first_imgMay 30 2018New research from the Center for BrainHealth at The University of Texas at Dallas shows that certain cognitive training exercises can help reduce depression and improve brain health in individuals years after they have suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI).The recent study, published in Human Brain Mapping, revealed significant reductions in the severity of depressive symptoms, increased ability to regulate emotions, increases in cortical thickness and recovery from abnormal neural network connectivity after cognitive training.”To our knowledge, this is the first study to report brain change associated with reduced depression symptoms after cognitive training,” said Dr. Kihwan Han, a research scientist at the Center for BrainHealth who works in the lab of Dr. Daniel Krawczyk. Han is the lead author of the study.”Overall, these findings suggest that cognitive training can reduce depressive symptoms in patients with traumatic brain injury even when the training does not directly target psychiatric symptoms,” he said.A past study involving the same protocol showed cognitive gains as well as similar changes in cortical thickness and neural network connectivity.This study included 79 individuals with chronic TBI who all were at least six months post-injury. These individuals were randomly assigned into one of two groups: strategy-based training, which used the Strategic Memory Advanced Reasoning Training (SMART) program developed at the center; and information-based training, which used the Brain Health Workshop program. Researchers used the Beck Depressive Inventory to classify 53 of the participants as depressed.Related StoriesWearing a hearing aid may mitigate dementia riskResearchers measure EEG-based brain responses for non-speech and speech sounds in childrenStudy provides new insight into longitudinal decline in brain network integrity associated with agingThe participants’ depressive-symptom severity, psychological functioning scores and data from magnetic resonance imaging brain scans were collected before training, after training and three months post-training. Scans were used to study changes in brain structure and neural network connectivity.Both training programs consisted of 12 one-and-a half-hour sessions over eight weeks that included quizzes, homework assignments, and projects conducted in small group settings that involved social interactions.All participants in the depressed group showed significantly reduced depressive symptoms that were associated with improvements in cognitive and daily life functioning. According to Han, the social engagements, cognitive stimulation from new learning opportunities and hope of improvement afforded by both programs may help explain the reductions in depressive symptoms.Based on the observed brain change patterns, Han suggested that improved emotion regulation also may be related to the reduced depressive symptoms. Over time, the reductions in depression symptom severity correlated with increased cortical thickness within the prefrontal cortex — an area of the brain responsible for executive functions needed for emotional control — and reductions in abnormally elevated neural connectivity within this region.”Identifying what changes are happening in the brain when interventions successfully reduce depressive symptoms could allow us to create more effective, pharmaceutical-free approaches to help alleviate depression in people who experience chronic traumatic brain injury symptoms,” said study author Source:https://brainhealth.utdallas.edu/last_img read more

first_imgJun 11 2018When trauma spills the contents of our cell powerhouses, it can evoke a potentially deadly immune response much like a severe bacterial infection.A drug that cleaves escaped proteins called N-formyl peptides appears to reduce resulting dangerous leakage from blood vessels and improve survival, report researchers at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University.The research drug deformylase, or something similar, may one day be a novel treatment for patients with systemic inflammatory response syndrome, or SIRS, a body-wide inflammatory reaction to trauma or infection, as well as sepsis, a systemic infection when the cause of the infection, like a bacteria, is known.”We are hoping our work will improve the care of trauma and other critically ill patients,” says Dr. Patricia Martinez Quinones, general surgery resident at MCG and AU Health.Martinez Quinones is presenting the work in both animal models and human cells during the Oral Presentations by Young Investigators session on the final day of the Shock Society’s 41st Annual Conference June 9-12 in Scottsdale, Arizona.”Once mitochondria (cell powerhouses) are damaged, they just break apart and their contents spill into the circulation,” says Martinez Quinones.Michondria use N-formyl peptides to make energy for our cells but significant volumes outside the powerhouse can quickly become a detriment. Deformylase appears to neutralize them by removing their formyl group – a combination of carbon and oxygen atoms with hydrogen.This formyl group is part of every bacterial protein as well as all 13 proteins made by mitochondria, says Dr. Camilla Ferreira Wenceslau, research scientist in the MCG Department of Physiology and senior author of the ongoing studies.”That is what triggers the immune system to trigger an inflammatory cascade,” says Dr. Keith O’Malley, interim chief of MCG’s Division of Trauma/Surgical Critical Care and a co-investigator on the ongoing studies.In fact, the mitochondria themselves can similarly neuter the proteins and those benign versions are normally the only ones it releases, until there is an injury.”The entire hypothesis behind this – and it’s called the danger theory – is that our mitochondria used to be bacteria so when their contents are released our body treats them like an infection,” Martinez Quinones says.The results can be pretty much the same as if external bacteria entered our bodies: rapid heart rate, fever, precipitous drop in blood pressure and swelling.”Trauma releases fragments of mitochondria that still carry the signature from bacteria,” says Wenceslau.If outside bacteria are the source of the immune reaction, an antibiotic should quell the resulting cascade of damage, O’Malley notes. But despite the similarities, there are no known antibiotics that target spilled mitochondrial contents, Martinez Quinones adds.Deformylase, or something like it, on the other hand may one day be useful at both infective sepsis from an invader and this “sterile” sepsis from our own mitochondria, she notes.In the lab of MCG physiology chair Dr. R. Clinton Webb, the investigators have looked at a mouse model of sepsis. They’ve also incubated human endothelial cells that line the aorta with N-formyl-rich plasma taken from patients with severe trauma.Deformylase improved sepsis survival in their animal model by 28 percent and prevented separation of the tightly knit human endothelial cells that keep blood vessel content contained.Related StoriesNew research links “broken heart syndrome” to cancerDon’t ignore diastolic blood pressure values, say researchersHIV DNA persists in spinal fluid despite treatment, linked to cognitive impairment”What we saw is that there was a marked improvement in the vascular function of the animals that were treated with deformylase meaning that the vessels that were leaky and couldn’t contract now could,” Martinez Quinones says. “Also, once we treated the plasma with deformylase, the endothelial cell disruption went away.”Their findings to date have them theorizing that circulating levels of mitochondrial DNA and N-formyl peptides might one day be good biomarkers that could change both how patients are monitored and treated, Martinez Quinones says.Five years ago, the researchers showed that N-formyl peptides have a powerful relaxant effect in rat arteries that carry blood from the aorta to the gastrointestinal tract. They surmised that when high levels are present, following trauma and other disease, it exacerbates dilation of the arteries and low blood pressure as well as inflammation.In a study, published last year in the Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery, they looked daily at levels of mitochondrial DNA and N-formyl peptides in the fluid of patients with an open abdominal wound following a significant injury. They found that a routine flushing of the area significantly reduced levels of N-formyl peptides. They hypothesized then and are now studying whether more frequent flushing can help those patients keep levels low and reduce their risk of SIRS and sepsis.Current studies have them looking in the peritoneal fluid, blood and urine at levels of these peptides in patients who are getting the standard irrigation of the area every 48 hours versus every 24 hours, Martinez Quinones says. If they find more frequent flushes control the levels, that could be sufficient for patients like these with access.However O’Malley notes that many trauma patients as well as patients with other tissue-damaging disease like cancer and pneumonia do not have ready access at the injury site.The current version of deformylase they are using has an extremely short half-life so their many pursuits include a more stable version that could be used clinically for those patients, Martinez Quinones says.The single layer of endothelial cells lining blood vessel walls, which ensure that contents stay inside, are a major target when the body perceives a major infection like sepsis. Patients can experience what’s termed vascular collapse, so they lose tone and the body gets less blood. The typically tight juncture of endothelial cells get lost so blood vessels become leaky and fluid seeps into nearby tissue prompting dangerous swelling in organs like the kidneys and brain. In a sort of vicious cycle, this worsening scenario prompts production of things like oxidative stress and nitric oxide, which exacerbate problems like inflammation and low blood pressure.”When you are in shock, you only retain about a third of the fluid in your bloodstream,” O’Malley says. “The rest of it seeps out.” Blood pressure drops dramatically, and patients can end up in shock and nonresponsive, he says.While the results are clear – and potentially deadly – the mechanism which results in the vascular dysfunction is not clear, the researchers say.Sepsis is the second leading cause of death in non-coronary care ICUs in the United States, with a mortality rate of up to 45 percent, according to the Society of Critical Care Medicine. Source:http://www.augusta.edu/last_img read more

