Earth

Researchers at the universities of Leicester and Oxford have made a discovery about plant growth which could potentially have an enormous impact on crop production as global warming increases.

Dr Kerry Franklin, from the University of Leicester Department of Biology led the study which has identified a single gene responsible for controlling plant growth responses to elevated temperature.

Dr Franklin said: "Exposure of plants to high temperature results in the rapid elongation of stems and a dramatic upwards elevation of leaves".

UPTON, NY - Building on the idea of using DNA to link up nanoparticles - particles measuring mere billionths of a meter - scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory have designed a molecular assembly line for predictable, high-precision nano-construction. Such reliable, reproducible nanofabrication is essential for exploiting the unique properties of nanoparticles in applications such as biological sensors and devices for converting sunlight to electricity. The work will be published online March 29, 2009, by Nature Materials.

A type of surgery which reshapes the scarred left ventricle, the main pumping chamber of the heart, and is often done in conjunction with heart bypass, not only failed to reduce deaths and hospitalizations in heart failure patients but also did not improve patients' quality of life compared to bypass alone after four years of follow-up, according to the results of a large international clinical trial funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health.

(PHILADELPHIA) – A clinical study of cardiac patients who suffered an allergic reaction to the widely-prescribed drug clopidogrel, also known by the pharmaceutical name Plavix, found that treatment with a combination of steroids and antihistamines can alleviate the allergic reaction symptoms thereby allowing patients to remain on the drug, say doctors from Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. The study followed 24 patients, who developed Plavix allergies after undergoing coronary stent procedures.

The largest mass extinction in the history of the earth could have been triggered off by giant salt lakes, whose emissions of halogenated gases changed the atmospheric composition so dramatically that vegetation was irretrievably damaged. At least that is what an international team of scientists have reported in the most recent edition of the "Proceedings of the Russian Academy of Sciences" (Dokladi Earth Sciences).

Nobody wants to share a cubicle with a new hire like Dwight Schrute.

The beet-farming volunteer sheriff's deputy/paper salesman creates many awkward moments because of his differences with co-workers on NBC's "The Office."

But according to new research co-authored by a Brigham Young University business professor, better decisions come from teams that include a "socially distinct newcomer." That's psychology-speak for someone who is different enough to bump other team members out of their comfort zones.

The benefits to animals of omega 3 fatty acids in fish oils have been well documented – helping the heart and circulatory system, improving meat quality and reducing methane emissions.

These last two benefits may only apply to cows but lowering emissions is important for the environment, as methane given off by farm animals is a major contribution to greenhouse gas levels. Today (Monday 30 March) researchers from University College Dublin reported that by including 2% fish oil in the diet of cattle they achieved a reduction in the amount of methane released by the animals.

Micro-organisms occurring naturally in coastal mudflats have an essential role to play in cleaning up pollution by breaking down petrochemical residues. Research by Dr Efe Aganbi and colleagues from the University of Essex, presented at the Society for General Microbiology's meeting at Harrogate today (Monday 30 April), reveals essential differences in the speed of degradation of the chemicals depending on whether or not oxygen is present.

Individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) tend to stare at people's mouths rather than their eyes. Now, an NIH-funded study in 2-year-olds with the social deficit disorder suggests why they might find mouths so attractive: lip-sync—the exact match of lip motion and speech sound. Such audiovisual synchrony preoccupied toddlers who have autism, while their unaffected peers focused on socially meaningful movements of the human body, such as gestures and facial expressions.

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Chemists at the University of Illinois have created a simple and inexpensive molecular technique that replaces an expensive atomic force microscope for studying what happens to small molecules when they are stretched or compressed.

The researchers use stiff stilbene, a small, inert structure, as a molecular force probe to generate well-defined forces on various molecules, atom by atom.

Video games that involve high levels of action, such as first-person-shooter games, increase a player's real-world vision, according to research in today's Nature Neuroscience.

The ability to discern slight differences in shades of gray has long been thought to be an attribute of the human visual system that cannot be improved. But Daphne Bavelier, professor of brain and cognitive sciences at the University of Rochester, has discovered that very practiced action gamers become 58 percent better at perceiving fine differences in contrast.

A team of University of Maryland scientists has paved the way for the development of new drug therapies to combat active and asymptomatic (latent) tuberculosis infections by characterizing the unique structure and mechanism of an enzyme in M. tuberculosis, the bacterium that causes the disease. Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry Barbara Gerratana, in the university's College of Chemical and Life Sciences, led the research team, which included her graduate student Melissa Resto and Assistant Professor Nicole LaRonde-LeBlanc.