Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

December 30, 2013
Tell me your barcode, and I will tell you what palm you are
A short fragment of chloroplastic DNA as a

Museum bird DNA 'ready for use' in Naturalis Biodiversity Center
An Iranian ornithologist used a

Imaging technology could unlock mysteries of a childhood disease
A new technique for studying the structure of the childhood RSV virus and its activity in living cells could help researchers unlock the secrets of the virus, including how it enters cells, how it replicates, and perhaps why certain lung cells escape the infection relatively unscathed.

Alcohol leaves its mark on youngsters' DNA
A study begun in Mexico with the collaboration of university students analyzed the effect of weekend alcohol consumption on the lipids comprising cell membrane and its genetic material, i.e.

Most clinical studies on vitamins flawed by poor methodology
Most large, clinical trials of vitamin supplements, including some that have concluded they are of no value or even harmful, have a flawed methodology that renders them largely useless in determining the real value of these micronutrients, a new analysis suggests.

Molecular evolution of genetic sex-determination switch in honeybees
It's taken nearly 200 years, but scientists in Arizona and Europe have teased out how the molecular switch for sex gradually and adaptively evolved in the honeybee.

Researchers say fructose does not impact emerging indicator for cardiovascular disease
Fructose, the sugar often blamed for the obesity epidemic, does not itself have any impact on an emerging marker for the risk of cardiovascular disease known as postprandial triglycerides, new research has found.

Conversations on sex lacking between doctors and teens
Doctors are missing a prime opportunity to share information about sex with their teenage patients by failing to broach the subject during checkups, according to researchers at Duke Medicine.

Toward a molecular explanation for schizophrenia
Schizophrenia was only recognized as a medical condition in the past few decades, and its exact causes remain unclear.

Fetal alcohol syndrome heart defects may be caused by altered function, not structure
Recent data shows that more than 500,000 women in the US report drinking during pregnancy, with about 20 percent of this population admitting to binge drinking.

Field trial with lignin modified poplars shows potential for bio-based economy
The results of a field trial with genetically modified poplar trees in Zwijnaarde, Belgium, shows that the wood of lignin modified poplar trees can be converted into sugars in a more efficient way.

With few hard frosts, tropical mangroves push north
Cold-sensitive mangrove forests doubled in area along N. Florida's Atlantic Coast as the frequency of killing frosts waned, according to a study based on 28 years of satellite data from the University of Maryland and the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center.

DNA barcoding to monitor marine mammal genetic diversity
Marine mammals are flagship and charismatic species. Attractive for the general public, nowadays, they are also considered as highly relevant sentinel of the marine realm as indicator for environmental change.

Plan to delist gray wolf endangers other threatened species, researchers find
The federal government's proposal to discontinue protection for the gray wolf across the United States could have the unintended consequence of endangering other species, researchers say.

Medicaid beneficiaries use emergency services due to lack of alternatives
A study from the University of Colorado School of Medicine shows patients with Medicaid insurance seeking care in an emergency department may be driven by lack of alternatives instead of the severity of their illness.

New molecular targets identified in some hard-to-treat melanomas provide potential treatment option
Stand Up To Cancer researchers, Jeffrey A. Sosman, M.D., a Stand Up To Cancer Melanoma Dream Team investigator, William Pao, M.D., Ph.D., a 2009 Stand Up To Cancer Innovative Research Grant recipient and colleagues identified two novel BRAF fusions in melanomas previously considered to be negative for molecular targets, which were found to be potentially sensitive to anticancer drugs called MEK inhibitors, as recently published in Clinical Cancer Research.

Slower-paced meal reduces hunger but affects calorie consumption differently
In order to learn more about the relationship between eating speed and energy intake, a team of researchers in the Department of Kinesiology at Texas Christian University took a look at how eating speed affects calories consumed during a meal in both normal weight subjects as well as overweight or obese subjects.

New innovation by NUS researchers enhances information storage in electronics
A team of researchers from the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering at the National University of Singapore Faculty of Engineering has developed a new Magnetoresistive Random Access Memory technology that will boost information storage in electronic systems.

Meloidogyne mali: A new invasive plant parasitic nematode in Europe
A recent study shows that a root-knot nematode species previously considered indigenous to Europe was actually introduced from Asia, and that its host range is wider than previously thought.

Study identifies potential new strategy to improve odds of corneal transplant acceptance
For the estimated 10 percent of patients whose bodies reject a corneal transplant, the odds of a second transplant succeeding are poor.

The value of museum collections for development of DNA barcode libraries
The ability to sequence the DNA of plants and animals has revolutionized many areas of biology, but the unstable character of DNA poses difficulties for sequencing specimens in museum collection over time.

The secret to fewer doctor office visits after 70 -- play high school sports
Seventy year olds who don't frequently visit the doctor have something unexpected in common -- most played high school sports.

Final recommendations on lung cancer screening
Below is information about an article being published in Annals of Internal Medicine.

Mangroves expand north as Florida freezes decline
Climate change appears to have paved the way for a northward march of mangrove forest along Florida's Atlantic coast, but not because mean temperatures are rising.

I'll have what they're having: Study finds social norms influence food choices
Is obesity a socially transmitted disease? In order to try to find out, researchers in the United Kingdom conducted a systematic review of several experimental studies, each of which examined whether or not providing information about other peoples' eating habits influences food intake or choices.

Testosterone in male songbirds may enhance desire to sing but not song quality
Introducing testosterone in select areas of a male canary's brain can affect its ability to successfully attract and mate with a female through birdsong.

High good and low bad cholesterol levels are healthy for the brain, too
High levels of

Nicotine exploits COPI to foster addiction
A study in the Journal of General Physiology helps explain how nicotine exploits the body's cellular machinery to promote addiction.

Minority physicians care for a majority of underserved patients in the US
Black, Hispanic and Asian physicians play an outsized role in the care of disadvantaged patients nationally.

Climate change spurs tropical mangroves to expand in the north
As mangrove trees lose ground to deforestation and urban sprawl, one development seems to be giving them a boost: climate change. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to