during the dinosaur era

Genetically modified organisms (GMO) - Wed, 2020-11-25 18:00
Bird fossils from the age of the dinosaurs are rare because they are so delicate that they often don’t last, but a recent find reveals an odd ancient bird
Categories: Science and society

The universe is expanding too fast, and that could rewrite cosmology

Genetically modified organisms (GMO) - Wed, 2020-11-25 14:00
Different measurements of the Hubble constant, the rate of space-time expansion, refuse to agree – meaning we may have to look beyond Einstein’s theories to explain the universe
Categories: Science and society

Mosquitoes carry more malaria parasites depending on when they bite

Genetically modified organisms (GMO) - Wed, 2020-11-25 02:01
When a malaria-infected bird is bitten by mosquitoes over the course of 3 hours, the first insects to feed end up carrying fewer malaria parasites than those that bite later
Categories: Science and society

Climate change has revealed a huge haul of ancient arrows in Norway

Genetically modified organisms (GMO) - Wed, 2020-11-25 02:01
An extraordinary number of arrows dating from the Stone Age to the medieval period have melted out of a single ice patch on a Norwegian mountainside in recent years because of climate change
Categories: Science and society

Improved genetically encoded near-infrared fluorescent calcium ion indicators for <i>in vivo</i> imaging

PLOS Biology (new articles) - Wed, 2020-11-25 00:00

by Yong Qian, Danielle M. Orozco Cosio, Kiryl D. Piatkevich, Sarah Aufmkolk, Wan-Chi Su, Orhan T. Celiker, Anne Schohl, Mitchell H. Murdock, Abhi Aggarwal, Yu-Fen Chang, Paul W. Wiseman, Edward S. Ruthazer, Edward S. Boyden, Robert E. Campbell

Near-infrared (NIR) genetically encoded calcium ion (Ca2+) indicators (GECIs) can provide advantages over visible wavelength fluorescent GECIs in terms of reduced phototoxicity, minimal spectral cross talk with visible light excitable optogenetic tools and fluorescent probes, and decreased scattering and absorption in mammalian tissues. Our previously reported NIR GECI, NIR-GECO1, has these advantages but also has several disadvantages including lower brightness and limited fluorescence response compared to state-of-the-art visible wavelength GECIs, when used for imaging of neuronal activity. Here, we report 2 improved NIR GECI variants, designated NIR-GECO2 and NIR-GECO2G, derived from NIR-GECO1. We characterized the performance of the new NIR GECIs in cultured cells, acute mouse brain slices, and Caenorhabditis elegans and Xenopus laevis in vivo. Our results demonstrate that NIR-GECO2 and NIR-GECO2G provide substantial improvements over NIR-GECO1 for imaging of neuronal Ca2+ dynamics.
Categories: Biology, Journals

Climate change and disease in plant communities

PLOS Biology (new articles) - Wed, 2020-11-25 00:00

by Jeremy J. Burdon, Jiasui Zhan

Climate change is triggering similar effects on the incidence and severity of disease for crops in agriculture and wild plants in natural communities. The complexity of natural ecosystems, however, generates a complex array of interactions between wild plants and pathogens in marked contrast to those generated in the structural and species simplicity of most agricultural crops. Understanding the different impacts of climate change on agricultural and natural ecosystems requires accounting for the specific interactions between an individual pathogen and its host(s) and their subsequent effects on the interplay between the host and other species in the community. Ultimately, progress will require looking past short-term fluctuations to multiyear trends to understand the nature and extent of plant and pathogen evolutionary adaptation and determine the fate of plants under future climate change.
Categories: Biology, Journals

Understanding how temperature shifts could impact infectious disease

PLOS Biology (new articles) - Wed, 2020-11-25 00:00

by Jason R. Rohr, Jeremy M. Cohen

Climate change is expected to have complex effects on infectious diseases, causing some to increase, others to decrease, and many to shift their distributions. There have been several important advances in understanding the role of climate and climate change on wildlife and human infectious disease dynamics over the past several years. This essay examines 3 major areas of advancement, which include improvements to mechanistic disease models, investigations into the importance of climate variability to disease dynamics, and understanding the consequences of thermal mismatches between host and parasites. Applying the new information derived from these advances to climate–disease models and addressing the pressing knowledge gaps that we identify should improve the capacity to predict how climate change will affect disease risk for both wildlife and humans.
Categories: Biology, Journals

Evolution and lineage dynamics of a transmissible cancer in Tasmanian devils

PLOS Biology (new articles) - Wed, 2020-11-25 00:00

by Young Mi Kwon, Kevin Gori, Naomi Park, Nicole Potts, Kate Swift, Jinhong Wang, Maximilian R. Stammnitz, Naomi Cannell, Adrian Baez-Ortega, Sebastien Comte, Samantha Fox, Colette Harmsen, Stewart Huxtable, Menna Jones, Alexandre Kreiss, Clare Lawrence, Billie Lazenby, Sarah Peck, Ruth Pye, Gregory Woods, Mona Zimmermann, David C. Wedge, David Pemberton, Michael R. Stratton, Rodrigo Hamede, Elizabeth P. Murchison