first_img Source:https://www.jhsph.edu/news/news-releases/2018/breast-cancer-studies-ignore-race-socioeconomic-factors.html Jun 28 2018Studies of breast cancer risk and treatment outcomes are not taking sufficient account of race/ethnicity, economic status, education level, health insurance status and other social factors, according to scientists at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.The Bloomberg School scientists, in a commentary that appears in the July issue of Cancer Causes & Control, point to evidence that social factors help determine people’s vulnerability to cancer, and argue that these factors should be considered routinely in studies and risk assessments that bear on clinical care.”We’ve been missing opportunities to understand and reduce disparities in breast cancer risk and outcomes,” says lead author Lorraine T. Dean, ScD, an assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the Bloomberg School. “Simply put, not enough is being done to understand how race, income level and other social factors tie in to cancer susceptibility.”A 2014 review of over 20 years of National Cancer Institute clinical trials, for example, found that only about 20 percent of the randomized controlled studies reported results stratified by race/ethnicity. In a follow-up analysis of 57 breast cancer observational and randomized controlled trials that were published in 2016, the researchers found that, after excluding those in which the primary focus was disparities, fewer than five percent of studies reported findings stratified by race or other socioeconomic factors.As Dean and colleagues note in their commentary, it should be obvious that in general, neglecting race/ethnicity and other social factors in medical research can mask important drivers of bad outcomes. For example, a recent high-profile study sorting mortality rates by race and socioeconomic status revealed that midlife mortality is increasing among blue collar whites in the U.S. even though it is declining for the population overall. Those findings drew attention to ongoing increases in suicides and substance-abuse-related deaths for blue collar whites, and led researchers to zero in on economic despair and social decay as the likely causes.”A lot of scientists don’t want to deal with race or socioeconomic position in their studies because they think those characteristics aren’t modifiable,” Dean says. “But they can actually help identify factors that are modifiable. You can’t change your genes, for example, but we still do genetic studies because they illuminate pathways we can change with medicines or other interventions.”Related StoriesBacteria in the birth canal linked to lower risk of ovarian cancerNew research links “broken heart syndrome” to cancerTrends in colonoscopy rates not aligned with increase in early onset colorectal cancerBreast cancers are the principal research focus for Dean and colleagues. They see the potential-;and many missed opportunities to date-;for research to uncover or at least address social-related risk factors for this set of diseases.They point out, for example, that standard breast cancer risk assessment tools haven’t always taken race into account-;even though there are significant racial disparities in the risks for certain types of breast cancer as well as breast cancer mortality rates. For many years, a commonly used questionnaire tool for assessing breast cancer risk (now known simply as the Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Tool) was validated only for white women. It tended to underestimate significantly the risks of breast cancers for black women, who have lower rates of mammogram screening and higher rates of breast cancer at younger ages. That error may have kept many black women from participating in cancer-prevention trials of drugs such as tamoxifen.”The model was revised in 2015 to take race into account, and now estimates black female eligibility for chemoprevention at nearly three times the rate of the original model,” says Dean.Clinical trials and population studies should be powerful tools for uncovering links between social factors and cancer vulnerability, which in turn should lead to better risk reduction and/or treatment strategies. But here too, the necessary information isn’t routinely gathered.To address the issue, Dean and her colleagues recommend increasing education and awareness about the importance of inclusion of social factors in clinical research; adding requirements for data on social factors to journal guidelines for reporting study results; and refining cancer risk assessment tools by including social factors.”If adopted, these measures would enable more effective design and implementation of interventions,” Dean says, “and would help eliminate breast cancer racial and socioeconomic disparities by accounting for the social and environmental contexts in which cancer patients live and are treated.”last_img read more

first_imgJul 20 2018Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer among women, accounting for 25 % of all cancer cases worldwide. Much progress has been made in detecting breast tumors, and survival rates are relatively high compared to other forms of cancer.However, some breast lesions have subtleties that are difficult to detect, increasing the likelihood that they will prove fatal. The EU-funded project MAMMA has developed a new way to uncover these more complex tumors.The project has designed an intelligent computer-assisted system for detecting and diagnosing problematic breast lesions that will help save lives by cutting the number of missed or misinterpreted cases. Its researchers also hope to reduce the need for unnecessary biopsies.“The project’s research enables the translation of novel and complex image-processing algorithms to quantify the features of suspicious lesions into prognostic markers of the progression of lethal, invasive cancers. This technology can save lives, reduce misdiagnosis and improve the quality of life for millions of women worldwide,” says project coordinator Anke Meyer-Baese of Florida State University and an affiliated professor at Maastricht University in the Netherlands.Better software, better detectionA technique known as ‘Breast Imaging-Reporting and Data System (BI-RADS) descriptors’ is currently used to assess breast tumors in mammography. However, it is known to fail to correctly assess lesions that are difficult to diagnose, for example when the boundary between the tumor and background tissue is difficult to detect.“These lesions exhibit heterogeneous behavior and cannot be characterized solely based on their tumor shape or contrast-enhancing behavior. While their shape mimics a benign tumor, their contrast-enhancement uptake is of malignant nature and vice versa,” says Meyer-Baese.Related StoriesResearch sheds light on sun-induced DNA damage and repairHow cell-free DNA can be targeted to prevent spread of tumorsBacteria in the birth canal linked to lower risk of ovarian cancerThis particular type of tumor poses an enormous challenge for both radiologists and the current computer-assisted evaluation systems that have the potential to reduce human error in cancer diagnosis.Throughout the project, MAMMA developed software used spatiotemporal descriptors to capture the shape and contrast-enhanced behavior of diagnostically challenging lesions. The team also used a novel computational approach – called radiomics – to represent oncological tissues.“Integrated in a radiomics approach, the new spatiotemporal descriptors showed superior capabilities for the detection and diagnosis of diagnostically challenging lesions compared to the standard BI-RADS descriptors,” says Meyer-Baese.Personalized medicineIn line with the growing importance of personalized medicine, the technology has developed treatment strategies able to respond to the specific characteristics of each patient and each cancer type. Furthermore, the software will provide tailored cancer management strategies for patients diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer.Moreover, novel computer-assisted diagnostics for diagnostically challenging lesions will help cut costs. The technology can distinguish lethal from non-lethal cancer, avoiding over-diagnosis, unnecessary treatment and associated costs, as well as needless patient anxiety.With the project successfully completed, Meyer-Baese says that the next step could be to apply MAMMA’s new technology to other cancers like prostate cancer. Source:http://ec.europa.eu/research/infocentre/article_en.cfm?id=/research/headlines/news/article_18_07_18-1_en.html?infocentre&item=Infocentre&artid=49560last_img read more

