Body

Just a little mechanical strain can cause a large drop in the maximum current carried by high-temperature superconductors, according to novel measurements carried out by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

At any given time, most of the roughly 30,000 genes that constitute the human genome are inactive, or repressed, closed to the cellular machinery that transcribes genes into the proteins of the body. In an average cell, only about one in ten genes is active, or expressed, at any given moment, with its DNA open to the cell' transcriptional machinery.

In a thought-provoking paper from the March issue of The Quarterly Review of Biology , Elliott Sober (University of Wisconsin) clearly discusses the problems with two standard criticisms of intelligent design: that it is unfalsifiable and that the many imperfect adaptations found in nature refute the hypothesis of intelligent design.

Researchers at the University at Buffalo and the University of Utah are beginning a clinical trial to test whether aspirin can improve a woman's chances of becoming pregnant and of maintaining a pregnancy to term.

UB's portion of the study is funded by a $2.8 million grant from the National Institute of Child Health and Development.

The trial is aimed at women who have miscarried a pregnancy in the past year.

Habitual intake of caffeinated beverages provides protection against heart disease mortality in the elderly, say researchers at SUNY Downstate Medical Center and Brooklyn College.

Using data from the first federal National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey Epidemiologic Follow-up Study, the researchers found that survey participants 65 or more years old with higher caffeinated beverage intake exhibited lower relative risk of coronary vascular disease and heart mortality than did participants with lower caffeinated beverage intake.

African and African American women are more likely to die of breast cancer than their white counterparts because they tend to get the disease before the menopause, suggests new research from the University of East Anglia and the Children’s Hospital Boston in collaboration with researchers in the US and Italy.

The simultaneous effect of habitat fragmentation, overexploitation, and climate warming could accelerate the decline of populations and substantially increase their risk of extinction, a study published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B has warned.The viability of many marine and terrestrial species could be impaired due to interacting human activities that cause the loss of species' habitats, overexploitation of their populations and warming of their environments. Credit: Top left: John Veron from Corals of the World.

A new statistical method of determining genetic traits that influence social interactions among animals may provide for more productive livestock.

Scientists from Purdue University, the Netherlands and England designed mathematical equations based on traits to choose animals that are more congenial in groups, said William Muir, a Purdue Department of Animal Sciences geneticist. The new method is a tool that may contribute both to animal well-being and to securing the world's future food supply, including possibly permitting more animals to be domesticated, Muir said.

In the first genome-wide search for the genetic roots of the most common form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Johns Hopkins scientists have newly identified 34 unique variations in the human genetic code among 276 unrelated subjects with ALS.

The 34 so-called single nucleotide polymorphisms, or SNPs, represent good candidate genes predisposing people to the non-inherited form of the fatal neurodegenerative disease.

Newborns with respiratory distress should be evaluated for primary ciliary dyskinesia, a rare genetic disease that has features similar to cystic fibrosis, says Thomas Ferkol, M.D., from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. He reports finding that about 80 percent of patients with primary ciliary dyskinesia (PCD) have a history of newborn respiratory distress.

A  report of the American Psychological Association (APA) released today found evidence that the proliferation of sexualized images of girls and young women in advertising, merchandising, and media is harmful to girls' self-image and healthy development.

In almost all forms of heart failure, the heart begins to express genes that are normally only expressed in the fetal heart. Researchers have known for years that this fetal-gene reactivation happens, yet not what regulates it. Now, investigators at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have discovered that an enzyme important in fetal heart-cell development regulates the enlargement of heart cells, known as cardiac hypertrophy, which is a precursor to many forms of congestive heart failure (CHF).

The life cycles of many viruses include a self-assembly stage in which a powerful molecular motor must pack the DNA genome into the virus's preformed shell (the capsid). How it manages this intricate feat has been subject to debate, but we know that the DNA passes into the capsid shell through a channel formed by a structure called the connector. Scientists have speculated that rotation of the connector complex might feed the DNA into the capsid as it turns.

How does the heart attain its characteristic shape? Shape may be sculpted by cell movement, cell division, or changes in cell size and shape, all of which can be influenced by the local environment. The heart appears as a simple tube early in development; later, the tube walls bulge outward to form the cardiac chambers.

The current battle between the makers of anti-wrinkle products – widely compared with the Coke and Pepsi struggle for superiority – is receiving an injection of scientific understanding with the release of a new study from the University of Michigan Health System.