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Australian lungfish has largest genome of any animal sequenced so far

Australian lungfish has largest genome of any animal sequenced so far

×The Australian lungfish has the largest genome of any animal so far sequenced.Siegfried Schloissnig at the Research Institute of Molecular Pathology in Austria and his colleagues have found that the lungfish’s genome is 43 billion base pairs long, which is around 14 times larger than the .Its genome is 30 per cent larger than that of the previous record holder: the , a Mexican amphibian that the team sequenced in 2018.AdvertisementThe researchers used high-powered computer sequencers to piece together the lungfish genome.To account for inherent errors that the sequencers introduce, they...

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Donna Lu
Jan 19
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Corals bleached from heat become less resilient to ocean acidification

Corals bleached from heat become less resilient to ocean acidification

×get a double-whammy negative from heat – those that are bleached as a result of heat stress also become .Robert Eagle at the University of California, Los Angeles and his colleagues have analysed the effect of elevated temperatures on the growth of two species of stony coral when the corals are also exposed to ocean acidification.The acidification of oceans occurs as result of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere . The results are a decrease in the pH of the water, a decrease in its concentration of carbonate ions and a drop in the saturation states of calcium carbonate...

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Donna Lu
Jan 14
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Rare bigfin squid found in Australian waters for the first time

Rare bigfin squid found in Australian waters for the first time

×The extremely rare bigfin squid, a found more than 2 kilometres underwater, has been spotted in for the first time.Deborah Osterhage at CSIRO in Hobart, Australia, and her colleagues came across the squid during underwater surveys in the , an open bay off Australia’s southern coast.“I knew exactly what it was when I saw it, probably because I’m a bit of a deep sea geek,” says Osterhage. “They’re very rarely seen around the world.” Only three sightings had previously been recorded in the southern hemisphere.AdvertisementBigfin squid (Magnapinna) have a distinctive appearance: they have...

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Donna Lu
Nov 12
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Malaria parasite hides in human blood by changing how its genes work

Malaria parasite hides in human blood by changing how its genes work

×An estimated 200 million people a year contract malaria, and the disease killed nearly 400,000 people in 2018 alone – now we are a small step closer to understanding why it is so hard to stop. The main parasite that causes the disease has developed a strategy for hiding undetected in the bloodstream of carriers.Malaria is caused by five species of the parasite Plasmodium, the being Plasmodium falciparum. The parasite infects human and replicates inside them, leading to symptoms including fever and muscle aches.Most cases of malaria occur during the rainy season – which in some parts of...

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Donna Lu
Nov 2
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Robot that can perform colonoscopies aims to make it less unpleasant

Robot that can perform colonoscopies aims to make it less unpleasant

×A robot that can perform colonoscopies may make the procedure simpler and less unpleasant.Pietro Valdastri at the University of Leeds in the UK and his colleagues have developed a that uses a to move a flexible probe along the colon.The probe is a magnetic endoscope, a tube with a camera lens at the tip, that the robot controls via a magnet external to the body.AdvertisementThe system can either work autonomously or be controlled by a human operator using a joystick, which pushes the endoscope tip further along the colon. Valdastri likens the movement to the intuitive motion of playing a...

newscientist.com
Donna Lu
Oct 13
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Changing how we make solar panels could reduce their carbon emissions

Changing how we make solar panels could reduce their carbon emissions

×Changing the way we make could reduce their carbon footprint, providing a boost to green energy.Although solar panels are a source of renewable energy, making them has an environmental impact. Fengqi You at Cornell University in New York and his colleagues have analysed the overall environmental impact of two types of new solar panels, comparing these against panels made with crystalline silicon wafers – the current industry standard.The team found that a new type of made from two layers of a mineral called perovskite requires a smaller total and results in fewer carbon emissions. The...

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Donna Lu
Aug 5
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Noise-cancelling windows halve traffic sounds even when they're open

Noise-cancelling windows halve traffic sounds even when they're open

×People living in cities with warm climates face a problem during summer months: keeping windows open for ventilation means letting in traffic sounds. A noise-cancelling device could solve this dilemma.Bhan Lam at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore and his colleagues have created a device that can halve the  reducing the sound coming through an open window by up to 10 decibels.To cancel out road noise, the researchers used 24 small loudspeakers and fixed these to the security grilles of a typical window in Singapore in an 8×3 grid. These grilles are a common feature across...

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Donna Lu
Jul 13
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Laser-sculpted aluminium purifies water with the power of sunlight

Laser-sculpted aluminium purifies water with the power of sunlight

×A black panel of aluminium crafted by lasers can purify water when heated by ordinary sunlight. It could eventually be used in drought-stricken areas or regions where is not readily available.Chunlei Guo at the University of Rochester in New York and his colleagues made the panel using short-pulse lasers on an 3 by 3 centimetre aluminium sheet, creating rows of tube-like microscopic grooves on the surface of the aluminium. On these grooves there are even smaller nanoscale bumps.The resulting sheet is both black in appearance and attracts water. “If I put a sample [of the aluminium]...

