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We're Too Late To Prevent 137,000 More Ebola Cases, Says Epidemiology Paper

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Homosexual behavior is largely shaped by genetics and random environmental factors, according to findings from the world's largest study of twins.

Researchers from Queen Mary's School of Biological and Chemical Sciences and Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm report in the Archives of Sexual Behavior that genetics and environmental factors (which are specific to an individual, and may include biological processes such as different hormone exposure in the womb), are important determinants of homosexual behavior.

The team led by Dr Niklas Långström at Karolinska Institutet conducted the first truly population-based survey of all adult (20-47 years old) twins in Sweden. Studies of identical twins and non-identical, or fraternal, twins are often used to untangle the genetic and environmental factors responsible for a trait. While identical twins share all of their genes and their entire environment, fraternal twins share only half of their genes and their entire environment. Therefore, greater similarity in a trait between identical twins compared to fraternal twins shows that genetic factors are partly responsible for the trait.

Scientists at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center are about to embark on a human trial to test whether a new cancer treatment will be as effective at eradicating cancer in humans as it has proven to be in mice.

The treatment will involve transfusing specific white blood cells, called granulocytes, from select donors, into patients with advanced forms of cancer. A similar treatment using white blood cells from cancer-resistant mice has previously been highly successful, curing 100 percent of lab mice afflicted with advanced malignancies.

Zheng Cui, Ph.D., lead researcher and associate professor of pathology, will be announcing the study June 28 at the Understanding Aging conference in Los Angeles.

The modern Olympic ideals differ dramatically from the way the games were actually played in ancient Greece, says a University of Maryland classicist who has heavily researched the Olympic past. The ancient games featured professionals with a “winning is everything” philosophy.

“Ancient Olympiads were more like the modern PGA golf circuit than the amateur ideal advanced for most of the 20th century,” says Hugh Ming Lee, a professor of classics at the University of Maryland. “The Greeks and Romans awarded honors to the most accomplished athletes and paid them for their efforts. These professionals traveled a competitive circuit. The Vince Lombardi notion of winning is much closer to the original Olympic spirit.”

The safeguards against unwanted pollination by genetically modified crops may already be built into plants, according to new research.

Plants are very selective when it comes to choosing mates. Flowering plant pollination systems are clever devices for attracting pollinators like birds, ants, and insects, but there are also mechanisms for keeping out unwanted pollen. Some plants happily self-fertilize with their own pollen but others reject such pollen because of the deleterious effects of inbreeding. In these plants, their own pollen or that of close relatives is rejected if it lands on the female stigma.

For all plants, the pollen of other species is undesirable, as it will result in aborted zygotes or infertile offspring. Plants have evolved various mechanisms for rejecting unwanted pollen. The self-incompatibility (SI) system, found in several plant families, including the Solanaceae, which includes tobacco, tomato, and eggplant, is the best studied. A number of components that function in the SI system have been identified, but the exact molecular mechanisms by which incompatible pollen is recognized and rejected and compatible pollen allowed to proceed to the ovary are still unknown.

Predicting climate change depends on many factors not properly included in current forecasting models, such as how the major polar ice caps will move in the event of melting around their edges. This in turn requires greater understanding of the processes at work when ice is under stress, influencing how it flows and moves.

The immediate objective is to model the flow of ice sheets and glaciers more accurately, leading in turn to better future predictions of global ice cover for use in climate modeling and forecasting.

Researchers at Goldsmiths, University of London, say they are on the way to making true on-demand video games a reality.

The research is part of an EU funded project, Games@Large, which aims to develop the delivery of video games anytime, anywhere, and on any device, finding ways to enable consumer electronics devices such as set-top boxes and mobile phones to serve as easy-to-use gaming platforms.

It is hoped that this will facilitate more convenient game play options, encouraging uptake by new users who would not usually sit in front of a computer or buy a console. So Grandma could be playing scrabble with Aunt Doris online via her set top box and remote control.