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Warming extinguishing lizards

By | May 13, 2010

The worst-case scenario of the consequences of global warming - mass extinctions - appears to be a reality for lizards, according to a new report in Science. The authors found that 12 percent of local populations of lizards have already disappeared from hundreds of sites in Mexico. Furthermore, within the next 70 years, the authors predict that 1 in 5 lizard species will no longer exist anywhere on the planet, all the result of rising global temperatures.Sceloporus occidentalisImage: Wikimedia

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DNA robots get sophisticated

By | May 12, 2010

Scientists are one step closer to creating molecular robots that may eventually perform complex tasks, such as building nanomolecules or delivering drugs to target tissues. A DNA spider follows a path on a DNAorigami scaffold towards the red-labeledgoal by cleaving the visited substrates.Image: Paul MichelottiThey have constructed DNA-based robots that can walk along a specific path unaided or collect various nanoparticles along an assembly line, according to two studies published this week in

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Biosecurity laws hobble research

By | May 10, 2010

Ever since the U.S. government has taken steps to protect and encourage research involving pathogens that could be used as biological weapons, that research has become much less efficient, according to a new analysis. Image: Wikimedia CommonsThough funding for research on so-called "select agents," or pathogens that can be used as weapons, has shot through the roof, and the number of papers using those organisms has risen in recent years, the work has become up to five times less efficient -- m

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News in a nutshell

By | May 10, 2010

Negativity, paperwork at NSFNational Science Foundation Director Arden Bement is not optimistic that the funding agency will receive the president's request for a $552 million (8 percent) budget increase in 2011. "I won't be surprised to see us operating under a continuing resolution" until well after the November congressional elections, linkurl:Bement told ScienceInsider.;http://news.sciencemag.org/scienceinsider/2010/05/nsf-director-gloomy-about-2011-b.html "In fact, anything else would be a

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YouTube yields data

By | May 7, 2010

At first, the YouTube videos seemed hilarious -- young people smoking Salvia divinorum, laughing uncontrollably, falling over furniture. But the more Jason Daniel, a fourth-year PhD candidate in public health at San Diego State University, watched, the more it was simply disconcerting -- people lying on the ground, losing control of their limbs, convulsing. "They didn't look like they were having a terribly good time," says Daniel. After weeks of watching YouTube videos three to four hours per

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Epigenetic change ups dementia?

By | May 6, 2010

A specific epigenetic switch appears to cause age-related memory loss in mice, suggesting this dysregulation could eventually serve as a biomarker for dementia, according to this week's Science. linkurl:Andre Fischer;http://www.uni-goettingen.de/de/57944.html at the linkurl:European Neuroscience Institute in Goettingen, Germany;http://www.eni.gwdg.de/ and his team found that older and younger mice exhibited marked differences in one type of epigenetic change to a specific region of one histone,

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Math explains HIV immunity

By | May 5, 2010

A mathematical model has revealed part of the secret to why some people linkurl:infected with HIV never get sick,;http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nature08997.html providing a new target in the attempt to harness that ability in a vaccine, according to research published in __Nature.__ HIV particles (green) budding from a lymphocyte.Image: C. Goldsmith, CDC People who can control their HIV infections carry a specific subtype of the gene for the major histocompatability co

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Q&A: Why cutting science is good

By | May 5, 2010

As stimulus funds run out and other federal programs take priority over science research and development, academic research programs will soon feel the squeeze, says linkurl:Diane Auer Jones,;http://www.washcampus.edu/index.php?src=gendocs&ref=Diane%20Auer%20Jones&category=Staff%20List CEO of the Washington Campus, a non-profit business leadership and education organization, and former assistant secretary for postsecondary education at the US Department of Education. But the culling of academic

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Science ally in DC retires

By | May 5, 2010

Congressman David Obey (D-WI), who consistently championed increased funding at federal research institutions, and was instrumental in passing last year's stimulus bill (with its $10 billion for the National Institutes of Health), announced Wednesday (May 5) that he will not be seeking reelection in this fall's Congressional elections. Image: US House of Representativeslinkurl:Obey;http://www.obey.house.gov/, who served in Congress for more than 40 years, fought for increased federal funding fo

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Stem cell lines on hold

By | May 4, 2010

Three human embryonic stem cell lines once eligible for federal funding are "on hold" until further notice because they were derived from embryos that were too early. Human embryonic stem cellsImage: Wikimedia commons, Nissim Benvenisty"These lines were derived from early embryos -- those consisting of 6, 8, or 16 cells -- and thus formally did not fit the official definition of ES cells by the NIH," linkurl:George Daley,;http://daley.med.harvard.edu/ who derived these particular lines and subm

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