No kittens required: Scientists find new way to study toxoplasmosis parasite in lab
20,105 articles from ScienceNOW
Giant array of low-cost telescopes could speed hunt for radio bursts, massive black holes
One of the most widespread parasites on the planet can also be one of the most difficult to study.
—a single-celled protozoan—is capable of infecting almost every mammal and bird species,
, and in severe cases causes blindness, birth defects, and death. Yet it only sexually...
When the immense Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico collapsed in 2020, it
left gaping holes in astronomy
. Now, a team from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) hopes to address some of the gaps with a very different instrument: a tightly packed array of relatively inexpensive radio dishes that aims to quickly image radio sources across wide swaths of the...
THURSDAY 30. MARCH 2023
T. rex had lips, new study suggests
News at a glance: A particle’s weighty measurement, Marburg in Africa, and a fossil called “the blob”
may be about to get a makeover. A new study finds that
and its relatives did not look like crocodiles, with teeth jutting from their maws in all their full, razor-sharp glory. Instead, these dinosaurs covered their chompers with lips, more like today’s lizards.
“This is a nice, concise answer to a question that has...
Ancient people lived among ruins too. What did they make of them?
Particle mass dispels hint of new physics
A fleeting, weighty elementary particle called the W boson has just the mass predicted by theory, physicists working with Europe’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC) reported this week at a conference in Italy. The finding comes from ATLAS, one of four large particle detectors fed by the LHC,...
Horse nations: Animal began transforming Native American life startlingly early
Around 500 C.E., a new government arose in the community now called Río Viejo, near the coast of the Mexican state of Oaxaca. It was once the largest city in the region, but it had shrunk by half and lost its political authority. The new rulers aimed to step into that power vacuum. But they had one problem: the ruins of a complex of ceremonial buildings built by Río Viejo’s last...
Chinese researchers release genomic data that could help clarify origin of COVID-19 pandemic
Sweeping new study based on archaeological evidence, chemical isotope analysis, and ancient DNA
NASA lays out vision for robotic Mars exploration
In the face of intense pressure and criticism from many in the scientific community, Chinese researchers today released a trove of new genetic data that may offer fresh clues to the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic. They also substantially revised a related study they first posted online 13 months ago to include this evidence, which some scientists say gives more credibility to the thesis...
Rover by rover, NASA’s exploration of Mars is building to an expensive climax: a multibillion-dollar mission later this decade to collect the rock samples
currently being gathered by the Perseverance rover
and return them to Earth. But then what?
NASA offered a partial answer to that question today. It envisions a series of lower cost Mars missions, costing up to...
WEDNESDAY 29. MARCH 2023
Binge eating brain circuits similar to those associated with drug use, other habit-forming behaviors
China is cracking down on its wildlife trade. Is it enough?
Scientists have uncovered the brain circuits that may underlie binge eating disorder and related conditions. The neural wiring is the same as that tied to psychiatric conditions such as drug addiction and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
The work could lead to new ways to understand and treat eating disorders, says Rebecca Boswell, a clinical psychologist at Princeton University...
DNA shows ‘Persian Princes’ helped found medieval African trading culture
For years, scientists and conservationists have urged China’s government to crack down on a thriving trade in wild animals that they say both threatens the nation’s rich biodiversity and increases the risk that a dangerous disease will jump from wildlife to humans. Now, some of those pleas are being answered: On 1 May, officials will begin to enforce
a strengthened Wildlife...
Dispute simmers over who first shared SARS-CoV-2’s genome
The Swahili coast, stretching more than 3000 kilometers from southern Ethiopia to Tanzania, was a hub of medieval trade, exporting ivory and other resources from the African interior to South Asia, the Arab world, and Persia. Its cultural legacy remains potent: Swahili is now spoken across large parts of Africa, and the ruins of ancient towns, many with mosques and other buildings cut...
Scientists suggest GISAID, a virus sequence database, is rewriting pandemic history
TUESDAY 28. MARCH 2023
Fast-growing open-access journals stripped of coveted impact factors
Promising Alzheimer’s therapy and related drugs shrink brains
Nearly two dozen journals from two of the fastest growing open-access publishers, including one of the world’s largest journals by volume, will no longer receive a key scholarly imprimatur. On 20 March, the Web of Science database said it delisted the journals along with dozens of others, stripping them of an impact factor, the citation-based measure of quality that, although...