Devil facial tumour 1 (DFT1) is a transmissible cancer clone endangering the Tasmanian devil. The expansion of DFT1 across Tasmania has been documented, but little is known of its evolutionary history. We analysed genomes of 648 DFT1 tumours collected throughout the disease range between 2003 and 2018. DFT1 diverged early into five clades, three spreading widely and two failing to persist. One clade has replaced others at several sites, and rates of DFT1 coinfection are high. DFT1 gradually accumulates copy number variants (CNVs), and its telomere lengths are short but constant. Recurrent CNVs reveal genes under positive selection, sites of genome instability, and repeated loss of a small derived chromosome. Cultured DFT1 cell lines have increased CNV frequency and undergo highly reproducible convergent evolution. Overall, DFT1 is a remarkably stable lineage whose genome illustrates how cancer cells adapt to diverse environments and persist in a parasitic niche.
Categories: Biology, Journals

Building resilience to mosquito-borne diseases in the Caribbean

PLOS Biology (new articles) - Wed, 2020-11-25 00:00

by Rachel Lowe, Sadie J. Ryan, Roché Mahon, Cedric J. Van Meerbeeck, Adrian R. Trotman, Laura-Lee G. Boodram, Mercy J. Borbor-Cordova, Anna M. Stewart-Ibarra

Small island developing states in the Caribbean are among the most vulnerable countries on the planet to climate variability and climate change. In the last 3 decades, the Caribbean region has undergone frequent and intense heat waves, storms, floods, and droughts. This has had a detrimental impact on population health and well-being, including an increase in infectious disease outbreaks. Recent advances in climate science have enhanced our ability to anticipate hydrometeorological hazards and associated public health challenges. Here, we discuss progress towards bridging the gap between climate science and public health decision-making in the Caribbean to build health system resilience to extreme climatic events. We focus on the development of climate services to help manage mosquito-transmitted disease epidemics. There are numerous areas of ongoing biological research aimed at better understanding the direct and indirect impacts of climate change on the transmission of mosquito-borne diseases. Here, we emphasise additional factors that affect our ability to operationalise this biological understanding. We highlight a lack of financial resources, technical expertise, data sharing, and formalised partnerships between climate and health communities as major limiting factors to developing sustainable climate services for health. Recommendations include investing in integrated climate, health and mosquito surveillance systems, building regional and local human resource capacities, and designing national and regional cross-sectoral policies and national action plans. This will contribute towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and maximising regional development partnerships and co-benefits for improved health and well-being in the Caribbean.
Categories: Biology, Journals

Effects of climate change on parasites and disease in estuarine and nearshore environments

PLOS Biology (new articles) - Wed, 2020-11-25 00:00

by James E. Byers

Information on parasites and disease in marine ecosystems lags behind terrestrial systems, increasing the challenge of predicting responses of marine host–parasite systems to climate change. However, here I examine several generalizable aspects and research priorities. First, I advocate that quantification and comparison of host and parasite thermal performance curves is a smart approach to improve predictions of temperature effects on disease. Marine invertebrate species are ectothermic and should be highly conducive to this approach given their generally short generation times. Second, in marine systems, shallow subtidal and intertidal areas will experience the biggest temperature swings and thus likely see the most changes to host–parasite dynamics. Third, for some responses like parasite intensity, as long as the lethal limit of the parasite is not crossed, on average, there may be a biological basis to expect temperature-dependent intensification of impacts on hosts. Fourth, because secondary mortality effects and indirect effects of parasites can be very important, we need to study temperature effects on host–parasite dynamics in a community context to truly know their bottom line effects. This includes examining climate-influenced effects of parasites on ecosystem engineers given their pivotal role in communities. Finally, other global change factors, especially hypoxia, salinity, and ocean acidity, covary with temperature change and need to be considered and evaluated when possible for their contributing effects on host–parasite systems. Climate change–disease interactions in nearshore marine environments are complex; however, generalities are possible and continued research, especially in the areas outlined here, will improve our understanding.
Categories: Biology, Journals

Reading Facebook comments on news articles can make you a toxic person

Genetically modified organisms (GMO) - Tue, 2020-11-24 15:04
People who read comments on Facebook posts by news outlets are more likely to use toxic language when making comments themselves, researchers have claimed
Categories: Science and society

The meat of protected African animals is being sold in Belgium

Genetically modified organisms (GMO) - Tue, 2020-11-24 10:00
The meat of several protected species, including the red-tailed and De Brazza’s monkeys, is being illegally sold in Belgium
Categories: Science and society