first_imgAug 13 2018Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers say a study designed to see if reducing the amount of anesthesia reduces the risk of postoperative delirium in older patients surprisingly found that lighter sedation failed to do so in severely ill people undergoing hip fracture repair.But the study of 200 men and women also showed that for those in relatively better health, deep sedation more than doubled the risk of postoperative delirium compared with those having light sedation.”Contrary to what we expected, sedation levels do not appear to affect postoperative delirium for sicker patients,” says Frederick Sieber, M.D., professor of anesthesiology and critical care medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and the study’s first author.A report of the findings, published Aug. 8 in JAMA Surgery, underscores the need for tailoring the amount and type of anesthesia to each individual’s overall health status, the study leaders say.”These findings add to growing evidence that clinicians must match sedation levels to each patient’s health, especially in the management of older surgical patients, and must work to optimize each person’s health before surgery if possible,” he adds, “especially those with heart and blood vessel disease, and diabetes.”Postoperative delirium–marked by usually reversible memory disturbances, confusion and hallucinations–has long been observed as a too-frequent outcome of surgery in older patients. Levels of anesthesia, Sieber says, have been seen as one potentially modifiable risk factor in efforts to prevent the condition, or reduce its duration and impact.To explore that idea further, Sieber and colleagues examined the effects of two levels of anesthesia on delirium risk in patients getting a hip fracture repair, a common procedure performed an estimated 200,000 to 300,000 times each year in the United States, mainly on older, debilitated patients.Sieber says of the many complications that can result from this operation, delirium is the most common, affecting an average 35 percent of all patients.For the study, Sieber and his team designed a double-blind randomized trial called A Strategy to Reduce the Incidence of Postoperative Delirium in Elderly Patients (STRIDE). Between Nov. 18, 2011, and May 19, 2016, 200 patients at The Johns Hopkins Hospital undergoing a hip fracture repair were randomly assigned (100 each in two groups) to receive either deep sedation (the common practice for this procedure in which the patient is unconscious) or lighter sedation (in which patient is sedated and may be sleeping, but will respond if spoken to) for the study.Related StoriesObese patients with Type 1 diabetes could safely receive robotic pancreas transplantMothers with gestational diabetes transferring harmful ‘forever chemicals’ to their fetusBordeaux University Hospital uses 3D printing to improve kidney tumor removal surgeryThe researchers followed up each patient for symptoms of delirium for one to five days postoperation or until hospital discharge, as well as for 30 days postoperatively overall. They gathered information about not only delirium, but also other outcomes such as intensive care unit admission rates, opioid consumption and pain scores.The average age of the STRIDE study participants was 82 years. Of the 200 participants, 146 (73 percent) were women, 194 (97 percent) were white and the average Charlson Comorbidity Index (CCI) score was 1.8. The CCI score is a measure of estimated survival over the next 10 years and is calculated by the presence of 17 so-called comorbidities such as liver disease, diabetes and AIDS.Each comorbidity is assigned a weight based on the statistical risk of death over a decade; the higher a person’s total score, the greater risk of death. A score of zero does not mean that someone is completely healthy, but that they do not have any of the 17 severe, predefined comorbidities used for CCI score calculation.Overall, the researchers report, 39 percent of patients who received deep sedation had a postoperative delirium diagnosis one to five days after surgery, while the incidence of delirium was 34 percent in the light sedation group, a difference considered statistically insignificant.However, after accounting for comorbidities–that is, how sick in general patients were–the researchers found that patients who had a baseline CCI score of zero were 2.3 times more likely to experience postoperative delirium if they received deeper sedation.Additionally, the researchers found that a history of vascular comorbidities, particularly those included in the CCI such as strokes, severe diabetes and heart attacks were most associated with postoperative delirium.Sieber says it is unclear why less sedation failed to reduce the risk of delirium in the sickest patients, as this was not what we expected. However, it is possible that they did not account for other factor(s) associated with delirium in the subgroup of sickest patients that may have masked the benefits of lighter sedation.He says more research must be done to confirm his team’s findings, but moving forward with the new information in hand, he believes caregivers must focus on helping certain subsets of patients with vascular disease particularly get as healthy as possible before operation. Source:https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/media/releases/surprise_finding_for_very_sick_elderly_lighter_sedation_wont_drop_risk_of_postoperative_delirium_study_suggestslast_img read more

first_img Source:https://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2018/08/gaharwar-team-develop-new-way-to-grow-blood-vessels.html Aug 17 2018Formation of new blood vessels, a process also known as angiogenesis, is one of the major clinical challenges in wound healing and tissue implants. To address this issue, researchers from Texas A&M University have developed a clay-based platform to deliver therapeutic proteins to the body to assist with the formation of blood vessels.The team is led by members of the Inspired Nanomaterials and Tissue Engineering Lab in the Department of Biomedical Engineering. They have developed technology that introduces a new type of two-dimensional clay, also known as nanosilicates, that delivers multiple specialized proteins called growth factors into the body to stimulate new blood vessel formation. To allow blood vessels time to form, the clay is designed to prolong the release through its high surface area and charged characteristics, according to biomedical engineering assistant professor Dr. Akhilesh K. Gaharwar.Related StoriesHealthy blood vessels could help stave off cognitive declineInnovative microfluidic device simplifies study of blood cells, opens new organ-on-chip possibilitiesDon’t Miss the Blood-Brain Barrier Drug Delivery (B3DD) Summit this August”Clay nanoparticles work like tiny weak magnets that hold the growth factors within the polymeric hydrogels and release very slowly,” Gaharwar said. “Sustained and prolonged release of physiologically relevant doses of growth factors are important to avoid problems due to high doses, such as abrupt tissue formation.”Co-investigator Dr. Kayla Bayless from the Department of Molecular and Cellular Medicine in the Texas A&M Health Science Center said the clay also keeps the growth factors organized, preventing abnormal growth and moderating activity of surrounding cells.Gaharwar said by establishing clay nanoparticles as a platform technology for delivering the growth factors, the research will have a significant impact on designing the next generation of bioactive scaffolds and implants.last_img read more

first_imgAs large, oceangoing predators, sharks rely heavily on their sense of smell to locate prey dispersed throughout an expansive environment. This honing ability, however, may be compromised by the ocean-wide changes predicted to occur by the end of the century, researchers report online this week in Global Change Biology. Ocean waters are becoming increasingly acidic as they absorb the atmospheric CO2 released by human activities. Previous research has shown that CO2-rich, acidic waters may impair the ability of reef fish to smell predators. The new study examines the effects of ocean acidification on the odor-tracking ability of sharks to locate prey. For 5 days, the team exposed sharks to waters with current ocean CO2 levels and the elevated CO2 concentrations predicted to occur by mid- and late-century. Sharks were then released into a pool where a “squid juice” odor attractant was dispensed, and shark tracking and attack behaviors were monitored. The researchers found that sharks exposed to the highest CO2 levels significantly avoided, rather than gravitated toward, the prey odor cues and attacked food less aggressively. Feeding behaviors are critical for shark survival, therefore ocean acidification could have far-reaching effects on already threatened shark populations and subsequent, cascading effects on marine ecosystems. Although sharks have adapted to acidifying oceans in their evolutionary history before, they’ve never had to adapt as quickly as the changes are occurring today.last_img read more

