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Giant crevasses that penetrate upward from the bottom of the   Larsen C Ice Shelf, the largest remaining ice shelf on the Antarctic Peninsula, make it more susceptible to collapse, according to researchers who spent the last four Southern Hemisphere summers studying the massive floating sheet of ice that covers an area twice the size of Massachusetts.

But the scientists also found that ribbons running through the Larsen C Ice Shelf, made up of a mixture of ice types that, together, are more prone to bending than breaking, make the shelf more resilient than it otherwise would be.

Toxoplasmosis is caused by the Toxoplasma gondii parasite, which experts estimate infects 30 to 50 percent of the global population. 

The early results of a trial to treat leukemia with a WT1 DNA vaccine looks promising,  according to a presentation at the DNA Vaccines 2012 conference in California by Christian Ottensmeier, the trial's principal investigator and Professor of Experimental Cancer Research at the University of Southampton.

The interim results, from eight patients, are part of a phase II trial that will enroll 31 patients in its chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) arm.  Ottensmeier

noted robust vaccine-specific antibody responses in all vaccinated patients evaluated to date. Furthermore, T cell immune responses, including those of the "killer T cells," were detected. Antibody and T cell responses are strong signals of the DNA vaccine's potential to treat the disease. 

Tibetan and Ethiopian highlanders share a biological adaptation that enables them to thrive in the low oxygen levels of high altitudes, but the ability to pass on the trait appears to be linked to different genes in the two groups.

The adaptation is the share is the ability to maintain a low (for high altitudes) level of hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying protein in red blood cells. Members of populations who historically live at low altitudes respond to the thin air by increasing hemoglobin levels. The response can help draw oxygen into the body to try and avoid hypoxia, but that increases blood viscosity and the risks for thrombosis, stroke and difficulties with pregnancies.

Plant growth patterns are influenced by a variety of stimuli, including gravity. Terrestrial plant roots exhibit characteristic behaviors called 'waving' and 'skewing' and those are thought to be gravity-dependent events. 

Not so, according to a study of Arabidopsis plants grown on the International Space Station (ISS).  Root 'waving' and 'skewing' occur even with no gravity.

The world's smallest reaction chamber has a mixing volume that can be measured in femtoliters - that's a million billionths of a liter.

The reaction chamber actually consists of nothing more than a tiny spray of liquid, produced by a technique known as electrospray ionization, in which a liquid is converted into lots of charged droplets by exposing it to a high voltage as it exits the nozzle of a thin capillary.

Like water being sprayed out of a hose, these charged droplets form a cone shape, known as a Taylor cone, as they are emitted from the nozzle. Because the electrospray process transforms any chemical entities within the liquid into ions, it is a commonly used technique for ionizing a liquid sample prior to analysis by mass spectrometry.