Science News

Oh baby: Scientists find protein that lets egg and sperm hook up

Doctor Katarzyna Koziol injects sperm directly into an egg during IVF procedure called Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection at Novum clinic in WarsawIf you really want to learn how babies are made, you need to know about Juno and Izumo. Fertilization takes place when an egg cell and a sperm cell recognize one another and fuse to form an embryo. Researchers said on Wednesday they have identified a protein on the egg cell's surface that interacts with another protein on the surface of a sperm cell, allowing the two cells to join. This protein, dubbed Juno in honor of the ancient Roman goddess of fertility and marriage, and its counterpart in sperm, named Izumo after a Japanese marriage shrine, are essential for reproduction in mammals including people, they said.


Jaws, the prequel: Scientists find the 'Model T Ford' of sharks

A Chinese tourist takes a photograph of a shark swimming towards him at the Sydney AquariumBy Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - You've heard of the Model T Ford, the famed early 20th-century automobile that was the forerunner of the modern car. Scientists on Wednesday announced the discovery of the impeccably preserved fossilized remains of a shark that lived 325 million years ago in what is now Arkansas, complete with a series of cartilage arches that supported its gills and jaws. Because shark skeletons are made of soft cartilage, not hard bone, finding anything more than scrappy fossilized remains of teeth and vertebrae is rare. Finding a fossil shark in an almost three-dimensional state of preservation, boasting important skeletal structures, is exceptional.


U.S. agencies back DigitalGlobe bid to sell sharper images

DigitalGlobe Satellite image shows a tank on 6th Rishreen road in Qabun neighborhood in Damascus, SyriaBy Warren Strobel and Andrea Shalal TAMPA/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. intelligence community has thrown its support behind a bid by commercial space imagery provider DigitalGlobe Inc to sell higher resolution images from its satellites, the leading U.S. intelligence official said Tuesday. DigitalGlobe has pressed the government for years to allow it to sell such imagery but U.S. government agencies worried that giving public access to them could undermine the intelligence advantage they have from even higher resolution satellite images. The green light from the U.S. intelligence community follows rapid advances by non-U.S. space imagery companies that have raised concerns DigitalGlobe could lose market share if it is not allowed to compete on high resolution images. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told an industry conference that U.S. intelligence agencies had agreed to allow commercial providers to sell higher resolution imagery but that the decision still needed approval by other agencies.


China rejections of GMO U.S. corn cost up to $2.9 billion: group
By Tom Polansek CHICAGO (Reuters) - China's rejections of a banned variety of genetically modified U.S. corn have cost the U.S. agriculture industry up to $2.9 billion, a grain group said on Wednesday in the first estimate on losses from the trade disruptions. The National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) estimated in a report that rejections of shipments containing Syngenta AG's Agrisure Viptera corn resulted in losses of at least $1 billion, based on an economic analysis that included data supplied by top global grain exporters. China, the world's third-biggest corn buyer, in November began rejecting corn containing Viptera, known as MIR 162, after previously accepting the grain. "It obviously is a significant cost when you add up the producer losses and the cost to exporters and others in the value chain," NGFA President Randy Gordon said about the rejections in a telephone interview.

French parliament bans cultivation of GM maize
PARIS (Reuters) - France's lower house of parliament adopted a law on Tuesday prohibiting the cultivation of any variety of genetically modified maize, saying it posed a risk to the environment. France adopted a decree last month to halt the planting of Monsanto's insect-resistant MON810 maize, the only GM crop allowed for cultivation in the European Union. ...

12 Million Misdiagnoses Occur Yearly in US, Study Finds
What's more, researchers estimated that about half of these diagnosis errors could lead to serious harm, such as when doctors fail to follow up on "red flags" for cancer in patients who are ultimately diagnosed with the condition. The findings "should provide a foundation for policymakers, health care organizations and researchers to strengthen efforts to measure and reduce diagnostic errors," the researchers wrote in their study. Many previous studies on patient safety have focused on issues in hospitals, such as hospital-related infections and medication errors, the researchers said.

Woman's Ear Reattached with Help of Leeches

Woman's Ear Reattached with Help of LeechesA 19-year-old woman who lost her ear to a dog attack got it back with the help of a few leeches. While plastic surgeons are trained to reattach severed organs, these reattachments are simplest when the cut is clean and sharp — as from a kitchen knife, Dr. Stephen Sullivan, a plastic surgeon at Rhode Island Hospital in Providence who operated on the young woman, told Live Science. In 2004, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved these blood-sucking worms for use in medicine. For more than two weeks, the woman recovered in the hospital with leeches attached to her left ear, draining away deoxygenated blood.


Tiny, Prehistoric Animal Hints at Herbivore Origins

Tiny, Prehistoric Animal Hints at Herbivore Origins"It's within this side of vertebrate evolution that we have the first plant-eating animals," said study leader Robert Reisz, a paleontologist at the University of Toronto. "All other members of this group, the caseids, are plant eaters," Reisz said.


Saturn Shines Near the Moon Tonight: How to See It

Saturn Shines Near the Moon Tonight: How to See ItTo the naked eye, Saturn appears more or less like any other bright star, except that usually it shines with a steady light rather than twinkling. But watching their changing positions from night to night is endlessly fascinating.


Rosy Cosmic Cloud Glows with Stars in New Telescope View (Video, Photo)

Rosy Cosmic Cloud Glows with Stars in New Telescope View (Video, Photo)A distant group of hot, young stars cause a cloud of hydrogen gas to glow a rosy red 7,300 light-years from Earth in the latest amazing view from a telescope in Chile. Called Gum 41, the cloud stars in a new photo released by the European Southern Observatory today (April 16). Radiation emitted by the newborn stars near the middle of the image gives the hydrogen a rosy glow, ESO officials said. "In this picture of Gum 41, the clouds appear to be quite thick and bright, but this is actually misleading," ESO officials said in a statement.


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