Earliest galaxies challenge ideas about star birth in infant universe
A class of Alzheimer’s drugs that aims to slow cognitive decline, including the antibody lecanemab that was granted accelerated
approval in the United States in January
, can cause brain shrinkage, researchers report in a new analysis. Although scientists and drug developers have documented this loss of brain volume in clinical trial participants for years, the scientific...
White House science adviser welcomes more agile research agencies with ‘big bold goals’
Charlotte Mason, an astrophysicist at the University of Copenhagen, had modest expectations 9 months ago, when she and her collaborators began to use JWST, the giant new space telescope, to
look back in time for the universe’s first galaxies
. Modeling suggested the patch of sky they were examining would hold just 0.2 galaxies—none, in other words, unless they got...
When female cockroaches lost their sweet tooth, courting males cooked up a new confection
Arati Prabhakar has been part of the U.S. research establishment for 3 decades. Now, the 64-year-old applied physicist stands at its epicenter, as science adviser to President Joe Biden and director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Last week, in her first extended media interview since being confirmed by the Senate on 3 October 2022, she laid out her vision for...
Male cockroaches try to woo females with sugary treats. But a preponderance of poisoned bait traps has thrown an evolutionary wrench into this classic courting strategy, making some cockroaches lose their sweet tooth. Now, scientists behind a study published today in the
Proceedings of the Royal Society B
report that some crafty male roaches appear to have cooked up a new...
MONDAY 27. MARCH 2023
Slave trade records help reveal when first yellow fever mosquitoes bit humans
Some 500 years ago, a city-living, human-biting form of the yellow fever mosquito
began to hitch rides out of West African ports during the Transatlantic Slave Trade. It spread to the Americas and then to Asia, causing centuries of disease outbreaks to ripple through the colonial world. Today, its globally invasive descendants act as the main disease vector...
FRIDAY 24. MARCH 2023
Mutation behind night blindness in humans helps whale sharks see in the dark
‘Great news.’ Survey will test counting LGBTQ Ph.D. recipients
Even a fisher’s yarn would sell a whale shark short. These fish—the biggest on the planet—stretch up to 18 meters long and weigh as much as two elephants. The superlatives don’t end there: Whale sharks also have one of the longest vertical ranges of any sea creature, filter feeding from the surface of the ocean to nearly 2000 meters down into the inky abyss.
Each year, thousands of newly minted U.S. Ph.D. recipients complete the Survey of Earned Doctorates (SED), providing information about their race, gender, disability status, educational background, postgraduate plans, and more. The long-running census is critical for understanding which groups are underrepresented in the U.S. science,...
THURSDAY 23. MARCH 2023
Compact x-ray laser would shrink billion-dollar machines to the size of a room
News at a glance: Modernizing bed nets, IDing a Solar System visitor, and health lessons from Beethoven’s hair
When the first x-ray free-electron laser (XFEL) opened in 2009 at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in California, it provided a new way to look at the atomic-scale world, revealing details about biochemical processes such as photosynthesis and exotic materials such as superconductors. But since then, only four other such billion-dollar facilities have been built worldwide, and getting...
Pall of suspicion: NIH’s secretive ‘China initiative’ has destroyed scores of academic careers
Next-gen bed nets get go-ahead
A new type of malaria-fighting bed net
received a major endorsement
from the World Health Organization (WHO) last week. The net combines two chemicals to more effectively kill the mosquitoes that transmit the parasite behind malaria, a disease that killed an estimated 619,000 people...
More than 100 U.S. biomedical scientists whose collaborations with China were once encouraged have lost their jobs
WEDNESDAY 22. MARCH 2023
Deadly parasite threatens California sea otters
Mystery of our first interstellar visitor may be solved
Melissa Miller knew something was off when she began to examine a sea otter that had died in San Simeon, a coastal California town about halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, in the winter of 2020. Nearly all of the animal’s body fat was inflamed. “It felt like there were little bumps all through it,” she says—a condition the veterinary pathologist had never seen in her...
Major shake-up coming for Fermilab, the troubled U.S. particle physics center
Was it an asteroid, comet, or even an
? For years, astronomers have been perplexed by ‘Oumuamua, a mysterious object up to 400 meters long that entered the Solar System in 2017. No such object from beyond our Sun’s reaches had visited us before, with this interloper moving so fast it could not be bound to the Sun. ‘Oumuamua, as scientists christened...
A new pandemic origin report is stirring controversy. Here are key takeaways
In an unusual move, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has quietly begun a new competition for the contract to run the United States’s sole dedicated particle physics laboratory.