first_imgRepublicans control both houses of Congress, but they don’t speak with one voice when it comes to funding research at the National Science Foundation (NSF), NASA, and other agencies. That difference became clear last week after the Senate Appropriations Committee approved a 2016 spending bill that does not call for the steep cuts to climate and social science programs approved a week earlier by the House of Representatives. And although the House would give NSF a bit more money, the Senate version hews closer to the balanced portfolio that most scientists prefer.In the House, key lawmakers have made headway with the notion that the social sciences and climate research contribute less to the nation than “pure” disciplines, such as physics, biology, engineering, and computing. That worldview is reflected in a $51 billion spending bill approved by the House on 4 June to fund NSF, NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and several other federal agencies.At NOAA, for example, the so-called CJS (Commerce, Justice, and Science) bill would cut climate research programs by $30 million, or 19% below current levels, and $60 million below the president’s request. At NASA, it would keep overall science spending flat, but cut earth science spending by $90 million, or 5%, a level $264 million less than the president’s request. At the same time, the House would boost NASA’s planetary science programs $216 million above the president’s request, including a big hike for a proposed mission to the jovian moon Europa. Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Email Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwecenter_img The NSF portion of the House bill takes a swipe at both the geosciences and the social and behavioral sciences. Although NSF’s overall budget would inch up by $50 million, to $7.4 billion, the bill would significantly reshuffle NSF’s research priorities. It directs NSF to put 70% of its $6 billion research account into four of its six research directorates—biology, computing, engineering, and math and physical sciences. (They now receive about 65%.) That change, combined with language protecting a research infrastructure program and graduate fellowships, would result in a combined 16%, $255 million cut to the two directorates under attack—geosciences and the social and behavioral sciences (see chart).“I’m asking NSF to prioritize,” said Representative John Culberson (R–TX), who led the writing of the CJS bill, after his spending panel approved it last month. “I want … them to make the hard sciences—math and physics and pure science—a priority.”That’s a view shared by a fellow Texan, Republican Representative Lamar Smith, head of the House science panel. The pure sciences “typically yield better results,” he told Science last week. “That’s why we moved the money.”Smith’s comment came after a speech to The Heartland Institute, a libertarian group that vociferously challenges mainstream climate science, in which he praised the House’s effort to cut NASA’s earth science budget. “NASA spends a lot of money on climate change—they call it earth science—so we cut NASA’s earth science budget by close to 40%,” Smith said, exaggerating the 6% cut from current levels. “The reason we did it is that there’s only one agency dealing with space exploration, while there are a dozen agencies dealing with climate change.”The Senate CJS panel, led by Senator Richard Shelby (R–AL), has taken a very different tack. Its bill, approved by the full appropriations panel on 11 June, gives NASA’s earth science program most of the large increase requested by the president and tops the House number for NASA science by $15 million, although that is still short of the president’s request. At NOAA, it would shave just $5 million from climate research, a 3% cut from current levels. And Senate appropriators do not single out any of NSF’s six directorates for rough treatment. Instead, they list all of them by name in a report accompanying the bill. Those words are “the subcommittee’s subtle way to say that it does not agree with the House’s approach,” says Joel Widder of Federal Science Partners, a small consulting firm in Washington, D.C.The Senate language could come into play later this year when the two bodies try to reconcile their differences, Widder says. Last year, he notes, the Senate did not oppose a House move to block any increase for geosciences, which made it into the final CJS bill. This year, the Senate staffers who will assist in the negotiations “are well aware of our concerns,” says Amy Scott of the Association of American Universities in Washington, D.C., which opposes the earth and social science cuts. “And they have told us that their members have a different perspective than in the House.”The dispute is playing out in the shadow of a broader question: how much money will be available for all federal programs. Two years ago, the Obama administration and congressional Republicans struck a deal on overall spending levels that helped ease passage of spending bills for 2014 and 2015. But there’s no such agreement for fiscal year 2016, which starts on 1 October. Republican leaders are sticking to strict annual spending caps set by a 2011 law as they assemble their budget bills. In contrast, most Democrats and some Republicans want the caps lifted so they can spend more on both defense and civilian programs.Senate Democrats are threatening to block work on several spending measures in hopes of getting Republicans to the negotiating table. Without some kind of compromise, the entire federal government would have to shut down after 30 September. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Countrylast_img read more

first_imgGiraffes usually aren’t choosy about who they hang out with, but after they give birth females start to get selective, according to a new study. Researchers followed a group of the ungulates in Katavi National Park in Tanzania for several months between 2010 and 2011. They identified three female giraffes giving birth during this period and recorded clear changes in their herding pattern. Before giving birth, females formed flexible herds with random individuals, male or female, changing herd composition regularly. But after giving birth, the females formed tight groups composed of other mothers and their calves (pictured), the team reports this month in the African Journal of Ecology. On the rare occasions the scientists saw males joining this group, the guys left after a couple days. The authors think that these were likely cases of males looking for a mate. Calves are not able to walk long distances for their first 6 months, which makes them easy targets for predators. This type of mother-calves-only herd represents a more stable group of individuals that sticks together for several months, the researchers say. It also allows the moms to take better care of the young ones while some of the females take a foraging break. But why aren’t males part of these types of herds? The authors think that males are just not interested in protecting herds, but rather spend their time foraging and mating. Although such types of herds are known for other species, only sperm whales are known to change their herding behavior after giving birth.last_img read more

first_img Xavier Muth/Get in Situ Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Email Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country A 3D map of the rings and heaps of stalagmite fragments arranged by Neandertals deep within a cave in southwestern France. The larger ring is about 6.7 meters long and 4.5 meters wide. But who made the mysterious rings? Clearly humans, says Marie Soressi, an archaeologist at Leiden University in the Netherlands, who was not involved in the new study. The deliberate arrangement of stones, as well as the size of the rings, indicates that “they clearly weren’t made by bears” wallowing a hollow to sleep in, she notes. Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Deep within a French cave where no light penetrates are two curious structures: large rings of stalagmites, some broken and arranged like the rails of old-fashioned wooden fences. When discovered in the early 1990s, scientists didn’t know what to make of the formations, which appeared to be fire-scorched in places. Now, they may have an answer: The rings were built by Neandertals, who learned to explore caves extensively and engaged in complex building behaviors like arranging stones more than 175,000 years ago, much earlier than thought.The ancient structures—more than 330 meters inside the current entrance to the cave—include a scattering of small, deliberately arranged heaps of stone along with two large rings, one about 2.2 meters across and the other nearly three times that size. The rings and piles are made of about 400 stalagmites of similar size, weighing a total of 2.2 tons. Most of the forearm-sized fragments are roughly cylindrical and were intentionally broken to the proper length, says Sophie Verheyden, a geologist at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences in Brussels. That much is clear, she says, because the pieces are missing both their tips and their bases. “I’m a caver, and those structures are something like I’ve never seen before.” Verheyden and her colleagues used radioactive-dating techniques to analyze the pieces of broken stalagmite, as well as layers of minerals naturally deposited on the structures after they were constructed. The results suggest the structures were built between 175,000 and 177,000 years ago, the researchers report online today in Nature. Previous studies suggest the climate in the region during this time was relatively warm and wet, so the moisture needed to seep through the overlying rocks to create the stalagmites would have been abundant, Verheyden says. And because modern humans didn’t leave Africa until approximately 100,000 years ago, the structures must have been made by Neandertals, she adds.Team members haven’t yet discovered the Neandertal’s workshop, because most of the missing stalagmite bases and tips aren’t anywhere near the structures. But the researchers did find one hole in the cave floor where a stalagmite had been wrenched up and carried away.The next big mystery is what the Neandertals used the structures for. In dozens of spots along the rings or on small heaps of stone, the rocks seem to have been discolored by the heat of ancient fires. A thumb-sized fragment of burned bone hints that the ancient cavers cooked meals there.The find is the first directly dated evidence of Neandertal construction and the first evidence that these humans explored caves deeply, Soressi says. The rings also hint that Neandertals might have also been building structures above ground at the time, though any direct evidence of such structures—likely made of wood, bone, or animal skins—are likely long lost to the elements. The cave structures survived, Soressi suggests, because they were built of long-lasting materials in a protected environment.last_img read more

