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Latest and Breaking Biology News

Africa, From a CATS Point of View
(NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center) From Saharan dust storms to icy clouds to smoke on the opposite side of the continent, the first image from NASA's newest cloud- and aerosol-measuring instrument provides a profile of the atmosphere above Africa.

Novel gene variants found in a difficult childhood immune disorder
(Children's Hospital of Philadelphia) Genomics researchers analyzing a rare, serious immunodeficiency disease in children have discovered links to a gene crucial to the body's defense against infections. The finding may represent an inviting target for drugs to treat common variable immunodeficiency.

Economic models provide insights into global sustainability challenges
(Purdue University) Using models that blend global economics, geography, ecology and environmental sciences is essential to understanding how changes in trade and natural systems in one part of the world affect those in another, a review concludes.

Online education tool helps bridge gaps in therapeutic decision-making for advanced NSCLC
(International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer) A new interactive online tool helps educate practicing oncologists worldwide with therapeutic decision-making for advanced non-small cell lung cancer based on a patient's molecular and clinical characteristics by providing feedback from an expert panel.

'Ecosystem services' help assess ocean energy development
(Brown University) In a new paper, Brown University environmental scientists suggest that the way to fill vast gaps in knowledge about the ecological and socioeconomic impacts of ocean energy development is to consider how the benefits provided by ocean ecosystems change before and after the placement of ocean energy infrastructure. The authors examine the case of Muskeget Channel in Massachusetts as an example.

Could squirmy livestock dent Africa's protein deficit?
(University of Wisconsin-Madison) Two UW-Madison graduate students are working to introduce highly productive kits for farming mealworms to regions such as sub-Saharan Africa where eating insects is already culturally palatable. They are just practicing what they are beginning to preach: insects, and mealworms in particular, are an overlooked, healthful, economically viable and sustainable source of nutrition for people.

How mantis shrimp evolved many shapes with same powerful punch
(Duke University) The miniweight boxing title of the animal world belongs to the mantis shrimp, a cigar-sized crustacean whose front claws can deliver an explosive 60-mile-per-hour blow akin to a bullet leaving the barrel of a gun. A study of 80 million years of mantis shrimp evolution reveals how these fast weapons evolved their dizzying array of shapes -- from spiny and barbed spears to hatchets and hammers -- while still managing to pack their characteristic punch.

Better genes for better (more adaptable) beans
(Botanical Society of America) Out of thousands of legume species, only a few are used in mainstream agriculture. Among the underutilized legume species are crops that can tolerate poor soil with limited water. A new genetic resource identifying over 30,000 genes and nearly 3,000 genetic markers will help researchers link genetic sequences to traits found in legumes that thrive in harsh environmental conditions. This study, published in Applications in Plant Sciences, marks a new, valuable genetic resource for Fabaceae.

Amphibian chytrid fungus reaches Madagascar
(Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ) The chytrid fungus, which is fatal to amphibians, has been detected in Madagascar for the first time. This means that the chytridiomycosis pandemic has now reached a biodiversity hotspot. Researchers from UFZ Leipzig and TU Braunschweig, together with international colleagues, are therefore proposing an emergency plan. This includes monitoring the spread of the pathogenic fungus, building amphibian breeding stations and developing probiotic treatments, say the scientists, writing in Scientific Reports.

Pollution is driving force behind growth of nuisance algal scums, study finds
(University of Nottingham) Potentially toxic microbes which pose a threat to our drinking water have undergone a dramatic population explosion over the last 200 years as a result of pollution, research involving experts from The University of Nottingham has found.

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