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Some assume that evolution only occurs gradually, over hundreds or thousands of years, but scientists have shown otherwise numerous times and now a new paper in Ecology Letters affirms that environmental change can drive hard-wired evolutionary changes in animal species in a matter of generations.

Researchers found significant genetically transmitted changes in laboratory populations of soil mites in just 15 generations leading to a doubling of the age at which the mites reached adulthood and large changes in population size. The results  demonstrate that evolution can be a game-changer, even in the short-term.

An analysis of how carbon is trapped and released by iron-rich volcanic magma offers clues about our early atmospheric evolution and also that of other terrestrial bodies.

The composition of a planet's atmosphere starts far beneath the surface. When mantle material melts to form magma, it traps subsurface carbon. As magma moves upward toward the surface and pressure decreases, that carbon is released as a gas. On Earth, carbon is trapped in magma as carbonate and degassed as carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that helps Earth's atmosphere trap heat from the sun. But how carbon is transferred from underground to the atmosphere in other planets — and how that might influence greenhouse conditions — wasn't well understood.

Discovery of a new protein that controls the presence of the Vel blood group antigen on our red blood cells will make it possible to use simple DNA testing to find blood donors for patients who lack the Vel antigen and need a blood transfusion, say researchers. 

The world produces a lot of food, enough to feed billions more than are living right now. There is a distribution issue, which will be solved as science engineers more crops that can grow in more local conditions, but one way to make more food available right now will also save people money - reducing food waste.

4 out of every 10 pounds produced in the United States alone goes to waste, claimed  John Floros, Ph.D.,  dean of the College of Agriculture at Kansas State University, in a keynote talk at the American Chemical Society meeting.  

New research hopes to create reactions necessary for industries such as pharmaceutical companies but eliminate the resulting waste from traditional methods. 

Traditional methods – dating back thousands of years – involve using solutions to speed up chemical reactions that are used to make products that we use every day. However, the leftover waste or solvents can often be a volatile compound.

Disposal and recycling is also becoming a growing and more costly challenge for companies as they follow increasing federal environmental regulations.

Researchers have designed a new kind of adaptive material with tunable transparency and wettability features - imagine a tent that blocks light on a dry and sunny day, and becomes transparent and water-repellent on a dim, rainy day. Or highly precise, self-adjusting contact lenses that also clean themselves. 

The new material was inspired by natural dynamic, self-restoring systems, such as the liquid film that coats your eyes - tears. Individual tears join up to form a dynamic liquid film with an obviously significant optical function that maintains clarity, while keeping the eye moist, protecting it against dust and bacteria, and helping to transport away any wastes – doing all of this and more in literally the blink of an eye.