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Largest known prime number discovered

Posted: 04 Jan 2018 01:45 PM PST

A collaborative computer project has discovered the largest known prime number. The new prime number is nearly one million digits larger than the previous record prime number, in a special class of extremely rare prime numbers known as Mersenne primes.

Tumor suppressor gene variants identified as cancer 'double whammy' for leukemia patients

Posted: 04 Jan 2018 01:08 PM PST

A new study has found germline variations in a key tumor suppressor gene that may prompt changes in treatment and follow-up care for certain high-risk leukemia patients.

Advanced MRI can detect placental perfusion abnormalities in pregnancies complicated by fetal CHD

Posted: 04 Jan 2018 01:08 PM PST

In pregnancies complicated by fetal congenital heart disease, global placental perfusion was significantly decreased and regional variation of placental perfusion significantly increased as pregnancies progressed, findings that point to non-invasive imaging providing an early warning of placental dysfunction.

One-step catalyst turns nitrates into water and air

Posted: 04 Jan 2018 01:08 PM PST

Engineers have found a catalyst the cleans toxic nitrates from drinking water by converting them into air and water.

Dirt-dwelling microbe produces potential anti-melanoma weapon

Posted: 04 Jan 2018 01:08 PM PST

A type of soil-dwelling bacterium produces molecules that induce death in melanoma cells, new research shows.

Girls' social camouflage skills may delay or prevent autism diagnosis

Posted: 04 Jan 2018 01:08 PM PST

On parent-reporting measures, girls with autism seem to struggle more than boys with performing routine tasks like getting up and dressed or making small talk, even when the study group is normalized to meet similar basic clinical diagnostic criteria across sexes. The findings add to the growing evidence that girls with autism may show symptoms differently than boys, and that some of the social difficulties experienced by females with autism may be masked during clinical assessments.

Real world native biocrusts: Microbial metabolism

Posted: 04 Jan 2018 01:08 PM PST

Specific compounds are transformed by and strongly associated with specific bacteria in native biological soil crust (biocrust) using a suite of tools called 'exometabolomics.' Understanding how microbial communities in biocrusts adapt to harsh environments could shed light on the roles of soil microbes in the global carbon cycle.

New cancer model shows genomic link between early-stage and invasive breast cancer types

Posted: 04 Jan 2018 12:35 PM PST

A new genetic-based model may explain how a common form of early-stage breast cancer known as ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) progresses to a more invasive form of cancer, say researchers.

The window for saving the world's coral reefs is rapidly closing

Posted: 04 Jan 2018 12:35 PM PST

For the first time, an international team of researchers has measured the escalating rate of coral bleaching at locations throughout the tropics over the past four decades. The study documents a dramatic shortening of the gap between pairs of bleaching events, threatening the future existence of these iconic ecosystems and the livelihoods of many millions of people.

The ocean is losing its breath -- here's the global scope

Posted: 04 Jan 2018 12:35 PM PST

In the past 50 years, the amount of water in the open ocean with zero oxygen has gone up more than fourfold. In coastal water bodies, including estuaries and seas, low-oxygen sites have increased more than tenfold since 1950. Scientists expect oxygen to continue dropping even outside these zones as Earth warms.

Soft, self-healing devices mimic biological muscles

Posted: 04 Jan 2018 12:35 PM PST

A new class of soft, electrically activated devices is capable of mimicking the expansion and contraction of natural muscles. These devices, which can be constructed from a wide range of low-cost materials, are able to self-sense their movements and self-heal from electrical damage, representing a major advance in soft robotics.

Bonobos prefer jerks

Posted: 04 Jan 2018 12:34 PM PST

Never trust anyone who is rude to a waiter, advice columnists say. But while humans generally prefer individuals who are nice to others, a Duke University study finds bonobos are more attracted to jerks. The fact that our closest primate relatives prefer bullies suggests that an aversion to creeps is one of the things that makes humans different from other species, and may underlie our unusually cooperative nature.

Worm species lost 7,000 genes after evolving to fertilize itself

Posted: 04 Jan 2018 12:34 PM PST

Reproduction in most animal species requires breeding between two individuals. But some worms have evolved the ability to go it alone. In these species, a single individual can breed with itself to produce offspring. A new study found that gaining this ability, known as 'selfing,' may have caused a worm species to lose a quarter of its genome, including genes that give male sperm a competitive edge during mating.

Precision editing of gut bacteria: Potential way to treat colitis

Posted: 04 Jan 2018 12:34 PM PST

Researchers have used precision editing of the bacterial populations in the gut to prevent or reduce the severity of inflammation in a mouse model of colitis.

Weighing massive stars in nearby galaxy reveals excess of heavyweights

Posted: 04 Jan 2018 12:31 PM PST

Astronomers have revealed an 'astonishing' overabundance of massive stars in a neighboring galaxy. The discovery, made in the gigantic star-forming region 30 Doradus in the Large Magellanic Cloud galaxy, has 'far-reaching' consequences for our understanding of how stars transformed the pristine Universe into the one we live in today.

