Cheetahs and Pumas Strike a Balance to Hunt

Cheetahs and pumas have their hunts down to a science. Two new studies suggest that mid-size predators, or mesopredators, may not be as energetically constrained by resources and competition as researchers had imagined. However, they also imply that human activity could offset the delicate balance these mesopredators have struck over thousands of years of evolution.

Read more about this research from the 3 October issue of Science here and here.

[Image courtesy of Michael G.L. Mills. Please click here for more information.]

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

Cheetahs and Pumas Strike a Balance to Hunt

Cheetahs and pumas have their hunts down to a science. Two new studies suggest that mid-size predators, or mesopredators, may not be as energetically constrained by resources and competition as researchers had imagined. However, they also imply that human activity could offset the delicate balance these mesopredators have struck over thousands of years of evolution.

Read more about this research from the 3 October issue of Science here and here.

[Image courtesy of Michael G.L. Mills. Please click here for more information.]

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

Unique Organic Molecule Found in Space

Researchers have detected a branched organic molecule in the interstellar medium (ISM) of space. Arnaud Belloche and colleagues used the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile to get a good look at Sgr B2, the most massive star-forming region of the Milky Way galaxy, and identified a branched configuration of propyl cyanide, i-PrCN, which may be more abundant than its well-known, straight-chained counterpart, n-PrCN. 

Read more about this research from the 26 September issue of Science here.

[Image courtesy of Y. Beletsky (LCO)/ESO. Please click here for more information.]

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

Unique Organic Molecule Found in Space

Researchers have detected a branched organic molecule in the interstellar medium (ISM) of space. Arnaud Belloche and colleagues used the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile to get a good look at Sgr B2, the most massive star-forming region of the Milky Way galaxy, and identified a branched configuration of propyl cyanide, i-PrCN, which may be more abundant than its well-known, straight-chained counterpart, n-PrCN.

Read more about this research from the 26 September issue of Science here.

[Image courtesy of Y. Beletsky (LCO)/ESO. Please click here for more information.]

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

GPS: A New Way to Monitor Drought

Satellite image from NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) mission showing California’s devastating loss of fresh water (in red) since 2002. In each of the past 3 years, epic drought has drained the region of more than 15 cubic kilometers of fresh water. Borsa et al. report the crustal response to much of this water loss. See the related Editorial.

[Photo © Jay Famiglietti/NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology; and University of California, Irvine. This image is an update from what originally appeared in J. S. Famiglietti, M. Rodell, Water in the balance. Science 340, 1300–1301 (2013)] 

Anyone wishing to use the cover of Science must contact AAAS to request permission to do so.

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

GPS: A New Way to Monitor Drought

Satellite image from NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) mission showing California’s devastating loss of fresh water (in red) since 2002. In each of the past 3 years, epic drought has drained the region of more than 15 cubic kilometers of fresh water. Borsa et al. report the crustal response to much of this water loss. See the related Editorial.

[Photo © Jay Famiglietti/NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology; and University of California, Irvine. This image is an update from what originally appeared in J. S. Famiglietti, M. Rodell, Water in the balance. Science 340, 1300–1301 (2013)]

Anyone wishing to use the cover of Science must contact AAAS to request permission to do so.

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

Water in the Solar System Predates the Sun, Study Suggests

A new study suggests that a significant portion of the solar system’s water formed before the sun did, and that all planetary systems — not just ours — may have had access to that same water as they formed.

Read more about this research from the 26 September issue of Science here.

[Image courtesy of Bill Saxton, NSF/AUI/NRAO. Please click here for more information.]

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

Water in the Solar System Predates the Sun, Study Suggests

A new study suggests that a significant portion of the solar system’s water formed before the sun did, and that all planetary systems — not just ours — may have had access to that same water as they formed.

Read more about this research from the 26 September issue of Science here.

[Image courtesy of Bill Saxton, NSF/AUI/NRAO. Please click here for more information.]

