Tessa Bradeen

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Mad Cow Disease Still Menaces U.K. Blood Supply

Years after the first human case of the brain disorder, there's worry over a second outbreak.<p>Just as the measles outbreak in the U.S. shows what can happen when the public gets too complacent about a disease thought to be safely a thing of the past, so might the British public be letting down its …

United Kingdom

Male Mandarin Ducks Are Flashy Suitors But Poor Fathers

Females are left to rear ducklings while males get together for a molting party.<p>The mandarin drake "possesses an amazing and bizarre plumage which makes him one of the most beautiful and striking ducks—indeed one of the most beautiful birds—in the world." So says Christopher Lever, an eminent …

Skeletons Reveal Tuscan Life in the Time of Cholera

"Thousand-year cemetery" records a millennium of tough living in Tuscany.<p>Tuscany is synonymous with the good life—wine, rolling hills, luscious cuisine. But for many years it was a pretty tough place to live.<p>At the Badia Pozzeveri church cemetery near Lucca, archaeologists have uncovered skeletons …

Diving the (Almost) Most Biodiverse Reef in the World

Wildlife<p>Here in the Solomon Islands, searching for the elusive bumphead parrotfish, we spent this week diving in waters that boast some of the highest fish biodiversity in the world, second only to Sipadan, Malaysia.<p>The aptly-named Grand Central had fish rushing off in all directions including …

Christmas Trees

Why Is the Mystery of Blast Force Brain Injury So Tough to Solve?

Author of National Geographic's February cover story discusses the ravages of traumatic brain injury from battlefield blasts.<p>"Healing Our Soldiers," the cover story of the February issue of <i>National Geographic</i>, is a searching inquiry into blast-induced traumatic brain injury—the signature injury …

The Brain

500 Years on a Tropic Island in 500 Words or Less

Changing Planet<p>As I begin my expedition on Fernando de Noronha it becomes increasingly clear how the biological history of the island and the introduced species I am here to study are tightly intertwined with the human history of the island.<p>Fernando de Noronha is an oceanic island of volcanic …

World War II

Is The Human Species Still Evolving?

Bill Nye The Science Guy speculates on the future of mankind<p>Is there a <i>Homo superius</i> just around the next corner, waiting to take our place? Let’s think about what it would take: If we were to give rise to a new species, something would have to happen to us to create a bottleneck or isolated place …

Evolution

Bug Kama Sutra: Flexible Moth Evolved Many Ways to Mate

Every day is Valentine's Day for the gold swift moth, which may have the most advanced mating system of any bug.<p>When Pope Gelasius of Rome declared February 14 to be St. Valentine's Day about 1,500 years ago, he probably didn't know about the surprisingly romantic acrobatics of the gold swift moth</i> …

Insects

With genetic engineering, scientists use decoy molecule to trick HIV

An effective vaccine for<p>HIVhas eluded researchers for several decades, due to the pathogen's infamous shape-shifting abilities.<p>Even though researchers have identified certain broadly neutralizing antibodies that can conquer multiple strains of the human immunodeficiency virus, many strains of …

Immunotherapy

Muscular dystrophy affects 1 in 5,000 U.S. boys - Futurity

A closer look at birth and death records from six states shows Hispanic kids face the highest risk of muscular dystrophy, but researchers aren't sure …

Graveyard of Giant Lemurs Discovered Underwater in Madagascar

Bones found deep inside a cave offer an unprecedented look at the ancient primates, some as big as gorillas.<p>Deep below the surface of a water-filled cave in Madagascar, divers and paleontologists have uncovered a boneyard full of extinct giant lemurs.<p>Hundreds of bones dot the silty bottom of Aven …

Paleontology

Teen Dads Pass Mutations to Their Kids

Here’s another reason to discourage teen sex: teenage fathers pass along six times as many genetic mutations to their kids as do teenage mothers.<p>Researchers who looked at the DNA of more than 24,000 parents and their children found that when the father was 20 or younger, the children had many more …

Genetics