first_imgNominations. Confirmations. Boycotts. Things on Capitol Hill are getting messy. And so are things in the scientific community. Yesterday, more than 150 scientific societies sent a letter to U.S. President Donald Trump urging him to rescind his recent executive order on visas and immigration. Meanwhile, scientists from affected countries are getting shut out of major conferences in the United States and making alternate plans for research. And of course the big news of the day—so far—is Trump’s pick for the Supreme Court, Neil Gorsuch.What does all of this mean for science? Read on! Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country What are we missing?Send us your stories and tips—confidential and otherwise—about how the new administration is affecting your work and community: science_news@aaas.org Email Senate confirms Tillerson as secretary of State Congress may soon pass NASA authorization bill Trump has big plans to fix drug prices. Here’s your reality check Canadian researchers are warning of a regime of censored science How scientists can protect their data from the Trump administration The front pageOn 22 April, empiricists around the country will march for science Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) A grassroots team is organizing a March for Science on Washington, D.C., for 22 April. Organizers have said they want to appeal to anyone who, as its mission statement puts it, “champions publicly funded and publicly communicated science as a pillar of human freedom and prosperity.” But the march has spurred debate over whether it is a good idea. Some fear it might only serve to paint scientists as an interest group, further politicizing scientific issues. ScienceScientists left waiting at the conference gateResearchers around the world are finding it hard to attend scientific meetings in the United States, thanks to Trump’s refugee order. Several physicists at this week’s meeting of the American Physical Society used the closing moments of their talks to voice their concerns. Selma de Mink, an astrophysicist at the University of Amsterdam, noted that her postdoc, Iranian researcher Eshan Moravveji, would probably not make it to California for an invited talk, potentially damaging his career. Raphael Buosso, a theoretical physicist at the University of California, Berkeley, whose research group includes young scientists from Brazil, Germany, Iran, Israel, Pakistan, and the United States, said the order threatens the United States’s stature as a place “that the very best people in the world want to come.” You can read more of their stories here.Science and the U.S. Supreme Court: The cases to watch in 2017With the Gorsuch nomination, Trump has sent a pro-business message to conservatives and—some would argue—an olive branch to liberals. But whatever happens to the nominee, the court is set to hear a number of science-related cases in 2017, including clashes on trade secrets, biosimilar drugs, and the Clean Water Act. NatureAnatomy of an alternative fact offered by top Trump health adviserShortly after then–President-elect Donald Trump announced his plan to appoint Katy French Talento as a health care expert on his Domestic Policy Council, the backlash began. Talento, who has a master’s degree from the Harvard University School of Public Health in Boston, was lambasted for offering questionable advice on Zika transmission and for derailing HIV/AIDS research grants focused on sex workers and drug users. But she took the most heat for her articles warning women that the birth control pill is “seriously risky,” deforming the uterus and leading to miscarriages. ScienceInsider looks at how she arrived at those conclusions. Science Democrats boycott EPA nominee Scott Pruitt’s committee confirmation voteFollowing yesterday’s boycott of votes on Trump’s picks for Health and Human Services (HHS) and Treasury department secretaries, Senate Democrats today failed to appear for a confirmation vote on Environmental Protection Agency nominee Scott Pruitt. Republicans called the move unreasonable, while Democrats said they aren’t yet confident that Pruitt would be an advocate for the environment. Meanwhile, Treasury and HHS nominees Steven Mnuchin and Representative Tom Price (R–GA) have made it to the Senate floor, after Senate Finance Committee chair Orrin Hatch (R–UT) took the unusual step of suspending committee rules. The Washington PostIn case you missed it: Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwelast_img read more

first_imgDisaster medicine scientist sentenced to death in IranA researcher studying disaster medicine at two European institutes has been sentenced to death in Iran, apparently for security-related offenses. Iranian-born Ahmadreza Djalali, a scientist working in Italy and Belgium, was arrested more than 9 months ago and has been imprisoned in Iran since then, most of the time in solitary confinement and without access to a lawyer. Just what he has been accused of is unclear, and colleagues—convinced of his innocence—are trying everything they can to prevent his execution. Science USDA blacks out animal welfare informationThe U.S. Department of Agriculture today removed public access to tens of thousands of reports that document the numbers of animals kept by research labs, companies, zoos, circuses, and animal transporters—and whether those animals are being treated humanely under the Animal Welfare Act. Henceforth, those wanting access to the information will need to file a Freedom of Information Act request. The same will go for inspection reports under the Horse Protection Act, which prohibits injuring horses’ hooves or legs for show. ScienceRepublicans move to block rule on coal mining near streamsIt looks like U.S. coal country won’t see the end of mountaintop removal any time soon: The U.S. Senate followed the lead of the House of Representatives in voting yesterday to scrap the Stream Protection Rule, which requires mining companies to restore excavated areas to their original state and monitor them for environmental issues. The rule, issued by the Obama administration late last year, would have affected almost 6000 miles of streams and would have likely made the process of mountaintop removal uneconomical. The New York TimesFor hospitals and charities, ballgowns and controversies swirl at Trump’s clubHealth care organizations and charities from the Cleveland Clinic to the Red Cross are coming under fire from members for holding annual fundraising galas at Trump’s private Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida. The events—many of which will take place this month—raise millions for everything from disaster aid to cancer research. But now that several doctors and disaster relief providers have gotten caught up in the administration’s new immigration order, researchers—and others—are petitioning and picketing against the fundraisers. STATIn case you missed it: Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) As an intense week winds into what may very well be an intense weekend, scientists around the world are starting to make their voices heard on U.S. science-related policy, in particular on President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration. But will they be shouting into a void? That’s what some researchers think, as boycotts of science conferences based in the United States begin to blossom. Already, 5800 researchers around the world have signed one boycott petition, and some astronomers are asking their society not to hold meetings in the United States. Meanwhile, a scientist from one of the affected countries—Iran—has just been sentenced to death in his home country for unknown reasons.  What are we missing?Send us your stories and tips—confidential and otherwise—about how the new administration is affecting your work and community: science_news@aaas.org IAU/José Francisco Salgado The opening ceremony of the International Year of Astronomy for the International Astronomical Union in 2009. After a massive backlash, a Republican yanks his bill to sell off public lands Will Trump’s ban cause foreign-born doctors to look elsewhere? Congressional investigators warn of SpaceX rocket defects EPA airbrushes climate webpage as Pruitt nears confirmation Contrary to reports, climate change doubter Ken Haapala is not guiding NOAA By Catherine MatacicFeb. 3, 2017 , 6:00 PM The front pageScientists urge boycott of U.S. meetingsSaying it was “profoundly concerned” by the impact of the Trump immigration order on international collaboration, an organizing committee of the International Astronomical Union today called on the group to suspend all meetings in the United States. Meanwhile, thousands of researchers around the world have already pledged to boycott U.S. meetings. Others wonder whether this is the right way to react: “I agree with the aims, but I am not sure this is the right means,” says Cornelis Dullemond of Heidelberg University in Germany. “I’m worried that we are just punishing our colleagues and friends in the U.S.” Science Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Email U.S. science conferences brace for boycotts: The ScienceInsider briefing Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwelast_img read more

