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March 28, 2013
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Your World of Science News

  Top Story 
  • Study: Asteroids got craters from same event as the moon
    The shower of space rocks that gave our moon its craters about 4 billion years ago -- known as the Late Heavy Bombardment -- also hit the giant asteroid Vesta, a discovery that scientists say opens up new opportunities for them to study this time period. The research by NASA's Lunar Science Institute helps support the theory that the lunar cataclysm occurred when Jupiter shifted slightly in its orbit, sending smaller space rocks out of their positions. Popular Science (3/26) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Science in the News 
  • Study may unlock origins of perplexing rocks from early solar system
    Scientists say they're closer to discovering the origins of chondrules -- glass beads -- that were the first solids to appear in our solar system. A study published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters found that electric currents traveling through the dust cloud around the sun caused rocks to melt early in the solar system's history. This might help explain how chondrules, which were found far from the sun, were able to heat up to 2,420 degrees Fahrenheit despite being in a colder environment, scientists say. (3/27) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • U.S. waterways are in poor health, EPA says
    More than half of the nation's bodies of water are too polluted to sustain any kind of aquatic life, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. According to an analysis, 27% of waterways have high nitrogen levels, while 40% contain high phosphorus levels -- two chemicals that lead to higher blooms of algae and less oxygen in the water. "The health of our nation's rivers, lakes, bays and coastal waters depends on the vast network of streams where they begin, and this new science shows that America's streams and rivers are under significant pressure," said Nancy Stoner, the acting assistant water administrator. United Press International (3/27) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Companies and scientists debate pesticides' effect on bees
    Scientists are encouraging pesticide companies to consider their research after they found that two common pesticides, neonicotinoids and coumaphos, may be adversely affecting the brains of honey bees. The European Commission recently halted the use of neonicotinoids after a European Food Safety Authority report found it was a high risk to pollinators. But manufacturing companies are pointing to research, including a paper published by Defra's Food and Environment Research Agency, that finds no link between exposure to chemicals and bee health. BBC (3/27) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Why blind cavefish also lack good hearing
    While blindness is common among animals who dwell in caves, a study has found that at least two kinds of amblyopsid cavefish are also partly deaf. Researchers say a closer look at the Amblyopsidae cavefish family shows lower hearing may have been an adaption as a result of the aquatic caves' ambient noise. "The caves are very loud with the sound bouncing off the walls and stuff," said Daphne Soares, the lead researcher. "It would not be very adaptive for the fish to hear at a frequency where the environment is so loud." (3/27) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • "Cocktail" of gut bacteria could be alternative to gastric bypass
    A transplant of various gut bacteria could potentially be a knifeless alternative to gastric bypass surgery, often used to treat obesity or related ailments such as type 2 diabetes, researchers say. Scientists found that mice fed a mix of gut bacteria from mice that have undergone gastric bypass surgery lost 5% of their body weight in two weeks, compared with mice on the same diet without the bacteria. The reason is still a mystery, though researchers speculate the gut bacteria may be changing the way the intestines absorb calories into the body. New Scientist (3/27) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Drug treats hepatitis C by targeting body's RNA
    A new compound drug could be effective in treating hepatitis C by attacking RNA that allows the virus to gain traction in a patient's body. The drug, miravirsen, targets the body's microRNA-122, preventing viral replication, according to findings published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The treatment could potentially also treat other serious diseases, including cancer. "This is really a revolution in science and it's now beginning to be translated into advances that control disease," said Phillip Sharp, an MIT molecular biologist who won a 1993 Nobel Prize for work on RNA. Science News (3/27) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Studies identify 80 new genetic markers for cancer
    A dozen studies published in various journals involving a total of more than 250,000 people have identified 80 new genetic markers for breast, prostate and ovarian cancers. Researchers say the markers are fairly common and individually present a small risk of cancer; collectively, they offer a stronger identification of cancer risk in a person. The studies were conducted as part of the Collaborative Oncological Gene-environment Study, representing more than 130 groups worldwide. (3/27) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Archaeologists unearth evidence of early Stone Age settlements
    A phallic carving discovered in northern Israel may give researchers more insight into Stone Age life. Archaeologists discovered evidence of early settlements in an excavation at the Ahihud Junction, where a new rail line is scheduled to be constructed. The scientists also found a pit of burned bean seeds, polished stone axes and other flint and stone tools. "The large amount of tools made of obsidian, a material that is not indigenous to Israel, is indicative of the trade relations that already existed with Turkey, Georgia and other regions during this period," said Yitzhak Paz and Ya'akov Vardi, excavation directors for the Israeli Antiquities Authority. (3/26) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Funding Watch 
  • UT professor wins $1.67M grant to study Huntington's disease
    The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stoke awarded a $1.67 million grant to a University of Texas at Dallas professor toward research on Huntington's disease. The research will examine why the disease may cause certain brain cells to degenerate, said Santosk D'Mello, the molecular and cell biology professor leading the study. The grant will be provided to D'Mello over a five-year period. (Dallas) (3/26) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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