Accessing your own genomic data is a civil right but requires strategies to manage safety

Posted: 04 Jan 2018 10:16 AM PST

The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 expanded individuals' access to genetic information by forcing changes to the HIPAA Privacy Rule. These amendments gave Americans a civil right to obtain copies of their own genetic test results stored at HIPAA-regulated laboratories. Researchers describe how civil rights and safety concerns collided after these changes and offers strategies to reconcile the two.

Aversion to holes driven by disgust, not fear, study finds

Posted: 04 Jan 2018 10:16 AM PST

Clusters of holes may be evolutionarily indicative of contamination and disease -- visual cues for rotten or moldy food or skin marred by an infection.

X chromosome reactivation could treat Rett syndrome, other X-linked disorders

Posted: 04 Jan 2018 10:16 AM PST

A new study points toward a potential strategy for treating X-linked disorders -- those caused by mutations in the X chromosome -- in females.

Biologists uncovers a genetic mechanism that could enhance yield in cereal crops

Posted: 04 Jan 2018 10:14 AM PST

Solving the world's food, feed and bioenergy challenges requires integration of multiple approaches and diverse skills. Scientists have identified a genetic mechanism that controls developmental traits related to grain production in cereals. The work was performed in Setaria viridis, an emerging model system for grasses that is closely related to economically important cereal crops and bioenergy feed stocks such as maize, sorghum, switchgrass and sugarcane.

First direct proof of ozone hole recovery due to chemicals ban

Posted: 04 Jan 2018 10:14 AM PST

For the first time, scientists have shown through direct satellite observations of the ozone hole that levels of ozone-destroying chlorine are declining, resulting in less ozone depletion.

Eating more foods with choline during pregnancy could boost baby’s brain

Posted: 04 Jan 2018 09:43 AM PST

When expectant mothers consume sufficient amounts of the nutrient choline during pregnancy, their offspring gain enduring cognitive benefits, a new study suggests.

Leaving Flatland: Quantum Hall effect physics in 4-D

Posted: 04 Jan 2018 09:41 AM PST

Researchers have implemented a dynamical version of the four-dimensional quantum Hall effect with ultracold atoms in an optical superlattice potential.

Toys and gender: Pretty in pink and boisterous in blue?

Posted: 04 Jan 2018 09:03 AM PST

Researchers urge toymakers and parents avoid gender-labeling toys, remove color divides, and manufacture toys for both boys and girls in a wide range of colors. New research shows how easily preschoolers' ideas about what is appropriate for their gender is manipulated.

Cancer mortality in the US continues decades-long drop

Posted: 04 Jan 2018 09:02 AM PST

The cancer death rate dropped 1.7 percent from 2014 to 2015, continuing a drop that began in 1991 and has reached 26 percent, resulting in nearly 2.4 million fewer cancer deaths during that time.

Study uncovers potential key to preventing back pain in runners

Posted: 03 Jan 2018 07:17 AM PST

A new study examines what may cause chronic back pain in runners and the exercises to help prevent it. The study suggests that runners with weak deep core muscles are at higher risk of developing low back pain. And, unfortunately, most people's deep core muscles aren't nearly as strong as they should be.

Nursing homes should require flu shots for all staff and patients, most older adults say

Posted: 03 Jan 2018 07:11 AM PST

As flu season swings into high gear, a new poll suggests nursing homes and other long-term care facilities should be doing more to get their staff and patients vaccinated before it's too late. Nearly three-quarters of people over age 50 surveyed in a new poll say all staff in such facilities should definitely be required to get the flu vaccine. More than 60 percent say that patients in such facilities should definitely get vaccinated too.

Alfalfa loss? Annual ryegrass is a win

Posted: 03 Jan 2018 07:11 AM PST

In the U.S., alfalfa is grown mainly in western and northern states. The cold winters and other factors can lead to losses for farmers and forage shortages. Researchers have identified annual forage crops that can be cultivated in fields with winter-killed or terminated alfalfa.

Laser evaporation technology to create new solar materials

Posted: 03 Jan 2018 07:11 AM PST

Researchers use lasers to blast solutions containing delicate organic compounds to grow new types of crystals for solar cells, light-emitting diodes and photodetectors.

Research reveals 'shocking' weakness of lab courses

Posted: 03 Jan 2018 07:11 AM PST

With the new emphasis on hands-on, active learning throughout higher education, lab courses would seem to have an advantage -- what could be more active than doing experiments? But surprising new research reveals traditional labs fall far short of their pedagogical goals.

Carbon nanotubes devices may have a limit to how 'nano' they can be

Posted: 03 Jan 2018 07:11 AM PST

Carbon nanotubes bound for electronics not only need to be as clean as possible to maximize their utility in next-generation nanoscale devices, but contact effects may limit how small a nano device can be, according to researchers.