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A genomic tour-de-force reveals the last 5,000 years of horse history

This image shows a herd of Kazakh horses in the Pavlodar region of Kazakhstan in August 2016. Credit: Ludovic Orlando Each year on the first Saturday in May, Thoroughbred horses reach speeds of over 40 miles per hour as they compete to win the Kentucky Derby. But the domestic horse wasn't always bred for speed.…

Embryo stem cells created from skin cells

These are 4-cell stage mouse embryos. Credit: Kirill Makedonski Researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HU) have found a way to transform skin cells into the three major stem cell types that comprise early-stage embryos. The work (in mouse cells) has significant implications for modelling embryonic disease and placental dysfunctions, as well as paving…

Bats evolved diverse skull shapes due to echolocation, diet

Skulls from multiple different bat families, showing a variety of shapes. Credit: Dennis Wise/University of Washington Humans may be forgiven for overlooking bats. After all, many bat species are out and about when we're turning in. And generations of Dracula lore may have made us a little wary. But bats are a diverse bunch. They…

A comprehensive map of how Alzheimer’s affects the brain

In the Alzheimer’s affected brain, abnormal levels of the beta-amyloid protein clump together to form plaques (seen in brown) that collect between neurons and disrupt cell function. Abnormal collections of the tau protein accumulate and form tangles (seen in blue) within neurons, harming synaptic communication between nerve cells. Credit: National Institute on Aging, NIH MIT…

Transforming waste heat into clean energy

Diagram illustrating the substitutional effects of bivalent Zn and Ni cations on spin thermoelectric properties of Co3O4. Credit: Nolan Hines, Gustavo Damis Resende, Fernando Siqueira Girondi, Shadrack Ofori-Boadi, Terrence Musho, Anveeksh Koneru Do you feel the warmth coming off your computer or cell phone? That's wasted energy radiating from the device. With automobiles, it is…

First examples of Iberian prehistoric ‘imitation amber’ beads at gravesites

These are amber bead samples studied in this paper. Credit: Odriozola et al., 2019 Prehistoric Iberians created "imitation amber" by repeatedly coating bead cores with tree resins, according to a study published May 1, 2019 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Carlos Odriozola from Universidad de Sevilla, Spain, and colleagues. Many studies have confirmed…

Water found in samples from asteroid Itokawa

The samples studied by Jin and Bose came from the feature called the Muses Sea, which is the smooth area in the middle of Itokawa. Credit: Photo by Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) Two cosmochemists at Arizona State University have made the first-ever measurements of water contained in samples from the surface of an asteroid.…

Hubble astronomers assemble wide view of the evolving universe

This graphic compares the dimensions of the Hubble Legacy Field on the sky with the angular size of the Moon. The Hubble Legacy Field is one of the widest views ever taken of the universe with Hubble. The new portrait, a mosaic of nearly 7,500 exposures, covers almost the width of the full Moon. The…

Pesticide exposure causes bumblebee flight to fall short

This is a bee attached to the arm of a flight mill by magnet. Credit: Danny Kenna / Imperial College London Bees exposed to a neonicotinoid pesticide fly only a third of the distance that unexposed bees are able to achieve. Flight behaviour is crucial for determining how bees forage, so reduced flight performance from…

Pinpointing Gaia to map the Milky Way

This image, a composite of several observations captured by ESO's VLT Survey Telescope (VST), shows the space observatory Gaia as a faint trail of dots across the lower half of the star-filled field of view. These observations were taken as part of an ongoing collaborative effort to measure Gaia's orbit and improve the accuracy of…

New mathematical approach tested for the search of flight MH370

The Indian Ocean is covered of boxes forming the Markov chain models constructed using satellite-tracked drifter buoys to describe the motion of marine debris produced by the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370. Credit: Philippe Miron The 2014 disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 remains ones of the biggest mysteries in aviation. More than $150…

Harnessing sunlight to pull hydrogen from wastewater

Zhiyong Jason Ren, principal investigator and professor of civil and environmental engineering and the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment, and Lu Lu, first author on the study and an associate research scholar at the Andlinger Center work on the specially designed anaerobic chamber used for producing hydrogen from wastewater. Credit: Photo by Bumper…

Diving deep into water and energy trade-offs

Beijing, like megacities across the globe, depends on a steady supply of natural resources, like water, to maintain growth. Credit: Photo by Sue Nichols, MSU-CSIS Two papers by Michigan State University (MSU) scientists begin challenging a more simplistic, input/output view of natural resources in favor of a way that better reflected how the world really…

‘Exotic’ genes may improve cotton yield and quality

Cotton fiber length comparison of several varieties. Fiber properties such as fiber length shown here is quantitatively inherited. Credit: Peng Chee Cotton breeders face a "Catch-22." Yield from cotton crops is inversely related to fiber quality. In general, as yield improves, fiber quality decreases, and vice-versa. "This is one of the most significant challenges for…

Disease-causing nibbling amoeba hides by displaying proteins from host cells

Entamoeba histolytica kills human cells through trogocytosis or "cell nibbling" where amoebae bite off and ingest fragments of human cells. UC Davis researchers Katherine Ralston, Hannah Miller and Rene Suleiman discovered that the amoebae use this process to acquire and display human cell membrane proteins on their own surface. This protects them from immune responses.…

Wolves more prosocial than pack dogs in touchscreen experiment

This is a touchscreen test. Credit: Rachel Dale, 2019 In a touchscreen-based task that allowed individual animals to provide food to others, wolves behaved more prosocially toward their fellow pack members than did pack dogs. Rachel Dale of the Wolf Science Center in Vienna, Austria, and colleagues present these findings in the open access journal…

Chemical records in teeth confirm elusive Alaska lake seals are one of a kind

One of the Iliamna Lake seals seen just off a gravel beach on the east end of the lake, the seals' primary habitat. Credit: Jason Ching/University of Washington Hundreds of harbor seals live in Iliamna Lake, the largest body of freshwater in Alaska and one of the most productive systems for sockeye salmon in the…

First hominins on the Tibetan Plateau were Denisovans

The Xiahe mandible, only represented by its right half, was found in 1980 in Baishiya Karst Cave. Credit: © Dongju Zhang, Lanzhou University Denisovans -- an extinct sister group of Neandertals -- were discovered in 2010, when a research team led by Svante Pääbo from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology (MPI-EVA) sequenced the…

How the bumble bee got its stripes

A new study led by researchers at Penn State has identified the gene responsible for the color switch between the red and black color forms of the bumble bee, Bombus melanopygus. The black form is similar to other bees in the Pacific Coastal region while the red form is similar to other bees in the…

Alzheimer’s disease is a ‘double-prion disorder’

AB42 cells infected with amyloid beta prions. Credit: Prusiner lab / UCSF Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases Two proteins central to the pathology of Alzheimer's disease act as prions -- misshapen proteins that spread through tissue like an infection by forcing normal proteins to adopt the same misfolded shape -- according to new UC San Francisco…

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