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Latest and Breaking Science Policy News

State laws dampen texting by teen drivers but rates still high
(American Academy of Pediatrics) State laws banning texting while driving led to significant reductions in the number of teens using their cell phones while behind the wheel, but nearly one-third still admitted to engaging in this risky behavior, according to new research to be presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies annual meeting in San Diego.

The appeal of being anti-GMO
(Cell Press) A team of Belgian philosophers and plant biotechnologists have turned to cognitive science to explain why opposition to genetically modified organisms (GMOs) has become so widespread, despite positive contributions GM crops have made to sustainable agriculture. In Trends in Plant Science, they argue that the human mind is highly susceptible to the negative and often emotional representations put out by certain environmental groups and other opponents of GMOs.

Biodiversity promotes multitasking in ecosystems
(Virginia Institute of Marine Science) A worldwide study of the interplay between organisms and their environment bolsters the idea that greater biodiversity helps maintain more stable and productive ecosystems.

Drug prices to treat multiple sclerosis soar, point to larger problem
(Oregon State University) A study released today found that drugs used to treat multiple sclerosis have soared in price in the past two decades, in some cases more than 700 percent, even though newer drugs have come to the market -- a process that normally should have stabilized or reduced the cost of at least the older medications. The findings point to a systemic problem in the US pharmaceutical industry that leads to enormous, uncontrolled and rapidly increasing prices for some types of drugs.

Warming climate may release vast amounts of carbon from long-frozen Arctic soils
(University of Georgia) While climatologists are carefully watching carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, another group of scientists is exploring a massive storehouse of carbon that has the potential to significantly affect the climate change picture. University of Georgia Skidaway Institute of Oceanography researcher Aron Stubbins is part of a team investigating how ancient carbon, locked away in Arctic permafrost for thousands of years, is now being transformed into carbon dioxide and released into the atmosphere.

CCNY researchers use novel polarization to increase data speeds
(City College of New York) As the world's exponentially growing demand for digital data slows the Internet and cell phone communication, City College of New York researchers may have just figured out a new way to increase its speed.

'Humanized' mice will lead to better testing of cancer immunotherapies
(University of Colorado Denver) New model reported in Oncogene, XactMice, uses human blood stem cells to grow a 'humanized' mouse immune system prior to tumor transplantation, allowing anti-cancer therapies to be tested in a much more human-like environment.

Taming polluters: Ratings have spillover effects, leading to reduced toxic emissions
(University of Chicago Booth School of Business) Peer pressure is a key factor in prompting companies to reduce pollution.

World Happiness Report ranks Canada fifth happiest country in the world
(Canadian Institute for Advanced Research) The 2015 World Happiness Report, published today, ranks Canada fifth for subjective well-being among 158 countries worldwide. Canada has moved up one place in the rankings since the last report in 2013.

Crime scene discovery -- separating the DNA of identical twins
(University of Huddersfield) Since its first use in the 1980s -- a breakthrough dramatized in recent ITV series 'Code of a Killer' -- DNA profiling has been a vital tool for forensic investigators. Now researchers at the University of Huddersfield have solved one of its few limitations by successfully testing a technique for distinguishing between the DNA -- or genetic fingerprint -- of identical twins.

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