bkelliott

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Metamorphosis: the very hungry caterpillar hits puberty

Every kid knows that caterpillars turn into butterflies. But how exactly does a fat grub sprout wings, legs and feelers - and why go to all that …

Sweet Dreaming Whale Swimming in the Deep Warm Tea

Making tea has always been a soothing ritual, whether you use tea that comes in bags or loose-leaf teas that you load into an infuser. The Dreaming …

Avant-garde

How to use a cocktail shaker to extract your DNA

To see your own DNA, all you need is some saliva, washing-up liquid, pineapple juice, vodka and a cocktail shaker.<p>The blueprint for every living organism is encoded in its DNA. Barely a week goes by without scientists announcing they have discovered genetic variants that help explain our differing …

DNA

See The World Through The Eyes Of A Cat

An awesome, disorienting look at kitty vision.<p>What does the world look like through a cat's eyes? The basic structure of feline eyes is pretty similar to what humans have, but cats' vision has adapted to very different purposes, so the world they see looks familiar, but isn't quite the same as …

Pets

Birth Of Memory: Why Kids Forget What Happened Before Age 7

Recently, my nearly-4-year-old niece suffered the kind of childhood accident every parent dreads: she fell off her bike and broke a front tooth high above the gum line. The resulting pain and eventual extraction were a harrowing experience for her parents, but fortunately the little girl emerged …

Parenting

'Placebo Sleep' Can Improve Cognitive Skills

If you tell people they slept better than they did, they are likely to perform better on math and word association tests.<p>If you can't get <i>real</i> sleep, perhaps you can make up for it with <i>placebo</i> sleep. Or such is the suggestion of a new study that found that people did better on cognitive tests after …

Sleep

British scientists seek go-ahead for GM 'Omega-3' crop trial | Reuters

LONDON (Reuters) - British scientists have applied for permission to run an open-air field trial of a genetically modified (GM) crop they hope may one day become a sustainable and environmentally friendly source of healthy Omega-3 fats.<p>The proposed trial - likely to generate controversy in a nation …

How Did Insects Evolve To Feast On Your Blood?

For the past several weeks, I’ve been wrapping up revisions on my bed bug book, which is due to my publisher at the end of this month. Going through the manuscript got me thinking not only about the origin of the bed bug, but of bloodsucking insects in general. When did that happen? And how exactly …

Biology

Largest animal genome belongs to locust

Researchers have decoded the whole genome sequence of the migratory locust – the largest animal genome sequenced so far.<p>Researchers from several …

Pest Control

Red and green show which X chromosome is turned on - Futurity

Researchers have figured out how to color code the two X chromosomes in female mice to reveal which is working and which has been switched off.

Chromosomes

Lions Are Almost Extinct In West Africa

Researchers have found only 400 lions in West Africa and only 250 of those are of mature mating age, raising alarm that the West African lion may …

Tiktaalik Fossils Reveal Key Link in Evolution of Hind Limbs

Fossils of <i>Tiktaalik</i>, an ancient fish and crocodile-like creature, reveal a key link in the evolution of hind limbs. <i>Tiktaalik roseae</i> lived 375 million …

Six Years After Chemical Ban, Fewer Female Snails Are Growing Penises

Before the ban, in the worst cases, the added male plumbing would make female snails explode.<p>When do you want to see penises disappear? (I mean, besides on Snapchat.) When they appear on female animals. Luckily, six years after a global ban on a chemical that once appeared in the paint on ship …

Zoology

Illegal abortion of female foetuses by some ethnic groups who favour sons has reduced female population

Some ethnic communities in Britain are requesting illegal abortions the grounds of sex which has led to a reduction in the number of females, an investigation has revealed<p>Sex selection abortions are taking place in some ethnic communities in Britain and the practice is so widespread it has even led …

China Clones Pigs and Sequences “Cute Animals” on an Industrial Scale

China is cloning animals and sequencing genes on an unparalleled scale, producing as many as 500 genetically copied pigs a year, according to a BBC …

Y chromosome is not doomed to shrivel away to nothing, say researchers

Despite concerns it may be shrinking, male sex chromosome is likely to remain in rude health for many millions of years to come<p>Reports of the coming death of the male sex chromosome are greatly exaggerated, say scientists, whose work will raise a collective cheer from at least half the population. …

When Big Carnivores Go Down, Even Vegetarians Take The Hit

<b>Listen · 3:13</b><p><b>Toggle more options</b><p><b>Download</b>• <b><br>Transcript</b><p>Big, fierce animals — lions and tigers and bears, for example — are relatively scarce in nature. That's normal, because if you have too many, they'll eat themselves out of prey.<p>But top predators are now so rare that many are in danger of …

Humans May Have Fewer Genes Than Worms

How many protein-coding genes does a human have? Far fewer than previously thought.<p>Once upon a time in the 1960s, scientists thought the human genome might contain as many as 2 million genes, units of DNA that code for proteins. But ever since then, the estimated number has been steadily shrinking. …

Female birds' choices prevent species divide - Futurity

Mate choices among female red-backed fairywrens seem to be keeping the species from splitting into …

Enter, Sandman: how lucid dreaming ‘can help you change yourself’

Thomas Peisel will teach you to reign over the witching hour<p>Maybe the vast majority of your recollected dreams involve public speaking in the nude, or repeatedly failing your college chemistry final. Or maybe you don’t recall having any dreams at all. According to Thomas Peisel, both scenarios are …

A human brain was preserved for 4,000 years after being boiled in its own skull

Ancient, well-preserved human remains aren't exactly a common thing to find, which makes the discovery of a 4,000-year-old brain in western Turkey pretty noteworthy. The brain was found in 2010 in an ancient burial ground that appeared to have been burned — charred skeletons and wooden objects were …

Scientists Discover Feeding Relationship Between Ants and Bornean Insect-Eating Pitcher Plant

An insect-eating pitcher plant (<i>Nepenthes bicalcarata</i>) in Borneo teams up with ants (<i>Camponotus schmitzi</i>) to prevent mosquito larvae from stealing …

How Researchers Cloned Human Embryos

Scientists in Oregon have achieved something that many thought might be impossible.<p>They said Wednesday that they have cloned human embryos and then harvested the embryo's stem cells.<p>The discovery, if it holds up, means scientists would be able to make personalized stem cells, with their genetic …

Scientists Create First Cloned Human Embryo

The process that created Dolly the sheep in 1996 has now been proven successful in humans.<p>Human cloning has arrived. For the first time, scientists have made an embryonic clone of a person, using DNA from that person's skin cells. In the future, such a clone could be a source of stem cells, for …

How to spot a murderer's brain

In 1987, Adrian Raine, who describes himself as a neurocriminologist, moved from Britain to the US. His emigration was prompted by two things. The …

Why were prehistoric insects so huge?

Before the dinosaurs, giant insects ruled the world more than 300 million years ago.<p>Do you complain about dead bugs on your windshield? Just be …

Insects

Two-year-old girl receives new trachea made from her own stem cells

Doctors announced today that two-and-a-half year old Hannah Warren just became the youngest person in history to receive a bioengineered organ transplant, a new windpipe made of a synthetic scaffold and her own stem cells. The nine-hour long procedure was performed April 9th, at Children's Hospital …

Stem Cells

Why do humans cry? A new reading of the old sob story

When it came to solving the riddle of the peacock's tail, Charles Darwin's powers of evolutionary deduction were second to none – the more …