first_imgFull ancient genomes from Australia had never been successfully sequenced before, because of the continent’s harsh climate. Plus, colonialism affected the genomes of living Aboriginal Australians; many have substantial European ancestry even though they are fully culturally indigenous. Colonial violence, including forced migrations, may have disrupted the genetic links between ancestors and living communities, making them difficult to match up using DNA alone.Still, Lambert and Wright were game to try. They analyzed samples from 27 Aboriginal Australian ancestors up to 1540 years old. All of them had either been previously repatriated or excavated directly from Indigenous lands, so the team knew which living communities they belonged to. The researchers managed to sequence mitochondrial genomes, which contain DNA passed down from a person’s mother, from all 27 of them, and nuclear genomes, which contain DNA from both parents, from 10. The next step was to see whether these sequences could match the ancestors with their living descendants.The team tested the ancient genomes against saliva samples donated to the project by 100 living Aboriginal Australians. All 10 of the ancient nuclear genomes showed close genetic relationships with the communities living on the same lands today, proving that they could be a reliable tool for repatriation in Australia, the team reports today in Science Advances. (Wales and 10 other Indigenous community members are co-authors of the paper.) But with mitochrondrial DNA, the researchers only got the right answer 60% of the time. That’s not good enough, Lambert says, and it shows that mitochondrial DNA should not be used to guide repatriation. Returning an ancestor to the wrong community “would be extremely hurtful and very damaging,” he says.Now that he knows the method works, Lambert dreams of putting together a genetic database of living Aboriginal Australians and screening the DNA of bones held in museums against it. That could lead to repatriation even in cases where information about the ancestor’s identity has been lost.Indigenous communities around the world would likely be interested in such a project, says Nanibaa’ Garrison, a bioethicist at the University of Washington in Seattle, and a member of the Navajo Nation. But Keolu Fox, a geneticist at the University of California, San Diego, and a Native Hawaiian, warns that it might not work outside of Australia. Polynesian communities, for example, aren’t as genetically distinct from each other as Aboriginal Australian groups are, so ancient DNA wouldn’t be able to match Polynesian ancestors to a specific community or even island. In the worst case scenario, the lack of a DNA match could even be used to deny repatriation claims.Lambert agrees that future researchers need to collaborate closely with Indigenous communities so that they can judge the risks and benefits. But if communities decide to participate, using ancient DNA to bring ancestors home could begin to ease “a huge volume of hurt,” he says. “It is possible. We can do this.” By Lizzie WadeDec. 19, 2018 , 2:40 PM Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Email Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Geneticist David Lambert (right) worked closely with aboriginal Australian leaders on this study, including Michael Young (left), an elder of the Willandra people.center_img Renee Chapman Ancient DNA can help bring Aboriginal Australian ancestors home The bones of thousands upon thousands of Indigenous people sit in museums across the world. Their descendants want them back, but they must often fight for years to convince scientists the remains belong to their ancestors. And in some cases, information about where the ancestors are from has been lost. Now, a new study from Australia shows ancient DNA can reliably link Aboriginal ancestors to their living descendants, opening up the possibility of using genetics to proactively return ancient remains to their communities.Ancient DNA has already played a role in a handful of repatriation cases in the United States. There, the tribes fought for decades to repatriate specific ancestors and only consented to DNA tests when other lines of evidence were denied. “DNA was a last resort,” says Ripan Malhi, a molecular anthropologist at the University of Illinois in Urbana.The new study offers a more proactive approach. Geneticists Joanne Wright and David Lambert, both of Griffith University in Nathan, Australia, were working with Aboriginal Australian communities on other projects when they got an intriguing request. Tapij Wales, a traditional owner (the term for descendants of people who lived in Australia before Europeans arrived) of the Thanynakwith people in Napranum on Australia’s Cape York Peninsula, asked whether ancient DNA might help bring home Aboriginal Australian ancestors from museum collections around the world. Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*)last_img read more

first_imgShareTweetSharePinUWP President Isaac BaptistePresident of the United Workers Party (UWP) Senator Isaac Baptiste has revealed that the party plans to have an international airport in operation on island by 2024.He made the announcement during the party’s launch of its candidates for the next general election which took place at the Dame Eugenia Charles Boulevard on Sunday. “Team Dominica will have an international airport operational by 2024,” Baptiste announced.According to Baptiste lands were purchased by the Edison James administration since 1998 on the site recommended by an Engineering Firm.In an article published on DNO dated October 23rd, 2014 Baptiste said the James government had prepared detailed designs for construction of the facility. A feasibility study had been done and 448 acres of land had been purchased from 161 land owners between Wesley and Woodford Hill for runway and airside facilities construction.Further, the UWP Government had bought, by private treaty, the Londonderry Estate for hotel development and relocation of farmers who would have been displaced by the project.“Therefore going forward the people of Wesley, WoodfordHill and Palm Tree in particular…property owners can now have peaceful nights,” Baptiste said “UWP Team Dominica administration confirms that your property, your house will remain yours.”Baptiste said further that during construction phase of the international airport, the UWP government will seek private sector participation to establish a Dominica-based airline which will provide direct one stop and non-stop flights from Dominica to the ten existing international airports from Puerto Rico in the north to Grenada to the south of Dominica.“We should no longer continue to invest and depend on LIAT only, to meet our air access needs,” he remarked.Baptiste went on to say that the UWP will also provide fiscal and other incentives to existing and new players in the passenger ferry industry for guaranteed more regular, fast and safe reliable Ferry Service to Dominica from St Lucia is the south to Antigua in the north.“UWP Team Dominica will immediately commission a feasibility study to inform expansion of commercial port facilities at Woodbridge Bay and at Long House Glanvillia,” he said.He mentioned further that new and improved berthing facilities will be placed at Donkey Beach and Cabrits, Portsmouth, yacht marinas and Prince Rupert Bay, Lalay Coco and a Fresh Water Marina in the vicinity of the Layou River mouth.He said implementation of these projects will be informed by detailed environmental impact studies.“Timely Completion of these projects will greatly improve performance of the tourism and agriculture sector and the international trade industry resulting in the creation of hundreds of jobs,” Baptiste noted.Meantime, he made it clear that none of the UWP candidates were offered offered payment to join team Dominica“Members of the UWP Team know that the work will be tremendous “but we have discipline, experience, competence, commitment and [are] specialization prepared,” Baptiste stated.He said, furthermore, the party has a vision for every sector of the Nature Island development which it promises to pursue commencing the very first day the UWP is elected into office. “For most of the development sectors for immediate attention are, governance and public service, finance, state security, agriculture, tourism, education, health, industry, economic infrastructure,  housing and human settlements and conservation,” he stated.He said UWP, Team Dominica, under the leadership of Lennox Linton, will persist, strive to make Dominica the best place to work, the best place to live and to enjoy life.Major initiatives to be implemented by Team Dominica are to improve the quality of life and create 12,000 new jobs by 2025 in Dominica.last_img read more

first_img PM Narendra Modi pulls up ministers for being absent in House Kulbhushan Jadhav ICJ Verdict: Govt, Oppn hail ruling; PM Modi says truth prevailed Related News narendra modi, pm modi, prime minister modi, bjp, pm meets bjp supporter, lok sabha elections, lok sabha elections 2019, gujarat, delhi, man cycles from gujarat to delhi, indian express news Describing Khimchandbhai, whose journey took over two weeks, as an “exceptional” person, Modi said he was “deeply impressed by his humility”. (Source: Narendra Modi/Twitter)Prime Minister Narendra Modi Wednesday met a BJP supporter who cycled from Gujarat’s Amreli district to New Delhi to celebrate the party’s massive victory in the Lok Sabha election. By PTI |New Delhi | Updated: July 3, 2019 6:20:32 pm Khimchandbhai had decided that he would undertake the over 1000-km cycle journey if the BJP wins over 300 seats in the elections. The party won 303.Describing Khimchandbhai, whose journey took over two weeks, as an “exceptional” person, Modi said he was “deeply impressed by his humility”.Met the exceptional Khimchandbhai from Amreli, Gujarat.Khimchandbhai decided that if BJP wins 300+ seats, he would cycle from Amreli to Delhi. He kept his word and am told that his cycle journey has drawn several admirers.I was deeply impressed by his humility and passion. pic.twitter.com/jtfDggCsHv— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) July 3, 2019“Met the exceptional Khimchandbhai from Amreli, Gujarat. Khimchandbhai decided that if BJP wins 300+ seats, he would cycle from Amreli to Delhi. He kept his word and am told that his cycle journey has drawn several admirers,” Modi tweeted. “I was deeply impressed by his humility and passion.”Modi served as the chief minister of Gujarat before he was elected as prime minister in 2014. ‘Kulbhushan Jadhav will get justice’: PM Modi after ICJ verdict Advertising 1 Comment(s)last_img read more

