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Showing posts from March 31, 2016

A gorilla named Susie illustrates genome similarities with humans

By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A gorilla named Susie is helping provide fresh insight into the genetic similarities and differences between people and these endangered apes that are among our closest living relatives. Scientists on Thursday unveiled an upgraded version of the gorilla genome based on DNA from Susie, an 11-year-old Western lowland gorilla at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Ohio, that fills in many gaps present in the first gorilla genetic map published in 2012. The new research revealed that gorillas and humans are slightly more closely related genetically than previously recognized, with the genomes diverging by just 1.6 percent.


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A gorilla named Susie illustrates genome similarities with humans

By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A gorilla named Susie is helping provide fresh insight into the genetic similarities and differences between people and these endangered apes that are among our closest living relatives. Scientists on Thursday unveiled an upgraded version of the gorilla genome based on DNA from Susie, an 11-year-old Western lowland gorilla at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Ohio, that fills in many gaps present in the first gorilla genetic map published in 2012. The new research revealed that gorillas and humans are slightly more closely related genetically than previously recognized, with the genomes diverging by just 1.6 percent.


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Probe of ULA rocket engine early cutoff focuses on fuel system

By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) - The Russian-made rocket motor that catapulted a United Launch Alliance booster toward orbit last week shut down six seconds early apparently because of a fuel system problem, the company said on Thursday, in its first explanation of the issue. The ULA Atlas 5 rocket blasted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on March 22 carrying an Orbital ATK cargo ship bound for the International Space Station. The rocket’s Russian-made RD-180 engine shut down about six seconds early, but the booster’s second-stage motor compensated for the shortfall by firing longer, ULA said in a statement.

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A gorilla named Susie illustrates genome similarities with humans

By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A gorilla named Susie is helping provide fresh insight into the genetic similarities and differences between people and these endangered apes that are among our closest living relatives. Scientists on Thursday unveiled an upgraded version of the gorilla genome based on DNA from Susie, an 11-year-old Western lowland gorilla at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Ohio, that fills in many gaps present in the first gorilla genetic map published in 2012. The new research revealed that gorillas and humans are slightly more closely related genetically than previously recognized, with the genomes diverging by just 1.6 percent.


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Expedition Unknown: Saving Marine Mammals Is a Daunting Task (Op-Ed)

Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights.


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'Abortion Pill' Gets New Label: 5 Things to Know About Mifepristone

The Food and Drug Administration has approved changes to the label for mifepristone, also known as "the abortion pill," the agency said this week. The new label says that the drug (sold under the brand name Mifeprex) can be taken later in pregnancy and at a lower dose than what was recommended on the old label. "These laws compelled health care providers to use an outdated, inferior and less effective regimen," Planned Parenthood said in a statement, weighing in on the FDA's new rule.

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Marijuana Addiction Linked to Genetics

People with certain genetic markers may be at higher risk for marijuana dependence, a new study suggests. Researchers found a link between three genetic markers and symptoms of marijuana dependence, a condition in which people can't stop using the drug even though it interferes with many aspects of their lives, such as their relationships or their jobs. What's more, the study showed some overlap between the genetic risk factors for marijuana dependence and the genetic risk factors for depression, suggesting a possible reason why these two conditions often occur together, the researchers said.

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Zika Misperceptions: Many in US Unaware of Key Facts

Many people in the U.S. are not aware of key facts about the Zika virus, according to the results of a new poll. Researchers found that, for example, in households that included a woman who was either pregnant or considering getting pregnant in the next year, 1 in 4 people were not aware of the link between the Zika virus during pregnancy and microcephaly, a birth defect that causes an abnormally small brain and head. "We have a key window before the mosquito season gears up in communities within the United States mainland to correct misperceptions about Zika virus so that pregnant women and their partners may take appropriate measures to protect their families," Gillian SteelFisher, director of the poll and a health policy research scientist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said in a statement.

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Could this megacopter carry people?

By Jim Drury Students who have a remote-controlled multicopter drone that set a Guinness World Record for the heaviest payload ever lifted by such a vehicle say they hope to get permission to fly a person in its structure.     The University of Oslo team built the large unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), over an 18 month period. It contains 13 propellers and eight hexacopters powered by a total of 48 motors that reside on a frame built from aluminum and plywood.     Last October it broke the world record by lifting a payload of 61 kilograms (134lb 7.6oz) into the air and holding it there for 37 seconds, elevated to a height of at least one meter at all times.     The record attempt was far from easy, with the drone unable to lift its initial payload of 73 kilograms and having to reduce its weight.

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Headless Bard? Shakespeare's Skull Pilfered by Grave Robbers

William Shakespeare — arguably the greatest playwright of all time — is missing his head, scientists have discovered. Archaeologists recently scanned the famed writer's grave with ground-penetrating radar. Instead, Shakespeare's body is wrapped in cloth and buried inside a shallow grave less than 3 feet (1 meter) deep, the researchers said.


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305-Million-Year-Old 'Almost Spider' Unlocks Arachnid History

The arachnid, locked in iron carbonate for 305 million years, reveals the stepwise evolution of arachnids into spiders. "It's not quite a spider, but it's very close to being one," said study researcher Russell Garwood, a paleontologist at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom. Arachnids are an ancient group with murky origins, Garwood told Live Science.


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Did Hobbits Live Alongside Modern Humans?

The extinct human lineage nicknamed "the hobbit" for its miniature body may have vanished soon before or soon after modern humans arrived on the hobbits' island home, rather than living alongside modern humans for thousands of years as was previously thought, researchers say. By using new techniques to date hobbit skeletons and the sediment where they were buried, researchers determined that the "hobbit" species, Homo floresiensis, likely vanished earlier than prior estimates had suggested. "Homo floresiensis reminds us that human diversity was far greater in the past than it is today," said study co-lead author Matthew Tocheri, a paleoanthropologist at Lakehead University in Ontario.


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Chinese AI team plans to challenge Google's AlphaGo: state media

A team from China plans to challenge Google's AlphaGo, the artificial intelligence (AI) program that beat a world-class player in the ancient board game Go, the state-owned Shanghai Securities News reported on Thursday. Scientists from the China Computer Go team will issue a challenge to AlphaGo by the end of 2016, said attendees at an event in Beijing organized by the Chinese Go Association and the Chinese Association for Artificial Intelligence, according to the report. The event was 'The Forum for Understanding the AlphaGo War between Man and Machine and Chinese Artificial Intelligence', Shanghai Securities News reported on its website.


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Diminutive 'Hobbit' people vanished earlier than previously known

By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The extinct human species dubbed the "Hobbit" vanished from its home on the Indonesian island of Flores far earlier than previously thought, according to scientists who suspect our species may have had a hand in these diminutive people's demise. Researchers on Wednesday said they recalculated the age of bones of the species, named Homo floresiensis, found inside a Flores cave, and determined it disappeared about 50,000 years ago rather than 12,000 years ago as previously estimated. The Hobbit's discovery in 2003 created a scientific sensation.


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