New research challenges traditional perceptions of contemporary climate as sole determiner of richness of species.

The climate is changing! But how does that affect nature? New research challenges traditional perceptions of contemporary climate as sole determiner of richness of species.

An international research team led by Professor Carsten Rahbek from Department of Biology, University of Copenhagen, questions traditional beliefs that contemporary climate alone determines richness of species, that is, how life is distributed on earth. The current issue of Science magazine highlights the research in Editor’s choice.

An artificial nose could be a real benefit at times: this kind of biosensor could sniff out poisons, explosives or drugs, for instance. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research and the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry recently revealed a technique for integrating membrane proteins into artificial structures.

Membrane proteins have several important functions in the cell, one of which is to act as receptors, passing on signals from molecules in the air, for example, to the cell interior. They are thus ideal biosensors, but until now were difficult to access in the lab.

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When man made his way out of Africa some 60,000 years ago to populate the world, he was not alone: He was accompanied by the bacterium Helicobacter pylori, which causes gastritis in many people today. Together, man and the bacterium spread throughout the entire world. This is the conclusion reached by an international team of scientists led by Mark Achtman from the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology in Berlin, Germany. The researchers also discovered that differences developed in the genetic makeup of the bacteria populations, just as it did in that of the various peoples of the world.

What caused the extinction of the woolly rhinoceros ten thousand years ago from an area in Europe covering the coasts of the Arctic Ocean in the north to the coasts of the Mediterranean in the south? What caused the extinction of the mammoth while other ice age mammals like the musk ox just barely survived to present day? A new scientific methodological approach to detect genetic material will help researchers to solve the many mysteries of the past.

"I'm confident that the new methodological approach, will be of great importance to molecular biology", says Professor Eske Willerslev at the Centre for Ancient Genetics, University of Copenhagen, Denmark. One of his PhD students recently came up with a brilliant idea.

The rise of multicellular animals about 540 million years ago was a turning point in the history of life. A group of Finnish scientists suggests a new climate-biosphere interaction mechanism for the underlying processes in a new study, which will be published on February 14, 2007 in PLoS ONE, the international, peer-reviewed, open-access, online publication from the Public Library of Science (PLoS).

The theory invokes cold, ice-containing climates as a key precursor for multicellular life. If the model turns out to be correct, one can assume that complex life might exist also around stars which are more massive and short-lived than the Sun.

While previous biomedical research studies have found that genetics and race increase risk for some diseases, a new look into how researchers study genetic triggers of type 2 diabetes suggests that defining race remains an inexact science, with social and historic facts mixing with biology throughout the research process.

The new study by a UC Irvine anthropologist calls into question not only how race-specific information is being gathered and interpreted by the medical community, but how it is presented to the public through media and pharmaceutical marketing.

Anthropologist Michael Montoya followed the trail of DNA samples from the moment they were donated by people living along the U.S.-Mexican border, to the eventual publication of findings in scientific journals.

Imagine a car that accelerates from zero to 60 in 250 feet, and then rockets to 120 miles per hour in just one more inch.

That's essentially what a collaboration of more than a dozen accelerator physicists has accomplished, using electrons for their racecars and plasma for the afterburners. Because electrons already travel at near light's speed in an accelerator, the physicists actually doubled the energy of the electrons, not their speed.


The blue streak in this photograph shows the dramatic gain in energy made by some of the electrons in a bunch after passing through plasma (ionized gas).

When the next big earthquake hits a region like San Francisco, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) grantee Kristy Tiampo wants to ensure that communities will not only be able to evacuate, but also rebuild.

This is why Tiampo, the NSERC and Benfield/ICLR Industrial Research Chair in Earthquake Hazard Assessment, is involved in an international effort to improve earthquake forecasting. She studied earthquake engineering in California as an undergraduate, and is now using her research to build better forecasting maps in Canada and other countries.

New research published in the March issue of Psychological Science suggests that efforts to advocate improved statistical practices in psychological research may be paying off.

Geoff Cumming, Fiona Fidler and colleagues at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia sought to examine whether guidelines set forth in 1999 by the American Psychological Association’s Task Force on Statistical Inference (TSFI) had been implemented in psychological research.

The authors analyzed articles from 10 leading international psychology journals from 1998 to 2006, focusing on three practices central to the statistical reform debate: Null hypothesis significance testing, confidence intervals and figures with error bars.