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Pregnancy is a biologically unusual situation where one organism lives and develops inside another that is genetically different.

Ordinarily, the immune system identifies and destroys the dissimilar tissue as if it were a parasite but in some early mammals changes 'turned down' the immune system, allowing the developing embryo to grow and thrive unchallenged by the maternal immune response.

Yale researchers npw say that the origin and evolution of the placenta and uterus in mammals is associated with evolutionary changes in a single regulatory protein.

Scotland’s cold and cloudy climate plays a large part in causing the chronic diseases that plague its people. Scots suffer more chronic disease than almost anywhere else among former Western block countries, but this could be turned around.

For years scientists and cancer charities have told people to avoid the sun and reduce the risk of skin cancer with little regard for the fact that the sun provides the human body with life-saving vitamin D.


Skin cancer is the most common malignancy in the US, says the American Academy of Dermatology, and one American dies every 62 minutes from melanoma. The WHO estimated that, in the year 2000, up to 71,000 deaths worldwide were attributed to excessive UV exposure.

Indoor tanning beds are not safe from UV risk despite what advertising claims are, according to a series of papers published in the October issue of Pigment Cell & Melanoma Research. There may be no such thing as a 'safe' tan based on ultraviolet (UV) radiation, they write.

The authors of the three review papers have examined the effects on skin of UV radiation, including that from indoor tanning beds. As well as highlighting the need for greater research into this area, they have called for the use of such beds by under-18s to be banned, along with any publicity that claims that tanning beds are safe.

Biologists at the University of Rochester writing in Aging Cell have found that small-bodied rodents with long lifespans have evolved a previously unknown anti-cancer mechanism that appears to be different from any anti-cancer mechanisms employed by humans or other large mammals.

Understanding this mechanism may help prevent cancer in humans because many human cancers originate from stem cells and similar mechanisms may regulate stem cell division.

"We haven't come across this anti-cancer mechanism before because it doesn't exist in the two species most often used for cancer research: mice and humans," says Vera Gorbunova, assistant professor of biology at the University of Rochester, a principal investigator of this study. "Mice are short-lived and humans are large-bodied. But this mechanism appears to exist only in small, long-lived animals."

Researchers know that high blood pressure causes blood vessels to contract and low blood pressure causes blood vessels to relax but no one had the tools to determine the exact proteins responsible for this phenomenon.

By using atomic force microscopy and isolating blood vessels outside the body, University of Missouri researchers have identified a protein that plays an important role in the control of tissue blood flow and vascular resistance. This new knowledge brings researchers one step closer to understanding vascular diseases, such as high blood pressure, diabetes and other vascular problems.

Plants in a forest respond to stress by producing significant amounts of a chemical form of aspirin, scientists have discovered. The finding, by scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), opens up new avenues of research into the behavior of plants and their impacts on air quality, and it also has the potential to give farmers an early warning signal about crops that are failing.

For years, scientists have known that plants in a laboratory may produce methyl salicylate, which is a chemical form of acetylsalicylic acid, or aspirin. But researchers had never before detected methyl salicylate in an ecosystem or verified that plants emit the chemical in significant quantities into the atmosphere.