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Viruses are everywhere, maybe even in space

Viruses are the most abundant and one of the least understood biological entities on Earth. They might also exist in space, but as of yet scientists have done almost no research into this possibility. Credit: David Marchal/Science SourcePortland State University biology professor Ken Stedman and colleagues are trying to change this through their article “Astrovirology: Viruses at Large in the …Continue reading →

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Meteorites brought water to Earth during the first two million years

A new study of a rare basaltic meteorites called angrites suggests that volatiles, which are elements with relatively low boiling points such as water, could have been brought to our planet by meteorites during the first two million years of the solar system. The angrite parent body was likely similar in size to the asteroid Vesta, which has been studied …Continue reading →

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NASA team studies middle-aged Sun by tracking motion of Mercury

Like the waistband of a couch potato in midlife, the orbits of planets in our solar system are expanding. It happens because the Sun’s gravitational grip gradually weakens as our star ages and loses mass. Now, a team of NASA and MIT scientists has indirectly measured this mass loss and other solar parameters by looking at changes in Mercury’s orbit. …Continue reading →

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How did we evolve to live longer?

Research shows a collection of small adaptations in stress activated proteins, accumulated over millennia of human history, could help to explain our increased natural defences and longer lifespan. Credit: Newcastle UniversityPublishing in Nature Communications, the team of collaborators from the UK, France and Finland and lead by researchers at Newcastle University, UK explain the importance of a protein called p62. …Continue reading →

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Meteoritic stardust unlocks timing of supernova dust formation

Dust is everywhere–not just in your attic or under your bed, but also in outer space. To astronomers, dust can be a nuisance by blocking the light of distant stars, or it can be a tool to study the history of our universe, galaxy, and Solar System. An electron microscope image of a micron-sized supernova silicon carbide, SiC, stardust grain …Continue reading →

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New technique for finding life on Mars

Researchers demonstrate for the first time the potential of existing technology to directly detect and characterize life on Mars and other planets. The study, published in Frontiers in Microbiology, used miniaturized scientific instruments and new microbiology techniques to identify and examine microorganisms in the Canadian high Arctic — one of the closest analogs to Mars on Earth. By avoiding delays …Continue reading →

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Neutron-star merger yields new puzzle for astrophysicists

The afterglow from the distant neutron-star merger detected last August has continued to brighten – much to the surprise of astrophysicists studying the aftermath of the massive collision that took place about 138 million light years away and sent gravitational waves rippling through the universe. This graphic shows the X-ray counterpart to the gravitational wave source GW170817, produced by the …Continue reading →

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Novel hypothesis on why animals diversified on Earth

Can tumors teach us about animal evolution on Earth? Researchers believe so and now present a novel hypothesis of why animal diversity increased dramatically on Earth about half a billion years ago. A biological innovation may have been key. Trilobites like these first evolved during the Cambrian [Credit: Sinclair Stammers/NPL]A transdisciplinary and international team, from Lund University in Sweden and …Continue reading →

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Study finds convergent evolution of gene regulation in humans and mice

Organisms that aren’t closely related may evolve similar traits as they adapt to similar challenges. It’s called convergent evolution, and familiar examples include the wings of birds, bats, and insects, and echolocation in bats and dolphins. Now, molecular biologists have found evidence of convergent evolution in an important mechanism of gene regulation in humans and mice. This evolutionary tree shows …Continue reading →

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Counting chromosomes: Plant scientists solve a century-old mystery about reproduction

Counting is vital in nature. Counting chromosomes is something that most animals, plants and even single-celled organisms need to know how to do to assure viability and to reproduce. Today, a team of geneticists reveals a remarkable mechanism that enables plants to count their chromosomes, solving a century-old mystery. miR845 is expressed in pollen grains, a key part of the …Continue reading →

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