Category Archives: News & Archives

Newly discovered nearby planet could support life

You may want to get used to the name Ross 128 b. The newly discovered exoplanet is the second-closest found to our solar system, only 11 light-years away. And it could support life. Announcements about exoplanets, those found outside our solar system, seem almost commonplace in this golden age of discovery for astronomers. So why…
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Ancient lizardlike creature bridged gap between land and sea

This beautifully preserved, nearly complete fossil is shedding new light on the evolution of the aquatic members of a small, enigmatic group of ancient reptiles called pleurosaurs. The bones belong to a new species of pleurosaur whose anatomical features weren’t fully adapted to water, but were on the way to enabling an aquatic lifestyle. The creature (which…
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When dinosaurs went extinct, many animals literally came out of the dark

The demise of dinosaurs was good news for mammals, whose numbers exploded in the aftermath. Now, a new study suggests that the behavior of mammals changed rapidly as well, as the first of our furry ancestors began venturing out in the daylight after living a primarily nocturnal existence. The switch may have even sparked the…
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Breast cancer genetics revealed: 72 new mutations discovered in global study

The genetic causes of breast cancer just got clearer. Researchers from 300 institutions around the world combined forces to discover 72 previously unknown gene mutations that lead to the development of breast cancer. Two studies describing their work published Monday in the journals Nature and Nature Genetics. The teams found that 65 of the newly identified genetic variants…
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Africa’s deadliest rapids give birth to new fish species

The world’s largest and deadliest rapids are also crucibles of life. According to a new study, the final stretch of Africa’s Congo River—which packs five times the water flow of the Mississippi River into just 320 kilometers—has likely given birth to several new fish species since it formed some 5 million years ago. That’s impressive,…
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New study suggests insect populations have declined by 75% over 3 decades

A new scientific study has found "dramatic" and "alarming" declines in insect populations in areas in Germany, which researchers say could have far-reaching consequences for the world's crop production and natural ecosystems. The study, published on Wednesday in peer-reviewed journal PLOS One has found that, in German nature reserves, flying insect populations have declined by…
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New gene variants reveal the evolution of human skin color

Most people associate Africans with dark skin. But different groups of people in Africa have almost every skin color on the planet, from deepest black in the Dinka of South Sudan to beige in the San of South Africa. Now, researchers have discovered a handful of new gene variants responsible for this palette of tones.…
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US scientists awarded Nobel in medicine for body clock insights

Three US scientists have won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine "for their discoveries of molecular mechanisms controlling the circadian rhythm," otherwise known as our biological clock, the Nobel committee said. Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael W. Young were awarded the prize for their research on how plants, humans and animals adapt…
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Gene editing of human embryos in UK reveals new fertility clue

The DNA of human embryos has been altered and studied for the first time in the UK, offering new insight into the early stages of human development. Scientists at the Francis Crick Institute, a medical research center, have identified the role of a key gene that controls how embryos form during the first few days…
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