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Tag Archives: Nature.com

Forensics: Germany considers wider use of DNA evidence in criminal cases

Johannes Simon/Getty Germany plans to hand powerful new DNA tools to investigators. Behind closed doors this week, the German federal justice ministry has been discussing whether to hand police a powerful new tool involving the analysis of DNA samples. The debate is a direct consequence of the rape and murder of a medical student in Freiburg last October. Two months ...

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Trump’s pipeline permit is bad for both the US economy and the environment

Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images An activist outside the Trump International Hotel in Washington DC protests against the controversial Keystone XL pipeline. President Donald Trump last week issued a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, reversing the decision of his predecessor and fulfilling his own campaign promise. If built, Keystone would enable oil to be shipped from the Canadian tar sands to ...

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Cancer: How fat boosts breast cancer

A molecule made by fat cells in human breast tissue increases the growth of certain breast-cancer cells. The finding suggests a potential reason why larger breast size seems to correlate with a higher risk of cancer. Fat cells are thought to interact with cancer cells in the breast. To learn how, Wen-Hwa Lee at China Medical University in Taiwan and ...

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Evolution: Diet drives primate brain size

Primates’ large brains may be due to the animals’ diet rather than their social behaviour, challenging a popular theory. Alex DeCasien and her colleagues at New York University compiled existing data on primate brain and body size, and sorted the species into four dietary categories: omnivores, leaf-eaters, fruit-eaters and those that eat both leaves and fruit. The primates that ate ...

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Ageing: Senescent cells cleared out

A newly developed molecule causes ageing cells to commit suicide, restoring some signs of health and stamina in old mice. Damaged cells that stop dividing, called senescent cells, accumulate with age, and are thought to contribute to inflammation, tissue damage and age-related diseases. To find ways to clear these cells, Peter de Keizer at the Erasmus University Medical Center in ...

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Molecular biology: Drug stalls protein translation

The discovery of a compound that interrupts the production of a specific protein could open up a fresh path to drug discovery. Cells rely on complex molecular machines called ribosomes to translate the genetic code and make proteins. Robert Dullea at Pfizer Worldwide Research and Development in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Jamie Cate at the University of California, Berkeley, and their colleagues ...

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Planetary science: Titan's electrified dunes

The dunes of Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, may be held together by static electricity. Grains of sand acquire electrostatic charge as they rub against each other, but on Earth this effect is generally negligible because gravity and a high density of heavy silicate particles minimize interactions between the particles. Joshua Méndez Harper at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta ...

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An early start on tackling childhood cancers

Shaun Botterill/Getty A fresh emphasis on childhood cancer could help patients such as Bradley Lowery, pictured here with England striker Jermain Defoe. When the England football team’s mascot stepped onto the Wembley pitch before a World Cup qualifying match on Saturday, he winced and covered his ears. The roar was deafening as the crowd in London welcomed five-year-old Bradley Lowery ...

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Brexit must preserve advisory networks

Faced with the compound uncertainties of Brexit, the attention of the UK science community has understandably focused on two big-ticket items: mobility and money. But there’s a third ‘m’ that will demand close attention as the negotiations on the exit process — officially triggered this week by invoking Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty — get under way: the machinery of scientific, technical and regulatory ...

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Animal behaviour: Playful call makes parrots merry

Hearing laughter can make people laugh, and it seems that kea parrots react similarly, displaying play behaviour after hearing a particular call from fellow birds. This makes them the first non-mammals known to experience ‘contagious’ merriment. Christophe Courteau/NPL Raoul Schwing, now at the University of Vienna, and his colleagues studied kea parrots (Nestor notabilis; pictured) in the wild in New ...

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