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

Bouncing Back from Surgery: Blood Test May Predict Recovery Time

A technique that allows scientists to detect immune responses at the single-cell level could form the basis for a blood test that predicts how quickly a patient will recover from surgery. Brice Gaudillière and colleagues analyzed blood samples from 32 patients undergoing hip replacement surgery using a cell mapping technique called mass cytometry. Using this information, the authors identified a so-called “immune signature” of recovery, a set of markers that can be measured in a patient’s blood sample within 24 hours after surgery to predict how fast or slow healing will occur. The results may lead to the development of a pre-surgical diagnostic test that will help doctors not only determine recovery time from surgery, but identify patients for whom the risks of surgery outweigh the benefits. 

Read more about this research from the 24 September issue of Science Translational Medicine here.

[Image courtesy of Dr. Quentin Baca and Erika Saving | Stanford University School of Medicine. Please click here for more information.]

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

Bouncing Back from Surgery: Blood Test May Predict Recovery Time

A technique that allows scientists to detect immune responses at the single-cell level could form the basis for a blood test that predicts how quickly a patient will recover from surgery. Brice Gaudillière and colleagues analyzed blood samples from 32 patients undergoing hip replacement surgery using a cell mapping technique called mass cytometry. Using this information, the authors identified a so-called “immune signature” of recovery, a set of markers that can be measured in a patient’s blood sample within 24 hours after surgery to predict how fast or slow healing will occur. The results may lead to the development of a pre-surgical diagnostic test that will help doctors not only determine recovery time from surgery, but identify patients for whom the risks of surgery outweigh the benefits.

Read more about this research from the 24 September issue of Science Translational Medicine here.

[Image courtesy of Dr. Quentin Baca and Erika Saving | Stanford University School of Medicine. Please click here for more information.]

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

Stone Tool-Making Method Evolved Simultaneously In Different Groups

A stone tool-making technology thought to have originated in Africa before spreading to Eurasia may have evolved independently in the latter region, a new study reports. The study, reporting the earliest recorded use of this technology in Eurasia, challenges the hypothesis that the appearance of “Levallois” technology there was the result of the exodus of early humans from Africa. D.S. Adler and a team working in the Nor Geghi 1 sedimentary bed in Armenia’s Southern Caucasus region — an important dispersal corridor for hominins moving out of Africa — provides the earliest evidence outside Africa for a location at which hominins pursued both bifacial and Levallois technology at once. Thousands of tools unearthed there, dated between 325-335 thousand years old, vary greatly in style. 

Read more about this research from the 26 September issue of Science here.

[Image courtesy of Daniel S. Adler. Please click here for more information.]

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

Stone Tool-Making Method Evolved Simultaneously In Different Groups

A stone tool-making technology thought to have originated in Africa before spreading to Eurasia may have evolved independently in the latter region, a new study reports. The study, reporting the earliest recorded use of this technology in Eurasia, challenges the hypothesis that the appearance of “Levallois” technology there was the result of the exodus of early humans from Africa. D.S. Adler and a team working in the Nor Geghi 1 sedimentary bed in Armenia’s Southern Caucasus region — an important dispersal corridor for hominins moving out of Africa — provides the earliest evidence outside Africa for a location at which hominins pursued both bifacial and Levallois technology at once. Thousands of tools unearthed there, dated between 325-335 thousand years old, vary greatly in style.

Read more about this research from the 26 September issue of Science here.

[Image courtesy of Daniel S. Adler. Please click here for more information.]

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

Gene-Swapping Plasmids Aid Antibiotic Resistance in Hospitals

Bacteria appear to be swapping antibiotic-resistance genes through mobile pieces of circular DNA called plasmids, and this exchange may be contributing to the alarming rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in hospitals. To understand how these plasmids move between bacterial species in a hospital setting, Karen Frank, Tara Palmore, Julie Segre and colleagues spent two years taking environmental samples and surveillance cultures from over one thousand patients at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center. Over this two-year period they identified 10 patients who harbored carbapenem-resistant bacteria. Using a relatively new technology called long-read genome sequencing to decode and compare plasmid genomes, the NIH team discovered that plasmid-carrying bacteria are exchanging antibiotic-resistant genes in the biofilms of sink drains. However, they do not have any evidence of transfer of bacteria from the sink to any of the patients. The authors note that patients who carry the bacteria may not be sick, but can still pass carbapenem-resistant bacteria onto others. The study offers evidence that plasmid transfer in healthcare settings is likely aiding the increase in antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Read more about this research from the 17 September issue of Science Translational Medicine here.

