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Genetically modified mice reveal the secret to a painless life

People born with a rare genetic mutation are unable to feel pain, but previous attempts to recreate this effect with drugs have had surprisingly little success. Using mice modified to carry the same mutation, UCL researchers funded by the MRC and Wellcome Trust have now discovered the recipe for painlessness. ‘Channels’ that allow messages to […]

Strolling salamanders provide clues on how animals evolved to move from water to land

[unable to retrieve full-text content] Around 390 million years ago, the first vertebrate animals moved fromwater onto land, necessitating changes in their musculoskeletal systems to permit aterrestrial life. Forelimbs and hind limbs of the first tetrapods evolved to support moreweight. But what specific mechanisms drove changes in bone function? The tiger salamander might provide some […]

Bonobos documented for first time using ancient pre-agricultural tools, breaking bones, and using spears as attack weapons

Bonobos documented for first time using ancient pre-agricultural tools, breaking bones, and using spears as attack weapons

For the first time, a scientific study has observed bonobos (an analogous race to chimpanzees) making sophisticated use of ancient pre-agricultural tools in a manner similar to that which has hitherto been considered the prerogative of archaic pre-human hominins and other members of the Homo genus. Among other findings, a bonobo was observed for the […]

Mystery of how snakes lost their legs solved by reptile fossil

Fresh analysis of a reptile fossil is helping scientists solve an evolutionary puzzle — how snakes lost their limbs. The 90 million-year-old skull is giving researchers vital clues about how snakes evolved. Comparisons between CT scans of the fossil and modern reptiles indicate that snakes lost their legs when their ancestors evolved to live and […]

Rapid plankton growth in ocean seen as sign of carbon dioxide loading

A microscopic marine alga is thriving in the North Atlantic to an extent that defies scientific predictions, suggesting swift environmental change as a result of increased carbon dioxide in the ocean, a study led a by Johns Hopkins University scientist has found. What these findings mean remains to be seen, however, as does whether the […]

Scientists get first glimpse of black hole eating star, ejecting high-speed flare

[unable to retrieve full-text content] An international team of astrophysicists has for the first time witnessed a star being swallowed by a black hole and ejecting a flare of matter moving at nearly the speed of light. All Top News — ScienceDaily

Don't forget plankton in climate change models, says study

A new study from the University of Exeter, published in the journal Ecology Letters, found that phytoplankton — microscopic water-borne plants — can rapidly evolve tolerance to elevated water temperatures. Globally, phytoplankton absorb as much carbon dioxide as tropical rainforests and so understanding the way they respond to a warming climate is crucial. Phytoplankton subjected […]

Global warming will be faster than expected

Global warming will progress faster than what was previously believed. The reason is that greenhouse gas emissions that arise naturally are also affected by increased temperatures. This has been confirmed in a new study from Linköping University that measures natural methane emissions. “Everything indicates that global warming caused by humans leads to increased natural greenhouse […]

Functional human liver cells grown in the lab

In new research appearing in the journal Nature Biotechnology, an international research team led by The Hebrew University of Jerusalem describes a new technique for growing human hepatocytes in the laboratory. This groundbreaking development could help advance a variety of liver-related research and applications, from studying drug toxicity to creating bio-artificial liver support for patients […]

2015 likely to be warmest on record, 2011-2015 warmest five year period

The global average surface temperature in 2015 is likely to be the warmest on record and to reach the symbolic and significant milestone of 1° Celsius above the pre-industrial era. This is due to a combination of a strong El Niño and human-induced global warming, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The years 2011-2015 […]