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April 11 2015

To Predict Future Diseases, Doctors Will Map Newborns' Genes


If you could find out your baby’s future health problems right after he or she was born, would you want to know? Some new parents will get to make that decision soon. This month, doctors in Boston will begin the BabySeq project, in which they will sequence the genomes of newborns to look for signs of diseases that begin in childhood.

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April 11 2015

'Domesticated' explores how humans have altered animals


The taming of the auroch probably began with rounding up those animals that would tolerate humans. Eventually, people could have selected mild-mannered aurochs for breeding. By contrast, now-tame predators such as dogs and cats may have kick-started their own domestication, with friendlier animals thriving on food they found in camps and settlements.

These are just a few of the evolutionary origin stories that science journalist Richard Francis shares in Domesticated.

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April 11 2015

'Lost' sea turtles don't go with the flow


A tracking study has shown that young sea turtles make a concerted effort to swim in particular directions, instead of drifting with ocean currents.

Baby turtles disappear at sea for up to a decade and it was once assumed that they spent these "lost years" drifting.

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April 11 2015

Mountain gorillas: Deleterious genetic variations disappeared from population thanks to inbreeding


Researchers have produced the first whole-genome sequences of endangered mountain gorillas in the Virunga volcanic mountain range in central Africa. Findings from sequence analysis suggest the gorillas have lived in small groups for thousands of years, coping well with inbreeding that scientists feared would lead to health problems. Based on these results, scientist say the gorillas, if properly protected from habitat destruction and hunting, should continue to flourish for thousands of years to come.

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April 11 2015

Dogs shown to sniff out prostate cancer


Dogs have been found to have 98 per cent reliability rate in sniffing out prostate cancer in men, according to new research.

The Italian study backs up tests carried out by the charity Medical Detection Dogs, which is based in Buckinghamshire. Its co-founder, Dr Claire Guest, said its research had found a 93 per cent reliability rate when detecting bladder and prostate cancer, describing the new findings as “spectacular”.

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April 11 2015

Culling cats 'may do more harm than good'


Shooting or trapping feral cats may increase their numbers, a new study has found.

The accidental finding, made during research into the ecological impact of feral cats, emphasises the need to monitor the effects of culling programs, say wildlife biologist Billie Lazenby of the Tasmanian department of primary industries.

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April 11 2015

Brain scans reveal how people 'justify' killing


A new study has thrown light on how people can become killers in certain situations, showing how brain activity varies according to whether or not killing is seen as justified.

The study, led by Monash researcher Dr Pascal Molenberghs, School of Psychological Sciences, is published in the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience.

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April 11 2015

Man in lonely shallow grave buried by community who thought jaw deformities indicated evil


Lower jaw deformities from birth, a missing right hand and foot bones, trepanning to exorcise “bad spirits” and a lonely burial were the lot of a middle-aged Saxon or early medieval man found face down in a shallow grave.


Related: Ancient Tomb Reveals Man Sacrificed for Noblewoman's Burial

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April 11 2015

Primitive rock shelter vandalized in Nine Mile Canyon


The leader of a nonprofit archaeology organization says he's baffled by an act of vandalism that was recently discovered in Utah's Nine Mile Canyon.

"It's one of the weirdest things I've ever seen," said Spangler, who has more than two decades of experience in the field.

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April 11 2015

Tombs Filled with Dozens of Mummies Discovered in Peru


Dozens of tombs filled with up to 40 mummies each have been discovered around a 1,200-year-old ceremonial site in Peru's Cotahuasi Valley.

So far, the archaeologists have excavated seven tombs containing at least 171 mummies from the site, now called Tenahaha.

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April 11 2015

Controversy Blooms Over Earliest Flower Fossil


A tiny flower pressed between layers of sandstone for more than 160 million years could be the oldest flower fossil ever found, a new study reports.

However, not everyone agrees that the fossil represents an actual flower or that it is as old as the study claims.

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April 10 2015

Tyrannosaurs were violent cannibals


Remains of a mutilated dinosaur victim provide strong evidence for what has long been suspected - Tyrannosaurus rex and his kin were violent animals that also practiced cannibalism.

The remains, described in the latest issue of the journal PeerJ, are of the large carnivorous tyrannosaur Daspletosaurus, which suffered numerous injuries during its lifetime and was partially eaten after it died.

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April 10 2015

'Terror birds' had deep voices, fossil suggests


A 90%-complete "terror bird" skeleton found on an Argentinean beach suggests these big-beaked predators had good low-frequency hearing and deep voices.

It is the most complete skeleton ever discovered for one of these menacing beasts, and represents a new species.

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April 10 2015

Pre-Inca canals may solve Lima's water crisis


A revival of pre-Inca water technology in the mountains of the Andes is set to keep taps flowing in the drought-affected Peruvian capital, Lima. Grouting ancient canals, it turns out, is a far cheaper solution to the city's water crisis than building a new desalination plant.

Lima is one of the world's largest desert cities and relies for water on rivers that flow out of the Andes.

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April 10 2015

The climate change paradox: Rainforests are being felled... but the world is getting greener


The dramatic demise of the world’s rainforests has caused concern for years while they have been chopped down at breakneck speed to grow crops and rear cattle – yet the planet has actually become greener in the past decade, with the total amount of plant coverage soaring.

The rise in vegetation is the result of a major tree-planting campaign in China and unintentional increases in grasslands and non-tropical forests in former Soviet states, Australia and Africa.

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April 10 2015

Researchers discover trick to regrowing lost hair


Frustrated by hair loss? New research suggests a peculiar, and slightly painful, solution to the ancient condition of baldness: Yank out whatever hair you have left.

In a paper published Thursday in the journal Cell, researchers say they provoked fur regeneration in mice by plucking hairs in a precise pattern and concentration.

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April 10 2015

Fountain of youth uncovered in mammary glands of mice, by breast cancer researchers


The Fountain of Youth has been discovered and it's not in Florida as Ponce de Leon claimed. Instead, it was found in the mammary glands of genetically modified mice. A research team has found that when two factors that control tissue development are removed, you can avoid the impact of aging.

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