Top Stories

Meat DNA testing can help save species

African governments need to boost local efforts to protect endangered species by supporting DNA testing, argues Linda Nordling. The horsemeat scandal that recently hit Europe has shown how DNA testing can improve food monitoring and safety. Most African countries are yet to adopt the technology despite its huge potential - both in ensuring that food is correctly labelled and in policing the illegal trade in animal products. >> Read the Full Article

Convection at the Center of the Earth

The inner core of the Earth, its innermost part, is a primarily solid ball with a radius of about 760 miles, according to seismological studies. It is believed to consist primarily of an iron–nickel alloy, and to be about the same temperature as the surface of the Sun. A new study, by an international team of researchers from Leeds, London and California, states that rocks could be circulating in the inner core which may explain the unusual behavior of seismic waves passing through it. >> Read the Full Article

Impacts of Global Warming on Rainforest Modeled

Tropical forests may be less sensitive to global warming than previously thought, argues a new study published in Nature Geoscience. The research is based on computer simulations using 22 climate models for tropical forests in Africa, Asia, and the Americas. It projects loss of forest biomass as a result of climate change only in the Americas. However the study is far from conclusive, with the authors listing several uncertainties about how tropical forests will respond to climate change. >> Read the Full Article

Don't Miss Comet PANSTARRS

A comet visible to the naked eye is not that common. Scientists estimate that the opportunity to see one of these icy dirtballs advertising their cosmic presence so brilliantly they can be seen without the aid of a telescope or binoculars happens only once every five to 10 years. That said, there may be two naked-eye comets available for your viewing pleasure this year. "You might have heard of a comet ISON, which may become a spectacular naked-eye comet later this fall," said Amy Mainzer, the principal investigator of NASA's NEOWISE mission at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., and self-described cosmic icy dirtball fan. "But if you have the right conditions you don't have to wait for ISON. Within a few days, comet PANSTARRS will be making its appearance in the skies of the Northern Hemisphere just after twilight." >> Read the Full Article

Anti-Aging Breakthrough!

Drugs that combat ageing may be available within five years, following landmark work led by an Australian researcher. The work, published in the March 8 issue of Science, finally proves that a single anti-ageing enzyme in the body can be targeted, with the potential to prevent age-related diseases and extend lifespans. The paper shows all of the 117 drugs tested work on the single enzyme through a common mechanism. This means that a whole new class of anti-ageing drugs is now viable, which could ultimately prevent cancer, Alzheimer's disease and type 2 diabetes. >> Read the Full Article

Extreme Survival

What is poison to one man is a rare delicacy for another. Living in acid or caustic, extreme heat, and toxins does not sound appealing. However, in hot springs in Yellowstone National Park, Galdieria uses energy from the sun to produce sugars through photosynthesis. In the darkness of old mine shafts in drainage as caustic as battery acid, it feeds on bacteria and survives high concentrations of arsenic and heavy metals. How has a one-celled alga acquired such flexibility and resilience? >> Read the Full Article

Caribbean Nations Take Control of Their Collective Energy Future

In the face of the many challenges inherent in getting 15 countries—each with their own resources, priorities, and political complexities—to agree to anything, let alone a comprehensive regional energy policy, the Caribbean is now on the brink of taking a significant (and impressive) step forward. For the past half decade, a Draft Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Regional Energy Policy—designed to address critical issues like energy security, affordability, energy efficiency, and renewable energy—has been circulating among CARICOM's 15 member states, continually being revised to reflect the concerns of individual members, but never finalized. >> Read the Full Article

New discovery could have potential for regenerative medicine

Special cells that were discovered in healthy breast tissue from women undergoing breast reductions may hold the key for an important discovery. UC San Francisco researchers found that certain rare cells extracted from adult breast tissue have the capability to turn into other cell types. Similar to human embryonic stem cells, the newly found cells are pluripotent. Pluripotent cells have the potential to differentiate into almost any cell in the body. >> Read the Full Article

India needs micro-level data for climate action

India needs micro-level scientific assessment at the state, district and village levels for effective planning and implementation of measures to combat climate change, a national workshop has highlighted. The workshop on climate-resilient development, organized last month (13 February), discussed integrating climate change into development programs in semi-arid regions like Bundelkhand in central India. >> Read the Full Article

Starry Frog is NOT Extinct After all!

In 1853 Edward Frederick Kelaart, a physician and naturalist, collected a strange frog on the island of Sri Lanka then a British colony known as Ceylon. The specimen was a large shrub frog (about 2 inches or 5.5 centimeters long) with black-outlined white specks on lime-green skin. He dubbed it "starry" after its pale specks, but that was last anyone heard of it. Even the holotype—the body of the amphibian collected by Kelaart—went missing. Fast forward nearly 160 years—two world wars, Sri Lanka's independence, and a man on the moon—when a recent expedition into Sri Lanka's Peak Wilderness rediscovered a beguiling frog with pinkish specks. "These quite stunning frogs were observed perched on leaves in the canopy. They were slow moving, we collected samples which we thought were new species. But after reviewing past work, [especially] extinct species, it was evident that this was Pseudophilautus stellatus," L.J. Mendis Wickramasinghe told mongabay. Kelaart's starry shrub frog, or Pseudophilautus stellatus, had been re-discovered. >> Read the Full Article