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The current Zika epidemic in Latin America is likely to burn itself out within three years, suggests new research.

The findings, from scientists at Imperial College London, also conclude that the epidemic cannot be contained with existing control measures. The team, who published their findings in the journal Science, predict the next large-scale epidemic is unlikely to emerge for at least another ten years - although there is a possibility of smaller outbreaks in this time.


Several hunter-gatherer populations independently adopted farming in the Fertile Crescent during the Neolithic period, then went on to sow the seeds of farming far and wide, a new analysis suggests. The results contribute to the debate about whether a single source population in farming's cradle spread the culture and genes associated with the hunter-gatherer to farmer transition, or whether multiple different farmer groups, potentially with multiple, localized domestications, played a role in spreading the technology. Today, despite continued insights from ancient DNA studies, the origins of farming populations in the Fertile Crescent, where farming first began, remain elusive.


While the brain's ability to deal with abstract properties - including patterns of "same" and "different" - has been demonstrated in animals with advanced intelligence after extensive training, researchers now show that newly hatched ducklings can distinguish same and different, too, without any training at all. The ability to identify logical relationships between objects, retain this understanding, and apply it to novel objects is known as relational concept learning. To date, such learning - often mistakenly considered uniquely human - has only been demonstrated in a few animal species, and only after extensive reinforcement training.


People with a rare autoimmune disorder produce autoimmune antibodies that appear to be linked to a reduced occurrence of Type 1 diabetes, new research has found. The study, published in Cell, suggests these antibodies could limit immune-related diseases and may have therapeutic potential.

In an international study led by King's College London, samples were taken from 81 people with a rare autoimmune disorder, called autoimmune polyendocrine syndrome type 1 (APECED), who have defects in the autoimmune regulator gene. Defects in this gene mean it can no longer fulfil its role as a regulator that helps purge the body of autoreactive immune cells termed T cells that can react against the body's own proteins, mistaking them for a foreign invader.


The transition from hunter-gatherer to sedentary farming 10,000 years ago occurred in multiple neighbouring but genetically distinct populations according to research by an international team including UCL.

"It had been widely assumed that these first farmers were from a single, genetically homogeneous population. However, we've found that there were deep genetic differences in these early farming populations, indicating very distinct ancestries," said corresponding author Dr Garrett Hellenthal, UCL Genetics.


Athens, Ga. - An international team of ecologists has identified the bat species with the greatest potential to harbor filoviruses--a family that includes Ebola virus. Writing in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, they suggest that areas where many of these species overlap, notably in Southeast Asia, should be targeted for disease surveillance and virus discovery efforts.