Hello Again... And Bye Bye...

It's been a while. And now I'm back only to say goodbye. Well, not really. It's just that I've...

Anti-Obesity Drug?

A new compound has been shown to reduce Body Mass Index (BMI) and abdominal circumference in obese...

Beautiful Earth

This video has become quite popular the last few days, so if you've already seen it, my apologies...

The Illuminated Origin of Species

Teacher turned artist Kelly Houle has set herself to the task of creating an illuminated version...

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Biodiversity is declining, and is likely to continue along the same path unless something is done about it. And to effectively do something about it, it appears that large investments are required. These substantial investments will probably result in a critical assessment of the science underlying the current and near-future efforts. After all, people and governments like to know where their money goes. This led to a survey among conservation scientists, of which the results have recently been published in the journal Conservation Biology. In the words of the author:

As we reach old age, our bodies undergo several changes. And not for the better. More and more people are beginning to wonder whether we can do something about this. A lot of research is going on to uncover the mechanisms of aging, which should give us a better understanding of the origin of the changes that occur. Some claim that with this understanding comes the increasing possibility that we will actually be able to do something about it.

How do new species arise? This question is still being vigorously researched in evolutionary biology. New technologies, such as genomics, provide intriguing new opportunities to investigate the matter, but they also show that some of the previous ideas were not as satisfactory as once thought. So, where does the research go from here?

The members of the Marie Curie SPECIATION Network have recently published a list of what they perceive to be key questions on the topic of speciation, as a guide for future studies. These questions were divided into three main research areas:

Antibiotic resistance is a huge problem. More and more resistant strains of microbes are appearing. Needless to state that this has a huge human and economic cost. Combining this with the increasing globalization, the threat of a global outbreak of an infection caused by a multidrug-resistant bacterium looms over our heads as Damocles’ sword. This perhaps sounds too ominous, but it speaks for itself that research into the development of antibiotic resistance could prove very useful.

To explore this problem, a group of scientists gathered in Cold Spring Harbor, NY at the Banbury Conference Centre to address the issues involved and identify key steps in dealing with this threat. Seven actions that urgently need to be undertaken were identified:


The advances in genetics and genomics have given rise to a flourishing personal genomics industry. All you need is a credit card and you can order a DNA kit on the internet. Once it arrives, all you have to do is rub a swab over your cheeck and send it back. A little later, voila, genetic information is sent to you, indicating your risk for a certain disease, or telling you whether your child is really yours, or something else.

A newly discovered fossil, found in South America, bears resemblance to Scrat, the sabre-toothed squirrel well-known for his antics in the Ice Age movies. In reality, though, the creature is known by the slightly more complicated name of Cronopio dentiacutus. It was found in the La Buitrera locality in the Rio Negro Province, Argentina. It belongs to the dryolestoids, an extinct mammal group that belongs to the lineage that led to modern marsupials and placental mammals.