Announced in January
, the rebid comes 1 year after Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab), which is managed in part by the University of Chicago (UChicago), failed an annual DOE...
Last week, journalists rushed to report on previously undisclosed genetic evidence that mammals sold at the Huanan Seafood Market in Wuhan, China—possibly raccoon dogs—might have sparked the COVID-19 pandemic. But to the chagrin of the researchers
who conveyed their findings confidentially to a World Health Organization advisory group
on 14 March, the news broke before...
TUESDAY 21. MARCH 2023
People who catch Omicron are less likely to get Long Covid
Watch a spider show off some fancy footwork—and footwear—to woo a mate
Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic unfurled across the United Kingdom, hematologist John Willan has worried about the disease’s toll on his patients. In March 2020, Willan, who works at the University of Oxford and Wexham Park Hospital, began to track the hospital’s COVID-19 cases among people with leukemias, lymphomas, and other blood diseases. He counted not just the dozens of deaths,...
Watch a robot 3D print a real cake
If the 1980s taught us anything, it’s that a pair of legwarmers is a surefire way to get attention. That’s a lesson male wolf spiders appear to have taken to heart. The arachnids are far more likely to score a mate if they sport fuzzy appendages when they do their mating dance, assuming the lighting is just right.
Researchers ran courtship trials withmembers of the diverse,...
“Iron chef” just got a whole new meaning. Researchers have designed a robot that can create and cook a cake with up to seven ingredients, more than any other printed food to date.
The scientists built their programmable patisserie by retrofitting a 3D printer with nozzles designed to squeeze out selected ingredients. They then programmed it to dispense those into layered...
MONDAY 20. MARCH 2023
After misconduct claims, star botanist has second paper retracted
Earth at higher risk of big asteroid strike, satellite data suggest
Steven Newmaster, a prominent University of Guelph (UG) botanist and entrepreneur who has faced allegations of scientific misconduct, has had another paper retracted without his consent. Last week
Canadian Journal of Forest Research
pulled a study
in which Newmaster and colleagues said they used a genetic identification system known as DNA barcoding...
Polio cases in Africa linked to new oral vaccine
THE WOODLANDS, TEXAS—
At a basic level, humanity’s survival odds come down to one thing: the chances of a giant space rock slamming into the planet and sending us the way of the dinosaurs. One way to calibrate that hazard is to look at the size of Earth’s recent large impact craters. And a provocative new study suggests they are bigger than previously thought—meaning...
Last week, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) reported seven children, six in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and one in neighboring Burundi, had recently been paralyzed by poliovirus strains derived from a vaccine meant to prevent the disease. Unfortunately, such cases are so common—786 were reported last year in Africa, Yemen, and elsewhere—that these seven...
SATURDAY 18. MARCH 2023
‘It’s inexcusable.’ WHO blasts China for not disclosing potential data on COVID-19’s origin
The infectious disease epidemiologist who oversees the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) program on emerging diseases and zoonoses began Sunday morning with a start: A researcher contacted her and said colleagues had uncovered crucial new data from China that speak to the origin of the pandemic. The researcher told Van Kerkhove—who was preparing to leave her home in Geneva for a...
FRIDAY 17. MARCH 2023
Nervous system may play role in severe allergic reactions
Growing number of high-security pathogen labs around world raises concerns
Peanuts have a dark side. In some people, they can cause a dangerous and sometimes deadly allergic reaction marked by a sharp drop in body temperature and blood pressure, as well as difficulty breathing. This anaphylactic shock has typically been blamed on the immune system going into overdrive. But a new study in mice pegs an additional culprit:
the nervous system
Unearthed genetic sequences from China market may point to animal origin of COVID-19
The number of high-containment labs studying the deadliest known pathogens is booming. A new analysis warns the growing number of labs is raising risks of an accidental release or misuse of germs such as the Ebola and Nipah viruses.
“The more labs and people working with dangerous pathogens, the risks go up,” says biosecurity expert Filippa Lentzos of King’s College London,...
A scientific sleuth in France has identified previously undisclosed genetic data from a food market in Wuhan, China, that she and colleagues say support the theory that coronavirus-infected animals there triggered the COVID-19 pandemic. Several of the researchers presented their findings on Tuesday to the Scientific Advisory Group for the Origins of Novel Pathogens (SAGO), an expert group...
