Tag Archives: cause

Too much sex causes genitals to change shape, beetle study shows

Sexual conflict between males and females can lead to changes in the shape of their genitals, according to research on burying beetles by scientists at the University of Exeter.

The study, published in the journal Evolution, provides new evidence that conflict over how often mating takes place can lead to males evolving longer penis-like organs and females larger ‘claws’ on their genitalia, within ten generations. (more…)

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Cause of global warming hiatus found deep in the Atlantic Ocean

Following rapid warming in the late 20th century, this century has so far seen surprisingly little increase in the average temperature at the Earth’s surface. At first this was a blip, then a trend, then a puzzle for the climate science community.

More than a dozen theories have now been proposed for the so-called global warming hiatus, ranging from air pollution to volcanoes to sunspots. New research from the University of Washington shows that the heat absent from the surface is plunging deep in the north and south Atlantic Ocean, and is part of a naturally occurring cycle. The study is published Aug. 22 in Science. (more…)

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Molecular map reveals genetic origins of 21 autoimmune diseases

Scientists have created a molecular map that pinpoints genetic variants that play a role in 21 different autoimmune diseases, they report Oct. 27 in the journal Nature.

Researchers at Yale, the University of California-San Francisco (UCSF), and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard developed a sophisticated mathematical model and created maps of different cell types that together enabled them to identify which variants cause the immune response to go awry and cause specific diseases. (more…)

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Artificially cooling planet would cause climate chaos, new research shows

Plans to reverse the effects of global warming by mimicking big volcanic eruptions would have a catastrophic impact on some of the most fragile ecosystems on earth, new research has shown.

Geo-engineering – the intentional manipulation of the climate to counter the effect of global warming – is being proposed as a last-ditch way to deal with the problems of climate change.

However, new research co-authored by University of Exeter expert Angus Ferraro suggests geo-engineering could cause massive changes to rainfall patterns around the equator, drying the tropical rainforests in South America and Asia and intensifying periods of drought in Africa. (more…)

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Cause of genetic disorder found in “dark matter” of DNA

For the first time, scientists have used new technology which analyses the whole genome to find the cause of a genetic disease in what was previously referred to as “junk DNA”.

Pancreatic agenesis results in babies being born without a pancreas, leaving them with a lifetime of diabetes and problems digesting food. 

In a breakthrough for genetic research, teams led by the University of Exeter Medical School and Imperial College London found that the condition is most commonly caused by mutations in a newly identified gene regulatory element in a remote part of the genome, which can now be explored thanks to advances in genetic sequencing. (more…)

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Breast Cancer DNA Mutator Found

Masonic Cancer Center researchers discover a virus-fighting enzyme

It’s well known that sunlight and chemical carcinogens can mutate DNA, and that mutations are essential for cancer to develop.

One big mystery was what causes the thousands of mutations evident in most breast cancers.

Now researcher Reuben Harris, Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota, and his colleagues have found evidence that one of our own proteins is a major source of these mutations. The researchers have just published evidence implicating the protein—an enzyme called APOBEC3B—in the international journal Nature. (more…)

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Gold Nanoparticle Prostate Cancer Treatment Found Safe in Dogs, MU Study Shows

New treatment may have fewer side effects than traditional cancer therapy

COLUMBIA, Mo. ­— Currently, large doses of chemotherapy are required when treating certain forms of cancer, resulting in toxic side effects. The chemicals enter the body and work to destroy or shrink the tumor, but also harm vital organs and drastically affect bodily functions. Now, scientists at the University of Missouri have proven that a new form of prostate cancer treatment that uses radioactive gold nanoparticles, and was developed at MU, is safe to use in dogs. Sandra Axiak-Bechtel, an assistant professor in oncology at the MU College of Veterinary Medicine, says that this is a big step for gold nanoparticle research.

“Proving that gold nanoparticles are safe to use in the treatment of prostate cancer in dogs is a big step toward gaining approval for clinical trials in men,” Axiak-Bechtel said. “Dogs develop prostate cancer naturally in a very similar way as humans, so the gold nanoparticle treatment has a great chance to translate well to human patients.” (more…)

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Amazonian Tribal Warfare Sheds Light on Modern Violence, Says MU Anthropologist

Developing a shared sense of global community could help reduce major episodes of violence

In the tribal societies of the Amazon forest, violent conflict accounted for 30 percent of all deaths before contact with Europeans, according to a recent study by University of Missouri anthropologist Robert Walker. Understanding the reasons behind those altercations in the Amazon sheds light on the instinctual motivations that continue to drive human groups to violence, as well as the ways culture influences the intensity and frequency of violence.

“The same reasons – revenge, honor, territory and jealousy over women – that fueled deadly conflicts in the Amazon continue to drive violence in today’s world,” said Walker, lead author and assistant professor of anthropology in MU’s College of Arts and Science. “Humans’ evolutionary history of violent conflict among rival groups goes back to our primate ancestors. It takes a great deal of social training and institutional control to resist our instincts and solve disputes with words instead of weapons. Fortunately, people have developed ways to channel those instincts away from actual deadly conflict. For example, sports and video games often involve the same impulses to defeat a rival group.” (more…)

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