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Showing posts from October 20, 2015

23andMe launches new consumer test service to check for genetic disorders

By Caroline Humer and Julie Steenhuysen NEW YORK/CHICAGO (Reuters) - Genetics company 23andMe announced the launch of a new consumer genetic test service on Wednesday that will show whether an individual carries genes associated with 36 different disorders, such as cystic fibrosis. The launch is a major step for the company, which in 2013 was ordered by the Food and Drug Administration to stop selling its Personal Genome Service because the regulatory agency had not approved the tests it offered. The Personal Genome Service, launched in 2007, analyzed a broad menu of genetic links to disease, including a predisposition to breast and ovarian cancer, certain heart conditions and Alzheimer's. 23andMe said it is still working with the FDA for approval of those tests, as well as analyses that can predict a person's response to specific drugs.

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One tough bird: vulture's genes help it thrive on rotting flesh

By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A diet of putrid rotting flesh may not be your cup of tea, but to the cinereous vulture, found across southern Europe and Asia, it is positively delightful. Researchers on Tuesday said they have sequenced the genome of this big scavenger, also called the Eurasian black vulture, identifying genetic traits that account for a stalwart stomach and powerful immune system that let it carry on eating carrion. "It is known that they are all but immune to botulism and that they can happily eat the flesh of an animal coated in Bacillus anthracis that causes anthrax," said geneticist Jong Bhak of South Korea's Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology.


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One tough bird: vulture's genes help it thrive on rotting flesh

By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A diet of putrid rotting flesh may not be your cup of tea, but to the cinereous vulture, found across southern Europe and Asia, it is positively delightful. Researchers on Tuesday said they have sequenced the genome of this big scavenger, also called the Eurasian black vulture, identifying genetic traits that account for a stalwart stomach and powerful immune system that let it carry on eating carrion. "It is known that they are all but immune to botulism and that they can happily eat the flesh of an animal coated in Bacillus anthracis that causes anthrax," said geneticist Jong Bhak of South Korea's Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology.

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Sunscreen ingredient toxic to coral, killing off reefs: research

By Barbara Liston ORLANDO, Fla. (Reuters) - A common ingredient found in sunscreen is toxic to coral and contributing to the decline of reefs around the world, according to new research published on Tuesday. Oxybenzone, a UV-filtering chemical compound found in 3,500 brands of sunscreen worldwide, can be fatal to baby coral and damaging to adults in high concentrations, according the study published in the Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology. The international research team that conducted the study, led by Craig Downs, found the highest concentrations of oxybenzone around coral reefs popular with tourists, particularly those in Hawaii and the Caribbean.

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Search For Intelligent Aliens Near Bizarre Dimming Star Has Begun

The search for signs of life in a mysterious star system hypothesized to potentially harbor an "alien megastructure" is now underway. Astronomers have begun using the Allen Telescope Array (ATA), a system of radio dishes about 300 miles (483 kilometers) northeast of San Francisco, to hunt for signals coming from the vicinity of KIC 8462852, a star that lies 1,500 light-years from Earth. NASA's Kepler space telescope found that KIC 8462852 dimmed oddly and dramatically several times over the past few years.


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Orionid Meteor Shower Promises Bright Sky Show This Week

Now, one of the more reliable meteor showers — sort of a junior version of the Perseids — is set to reach its maximum before sunrise on Thursday morning (Oct. 22). This upcoming display is known as the Orionids, because the meteors seem to fan out from a region to the north of the constellation Orion's second-brightest star, ruddy Betelgeuse. Currently, Orion appears to be ahead of Earth as the planet journeys around the sun, and the constellation has not completely risen above the eastern horizon until after 11:00 p.m. local daylight time.


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Search For Intelligent Aliens Near Bizarre Dimming Star Has Begun

The search for signs of life in a mysterious star system hypothesized to potentially harbor an "alien megastructure" is now underway. Astronomers have begun using the Allen Telescope Array (ATA), a system of radio dishes about 300 miles (483 kilometers) northeast of San Francisco, to hunt for signals coming from the vicinity of KIC 8462852, a star that lies 1,500 light-years from Earth. NASA's Kepler space telescope found that KIC 8462852 dimmed oddly and dramatically several times over the past few years.


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Chasing Wormholes: The Hunt for Tunnels in Space-Time

Science fiction literature is full of stories in which tunnels in space-time — known as wormholes — are used for time travel. Scientists are looking at ways to use traversable wormholes (if they exist) to travel faster than the speed of light — and even to travel through time itself. "A traversable wormhole is a hyperspace tunnel, also called a throat, that connects together two remotely distant regions within our universe, or two different universes — if other universes exist — or two different periods in time, as in time travel, or different dimensions of space," physicist Eric Davis told Space.com by email.


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BRIEF-Shenghua Biok Biology to acquire info tech firm for 1.6 bln yuan

Oct 20 (Reuters) - Zhejiang Shenghua Biok Biology Co Ltd * Says to acquire information technology firm for 1.6billion yuan ($252.05 million) via cash, share issue * Says plans to raise up to 1.5 billion yuan in privateplacement of shares to fund acquisition, project Source text in Chinese: http://bit.ly/1QOBD1d Further company coverage: ($1 = 6.3480 Chinese yuan renminbi) (Reporting by Hong Kong and Singapore newsrooms)

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20 Years On, Future Bright for Exoplanet Science

On Oct. 6, 1995, Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz of Switzerland's Geneva Observatory announced the discovery of the huge, scorching-hot 51 Pegasi b, the first alien planet ever found around a sunlike star.


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Take a Trip to Comet 67P in This Awesome Video from the Philae Lander

As the Philae lander plunged down to land on a comet in 2014, it captured a view of the great comet closer than any had ever seen. Now a new video lets viewers ride along, showing exactly what the lander saw as it descended. The European Space Agency put together the video to celebrate the one-year anniversary of choosing Philae's prime landing site.


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Bloody Ancient Arrowhead Reveals Maya 'Life Force' Ceremony

An ancient arrowhead with human blood on it points to a Maya bloodletting ceremony in which a person's "life force" fed the gods, two researchers say. The ceremony took place around 500 years ago in Guatemala at a temple at the site of Zacpetén. "The general consensus (among scholars) is that bloodletting was 'feeding' the gods with the human essential life force," said Prudence Rice, a professor emeritus at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale.


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Meet Jane, the Most Complete Adolescent T. Rex Ever Found

An adolescent Tyrannosaurus rex named Jane may settle a dispute more than 70 years in the making: Whether small carnivorous dinosaurs are younger versions of T. rex, or another species altogether, a new study finds. The authors of the new study contend that small and slender Jane is a young, 11-year-old T. rex. Before Jane, there was a critical gap between juvenile and adult T. rex dinosaur specimens, and it was unclear how their body structures changed over time, said study lead researcher Thomas Carr, an associate professor of biology at Carthage College in Wisconsin.


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