No sex for 40 million years? Works for some
October 14, 2007 10:45 PM - Michael Kahn, Reuters
LONDON (Reuters) - One microscopic organism has thrived despite remaining celibate for tens of millions of years thanks to a neat evolutionary trick, researchers said.
Asexual reproduction has allowed duplicate gene copies of the single-celled creatures -- called bdelloid rotifers -- to become different over time.
This gives the rotifers a wider pool of genes to help them adapt and survive, the researchers said in the journal Science.
"It is like having a bigger tool kit," Alan Tunnacliffe, a molecular biologist at the University of Cambridge, said in a telephone interview. "You can do the same job but better."
Smoking Turns On Cancer Genes, Permanently: Study
October 14, 2007 09:59 PM -
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Smoking may turn on some genes in the body in a permanent and harmful way, scientists said on Thursday in a study that may help explain why the risk of cancer remains high even after smokers quit.
They found many genetic changes that stop when a smoker quits, but found several genes that stay turned on for years, including several not previously linked with tobacco use.
"These irreversible changes may account for the persistent lung cancer risk despite smoking cessation," the researchers wrote in their report, published in BioMed Central journal BMC Genomics.
Genes found that slow both aging and cancer
October 14, 2007 09:52 PM - Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor, Reuters
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Researchers have identified a batch of genes that not only prevent cancer but slow the aging process in worms, and say they are now looking to see if the genes have the same properties in humans.
Many of the genes in the worms are already known to have counterparts in humans, and the team at the University of California, San Francisco, say they hope to better understand some of the processes that cause both aging and cancer.
Drugs that mimic the effects of these genes might help people both avoid cancer and also live longer, they wrote in Sunday's issue of the journal Nature Genetics.
Fearful looks get brain's attention fast: study
October 14, 2007 09:31 PM - Julie Steenhuysen, Reuters
CHICAGO (Reuters) - Smiles may take a while, but a horrified expression is a sure-fire attention getter, U.S. researchers said on Sunday, based on a study of how fast people process facial expressions.
They believe fearful facial expressions make a beeline to the alarm center of the brain known as the amygdala, cuing humans to potential threats.
World Bank studies rising seas in Guyana
October 12, 2007 08:17 PM - Lesley Wroughton
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The World Bank and Global Environmental Facility have approved $3.8 million in grant funding to protect low-lying coastal areas in Guyana threatened by rising sea levels, an official said on Friday.
This is the first project of its kind to be approved under the Global Environmental Facility's Special Climate Change Fund. It will look at ways to improve coastal drainage in the small South American country.
Gerald Meier, a consultant with the World Bank's hazard risk management group, said the project was responding to the catastrophic flooding in Guyana in 2005, which affected most of the inhabited northern coast of the country where up to 90 percent of the population lives.
On Saturn's moon Titan, bring an umbrella
October 12, 2007 04:57 PM - Julie Steenhuysen
CHICAGO (Reuters) - The daily weather forecast on Saturn's largest moon Titan appears to be a steady drizzle of liquid methane, at least around the bright, exotically named region known as Xanadu, U.S. researchers said on Thursday.
But this is hardly the paradise romanticized by the Samuel Taylor Coleridge poem "Kubla Kahn."
New images from Hawaii's W.M. Keck Observatory and Chile's Very Large Telescope show nearly global cloud cover at high elevations and a dreary morning drizzle that seems to dissipate around midmorning local time -- which is about three Earth days after sunrise.
French explorer to measure Arctic ice from airship
October 12, 2007 03:39 PM - Marie Maitre, Reuters
MARSEILLE, France (Reuters) - A French explorer unveiled plans on Friday to fly over the Arctic in an airship to measure the ice cap amid concern at the pace it is melting.
Jean-Louis Etienne (www.jeanlouisetienne.fr) said his 10,000 kilometer (6,214 mile) journey will serve as a benchmark for monitoring the impact of global warming on the North Pole.
Skype and UK's 3 working on mobile Internet phone
October 12, 2007 11:17 AM -
LONDON (Reuters) - EBay Inc's (EBAY.O: Quote, Profile, Research) Skype is working with British cell phone service operator 3 to produce a handset that will allow users in Britain to make free calls on the Internet, a spokesman for the company said on Frida
Gore shares Nobel win with U.N. climate panel
October 12, 2007 08:20 AM - John Acher -Reuters
Former Vice President Al Gore and the U.N. climate panel won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for their part in galvanizing international action against global warming before it "moves beyond man's control".
Gore and the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) won "for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change", the Norwegian Nobel Committee said.
Survey: Travelers Choosing Green, But Not At Any Cost
October 11, 2007 02:37 PM -
WASHINGTON, D.C.—More than half of all U.S. adults say they would be more likely to select an airline, rental car or hotel that uses more environmentally friendly products and processes, according to the results of the latest travelhorizons survey by the Travel Industry Association (TIA) and Ypartnership.
But while more than half of U.S. adults may be advocates of environmental responsibility, only 14 percent of respondents said their actual selection of a travel service supplier would be influenced by that supplier’s efforts to preserve and protect the environment. Just 13 percent would be willing to pay higher rates or fares to use suppliers who demonstrate environmental responsibility (although fully 56 percent said they might).