Conception is not a meeting of equals, as scientists have said for decades. The egg is a relatively large, impressive biological factory compared with the tiny sperm, which delivers to the egg one copy of the father's genes. However, the lack of parity may be less one sided than believed. A new study in Nature from Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at the University of Utah reveals that the father's sperm delivers much more complex genetic material than previously thought.
Researchers discovered particular genes packaged in a special way within the sperm, and that may promote the development of the fetus.
Doom and gloom types always want to lament that the presence of people is killing the Earth. Not so, say California Institute of Technology (Caltech) scientists. At least on a cosmic scale, the presence of life may increase longevity for planets.
In traditional thinking, a billion years from now the ever-increasing radiation from the sun will have heated Earth into inhabitability, causing the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that serves as food for plant to disappear. The oceans will evaporate and all living things will disappear.
Maybe not quite so soon, say researchers from Caltech, who have come up with a mechanism that doubles the future lifespan of the biosphere while also increasing the chance that advanced life will be found elsewhere in the universe.
Almost 90 percent of the world’s population will not have timely access to affordable supplies of vaccines and antiviral agents in the current influenza A (H1N1
) pandemic but inexpensive generic drugs that are readily available even in developing countries could save millions of lives, according to the conclusion reached by an extensive review and analysis by immunization expert Dr David Fedson within hours of the World Health Organization declaring a pandemic.
Newborn babies have immature immune systems, making them highly vulnerable to severe infections and unable to mount an effective immune response to most vaccines, thereby frustrating efforts to protect them. The World Health Organization estimates that more than 2 million newborns and infants less than 6 months of age die each year due to infection. Now, researchers at Children's Hospital Boston believe they have found a way to enhance the immune system at birth and boost newborns' vaccine responses, making infections like respiratory syncytial virus, pneumococcus and rotavirus much less of a threat.
21st century computer modelling software has enabled a long-lost, trumpet-like instrument called the Lituus to be recreated – even though no one alive today has heard, played or even seen a picture of this forgotten instrument - allowing a work by Bach to be performed as the composer may have intended for the first time in nearly 300 years.
Generally acknowledged to be one of the greatest composers of all time, Johann Sebastian Bach was born in the German town of Eisenach in 1685 and produced over 1000 sacred and secular musical compositions. He died in Leipzig in 1750, at the age of 65.
Fingerprints are essential for crime dramas and look nicely distinct for each of us but what are fingerprints really for?
According to Roland Ennos, from the University of Manchester, other primates and tree-climbing koalas have fingerprints and some South American monkeys have ridged pads on their tree-gripping tails, so everyone presumed that fingerprints are there to help us hang onto objects that we grasp. This theory that fingerprints increase friction between the skin and whatever we grab onto has been around for over 100 years, but no one had directly tested the idea.