WASHINGTON, July 17 (Reuters) – As far as agricultural
genome research goes, this may be the best thing since sliced
bread – wheat bread, that is.
An international team of scientists on Thursday unveiled a
genetic blueprint of wheat in an accomplishment that may help
guide the breeding of varieties of the vitally important food
crop that are more productive and more hardy.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Researchers on Wednesday described fossilized remains unearthed in China showing in fine detail the brain structures of a bizarre group of sea creatures that were the top predators more than half a billion years ago.
The fossils show an animal called Lyrarapax unguispinus that lived during the Cambrian Period, a pivotal juncture in the history of life on Earth when many major animal groups first appeared. It was a member of a group known as anomalocaridids – primitive relatives of arthropods, which include crustaceans, insects and spiders – that hunted prey with a pair of claw-like grasping appendages in front of the eyes.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Researchers have succeeded in turning ordinary cardiac muscle cells into specialized ones that deliver a steady heartbeat using a gene therapy procedure they predict could become an alternative to implanted electronic pacemakers.
A study published on Wednesday involved pigs with a condition called heart block that makes their hearts beat too slowly. By injecting a human gene into a tiny region of the heart’s pumping chambers roughly the size of a peppercorn, the researchers reprogrammed heart muscle cells into a type of cell that emits electrical impulses to drive the beating heart.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – It was built sort of like a biplane but probably did not fly as well, if at all.
Scientists on Tuesday described a fossil of a strange dinosaur that lived in China 125 million years ago which was covered in feathers, looked like it had two sets of wings and may have been able to glide.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – You’ve heard of Sonic the Hedgehog, the video game character. But how about the half-pint hedgehog, the tiniest one that ever lived?
Scientists on Tuesday described fossils from Canada of a hedgehog the size of a shrew about 2 inches (5 cm) long – that lived 52 million years ago in a rainforest in northern British Columbia during an especially warm time on Earth.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The wandering albatross, a magnificent seabird that navigates the ocean winds and can glide almost endlessly over the water, boasts the biggest wingspan of any bird alive today, extending almost 12 feet (3.5 meters).
But it is a mere pigeon compared to an astonishing extinct bird called Pelagornis sanders, identified by scientists on Monday from fossils unearthed in South Carolina, that lived 25 to 28 million years ago and boasted the largest-known avian wingspan in history, about 20 to 24 feet (6.1 to 7.4 meters).
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – So you say all you want to do is to take a few minutes to sit down and think without anyone or anything bugging you? Maybe that is true. But you might be in the minority.
A U.S. study published on Thursday showed that most volunteers who were asked to spend no more than 15 minutes alone in a room doing nothing but sitting and thinking found the task onerous.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Since its first fossil was unearthed in Bavarian limestone in 1961, Archaeopteryx – the original early bird – has been a paleontological rock star.
Not only is it considered Earth’s oldest-known bird but its blend of primitive dinosaur traits with characteristics seen in modern birds has long fascinated scientists. However, none of the specimens found over the years had given a comprehensive view of its plumage, leading some experts to question whether Archaeopteryx was a capable flier – or could even fly at all.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Here’s some useful advice for the world’s ants: Whatever you do, stay away from the “bone-house wasp.”
Scientists said on Wednesday they have identified a new species of spider wasp in southeastern China with grim conduct unlike any other creature. It crams the outermost chamber of the nests it builds for its offspring with piles of dead ants.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – How do Tibetans thrive in high-altitude, low-oxygen conditions that would make others wither? Well, they may have received some help from an unexpected source.
Scientists said on Wednesday many Tibetans possess a rare variant of a gene involved in carrying oxygen in the blood that they likely inherited from an enigmatic group of extinct humans who interbred with our species tens of thousands of years ago.