first_imgThe airline operates about 80 international flights daily and its domestic operations were not affected.About 100 union members staged a sit-in outside the airline’s suburban Taipei headquarters Thursday night to further press their demands.On its Twitter feed, the airline said it was “working closely with concerned authorities, fellow airlines, and travel agencies to arrange alternative flights for passengers and doing all we can to reduce delays.” Recent cases of aircraft veering off runways prompts DGCA to ground 12 pilots Post Comment(s) Air India unions oppose privatisation bid “This untimely labor action will significantly impact and inconvenience our passengers, our flight attendants’ fellow employees and the travel industry,” the airline said. Updates were being published on a strike response website and passengers could also call the airline’s reservation center.Union members have demanded a raise in daily allowances and an end to the practice whereby non-union members enjoy the same benefits as members.Management has said daily allowances are already higher than those offered by competitors and barring non-union members who do the same work from enjoying equal benefits would harm safety and morale.Earlier this year, pilots at Taiwan’s largest carrier, China Airlines, went on strike for seven days over benefits and working conditions before reaching an agreement with the mediation of the transport and labor ministries and the vice premier. Advertising Related News These ‘standing seats’ for airlines at Paris Air Show has people horrified Advertising aviation strike, taiwan aviation strike, taiwan strike, flight attendants strike taiwan, eva air, eva air taiwan, eva air strike, eva air attendants, eva air strike taiwan, taiwan airline, eva airline, world news, indian express Union members have demanded a raise in daily allowances and an end to the practice whereby non-union members enjoy the same benefits as members. (Reuters Photo)A strike by flight attendants at EVA Air, Taiwan’s second-largest airline, has left thousands of passengers scrambling for alternative transport. Local media reported more than 100 flights were being canceled and almost 20,000 passengers affected on the first three days of the strike, which began Thursday afternoon after negotiations broke down. By AP |Taipei | Published: June 21, 2019 12:03:58 pmlast_img read more

first_imgBy PTI |Dubai | Published: June 29, 2019 5:05:31 pm After Masood Azhar blacklisting, more isolation for Pakistan dubai accident, dubai bus accident, dubai bus accident death toll, indians killed in dubai bus accident, indians killed in dubai accident, dubai news, dubai police Vipul said he was thankful to Dubai Police for their swift response to rescue the four women, all in their twenties. (Twitter/@DubaiPoliceHQ/Representational)Four Indian women who were tricked into working as bar dancers flew back to home on Friday after being rescued by Dubai Police following a tip-off from the Indian consulate. Virat Kohli won’t have a say in choosing new coach Best Of Express The four women, from Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, were deluded into believing that they will be working for an event management company. However, when they reached Dubai, their employer locked them in a room and were then forced to work in a dance bar and solicit customers, Consul General of India to Dubai, Vipul, told Gulf News.According to reports, one of the women managed to send an SOS to her family back home via WhatsApp.As soon as the message was brought to the attention of Vellamvelly Muraleedharan, Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan, he alerted the consulate, which then informed Dubai Police. For Kerala grand coalition, BJP to draft common agenda Jobseekers can also verify their visa status on the Amer website before travelling to the UAE.The case follows a similar incident last year when another group of women were rescued from a dance bar by Dubai Police at the behest of the Indian consulate. Among them was a 21-year-old from Hyderabad who was lured to Dubai on the pretext that she would be getting a job in a jewellery store only to end up working in a dance bar. Karnataka trust vote today: Speaker’s call on resignations, says SC, but gives rebel MLAs a shield center_img Vipul said he was thankful to Dubai Police for their swift response to rescue the four women, all in their twenties.“After being rescued the women were taken to our shelter. Today we put them in a plane bound for Kozhikode,” he was quoted as saying by the daily.The Consul General said he will write to the Tamil Nadu government, seeking firm action against the agent who sent the women to Dubai.The Indian mission in Dubai has repeatedly urged jobseekers to check their visa status with the Pravasi Bhartaiya Sahayta Kendra (PBSK) — earlier known as Indian Workers’ Resource Centre. Related News Advertising Advertising Four Indian women duped by employer in Dubai rescued: MEA Post Comment(s) Italy’s decision is a challenge to the country,alleges BJP last_img read more

first_img Advertising Aziz Ibrahimi, a spokesman for the Independent Election Commission, said that the employees were in the district of Maruf conducting voter registration when Saturday night’s attack occurred.A defense ministry spokesman, Fawad Aman, said Taliban detonated four stolen Humvees full of explosives outside the district’s police headquarters, where the election officials were staying.Aman said at least four Afghan security officers were also killed. Karnataka trust vote today: Speaker’s call on resignations, says SC, but gives rebel MLAs a shield Also read | Afghan government says it has freed 490 Taliban prisonersHe added that four other security officers were wounded in Saturday night’s attack in Farah city.In the same province on Saturday, the Taliban attacked army checkpoints in the Bala Buluk district, killing five and wounding seven others, said a local councilman, Abdul Samad Salehi.Taliban have stepped up their attacks against Afghan security forces as the seventh round of peace talks between the U.S. and the insurgents is underway in the Middle Eastern state of Qatar. Afghan radio station closes down following Taliban threats Cabinet asks finance panel to consider securing funds for defence Afghanistan, Afghanistan Taliban, Taliban Afghanistan, Afghanistan election officials killed, Afghanistan taliban attack, Kandahar attack, Kanadahar Afghanistan attack, indian express, latest news At least four Afghan security officers were also killed. (AP)Taliban insurgents killed eight election officials in a bomb attack in the southern Kandahar province, Afghan officials said on Sunday. Related News Post Comment(s)center_img By AP |Kabul | Published: June 30, 2019 4:43:59 pm Best Of Express Read | US, Taliban to open Doha talks in fresh bid to end warThe Interior Ministry said in a statement that security forces killed 25 Taliban fighters when repelling the assault.The Taliban, through a spokesman Qari Yusouf Ahmadi, claimed responsibility for the attack in Maruf.Separately, Taliban attacked the police security cordon protecting the capital city of the western Farah province, killing four security officers, said Shah Mahmmod Nahimi, a provincial council member. After Masood Azhar blacklisting, more isolation for Pakistan Advertising Despite Afghan-Taliban peace talks, war on civilians continue India not excluded from peace process in Afghanistan: China last_img read more

first_img Email It can make a fan’s blood boil: Two players lunge for a soccer ball, one of them kicks it out of bounds, and now both are claiming the other touched it last. We may rightly chalk up many “last touch” disagreements to players’ wishful thinking, or to outright deception. But psychologists have identified another possible factor at play—a natural tendency to think our own actions come before external events.To look for this tendency in the lab, the researchers had pairs of people sit across from each other and asked them both to tap their partner’s left hand with their right finger as soon as they saw a light flash. Sensors on the backs of their left hands revealed who tapped first. After each trial, participants were asked to render their own judgment.A clear bias emerged: In cases where the taps were simultaneous, participants had a 67% chance of claiming the first touch, researchers report today in Science Advances. And on average, they judged the taps to be simultaneous even when their own tap was about 50 milliseconds behind their partner’s. These results held up when the participants no longer had a human opponent and simply compared their response time with a tap from a mechanical device or a clicking sound. By Kelly ServickApr. 24, 2019 , 2:00 PM Who really touched the ball last? Chances are, you think it was the other player Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country imageBROKER/Alamy Stock Photo Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) The finding fits with previous results suggesting we judge events to happen earlier if we think we caused them. The authors suggest the effect may trace to a part of the brain called the supplementary motor cortex, which has been shown to have distinct patterns of activity during self-initiated events versus externally triggered ones. The study helps pin down one way that our vantage point shapes perception, but don’t expect that to placate angry soccer fans.last_img read more

