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Cerebral palsy - it can be in your genes

February 12, 2015 | by Univ. of Adelaide | Comments

An international research group led by a team at the University of Adelaide has made what they believe could be the biggest discovery into cerebral palsy in 20 years.                

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Why seashells’ mineral forms differently in seawater

March 3, 2015 3:16 pm | by David L. Chandler, MIT News Office | Comments

For almost a century, scientists have been puzzled by a process that is crucial to much of the life in Earth’s oceans: Why does calcium carbonate, the tough material of seashells and corals, sometimes take the form of calcite, and at other times form a chemically identical form of the mineral, called aragonite, that is more soluble—and therefore more vulnerable to ocean acidification?

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A new level of earthquake understanding

March 3, 2015 3:07 pm | by Lynn Yarris, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | Comments

As everyone who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area knows, the Earth moves under our feet. But what about the stresses that cause earthquakes? How much is known about them? Until now, our understanding of these stresses has been based on macroscopic approximations.

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NREL refines method to convert lignin to nylon precursor

March 3, 2015 11:50 am | by National Renewable Energy Laboratory | Comments

A new study from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory demonstrates the conversion of lignin-derived compounds to adipic acid, an important industrial dicarboxylic acid produced for its use as a precursor to nylon. The demonstration is an important step toward the goal of garnering more uses from lignin, which could be crucial for the economic success of the biofuels industry.

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Water in smog may reveal pollution sources

March 3, 2015 11:14 am | by Lee Siegel, Senior Science Writer, Univ. of Utah Communications | Comments

The chemical signature of water vapor emitted by combustion sources such as vehicles and furnaces has been found in the smoggy winter inversions that often choke Salt Lake City. The discovery may give researchers a new tool to track down the sources of pollutants and climate-changing carbon dioxide gas.

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Researchers devise a faster, less expensive way to analyze gene activity

March 3, 2015 10:53 am | by Vicky Agnew, Yale Univ. | Comments

A team of Yale Univ. researchers has developed a simple method that could significantly reduce the time and cost of probing gene expression on a large scale. The team created a tool that takes advantage of new high-throughput DNA sequencing technologies to make it easier to simultaneously measure gene activity in large numbers of cells or tissues.

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On thin ice

March 3, 2015 10:41 am | by Hannah Hickey, Univ. of Washington | Comments

It’s no surprise that Arctic sea ice is thinning. What is new is just how long, how steadily, and how much it has declined. Univ. of Washington researchers compiled modern and historic measurements to get a full picture of how Arctic sea ice thickness has changed. The results show a thinning in the central Arctic Ocean of 65% between 1975 and 2012.

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A clearer view of clouds

March 3, 2015 10:25 am | by Helen Knight, MIT News correspondent | Comments

Meteorologists sometimes struggle to accurately predict the weather here on Earth, but now we can find out how cloudy it is on planets outside our solar system, thanks to researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In a paper to be published, the researchers describe a technique that analyzes data from NASA’s Kepler space observatory to determine the types of clouds on planets that orbit other stars, known as exoplanets.

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Black phosphorous: A new wonder material for improving optical communication

March 3, 2015 9:18 am | by Lacey Nygard, Univ. of Minnesota | Comments

Phosphorus, a highly reactive element commonly found in match heads, tracer bullets and fertilizers, can be turned into a stable crystalline form known as black phosphorus. In a new study, researchers from the Univ. of Minnesota used an ultra-thin black phosphorus film, only 20 layers of atoms, to demonstrate high-speed data communication on nanoscale optical circuits.

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Glass coating for improved battery performance

March 3, 2015 8:57 am | by Sean Nealon, Univ. of California, Riverside | Comments

Lithium-sulfur batteries have been a hot topic in battery research because of their ability to produce up to 10 times more energy than conventional batteries, which means they hold great promise for applications in energy-demanding electric vehicles. However, there have been fundamental road blocks to commercializing these sulfur batteries.

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Sizing up cells

March 3, 2015 8:40 am | by John Sullivan, Princeton Univ. | Comments

Modern biology has attained deep knowledge of how cells work, but the mechanisms by which cellular structures assemble and grow to the right size largely remain a mystery. Now, Princeton Univ. researchers may have found the key in a dynamic agglomeration of molecules inside cells.

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Giant virus revealed in 3-D using x-ray laser

March 3, 2015 8:31 am | by SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory | Comments

For the first time, researchers have produced a 3-D image revealing part of the inner structure of an intact, infectious virus, using a unique x-ray laser at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. The virus, called Mimivirus, is in a curious class of “giant viruses” discovered just over a decade ago.

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Boosting light-water reactor research

March 3, 2015 8:06 am | by Nancy Ambrosiano, Los Alamos National Laboratory | Comments

Hard on the heels of a five-year funding renewal, modeling and simulation technology developed at Los Alamos National Laboratory as part of the Consortium for the Advanced Simulation of Light Water Reactors will now be deployed to industry and academia under a new inter-institutional agreement for intellectual property.

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Research gets to the core of Earth’s formation

March 3, 2015 7:54 am | by Anne M Stark, LLNL | Comments

Violent collisions between the growing Earth and other objects in the solar system generated significant amounts of iron vapor, according to a new study by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. The results show that iron vaporizes easily during impact events, which forces planetary scientists to change how they think about the growth of planets and evolution of our solar system.

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Fighting parasites with their own genomes

March 3, 2015 7:47 am | by Jessica Stoller-Conrad, Caltech | Comments

Tiny parasitic hookworms infect nearly half a billion people worldwide, almost exclusively in developing countries, causing health problems ranging from gastrointestinal issues to cognitive impairment and stunted growth in children. By sequencing and analyzing the genome of one particular hookworm species, Caltech researchers have uncovered new information that could aid the fight against these parasites.  

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New views of enzyme structures offer insights into metabolism of cholesterol

March 3, 2015 7:39 am | by Ian Demsky, Univ. of Michigan | Comments

With the aid of x-ray crystallography, researchers at the Univ. of Michigan have revealed the structures of two closely related enzymes that play essential roles in the body's ability to metabolize excess lipids, including cholesterol. The findings are an important step toward understanding and being able to therapeutically target disorders and drug side effects that cause lipids, including cholesterol, to build up in the body.

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