The hidden burden of bovine Tuberculosis

The hidden burden of bovine Tuberculosis

Posted: 18 Oct 2012 03:59 PM PDT

Up to 21 percent of herds clearing restrictions for bovine Tuberculosis (bTB) in Great Britain may be harbouring infection, according to a new study.

Modeling feat sheds light on protein channel’s function

Posted: 18 Oct 2012 11:18 AM PDT

Chemists have managed, for the first time, to simulate the biological function of a channel called the Sec translocon, which allows specific proteins to pass through membranes. The feat required bridging timescales from the realm of nanoseconds all the way up to full minutes, exceeding the scope of earlier simulation efforts by more than six orders of magnitude. The result is a detailed molecular understanding of how the translocon works.

Tropical collapse in Early Triassic caused by lethal heat: Extreme temperatures blamed for ‘Dead Zone’

Posted: 18 Oct 2012 11:18 AM PDT

Scientists have discovered why the ‘broken world’ following the worst extinction of all time lasted so long — it was simply too hot to survive. The end-Permian mass extinction, which occurred around 250 million years ago in the pre-dinosaur era, wiped out nearly all the world’s species. Typically, a mass extinction is followed by a ‘dead zone’ during which new species are not seen for tens of thousands of years. In this case, the dead zone, during the Early Triassic period which followed, lasted for a perplexingly long period: five million years.

Researchers unveil 3-D structure of ‘molecular machine’ that initiates DNA transcription

Posted: 18 Oct 2012 11:18 AM PDT

Scientists have determined the three-dimensional structure of the transcription initiation complex, the key intermediate in the process by which cells read out genetic information in DNA. The “molecular machine” responsible for transcription initiation — a protein complex that consists of the enzyme RNA polymerase and the initiation factor sigma — recognizes a specific site on DNA preceding a gene, binds to DNA, unwinds the DNA helix, and pre-organizes the unwound DNA to enable subsequent reactions.

‘Time-capsule’ Japanese lake sediment advances radiocarbon dating for older objects

Posted: 18 Oct 2012 11:18 AM PDT

A series of radiocarbon measurements from Japan’s Lake Suigetsu will give scientists a more accurate benchmark for dating materials, especially for older objects. Researchers extracted cores containing organic material from the bottom of the Japanese lake where it had lain undisturbed for tens of thousands of years. They provide a more precise way to examine radiocarbon ages of organic material for the entire 11,000-53,000-year time range.

Prehistoric human populations prospered before the agricultural boom, research suggests

Posted: 18 Oct 2012 10:08 AM PDT

Researchers have found major prehistoric human population expansions may have begun before the Neolithic period, which probably led to the introduction of agriculture.

Ozone affects forest watersheds

Posted: 18 Oct 2012 09:33 AM PDT

Scientists have found that rising levels of ozone, a greenhouse gas, may amplify the impacts of higher temperatures and reduce streamflow from forests to rivers, streams, and other water bodies. Such effects could potentially reduce water supplies available to support forest ecosystems and people in the southeastern United States.

Super rats are immune to conventional poisons, UK experts find

Posted: 18 Oct 2012 09:28 AM PDT

Scientists in the United Kingdom have noticed a mounting problem of destructive “super rats” immune to conventional poison.

World’s largest subwoofer: Earthquakes ‘pump’ ground to produce infrasound

Posted: 18 Oct 2012 07:29 AM PDT

Earthquakes sway buildings, buckle terrain, and rumble — both audibly and in infrasound, frequencies below the threshold of human hearing. New computer modeling by a team of researchers indicates that most of the low-frequency infrasound comes from an unexpected source: the actual “pumping” of Earth’s surface. The researchers confirmed their models by studying data from an actual earthquake.

Dinosaur-era acoustics: Global warming may give oceans the ‘sound’ of the Cretaceous

Posted: 18 Oct 2012 07:29 AM PDT

Global temperatures directly affect the acidity of the ocean, which in turn changes the acoustical properties of sea water. New research suggests that global warming may give Earth’s oceans the same hi-fi sound qualities they had more than 100 million years ago, during the Age of the Dinosaurs.

Food vs. fuel: Is there surplus land for bioenergy?

Posted: 18 Oct 2012 07:01 AM PDT

Scientists have discussed the concept of utilizing so called surplus land for the production of feedstock for bioenergy. They identified environmental, economic and social constraints but also options for efficient use of surplus land for bioenergy. The study provides a scientific background in support of a reassessment of land available for bioenergy feedstock production.

How flick knife thumbs help Japan’s rare fighting frogs

Posted: 18 Oct 2012 07:01 AM PDT

Combat-ready spikes which shoot from fingers sounds like the weaponry of a comic book hero, but a Japanese scientist has found exactly this in a rare breed of frog. The discovery reveals how the Otton frog uses spikes which protrude from a false thumb for both combat and mating.

Scientists create top ten list of plant-damaging fungi

Posted: 18 Oct 2012 07:01 AM PDT

Almost 500 international experts have worked together to develop a ranking system of the ten most important phytopathogenic fungi on a scientific and economic level. The rice blast fungus (Magnaporthe oryzae) sits at the top of the list.

Fishery collapse near Venezuela linked to climate change

Posted: 18 Oct 2012 06:48 AM PDT

Even small increases in temperature from global warming are causing climatology shifts harmful to ocean life, a new study shows. Modest changes in temperature have significantly altered trade wind intensity in the southern Caribbean, undercutting the supply of key phytoplankton food sources and causing the collapse of some fisheries there.