Body

At unprecedented levels of difficulty involving highly biodiverse and continent-sized landscapes, scientists have successfully tested their ability to identify and DNA "barcode" entire assemblages of species -- the prelude to a genetic portrait of all animal life on Earth.

Patients who have gone blind are a step closer to perhaps one day regaining some of their sight.

Researchers at the USC Doheny Eye Institute announced today the next step in their efforts to advance technology that hopefully will help patients with retinitis pigmentosa and macular degeneration regain some vision using an implanted artificial retina.

 A University of Queensland microbiologist is part of an international team that has identified a bacterial gene that may affect climate and weather. Dr Phil Bond, from UQ's Advanced Wastewater Management Centre, and his former colleagues at the University of East Anglia in England, have found how a particular type of marine bacteria – Marinomonas – generates a compound that is a key component in global sulfur and carbon cycles.

A new report on climate over the world's southernmost continent shows that temperatures during the late 20th century did not climb as had been predicted by many global climate models.

This comes soon after the latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that strongly supports the conclusion that the Earth's climate as a whole is warming, largely due to human activity.

Using the highest magnetic fields in the world, an international team of researchers has observed the quantum Hall effect – a much studied phenomenon of the quantum world – at room temperature.

Certain cancer risks can be passed down through families, the result of tiny changes in a family's genetic code. But not all genetic changes are deadly. To help medical counselors and physicians identify the mutations that pose the greatest health risks, researchers at four institutions, including Johns Hopkins, have developed and validated a new computer tool.

The rise of multicellular animals about 540 million years ago was a turning point in the history of life. A group of Finnish scientists suggests a new climate-biosphere interaction mechanism for the underlying processes in a new study, which will be published on February 14, 2007 in PLoS ONE, the international, peer-reviewed, open-access, online publication from the Public Library of Science (PLoS).

Imagine a cancer treatment tailored to the cells in a patient’s body, each person receiving a unique treatment program.

This is what Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council grantee Thomas Ruth and his colleagues hope to accomplish within the next decade. Using the TRIUMF particle accelerator based in Vancouver, British Columbia, they are taking vast amounts of radioactive material and separating the particular atoms they need for therapy.

Scientific studies of why foods such as Brussels sprouts and stout beer are horribly bitter-tasting to some people but palatable to others are shedding light on a number of questions, from the mechanisms of natural selection to understanding how our genes affect our dietary habits.

Dr. Stephen Wooding, a population geneticist at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, studies how slight variations in genes give rise to variations in traits among a given human population.

Industrial agriculture faces painful challenges: the end of cheap energy, depleted water resources, impaired ecosystem services, and unstable climates. Scientists searching for alternatives to the highly specialized, energy intensive industrial system might profitably look to the biological synergies inherent in multi-species systems, according to an article in the March-April 2007 issue of Agronomy Journal. The paper's author, Fred Kirschenmann, Distinguished Fellow for Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, Iowa State University, states that industrial agriculture assumes:

Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, have successfully generated electricity from heat by trapping organic molecules between metal nanoparticles, an achievement that could pave the way toward the development of a new source for energy.

For the first time, scientists have observed DNA being damaged by ultraviolet (UV) light.

Ohio State University chemists and their colleagues in Germany used a special technique to watch strands of DNA in the laboratory sustain damage in real time.

How do you get information from a preparation that is transparent? How can you still see a three-dimensional image through a microscope? Dutch researcher Rajesh S. Pillai investigated a new way of illuminating preparations under the microscope. For example, he could investigate the microstructure of food, which is important for the taste and shelf-life. Furthermore, this technique is highly promising for research into how fat is stored in the human body.

A blow with the hammer

“Regressive evolution,” or the reduction of traits over time, is the result of either natural selection or genetic drift, according to a study on cavefish by researchers at New York University’s Department of Biology, the University of California at Berkeley’s Department of Integrative Biology, and the Harvard Medical School. Previously, scientists could not determine which forces contributed to regressive evolution in cave-adapted species, and many doubt the role of natural selection in this process.

Does orange juice taste sweeter if it's a brighter orange? A new study in the March issue of the Journal of Consumer Research finds that the color of a drink can influence how we think it tastes. In fact, the researchers found that color was more of an influence on how taste was perceived than quality or price information.