Male Chimps Drive Mutations Faster Than Humans

Chimpanzees are racking up mutations at higher rates than humans due to an exaggerated bias — more extreme than that observed in humans — which causes males of the species to contribute significantly more mutations to the next generation than females, researchers say. A better understanding of the rate at which mutations are accumulated, in a species, can help date important evolutionary events in its history. 

Read more about this research from the 13 June issue of Science here.

[Image courtesy of the Biomedical Primate Research Centre. Please click here for more information.]

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

Male Chimps Drive Mutations Faster Than Humans

Chimpanzees are racking up mutations at higher rates than humans due to an exaggerated bias — more extreme than that observed in humans — which causes males of the species to contribute significantly more mutations to the next generation than females, researchers say. A better understanding of the rate at which mutations are accumulated, in a species, can help date important evolutionary events in its history.

Read more about this research from the 13 June issue of Science here.

[Image courtesy of the Biomedical Primate Research Centre. Please click here for more information.]

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

Do Fragmented Forests Open the Door to Diseases?

The results of a 12-year field study suggest that highly connected plant populations are more resistant to fungal pathogens than isolated populations. This finding seems counterintuitive, since conventional wisdom argues that closely clustered populations would make pathogen colonization easier rather than harder. But, after spending more than a decade watching 4,000 different populations of the weed, Plantago lanceolata, battle the fungal pathogen, powdery mildew, on the Åland Islands in the Baltic Sea, the researchers conclude that highly connected patches of plants exchange more genes — and consequently, more resistance — than their isolated counterparts. 

Read more about this research from the 13 June issue of Science here.

[Image courtesy of Susanna Kekkonen. Please click here for more information.]

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

Do Fragmented Forests Open the Door to Diseases?

The results of a 12-year field study suggest that highly connected plant populations are more resistant to fungal pathogens than isolated populations. This finding seems counterintuitive, since conventional wisdom argues that closely clustered populations would make pathogen colonization easier rather than harder. But, after spending more than a decade watching 4,000 different populations of the weed, Plantago lanceolata, battle the fungal pathogen, powdery mildew, on the Åland Islands in the Baltic Sea, the researchers conclude that highly connected patches of plants exchange more genes — and consequently, more resistance — than their isolated counterparts.

Read more about this research from the 13 June issue of Science here.

[Image courtesy of Susanna Kekkonen. Please click here for more information.]

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

Anxious Crayfish Can Be Treated Like Humans

A new study in crayfish — the freshwater crustaceans that look like miniature lobsters — reveals that these crustaceans experience a primitive form of anxiety, which probably shares some evolutionary origins with the more developed human emotion. On top of that, a drug known as chlordiazepoxide (CDZ), which is used to treat anxiety in humans, can calm the crustaceans back down, researchers say.

Read more about this research from the 13 June issue of Science here.

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

Putting the “Green” Back in Europe’s Farming Policy

The European Union’s new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), which was reformed in December, simply isn’t “green” enough when it comes to biodiversity conservation, according to the authors of this Policy Forum. Luckily, however, Member States can still use the flexibility provided by this new CAP to boost sustainable agriculture, they say. 

Read more about this Policy Forum from the 6 June issue of Science here.

[Image courtesy of Guy Pe’er/UFZ. Please click here for more information.]
© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

Putting the “Green” Back in Europe’s Farming Policy

The European Union’s new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), which was reformed in December, simply isn’t “green” enough when it comes to biodiversity conservation, according to the authors of this Policy Forum. Luckily, however, Member States can still use the flexibility provided by this new CAP to boost sustainable agriculture, they say.

Read more about this Policy Forum from the 6 June issue of Science here.

[Image courtesy of Guy Pe’er/UFZ. Please click here for more information.]

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

Few Aerosols Needed to Invigorate Warm Clouds

By studying cloud formation in the most pristine regions of Earth’s atmosphere instead of places where aerosol concentrations are very high, as past studies have done, Ilan Koren and colleagues have discovered that small amounts of aerosols can have more dramatic effects on warm clouds’ properties than large amounts of aerosols. Their analysis shows that even slight increases of aerosols in the clean atmosphere result in big, bright clouds that reflect significant amounts of radiation from the Sun to cool the planet, and it emphasizes the need to understand pre-industrial aerosol-cloud climate forcing.

Read more about this research from the 6 June issue of Science here.

[Image courtesy of Ilan Koren. Please click here for more information.]

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

Few Aerosols Needed to Invigorate Warm Clouds

By studying cloud formation in the most pristine regions of Earth’s atmosphere instead of places where aerosol concentrations are very high, as past studies have done, Ilan Koren and colleagues have discovered that small amounts of aerosols can have more dramatic effects on warm clouds’ properties than large amounts of aerosols. Their analysis shows that even slight increases of aerosols in the clean atmosphere result in big, bright clouds that reflect significant amounts of radiation from the Sun to cool the planet, and it emphasizes the need to understand pre-industrial aerosol-cloud climate forcing.