THURSDAY 16. MARCH 2023
News at a glance: Removing race from genetics, rising U.S. death rates, and a very long neck
Straight from the heart: Mysterious lipids may predict cardiac problems better than cholesterol
Intensity scale for atmospheric rivers reveals global hot spots
Atmospheric rivers like those pummeling the West Coast now have a five-level intensity scale, which has enabled researchers to
chart the global prevalence of these sinuous bands of storms
. The scale, first developed in 2019 for the U.S. West Coast,...
Drug developers are now trying to target ceramides, which appear to contribute to a range of metabolic disorders
WEDNESDAY 15. MARCH 2023
China rolls out ‘radical’ change to its research enterprise
To scientists’ relief, key research reactor to restart 2 years after accident
Facing tighter restrictions on access to key technologies and an increasingly competitive global scientific landscape, China has launched a major shake-up of its research organizations in pursuit of “self-reliance” in science and technology.
The National People’s Congress last week approved a plan that will refocus China’s Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) on key...
Splitting seawater could provide an endless source of green hydrogen
More than 2 years after an accident that caused a small and fleeting release of radiation, a research reactor that serves as a key source of neutrons for studying materials should soon be back online. On 9 March, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) authorized officials at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to restart the 54-year-old reactor in Gaithersburg,...
Active volcano on Venus shows it’s a living planet
Few climate solutions come without downsides. “Green” hydrogen, made by using renewable energy to split water molecules, could power heavy vehicles and decarbonize industries such as steelmaking without spewing a whiff of carbon dioxide. But because the water-splitting machines, or electrolyzers, are designed to work with pure water, scaling up green hydrogen could exacerbate global...
Next-generation bed nets get major endorsement from World Health Organization
Choked by a smog of sulfuric acid and scorched by temperatures hot enough to melt lead, the surface of Venus is sure to be lifeless. For decades, researchers also thought the planet itself was dead, capped by a thick, stagnant lid of crust and unaltered by active rifts or volcanoes. But hints of volcanism have mounted recently, and now comes the best one yet: direct evidence for an...
Schizophrenia pinpointed as a key factor in heat deaths
A new tool to fight the world’s deadliest animal—the malaria-carrying mosquito—may soon become more widely available. Yesterday, the World Health Organization (WHO) endorsed using a new kind of bed net treated with insecticides. It combines two chemicals to more effectively kill the mosquitoes that transmit the parasite that causes malaria, a disease that killed an estimated 619,000...
On 25 June 2021, as a blanket of hot air descended on the Pacific Northwest, British Columbia’s provincial government issued a news release warning about the approaching heat wave’s dangers. The announcement drew attention to the elderly, children, people working or exercising outdoors, pets, and “people with emotional or mental health issues whose judgment may be impaired.”...
TUESDAY 14. MARCH 2023
Geneticists should rethink how they use race and ethnicity, panel urges
Do COVID-19 vaccine mandates still make sense?
The once widely held notion that humans fall into discrete races has led to geneticists drawing erroneous conclusions about the role of genes in shaping health and traits, and in some cases, to harmful discrimination against some groups. An expert committee is now urging an overhaul of this practice. Most notably, the committee’s report calls for researchers to scrap the term “race”...
Visitors to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in Washington, D.C., receive a clear reminder that, 3 years after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic on 10 March 2020, it’s far from over. Before entering, they must show a guard proof that they have been vaccinated against COVID-19. Such demands were common around the world a year ago, with wide support...
MONDAY 13. MARCH 2023
Gene-editing summit touts sickle cell success, while questions on embryo editing linger
Lord of the Rings–quoting performance wins this year’s ‘Dance Your Ph.D.’ contest
After decades of living with often excruciating pain, Victoria Gray had to get used to a new sensation in recent years: waking up without it. “It may sound crazy, but I had to pinch myself to see was I still able to feel pain,” she says.
Gray, a 37-year-old mother of four from Forest, Mississippi, who was born with sickle cell disease, arguably became the star of last...
Twirling and flying hand fans, catchy
Lord of the Rings
references, and 20 blue papier-mâché balloons. University of Oregon chemist Checkers Marshall put together that strange combination to create this year’s overall winning video in
Dance Your Ph.D. contest
. The use of fans, which represented electrons, was...
SATURDAY 11. MARCH 2023
White House budget includes ambitious push to eliminate hepatitis C
The Biden administration's fiscal year 2024 budget proposal, announced yesterday, aims to eliminate hepatitis C from the United States by creating a nationwide program to fight the disease. If funded by Congress, the 5-year, $11.3 billion program would expand testing, broaden access to powerful antiviral drugs, and boost awareness.
“I can’t really recall a circumstance quite...