Softer diets allowed early humans to pronounce “f,” “v” sounds. The Scientist, Mar 2019. Drastic dietary changes during the agricultural revolution altered the configuration of the human bite, paving the way for new sounds in spoken language, a new study finds.
Is mandatory retirement the answer to an aging workforce? The Scientist, Mar 2019. For many, it’s not a question of when senior academics should leave their posts, it’s about how to distribute scarce resources such as grants and faculty positions more fairly.
Without this enzyme, insertions thrive in the yeast genome. The Scientist, Mar 2019. A study underscores the importance of Dna2 in maintaining the integrity of the genetic code.
HeLa cells from different labs vary in genetics, phenotype. The Scientist, Feb 2019. This could account for some reproducibility problems in cell line research, according to the authors of a comprehensive analysis of HeLa variants.
Science in Puerto Rico still recovering after Hurricane Maria. The Scientist, Feb 2019. Scientists at the University of Puerto Rico suffered major setbacks due to damages and delays in repairs, and government austerity measures are adding insult to injury.
Scientists raise concerns about revisions to human research regulations. The Scientist, Feb 2019. Authors of a new paper take issue with revisions to regulations on biospecimen research enacted last month, and argue that cell lines should be treated differently from other biospecimens.
Molecules found in ginger remodel the microbiome. The Scientist, Feb 2019. Small RNA-containing particles in ginger root are found to promote the growth of beneficial bacteria and alleviate colitis in mouse guts.
Deforestation tied to changes in disease dynamics. The Scientist, Jan 2019. Numerous studies link habitat destruction to malaria and other vector-borne diseases, but the relationship isn’t always clear.
A new role for yeast introns: helping cells cope under stress. The Scientist, Jan 2019. Two studies contest the idea that the noncoding sequences are just “junk DNA,” demonstrating that they play important roles in the regulation of cell growth.
Can viruses in the genome cause disease? The Scientist, Jan 2019. Clinical trials that target human endogenous retroviruses to treat multiple sclerosis, ALS and other ailments are underway, but many questions remain about how these sequences may disrupt our biology.
Mitochondria play an unexpected role in killing bacteria. The Scientist, Jan 2019. The energy-producing organelles also send out parcels with antimicrobial compounds to help destroy pathogen invaders in macrophages.
660 species of bees live in newly shrunk national monument. National Geographic, Dec 2018. Scientists have found a striking diversity of bees, in the most extensive study of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument to date.
Air pollution is choking solar energy around the world. Popular Science, Dec 2018. To capitalize on the sun’s rays, countries like China need to part the smog.
CRISPR scientists slam methods used on gene-edited babies. The Scientist, Dec 2018. Since He Jiankui presented his results at last week’s gene editing summit, researchers have raised concerns about his protocol, calling the procedure “amateurish” and “unconscionable.”
Rapid DNA analysis steps in to identify remains of California wildfire victims. The Scientist, Nov 2018. Investigators have the victims’ samples in hand, but face a range of obstacles before they can finally ID them.
iPS cell therapies inch their way closer towards the clinic. The Scientist, Nov 2018. Since their discovery in 2006, induced pluripotent stem cells have been poised to reprogram regenerative medicine. Twelve years on, here’s how far they’ve come.
A tale of two ballot measures. Grist, Nov 2018. Why Nevada upped its renewable energy standards (and Arizona didn’t)
Numerous life scientists seek election to state legislatures. The Scientist, Oct 2018. In local races across the country, researchers are running on platforms of bringing more evidence-based decision-making into state governments.
Meet the scientists still in the running for congressional seats. The Scientist, Oct 2018. After a surge of political enthusiasm among the scientific community since 2016, only a small fraction of candidates with science and engineering backgrounds made it through the primary elections this year.
Researchers take action to end airlines’ restrictions on lab animals. The Scientist, Sep 2018. United Airlines, British Airways, China Southern Airlines, and Qatar Airways face a formal complaint over their refusal to transport animals for scientific research.
What dolphin whistles tell us about grief. Hakai Magazine, Sep 2018. A dolphin carrying a dead calf made whistles that were longer and more complex than normal.
RNA detection tool debate flares up at ACS meeting. The Scientist, Sep 2018. Researchers have flagged several issues with so-called SmartFlares over the years, and it’s still unclear why they don’t appear to work under certain circumstances.
First iPS cell trial for heart disease raises concern as well as excitement. The Scientist, Aug 2018. Without knowing the cells’ mechanism of action, researchers question the best way to administer them to patients.
Warming seas kill coral – but some are beginning to resist the heat. New Scientist, Aug 2018. Repeating an experiment 47 years after it was originally carried out has revealed some rare good news about coral reefs – some species appear to have become significantly better at surviving temperature increases.
As primate research drops in Europe, overseas options appeal. The Scientist, Aug 2018. A combination of public opposition, intense regulations, and rising costs in the EU make conditions in China and elsewhere attractive for studying monkeys.
Southern discomfort. Grist, Aug 2018. Solar panels could flood sunny Alabama with cheap, clean power. What stands in the way?
Canary in the coal mine. Blue Ridge Outdoors, Aug 2018. Scientists are starting to observe some concerning impacts of fracking on local wildlife in Appalachia.
Life scientists cut down on plastic waste. The Scientist, Aug 2018. Across the US, laboratories are finding creative ways to minimize the amount of plastic they throw away.
Lab animal use in the UK dips below 2010 levels. The Scientist, Jul 2018. A report finds a decline in the number of experiments involving animals in 2017, noting a particular decrease in procedures on dogs and primates.
Third retraction for Harvard cancer biologist. The Scientist, Jul 2018. The move follows two major corrections to a 2011 Nature paper, in which researchers demonstrated that a natural compound selectively kills cancer cells.
