Genetic databases aren't ethnically diverse, with most participants in genome-wide association studies being of European descent, according to a commentary published in Cell. The NIH All of Us program and private DNA database companies such as 23andMe are working to diversify the data available by increasing the number of participants from underrepresented groups.
Chinese researchers have uncovered more than 4,300 well-preserved fossils at a site along the Danshui River in China that dates back 518 million years. The fossils include many organisms never seen before, according to findings published in Science.
Sun bears communicate by mimicking each other's facial expressions, a practice long thought to occur only in species with complex social systems, a study published in Scientific Reports suggests. "Other primates and dogs are known to mimic each other, but only great apes and humans were previously known to show such complexity in their facial mimicry," said study co-author Marina Davila-Ross.
A healthy baby monkey has been born using sperm developed from frozen immature testicular tissue in a procedure that may one day help prepubescent boys whose future fertility is compromised by cancer treatments, according to findings published in Science. Researchers removed testicular tissue from rhesus macaques that hadn't yet reached sexual maturity, froze it and then grafted it back when the monkeys had matured, resulting in viable sperm recovered up to 12 months later.
An abundance of carbon monoxide in an exoplanet's atmosphere could indicate the presence of life, much like there was on Earth 3 billion years ago, when there wasn't much oxygen but microbial life thrived, according to a study published in The Astrophysical Journal. "Given the different astrophysical context for these planets, we should not be surprised to find microbial biospheres promoting high levels of carbon monoxide," said Edward Schwieterman, the study's lead author.
Crash-related emergency room visits fell 4% on average from 2007 to 2014 in states that prohibit texting while driving, according to a study published in the American Journal of Public Health. Crash-related injuries dropped 8% in states that placed primary bans on texting while driving, the study found.
Patients with Parkinson's disease give off a distinctive musky scent that could one day help doctors diagnose the disease, a study published in ACS Central Science suggests. Researchers tested participants' sebum and identified four compounds linked to the unique scent: eicosane, hippuric acid, octadecanal and perillic aldehyde.
It's unclear whether President Donald Trump's executive order that would penalize universities for violating students' right to free speech will result in research funding losses, but some officials are concerned. "Under this executive order, politically appointed department and agency heads have been directed to take action that could, as President Trump suggested, strip or block federal research funding from universities they subjectively believe aren't adequately permitting the diverse debate of ideas," said Peter McPherson, president of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities.
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