first_img PIERRE ESCOUBAS/TAXON EXPEDITIONS 2018 Biodiversity experts estimate that Earth has between 8.7 million and 20 million kinds of plants, animals, and fungi, but to date only 1.8 million of them have received formal descriptions. Insects, in particular, are a vast realm of undiscovered species. “Yet collectively, they may contribute more biomass in terrestrial habitats than all wild vertebrates combined,” says Rudolf Meier, a biologist from the National University of Singapore who has been developing barcoding approaches with a small DNA sequencer.In 2003, Hebert proposed the DNA barcode concept: that animal species could be distinguished by sequencing less than 1000 bases of mitochondrial DNA from a specimen. It took a while for the idea to catch on, but Hebert and other enthusiasts began to compile barcodes from known species. In 2010, for example, he spearheaded a consortium called the International Barcode of Life (iBOL), an $80 million effort centered at Guelph that began to build a reference library of known species with their identifying sequences. It now tops 7.3 million barcodes—each species can have more than one—and has proved to be a resource not only for identifying known organisms, but also for documenting their interactions with other species—including who eats whom—based on the different barcodes in a particular sample. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country By Elizabeth PennisiJun. 6, 2019 , 2:00 PM Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Email On Borneo for a 2018 expedition to find new species, evolutionary biologist Marta Paterno of the University of Verona in Italy prepares samples for a portable DNA sequencer (center, right of laptop). Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) A miniaturized DNA sequencer taken to Madagascar identified mouse lemur species in a forest. Now, with additional support in money and in-kind services from its 30 international partners, iBOL is about to start a 7-year follow-up effort. Called BIOSCAN, it will gather specimens and study species interactions at 2500 sites around the world, aiming to expand its reference library by 15 million barcode records, 90% of them coming from undescribed species. The data will set the stage for monitoring the effects of pollution, land-use changes, and global warming on biodiversity, Hebert says. Ultimately, “We will be able to track life on the planet the way we track the weather.”And, in a departure from iBOL’s previous focus on deriving barcodes for known species, “One of the primary goals will be species discovery,” Hebert says. If software fails to match a sample’s barcode sequence to an existing species, it will immediately flag the specimen for closer genetic and visual scrutiny and possible identification as a new species. In the past, it might have taken years or even decades to confirm some organisms as new species—for example, certain flies in which species differ visibly only in the shape of the male genitalia.Customized bioinformatics and sequencers that can read enough bases in one shot to get a full barcode will keep the cost low, Hebert predicts—about $1 per specimen including collection, preservation, DNA extraction, sequencing, and follow-up analysis. He expects the sequencing component of the overall costs will eventually drop to about $0.02 per specimen.For now, all the specimens gathered for BIOSCAN’s barcoding will be shipped to the University of Guelph. But Meier has been developing a barcoding approach that he hopes will be accessible to many labs doing species surveys. He got interested in more efficient ways of identifying species in 2012, when Singapore officials asked him to study tiny flies emerging from two local reservoirs. “It was a nightmare” to pin down the midge species responsible, he recalls. As a result, he, too, turned to barcoding.Now, he’s cataloging all of Singapore’s biodiversity, particularly its “silent majority,” as he calls small insects. For this work, Meier says, “We abandoned the over-engineered and expensive techniques that are traditionally used for barcoding.” Instead, he has turned to a recently developed sequencer called the MinION that is the size of a cellphone and costs less than $1000. Designed to identify DNA’s four bases by how they change an electrical current when they pass through a nanometer pore, it sequences thousands of bases in one stretch, more than enough for a barcode.Working with undergraduates and volunteers in Singapore who both collect and sequence specimens, Meier’s team has already generated 200,000 insect barcodes. These represent 10,000 species, more than 70% of them new to science, he and his colleagues reported last year. Meier envisions many countries setting up such lab-based efforts to independently catalog their biodiversity.His group recently demonstrated the power of the approach with a study of the insects an entomologist had caught in a single net trap in Kibale National Park in Uganda. Meier and his colleagues focused on a very large, diverse group of flies called Phoridae, which are hard to tell apart visually. Barcoding just one-third of the trap’s haul of insects—about 8700 in all—yielded 650 Phoridae species new to science, the team reported in a 30 April preprint on bioRxiv. That’s more than all the known Phoridae in tropical Africa. Emily Hartop from Stockholm University, an expert in fly identification, confirmed that the barcodes correctly separated species 90% of the time, Meier’s group reports.The numbers show “there’s a lot of diversity out there that we have not named and don’t know about,” says John Kress, a botanist at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.Delledonne and his colleagues have been working out ways to do at remote field sites what Meier does in his Singapore lab. They, too, use a MinION sequencer, which is typically run by a laptop computer. The laptop normally requires an internet connection, but the sequencer’s manufacturer, Oxford Nanopore Technologies, made it possible for the system to work in remote locations with no such access. Everything needed for barcoding fits into a carry-on suitcase.On a 2018 Borneo expedition, the team joined with citizen scientists and barcoded about a dozen animals, among them a new snail they named Microparmarion exquadratus and described last year in the Journal of Molluscan Studies. In a 6 May bioRxiv preprint, the group detailed their protocols, so others can follow their footsteps. Anyone with a few days’ training can now get set up to do barcoding in the field for less than $7000, Delledonne suggests. “We see how smartphones have changed our lives. We have shown that sequencing may follow the same trend.”Indeed, a team from Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, has just reported a similar field study with a MinION in the Madagascar dry forest, obtaining barcodes to identify mouse lemurs. A few decades ago, only a few species of these secretive, nocturnal primates were known. The tally is now up to 24, but finding new species is still slow. “It could sometimes take years,” says Duke primatologist Marina Blanco. In a 26 May bioRxiv preprint, she, Duke ecologist Lydia Greene, and colleagues described using a MinION-based barcoding system to take a DNA sample from a live-trapped lemur, barcode it, and decide on the spot whether it was a new species.The Duke work, says Delledonne, is a “good example of what is going to be the impact of mobile genomic labs on ecological and evolutionary studies.”For Meier, such field studies, along with his own lab’s work, bode well for the democratization of barcoding: “It all points to the bright future of decentralized biodiversity science that yields rapid results.” But Kress thinks industrial-scale efforts like BIOSCAN will be important as well if there’s any hope to catalog all species on the planet. “It has to be both approaches in parallel,” he says. “We will never get it done if we do it in individual labs.” For centuries biologists have identified new species at a painstakingly slow pace, describing specimens’ physical features and other defining traits, and often trying to fit a species into the tree of life before naming and publishing it. Now, they have begun to determine whether a specimen is likely a novel species in hours—and will soon do so at a cost of pennies. It’s a revolution driven by short stretches of DNA—dubbed barcodes in a nod to the familiar product identifiers—that vary just enough to provide species-distinguishing markers, combined with fast, cheap DNA sequencers.”Biodiversity science is entering a very golden era,” says Paul Hebert of the University of Guelph in Canada. On 16 June, a team he leads will launch a $180 million global effort to identify more than 2 million new species of multicellular creatures. Other teams are also adopting the approach to comb samples for new species in their labs—or even directly in the field. With the world losing species faster than they are discovered, biologists are welcoming the technology.”For many years I dreamed of changing the rules by being able to bring a portable genomic lab [to] where the samples are,” says Massimo Delledonne, a genomicist at the University of Verona in Italy who recently performed barcoding studies in a forest on the island of Borneo that quickly revealed a new species of snail. “Field barcoding is now ready for prime time.” LYDIA GREENE $180 million DNA ‘barcode’ project aims to discover 2 million new specieslast_img read more