Read more about this research from the 6 June issue of Science here.

[Image courtesy of Ilan Koren. Please click here for more information.]

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

Getting Under its Wool and Into its Genes: The Sheep Genome

Researchers have sequenced the sheep genome, concluding the collection of reference genome sequences for major livestock species. By comparing its genetic underpinnings to those of other mammals, they pinpointed genes that may explain the sheep’s specialized digestive system and the sheep’s unique fat metabolism process, which helps maintain its thick, woolly coat. Because sheep are an important agricultural species, the results of this effort will provide crucial resources for future research on this animal.

Read more about this research from the 6 June issue of Science here.

[Courtesy of Tianxiang Wang. Please click here for more information.]

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

Getting Under its Wool and Into its Genes: The Sheep Genome

Researchers have sequenced the sheep genome, concluding the collection of reference genome sequences for major livestock species. By comparing its genetic underpinnings to those of other mammals, they pinpointed genes that may explain the sheep’s specialized digestive system and the sheep’s unique fat metabolism process, which helps maintain its thick, woolly coat. Because sheep are an important agricultural species, the results of this effort will provide crucial resources for future research on this animal.

Read more about this research from the 6 June issue of Science here.

[Courtesy of Tianxiang Wang. Please click here for more information.]

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

Sensors Help Catfish Hunt in the Dark

Finding food in the dark can be tricky. That may be why the Japanese sea catfish, Plotosus japonicas, evolved sensors that can detect slight changes in the water’s pH level, researchers say. John Caprio and colleagues, who identified these previously unrecognized sensors on the fish, suggest that they allow these nocturnal feeders to sense the “breathing” of their prey in the dark, murky waters they call home.

Read more about this research from the 6 June issue of Science here.

[Courtesy of Kagoshima Aquarium. Please click here for more information.]

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

Sensors Help Catfish Hunt in the Dark

Finding food in the dark can be tricky. That may be why the Japanese sea catfish, Plotosus japonicas, evolved sensors that can detect slight changes in the water’s pH level, researchers say. John Caprio and colleagues, who identified these previously unrecognized sensors on the fish, suggest that they allow these nocturnal feeders to sense the “breathing” of their prey in the dark, murky waters they call home.

Read more about this research from the 6 June issue of Science here.

[Courtesy of Kagoshima Aquarium. Please click here for more information.]

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

Support for the Giant Impact Hypothesis of Moon Formation

The origins of the Moon have been as murky as a black hole’s interior, but now a new study shines light on the Moon’s making. Scientists aren’t completely sure how the Moon formed but they have a prevailing theory, the Giant Impact Hypothesis, which suggests that the Moon was formed by a collision between a proto-Earth and a solid object of mysterious composition called Theia.

Read more about this research from the 6 June issue of Science here.

[Video © Science/AAAS]

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

Seeing a Synapse in New Light

A realistic, molecular-scale view of a synapse, showing a few hundred thousand proteins. The synapse organization was measured by a combination of electron microscopy, quantitative biochemistry, and super-resolution microscopy. This three-dimensional computational model now enables a quantitative understanding of synaptic processes. See page 1023.

[Photo: Image: Burkhard Rammner/Rizzoli Laboratory, University of Göttingen Medical Center]

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.

On the Comings and Goings of Species

Experts are still unsure just how many species exist in the world, where any as of yet unidentified species are found and what their respective rates of extinction are, according to a Review article by Stuart Pimm and colleagues. The authors pored over recent findings to gauge future extinction rates and to assess how effective protected areas may be at slowing those rates. In light of their analysis, Pimm and colleagues suggest that current extinction rates are approximately 1,000 times greater than the rate that would occur with no human activity and that current protected areas are not optimally located to quell the loss of species. 

Read more about this research from the 30 May issue of Science here.

[Courtesy of Clinton Jenkins. Please click here for more information.]

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

On the Comings and Goings of Species

Experts are still unsure just how many species exist in the world, where any as of yet unidentified species are found and what their respective rates of extinction are, according to a Review article by Stuart Pimm and colleagues. The authors pored over recent findings to gauge future extinction rates and to assess how effective protected areas may be at slowing those rates. In light of their analysis, Pimm and colleagues suggest that current extinction rates are approximately 1,000 times greater than the rate that would occur with no human activity and that current protected areas are not optimally located to quell the loss of species.

Read more about this research from the 30 May issue of Science here.

[Courtesy of Clinton Jenkins. 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.