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Fingerprints don't get a lot of respect on television shows like CSI these days - but they are about to make a comeback.

A new technology developed at Purdue University can detect trace amounts of explosives, drugs or other materials left behind in fingerprints and can even distinguish between overlapping fingerprints left by different individuals - a difficult task for current optical forensic methods.

A team led by R. Graham Cooks, Purdue's Henry Bohn Hass Distinguished Professor of Analytical Chemistry, has created a tool that reads and provides an image of a fingerprint's chemical signature. The technology can be used to determine what a person recently handled.

A newly discovered function for a hormone in melons suggests it plays a role in how sexual systems evolve in plants.

Scientists from several French institutions, led by Abdel Bendahmane of the National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA), isolated the melon sex determination gene and determined its function. As part of this collaborative effort, New York University biologists Jonathan Flowers and Michael Purugganan, who are part of NYU's Center for Genomics and Systems Biology, conducted the evolutionary analysis of the study.

Because plants' sexual systems are varied—species may possess various combinations of male, female, or hermaphrodite systems—their evolution has long been of interest to scientists. This is especially the case in melons, whose sexual system—andromonoecy—carries both male and bisexual flowers and appears to have evolved recently. In this study, the researchers sought to understand what determines the recent formation of melons' new sexual system.

People like ideological commitment more than moderation and 'across the aisle' thinking in times of uncertainty, says University of Southern California economist Juan Carrillo, so extreme positions build trust among an electorate during rough periods.

In defiance of oddsmakers, he seems to think this is an advantage for Republicans, who have been predicting a 1964-era loss for John McCain.

"The current political advantage of the Republican Party stems from the ability of its candidates to develop 'signature ideas.' This strategy is rewarded even when the electorate has ideological reservations," he says.

We don't have spacecraft to take us outside our solar system but astronomers have still been able to develop a good understanding of how our solar system formed and in turn, how others formed. In the last dozen years, the nearly 300 exoplanets have been discovered have added to our knowledge base.

Conventional knowledge said most solar systems were like our own but three Northwestern University researchers questioned that assumption and explored the question in detail. What they learned is that the solar system in which the Earth orbits our sun is actually uncommon.

Edward Thommes, Soko Matsumura and Frederic Rasio were the first to develop large-scale, sophisticated computer simulations to model the formation of planetary systems from beginning to end. Because of computing limitations, earlier models provided only brief glimpses of the process. The findings of their study titled, "Gas Disks to Gas Giants: Simulating the Birth of Planetary Systems," are detailed in the August 8, 2008 issue of Science magazine.

High levels of testosterone may be a key factor in spreading disease among mice, according to biologists. The findings could help explain why males in a population are often more likely to get infected, and transmit disease.

Previous research has linked testosterone, the male sex hormone, to immune system suppression. Studies have shown that males, compared to females, experience more bouts of disease, and account for a larger share of disease transmission. However, it is not fully clear what makes males such super-spreaders of disease.

South Africans don't use bug zappers or commercial flypaper to ward off pesky flies, but instead hang up a bunch of Roridula gorgonias leaves.

Attracted to the shiny adhesive droplets on the leaf's hairs, the flies are soon trapped by this 'natural flypaper.' But R. gorgonias plant is also home to a population of Pameridea roridulae (mirid bugs), which dine on the trapped insects and the mirid bugs never get stuck.

Curious to find out how that works, Dagmar Voigt and Stanislav Gorb from the Max-Planck Institute for Metals Research, Germany, decided to take a look at the non-stick bugs to see how they elude R. gorgonias' grasp and they published their results in The Journal of Experimental Biology on August 8 2008.

They were able to call on R.