Soil Superbugs

Soil superbugs found, according to a report in news@nature 19 January 2006 and Science, vol 311, p374, 20 January 2006. Bacteria resistant to many different antibiotics, often called “superbugs,” are becoming a serious problem in hospitals and other healthcare facilities. A team of researchers led by Gerard Wright of McMaster University, Ontario, Canada grew 480 […]

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Software for Stupid Atoms

Software for stupid atoms puzzles well known Australian physicist Paul Davies as he speculates in New Scientist 18 September 1999 about the origin of life. He admits life is not just chemistry. It is information carried on chemicals that makes living cells work. He asks “How did stupid atoms spontaneously write their own software and […]

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Soaking Wet Mars

“Soaking wet” Mars excites scientists, according to BBC news, Nature Science Update and press releases from the Mars Exploration Rover Mission, 2, 5 & 18 March 2004. Rock formations at both sites currently being explored by robots on Mars appear to have the right physical structure and chemistry for being formed in wet conditions. Some […]

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Snakes Recycle Poison

Snakes recycle poison according to reports in news@nature, New Scientist 29 January 2007, and New York Times and Science Frontline, 30 January 2007. Scientists studying the Japanese grass snake Rhabdophis tigrinus have discovered it can eat poisonous toads and store their poison in glands on the back of its neck. Female snakes also transferred poison […]

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Single Chemical Links Orchid and Wasp

Single chemical links orchid and wasp, as described in Science, vol. 302, p437, 17 October 2003. Some orchids are pollinated by male insects that try to mate with the flowers. This bizarre behaviour occurs because the flowers produce chemicals that are the same as chemicals emitted by female insects. Usually a mixture of common chemicals […]

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Sickle Cell Malaria Survival

Sickle cell malaria survival secret found, according to a report in Nature News 10 November 2011 and ScienceDaily 18 November 2011. It has been known for many years that people who carry one gene for a disease named sickle cell anaemia have some increased resistance to malaria, and the sickle cell gene is more common […]

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Shedding Light on Super Reflective Proteins

Shedding light on super reflective proteins, described in an article in news@nature 8 December 2006. Scientists at the Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, Massachusetts, have found a group of proteins in octopus skin that reflect all wavelengths of light from any angle. The researchers found the proteins in cells called leucophores that form the bottom […]

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Sea Sponge Inspired Solar Cells

Sea sponge inspired solar cells described in New Scientist, 24 March 2007, p32. Some sea sponges are covered with fine spikes of silica, which they make by converting silicic acid from sea water, using an enzyme named silicatein to catalyse the reaction. Spikey structures like these could help make photovoltaic cells (solar panels) more efficient, […]

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Ribosome Study Challenges RNA World

Ribosome study challenges RNA world according to reports in ScienceDaily and PLoS ONE 2012; 7 (3): e32776 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0032776, 12 March 2012. Evolutionary biologists have long faced a “chicken and egg” problem of which biological molecules came first: proteins or nucleic acids (the NA in DNA and RNA). Both of these are highly complex molecules, […]

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Re-designed DNA Doesn’t Fit

Re-designed DNA doesn’t fit, as noted in a brief item in Nature, vol. 440, p604, 10 August 2006. The “D” in DNA stands for deoxyribose, a sugar molecule made from a five sided ring of carbon atoms. Five sided sugars are called pentoses. Most other sugar molecules, such as glucose, are made from six sided […]

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