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Donna Lu
Jul 13
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Uber and Lyft pricing algorithms charge more in non-white areas

Uber and Lyft pricing algorithms charge more in non-white areas

×The algorithms that ride-hailing companies, such as Uber and Lyft, use to determine fares appear to create a .By analysing transport and census data in Chicago, Aylin Caliskan and Akshat Pandey at The George Washington University in Washington DC have found that ride-hailing companies charge a higher price per mile for a trip if the pick-up point or destination is a neighbourhood with a higher proportion of residents than for those with predominantly white residents.“Basically, if you’re going to a neighbourhood where there’s a large African-American population, you’re going to pay a...

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Donna Lu
Jun 19
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Seismic waves reveal giant structures deep beneath Earth’s surface

Seismic waves reveal giant structures deep beneath Earth’s surface

×Seismic wave data has revealed giant structures 2900 kilometres beneath the surface of Earth, at the boundary between Earth’s molten core and solid .Analysing data from hundreds of major earthquakes, Doyeon Kim at the University of Maryland and his colleagues have found a new structure beneath the volcanic Marquesas Islands in the South Pacific Ocean. The structure, known as an ultra-low velocity (ULV) zone, is about 1000 kilometres in diameter and 25 kilometres thick, says Kim.These structures are called ULV zones because pass through them at slower velocities, but what they are made of...

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Donna Lu
Jun 15
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Two-sided solar panels that track the sun produce a third more energy

Two-sided solar panels that track the sun produce a third more energy

×Double-sided solar panels that tilt based on the sun’s position could boost the amount of energy collected. The two approaches existed independently before, but researchers have now looked at the effects of combining them.Carlos Rodríguez-Gallegos at the Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore and his colleagues found that double-sided solar panels that track the sun would produce 35 per cent more energy and by 16 per cent.The goal for any is to absorb as much energy from the sun as possible, says Rodríguez-Gallegos. At present, solar panels around the world are predominantly...

newscientist.com
Donna Lu
Jun 6
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Tiny robots can travel through rushing blood to deliver drugs

Tiny robots can travel through rushing blood to deliver drugs

×Tiny drug-carrying robots that can move against the direction of blood flow could one day be used to deliver chemotherapy drugs directly to cancer cells.Metin Sitti at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart, Germany, and his colleagues have developed called “microrollers” that can carry drugs and selectively target human breast cancer cells.The team drew inspiration for the design of the robots from white blood cells in the human body, which can move along the walls of blood vessels against the direction of blood flow.AdvertisementThe microrollers are spherical and...

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Donna Lu
May 31
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Universal basic income seems to improve employment and well-being

Universal basic income seems to improve employment and well-being

×The world’s most robust study of universal basic income has concluded that it boosts recipients’ mental and financial well-being, as well as modestly improving employment.Finland ran a two-year study in 2017 and 2018, during which the government gave 2000 unemployed people aged between 25 and 58 monthly payments with no strings attached.The payments of €560 per month weren’t means tested and were unconditional, so they weren’t reduced if an individual got a job or later had a pay rise. The study was nationwide and selected recipients weren’t able to opt out, because the test was written...

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Donna Lu
May 13
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Universal basic income seems to improve employment and well-being

Universal basic income seems to improve employment and well-being

×The world’s most robust study of universal basic income has concluded that it boosts recipients’ mental and financial well-being, as well as modestly improving employment.Finland ran a two-year study in 2017 and 2018, during which the government gave 2000 unemployed people aged between 25 and 58 monthly payments with no strings attached.The payments of €560 per month weren’t means tested and were unconditional, so they weren’t reduced if an individual got a job or later had a pay rise. The study was nationwide and selected recipients weren’t able to opt out, because the test was written...

newscientist.com
Donna Lu
May 9
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Jane Goodall: We must protect chimps from being exposed to covid-19

Jane Goodall: We must protect chimps from being exposed to covid-19

×FilmJane Goodall: The HopeNational GeographicJane Goodall has achieved an incredible amount in her life. As a researcher, she has changed our understanding of chimpanzees – highly intelligent animals with . As a conservationist, she has galvanised generations of activists.A new documentary, Jane Goodall: The Hope, features footage spanning more than seven decades, including her early work at Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania. The film picks up where the 2017 documentary Jane ended, focusing more on Goodall’s shift to environmental activism.Advertisement“We are part of the natural...

newscientist.com
Donna Lu
Apr 25
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Fish used for sushi now carry 283 times more parasites than in 1980s

Fish used for sushi now carry 283 times more parasites than in 1980s

×Fish are infected with 283 times more parasitic worms than they were 40 years ago. Anisakis worms can infect a variety of marine fish and squid, as well as marine mammals such as whales and dolphins – and can be present in fish used raw for sushi.Chelsea Wood at the University of Washington in Seattle and her colleagues analysed the abundance of Anisakis, or herring worm, between 1978 and 2015. The team gathered data on the average number of parasites per fish from 123 studies – which included 56,778 fish across 215 species – and found a 283-fold increase over nearly 40 years.Anasakis...

newscientist.com
Donna Lu
Mar 20
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