[Image courtesy of Darryl Leja, NHGRI/NIH. Please click here for more information.]

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

Gene-Swapping Plasmids Aid Antibiotic Resistance in Hospitals

Bacteria appear to be swapping antibiotic-resistance genes through mobile pieces of circular DNA called plasmids, and this exchange may be contributing to the alarming rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in hospitals. To understand how these plasmids move between bacterial species in a hospital setting, Karen Frank, Tara Palmore, Julie Segre and colleagues spent two years taking environmental samples and surveillance cultures from over one thousand patients at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center. Over this two-year period they identified 10 patients who harbored carbapenem-resistant bacteria. Using a relatively new technology called long-read genome sequencing to decode and compare plasmid genomes, the NIH team discovered that plasmid-carrying bacteria are exchanging antibiotic-resistant genes in the biofilms of sink drains. However, they do not have any evidence of transfer of bacteria from the sink to any of the patients. The authors note that patients who carry the bacteria may not be sick, but can still pass carbapenem-resistant bacteria onto others. The study offers evidence that plasmid transfer in healthcare settings is likely aiding the increase in antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Read more about this research from the 17 September issue of Science Translational Medicine here.

[Image courtesy of Darryl Leja, NHGRI/NIH. Please click here for more information.]

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

Opposing Chemicals Balance the Mood

Dueling chemicals — one that excites neurons and one that inhibits them — together put the damper on a negative mood in a brain region linked to depression, a new study shows. Steven Shabel and colleagues found that an unusual mechanism may be the key for regulating mood and behavior. 

Read more about this research from the 19 September issue of Science here.

[Image courtesy of Steven Shabel, UCSD. Please click here for more information.]

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

Opposing Chemicals Balance the Mood

Dueling chemicals — one that excites neurons and one that inhibits them — together put the damper on a negative mood in a brain region linked to depression, a new study shows. Steven Shabel and colleagues found that an unusual mechanism may be the key for regulating mood and behavior.

Read more about this research from the 19 September issue of Science here.

[Image courtesy of Steven Shabel, UCSD. Please click here for more information.]

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

Why Be Fair? Research Hints at the Root of Equality

Why have humans evolved such a deep and innate sense of fairness when it seems more adaptive to be selfish? A Review article that examines data on both humans and non-human primates suggests that the answer may lie in our unique ability to accept unequal situations or distributions — at least temporarily — with the expectation that things will even out over time. Sarah Brosnan and Frans de Waal suggest that the evolution of these abilities, which allowed for the development of a complete sense of fairness in humans, probably stemmed from the benefits of cooperation rather than equality on its own.

Read more about this research from the 18 September issue of Science here.

[Image courtesy of Frans de Waal. Please click here for more information.]

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

Why Be Fair? Research Hints at the Root of Equality

Why have humans evolved such a deep and innate sense of fairness when it seems more adaptive to be selfish? A Review article that examines data on both humans and non-human primates suggests that the answer may lie in our unique ability to accept unequal situations or distributions — at least temporarily — with the expectation that things will even out over time. Sarah Brosnan and Frans de Waal suggest that the evolution of these abilities, which allowed for the development of a complete sense of fairness in humans, probably stemmed from the benefits of cooperation rather than equality on its own.

Read more about this research from the 18 September issue of Science here.

[Image courtesy of Frans de Waal. Please click here for more information.]

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

Shepherding Gene Regulation Across Generations

Histones and the enzymes that modify them help the genetic material in our bodies retain distinct patterns of expression (or repression) through generations, a new study reports. Although cells in the body contain the same DNA content, they can display widely varying form and function among tissues.

Read more about this research from the 19 September issue of Science  here.

[Image courtesy of Laura J. Gaydos. Please click here for more information.]

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

Shepherding Gene Regulation Across Generations

Histones and the enzymes that modify them help the genetic material in our bodies retain distinct patterns of expression (or repression) through generations, a new study reports. Although cells in the body contain the same DNA content, they can display widely varying form and function among tissues.

Read more about this research from the 19 September issue of Science here.

[Image courtesy of Laura J. Gaydos. Please click here for more information.]

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.