Earth

JUPITER, FL--Chemists at Scripps Research have efficiently created three families of complex, oxygen-containing molecules that are normally obtainable only from plants.

These molecules, called terpenes, are potential starting points for new drugs and other high-value products--marking an important development for multiple industries. In addition, the new approach could allow chemists to build many other classes of compounds.

The chemistry feat is detailed in the Aug. 13 edition of the journal Science.

A recently discovered soot-free flame called a blue whirl - which consumes all fuel it encounters - actually consists of three different flame structures that swirl together into one otherworldly blue ring, according to the first study to identify how these unique flames form. By revealing the blue whirl's structure, the findings may inform potential applications of the flame for efficient, low-emission combustion. "Only if we understand its structure can we tame it, scale it, and create it at will," Joseph Chung and colleagues write in the study.

Tropical Depression 06W has been around for days, and continues to hold together as it moves in a westerly direction toward Taiwan in the Northwestern Pacific Ocean. NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite captured a visible image of the storm.

Patients with undiagnosed flu symptoms who actually had COVID-19 last winter were among thousands of undetected early cases of the disease at the beginning of this year. In a new paper in The Lancet's open-access journal EClinicalMedicine, epidemiological researchers from The University of Texas at Austin estimated COVID-19 to be far more widespread in Wuhan, China, and Seattle, Washington, weeks ahead of lockdown measures in each city.

Humans are not the only social animal struggling with new infectious diseases. When Hamilton College Associate Professor of Biology Andrea Townsend began studying the social behavior of American crows, her work was complicated by West Nile virus, an emerging disease with devastating effects on crow populations. Her research pivoted to investigating the effects of disease on crow social behavior. "It made me wonder how social animals should, in general, respond to novel diseases," Townsend said.

NASA's Aqua satellite obtained visible imagery of Hurricane Elida in the Eastern Pacific as it continued to weaken. Imagery revealed that Elida's eye had become covered as the storm embarks on a weakening trend over cooler waters.

New research using the most comprehensive study of feathered dinosaurs and early birds has revised the evolutionary relationships of dinosaurs at the origin of birds. An international team of researchers, led by Professors Michael Pittman and Rui Pei, at Hong Kong University, from five different countries, including McGill University Professor Hans Larsson published their findings in the journal Current Biology.

HOUSTON - (Aug. 12, 2020) - Rice University chemist Han Xiao and his team have successfully expanded the genetic code of Escherichia coli bacteria to produce a synthetic building block, a "noncanonical amino acid." The result is a living indicator for oxidative stress.

The work, they say, is a step toward technologies that will allow the generation of novel proteins and organisms with a variety of useful functions.

Their study appears in the Cell Press journal Chem.

COLUMBIA, Mo. - More than 380,000 babies are born prematurely in the United States each year, according to the March of Dimes. "Preemies" can be severely underweight babies and struggle to get the nutrients they need from breast milk alone, so neonatal intensive care units provide an additional milk fortifier, either in the form of cow's milk or manufactured from donor breast milk, to keep them healthy.

At the start of her 2008 field season at El Parque El Piñalito in the Misiones province in northeastern Argentina, Ilaria Agostini knew something was terribly wrong. Agostini has studied Misiones' two howler monkey species since 2005--brown (Alouatta guariba clamitans) and black and gold (A. caraya) howlers. Both lived at relatively low densities in the park, but still existed in one of the most continuous, well-preserved remnants of habitat known as the Atlantic Forest. She knows them better than anyone in the world.

AMES, Iowa - Scientists searching the most ancient corners of the genome of a reptile native to New Zealand found patterns that help explain how the genomes of all vertebrates took shape, according to a recently published study.

Electric fish generate electric pulses to communicate with other fish and sense their surroundings. Some species broadcast shorter electric pulses, while others send out long ones. But all that zip-zapping in the water can get confusing. The fish need to filter out their own pulses so they can identify external messages and only respond to those signals.

A solution to this problem is a brain function called a corollary discharge. It's sort of like a negative copy of the original message -- something that tells the fish: Ignore this.

Eric Ross and Sean Cascarina, biochemistry and molecular biology researchers at Colorado State University, have released a research paper identifying a protein encoded by SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, that may be associated with the quick spread of the virus through cells in the human body.

Through powerful application of the foundational sciences and bioinformatic analysis their research highlights key characteristics of the virus that could one day be important in the development of a treatment for COVID-19.

Bird and reptile tears aren't so unlike our own, shows a new study in Frontiers in Veterinary Science. But the differences could provide insights into better ophthalmic treatments for humans and animals, as well as a clues into the evolution of tears across different species.

To enhance the number of beneficial insect species in agricultural land, preserving semi-natural habitats and promoting crop diversity are both needed, according to new research published in the British Ecological Society's Journal of Applied of Ecology.