Category Archives: News & Archives

How whales defy the cancer odds: Good genes

Scientists know that age and weight are risk factors in the development of cancer. That should mean that whales, which include some of the largest and longest-lived animals on Earth, have an outsized risk of developing cancer. But they don't. Instead, they are less likely to develop or die of this enigmatic disease. The same…
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Monarch butterfly populations are on the rise

The latest survey of monarch butterfly habitat in Mexico is a testament to the power of conservation. The area of forest occupied by hibernating monarch butterflies in Mexico has increased by 144% in relation to last year’s survey—the biggest growth in the past 12 years. A new colony of monarchs was also found in the…
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CRISPR gene-editing creates wave of exotic model organisms

Joseph Parker has wanted to know what makes rove beetles tick since he was seven years old. The entomologist has spent decades collecting and observing the insects, some of which live among ants and feed on their larvae. But without tools for studying the genetic and brain mechanisms behind the beetles’ behaviour, Parker focused his…
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Researchers identify largest carnivorous mammals ever to live on land

Twenty-three million years ago, a giant carnivore larger than any modern-day lion or polar bear stalked sub-Saharan Africa, according to the fossils of a previously undiscovered species that spent decades in a museum drawer. Portions of the animal's jaw, skull and skeleton, including enormous teeth, were discovered in a drawer at the National Museums of…
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Bloodsucking worms from invasive pythons in Florida may spread across US, study finds

Burmese pythons are a big, invasive problem in Florida — but an invasive parasite carried inside those snakes could spread further than the reptiles themselves, a new study finds. Scientists discovered the non-native bloodsucking worms, which are called pentastomes, crawling in the lungs of three dead pygmy rattlesnakes in Central Florida last year, according to a…
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A Mysterious Infection, Spanning the Globe in a Climate of Secrecy

Last May, an elderly man was admitted to the Brooklyn branch of Mount Sinai Hospital for abdominal surgery. A blood test revealed that he was infected with a newly discovered germ as deadly as it was mysterious. Doctors swiftly isolated him in the intensive care unit. The germ, a fungus called Candida auris, preys on…
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At 71, She’s Never Felt Pain or Anxiety. Now Scientists Know Why.

Jo Cameron has a rather unusual superpower: she doesn't feel pain, or only very slightly, and she didn't even realise this wasn't normal until she was in her 60s. Now scientists have identified the genetic mutation they think is responsible. While the idea of a pain-free life might sound appealing at first, pain is actually…
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A Clever New Strategy for Treating Cancer, Thanks to Darwin

The large outer leaves of the vegetables were “literally riddled with holes, more than half their substance being eaten away.” With each step he took around the ravaged cabbages, tiny swarms of little ash-gray moths rose from the ground and flitted away. This was, it appears, the first record in the United States of the diamond­back…
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