Parliament’s House of Commons just approved further testing on “three-person babies”, a technique that would use the genetic material from three people to create a healthy baby. It’s a misleading term, scientists say, and it doesn’t explain why for some couples this may be their only chance of having a healthy child of their own. Continue reading
No, it’s not the mythical Loch Ness monster, but 170 million years ago Dearcmhara shawcrossi prowled the warm coastal waters of Scotland in pursuit of fish and other reptiles. Scientists announced the discovery of the previously unknown prehistoric marine reptile in the Scottish Journal of Geology today. An artist’s depiction shows a dolphin-like creature measuring about 14 feet from snout to tail that lived during the Jurassic Period. It’s a moderate-sized ichthyosaur, the dominant marine reptiles that lived in the time of dinosaurs. They were around for 150 million years, until they disappeared about 95 million years ago. This discovery fills in some of the information of the Early-to-Middle Jurassic timeline that has proven hard to crack for paleontologists.
In a standoff with a rattlesnake, the California ground squirrel stares down its opponent. It might kick sand at the snake, whipping its fuzzy tail back and forth in a “come and get me” taunt. The snake lounges and the squirrel leaps into the air, twisting its furry body like a ninja. The squirrel successfully dodges the attack and warns fellow squirrels of the snake with its display. Continue reading
The base of the entire Arctic food chain is hiding in the ice. Scientists are cracking open the cold Alaskan sea to understand the tiny sea algae. Continue reading
In a scene from Uma Nagendra’s winning “Dance Your Ph.D.” performance, dancers in brown leotards slither on the floor, reaching for trapeze artists in green leggings dangling above them. The brown dancers are dangerous soil-dwelling fungi, trying to infect the green “seedlings” swinging around the tree. Then, a tornado whips the dancers around, scattering them. Continue reading
A deadly disease has been wiping out West Coast starfish for more than a year. One place that has held off the disease the longest is Alaska. Researchers recently traveled there to search for new clues. Continue reading
How do you transform mushrooms into furniture, or re-wire algae to conduct electricity? Biohacking, the practice of rewiring the biology of living organisms for practical uses, is evolving from a fringe science to a more legitimate academic discipline. But just as the movement is gathering converts, it’s also attracting controversy. Special correspondent Spencer Michels reports. Continue reading
Biohacking is a fairly new practice that could lead to major changes in our life. You could it call citizen or do-it-your-self biology. It takes place in small labs — mostly non-university — where all sorts of people get together to explore biology. That could mean figuring out how the DNA in plants affects their growth, or how to manipulate genes from another source to make a plant glow in the dark. Continue reading
A mushroom-shaped animal found deep in the ocean doesn’t fit anywhere on the tree of life. Dendrogramma enigmatica and Dendrogramma discoides are only a few millimeters wide, with a wide disc at one end and long stalk with a mouth on the other end. And no one knows how to classify this new critter.