Natural killer cells prove effective as a cancer immunotherapy in mice. The Scientist, Jul 2018. Stem-cell-derived natural killer cells engineered in a similar way to CAR-T cells may pave the way to “off the shelf” cancer therapies that aren’t patient-specific.
‘Stop and frisk’ is over, but low-level NYPD encounters raise concerns. City Limits, Jun 2018. Official stop numbers have plummeted since a groundbreaking federal lawsuit in 2013, but many stops are taking place that never leave a trace in the public record.
Why bats make such good viral hosts. The Scientist. Jun 2018. The bat version of the STING protein helps dampen the mammals’ immune response to infection, researchers have found.
We’re asking the wrong questions about glyphosate. The New Food Economy, May 2018. It’s not enough to talk about how safe glyphosate is. We need to consider what “safe” actually means—and who gets to define it.
These tiny ‘guardians’ are helping protect the world’s forests. NBC News MACH, May 2018. Illegal logging accounts for up to 90 percent of deforestation, and there’s never a good way to stop it.
Rise in tailless whale sightings has scientists concerned. National Geographic, May 2018. Experts say that entanglement in fishing gear or other objects is a likely cause for the gruesome injuries.
Fruit flies likely enjoy sex, offering clues into drug addiction. National Geographic, Apr 2018. Deciphering the brain mechanisms involved in pleasure may help scientists learn how to help people addicted to heroin and cocaine.
Why the sad demise of the last northern white rhino male might not mean extinction for his species. NBC News MACH, Mar 2018. Assisted reproduction may save endangered animals or even resurrect extinct ones.
Soil and satellites are telling a new story about ancient civilizations in the Amazon. Atlas Obscura, Mar 2018. With new technologies, scientists are looking for clues in manmade ‘terra preta.’
Twitter’s fake news problem isn’t caused by bots. It’s you. VICE NEWS, Mar 2018. In a perfect world, news that is true would triumph over news that is false, but that isn’t the case, a new study shows.
Babcock Ranch aims to be America’s greenest city—and an inspiration. NBC News MACH, Mar 2018. The development near Fort Myers, Florida is being built for sustainability from the ground up.
Stressed rodents make different choices. The Scientist, Mar 2018. Chronic stress tweaks a circuit in the brain that influences how lab rodents make tough decisions.
A systematic approach to finding unannotated proteins. The Scientist, Mar 2018. A study suggests that there is more to the eukaryotic genome than was previously suspected.
Circulating mitochondrial DNA alerts immune system to danger. The Scientist, Mar 2018. In response to short DNA fragments, lymphocytes release mitochondrial DNA that helps trigger an immune response.
Jermaine Jones seeks to untangle the genetics behind substance abuse. The Scientist, Mar 2018. Studying pharmacogenetics in lab rodents prepared the Columbia University professor to investigate the biological underpinnings of substance use disorders in humans.
How toxic is the world’s most popular herbicide, Roundup? The Scientist, Feb 2018. Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, is designed to be toxic to plants, but scientists observe some untoward effects on animals in the lab.
The world’s loneliest frog seeks a mate to save his species. Roaring Earth, Feb 2018.
Researchers catalog Earth’s microbiome. The Scientist, Feb 2018. The new database includes data from 27,000 samples collected in sites ranging from Alaskan permafrost to the ocean floor.
A newly identified photoenzyme helps algae pump out fuel. The Scientist, Feb 2018. The finding could lead to a new way of producing “green” alternatives to fossil fuels.
Cellular senescence in astrocytes may play central role in Parkinson’s disease. The Scientist, Jan 2018. The elimination of these glia in the mouse brain ameliorated the development of Parkinsonian neuropathologies induced by the pesticide toxin paraquat.
Like humans, walruses and bats cuddle infants on their left sides. The Scientist, Jan 2018. These mothers and babies keep each other in their left visual fields during maternal care, which aids right-hemisphere processing
What bat quarrels tell us about vocal learning. The Scientist, Jan 2018. New research shows humans aren’t that different from our winged cousins.
Linoleic acid derivatives potentially mediate pain and itch in the skin. The Scientist, Jan 2018. Researchers uncover a family of compounds that may be involved in pain transmission.
Skin “remembers” wounds, heals faster the second time around. The Scientist, Jan 2018. After an initial wounding, genes needed for repair remain ready for action.
One of the most important jobs at sea may get more difficult and dangerous. Oceans Deeply, Dec 2017. Independent fisheries observers are crucial for fisheries management, but their job is often threatened.
One way to fix reproducibility problems: train scientists better. The Scientist, Nov 2017. Leonard Freedman, president of the Global Biological Standards Institute, discusses the causes of irreproducible science and his latest effort to spread best practices.
A newly identified species represents its own eukaryotic lineage. The Scientist, Nov 2017. The 10-micrometer-long flagellate cell might have a big story to tell about the evolution of eukaryotes.
Telomere length and childhood stress don’t always correlate. The Scientist, Nov 2017. Shorter telomere length is widely considered a manifestation of stress in young children, but the results of a new study find it’s more complicated than that.
Seafood processed by forced labor is illegal. So why is it still on our shelves? The New Food Economy, Oct 2017. North Korean forced laborers filet some salmon steaks sold at Walmart. That shouldn’t happen. Here’s why it does.
Ghost poachers are still at large after the biggest shark-smuggling bust in Galapagos history. Quartz, Aug 2017. A 3,000-ton ship waltzed right through one of the world’s most heavily protected marine reserves with a haul-load of illegally caught hammerhead sharks. But despite 20 arrests, the poachers are still at large.
How seafood’s ‘dark web’ obscures fraud, fish laundering, and slavery on the high seas. The New Food Economy, Aug 2017. Ships routinely transfer fish on the open ocean. Most of the time, no one’s watching.