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Once thought to be asexual, single-celled parasites caught in the act

Leishmania illustration (stock image). Credit: © Kateryna_Kon / Adobe Stock Even single-celled organisms desire partners every now and then. Leishmania -- single-celled parasites that cause infections of the skin and internal organs -- have long been known to multiply asexually, like bacteria. But occasionally, researchers have found hybrid parasites that carry genetic material from more…

In romantic relationships, people do indeed have a ‘type’

Couple holding hands (stock image). Credit: © kobeza / Adobe Stock If you've ever come out of a bad relationship and decided you need to date someone different from your usual "type," you're not alone. However, new research by social psychologists at the University of Toronto (U of T) suggests that might be easier said…

Rare ‘superflares’ could one day threaten Earth

Giant solar flare illustration (stock image). Credit: © Peter Jurik / Adobe Stock Astronomers probing the edges of the Milky Way have in recent years observed some of the most brilliant pyrotechnic displays in the galaxy: superflares. These events occur when stars, for reasons that scientists still don't understand, eject huge bursts of energy that…

Earth’s heavy metals result of supernova explosion, research reveals

Supernova concept (stock image). Credit: © marcel / Adobe Stock That gold on your ring finger is stellar -- and not just in a complimentary way. In a finding that may overthrow our understanding of where Earth's heavy elements such as gold and platinum come from, new research by a University of Guelph physicist suggests…

Bitcoin causing carbon dioxide emissions comparable to Las Vegas or Hamburg

Bitcoin concept (stock image). Credit: © Visual Generation / Adobe Stock The use of Bitcoin causes around 22 megatons in CO2 emissions annually -- comparable to the total emissions of cities such as Hamburg or Las Vegas. That is the conclusion of the most detailed analysis to date of the cryptocurrency's carbon footprint. For their…

The surprising reason why some lemurs may be more sensitive to forest loss

Lemur (stock image). Credit: © mirecca / Adobe Stock Duke University scientists have given us another way to tell which endangered lemur species are most at risk from deforestation -- based on the trillions of bacteria that inhabit their guts. In a new study, researchers compared the gut microbes of 12 lemur species across the…

NASA’s Fermi mission reveals its highest-energy gamma-ray bursts

Green dots show the locations of 186 gamma-ray bursts observed by the Large Area Telescope (LAT) on NASA's Fermi satellite during its first decade. Some noteworthy bursts are highlighted and labeled. Background: Constructed from nine years of LAT data, this map shows how the gamma-ray sky appears at energies above 10 billion electron volts. The…

Gut microbes eat our medication

Pills illustration (stock image). Credit: © georgejmclittle / Adobe Stock The first time Vayu Maini Rekdal manipulated microbes, he made a decent sourdough bread. At the time, young Maini Rekdal, and most people who head to the kitchen to whip up a salad dressing, pop popcorn, ferment vegetables, or caramelize onions, did not consider the…

Zebras’ stripes could be used to control their temperature, study reveals

Grant's zebras (stock image). Credit: © salparadis / Adobe Stock New research published in the Journal of Natural History indicates that zebras' stripes are used to control body temperature after all -- and reveals for the first time a new mechanism for how this may be achieved. The authors argue it is the special way…

Viruses found to use intricate ‘treadmill’ to move cargo across bacterial cells

Illustration of bacteriophage viruses infecting bacterial cell (stock image). Credit: © evve79 / Adobe Stock Countless textbooks have characterized bacteria as simple, disorganized blobs of molecules. Now, using advanced technologies to explore the inner workings of bacteria in unprecedented detail, biologists at the University of California San Diego have discovered that in fact bacteria have…

Early-season hurricanes result in greater transmission of mosquito-borne infectious disease

Hurricane image (elements furnished by NASA). Credit: © Mike Mareen / Adobe Stock The timing of a hurricane is one of the primary factors influencing its impact on the spread of mosquito-borne infectious diseases such as West Nile Virus, dengue, chikungunya and Zika, according to a study led by Georgia State University. Researchers from Georgia…

Origins of cannabis smoking

Cannabis plant (stock image). Credit: © EpicStockMedia / Adobe Stock Cannabis has been cultivated as an oil-seed and fibre crop for millennia in East Asia. Little is known, however, about the early use and eventual cultivation of the plant for its psychoactive and medicinal properties. Despite being one of the most widely used psychoactive drugs…

Why Noah’s Ark won’t work

Purple sea urchins (stock image). Credit: © MikeFusaro / Adobe Stock A Noah's Ark strategy will fail. In the roughest sense, that's the conclusion of a first-of-its-kind study that illuminates which marine species may have the ability to survive in a world where temperatures are rising and oceans are becoming acidic. Two-by-two, or even moderately…

Reaching and grasping: Learning fine motor coordination changes the brain

Hands grasping (stock image). Credit: © beeboys / Adobe Stock When we train the reaching for and grasping of objects, we also train our brain. In other words, this action brings about changes in the connections of a certain neuronal population in the red nucleus, a region of the midbrain. Researchers at the University of…

Table salt compound spotted on Europa

Tara Regio is the yellowish area to left of center, in this NASA Galileo image of Europa’s surface. This region of geologic chaos is the area researchers identified an abundance of sodium chloride. Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona A familiar ingredient has been hiding in plain sight on the surface of Jupiter's moon Europa. Using a…

In romantic relationships, people do indeed have a ‘type’

Couple holding hands (stock image). Credit: © kobeza / Adobe Stock If you've ever come out of a bad relationship and decided you need to date someone different from your usual "type," you're not alone. However, new research by social psychologists at the University of Toronto (U of T) suggests that might be easier said…

Dashing the dream of ideal ‘invisibility’ cloaks for stress waves

Roman Colosseum (stock image). Roman arenas have survived in many earthquake-prone regions. Did the Romans inadvertently build seismic wave cloaks when they designed colosseums? Some researchers believe they did due to the arenas' resemblance to modern experimental elastodynamic cloaking devices. Credit: © scaliger / Adobe Stock Whether Harry Potter's invisibility cloak, which perfectly steers light…

Jupiter-like exoplanets found in sweet spot in most planetary systems

Illustration of Jupiter-like planet orbiting a star (stock image). Credit: © Mopic / Adobe Stock As planets form in the swirling gas and dust around young stars, there seems to be a sweet spot where most of the large, Jupiter-like gas giants congregate, centered around the orbit where Jupiter sits today in our own solar…

Mouse study finds BPA exposure has transgenerational effects on gene linked to autism

BPA chemical structure (stock image). Credit: © Zerbor / Adobe Stock Transgenerational bisphenol A (BPA) exposure may contribute to autism, according to a mouse study published in the Endocrine Society's journal Endocrinology. Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are chemicals or mixtures of chemicals that interfere with the way the body's hormones work. BPA is a common…

The mantis shrimp’s perfect shield

Mantis shrimp (stock image). Credit: © John Anderson / Adobe Stock How do you protect yourself from the perfect striking weapon? You develop the perfect shield. If you're a mantis shrimp with a clublike arm tough enough to crack clamshells, you'd better not get into any fights with your pals. But the tiny crustaceans, among…

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