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Key: Meeting Journal Funder
Public Release: 31-Oct-2014
Acoustical Society of America annual meeting
Are my muscular dystrophy drugs working?
People with muscular dystrophy could one day assess the effectiveness of their medication with the help of a smartphone-linked device, a new study in mice suggests. The study used a new method to process ultrasound imaging information that could lead to hand-held instruments that provide fast, convenient medical information.
National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation

Contact: Mary Beckman
DOE/Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Public Release: 31-Oct-2014
Applications in Plant Sciences
Scientists replicate the tide with two buckets, aquarium tubing, and a pump
A design for a new, inexpensive tidal simulation unit enables researchers to investigate tidal marsh plant growth in a controlled setting. The unit costs less than US$27 to build, takes up less than two square feet of space, and does not require external plumbing; the protocol is available in the November issue of Applications in Plant Sciences. The system could be an important tool for researchers working to preserve and restore environmentally important wetlands.
Sapelo Island National Estuarine Research Reserve, Irene Burt Boole Botany Scholarship, Georgia Southern University Graduate Student Professional Development Fund

Contact: Beth Parada
American Journal of Botany

Public Release: 31-Oct-2014
Massive geographic change may have triggered explosion of animal life
A new paper by The University of Texas at Austin's Jackson School of Geosciences published in the November issue of Geology suggests a major tectonic event may be connected with the apparent burst of life that occurred 530 million years ago during the Cambrian explosion.

Contact: Anton Caputo
University of Texas at Austin

Public Release: 31-Oct-2014
Applied and Environmental Microbiology
Mussels on California Coast contaminated with giardia transmitted from land-based sources
The pathogen Giardia duodenalis is present in mussels from freshwater run-off sites and from areas where California Sea Lions lounge along the coast of California, according to a team of researchers from the University of California, Davis. One of the G. duodenalis strains found is known to infect humans; the two others occur mostly in dogs and other canids. 'Thus, the detection of these assemblages implies a potential public health risk if consuming fecally contaminated water or uncooked shellfish,' says coauthor Woutrina Smith.

Contact: Garth Hogan
American Society for Microbiology

Public Release: 31-Oct-2014
American Journal of Botany
Breaking down DNA by genome
A new study in the November issue of Applications in Plant Sciences provides plant biologists with an efficient approach for separating plant nuclear DNA from organellar DNA for genomic and metagenomic studies. The approach targets the methyl-CpG-binding domain and allows researchers to isolate nuclear, chloroplast, and mitochondrial DNA, and can also target genomes of endophytes and prokaryotic parasites in plant DNA samples.
National Science Foundation

Contact: Beth Parada
American Journal of Botany

Public Release: 31-Oct-2014
Scientists seek cure for devastating witches' broom disease of the chocolate tree
As children across the country savor the last of this year's Halloween candy, a deadly and untreatable fungus, Moniliophthora perniciosa, is hexing chocolate tree, Theobroma cacao, plantations in many South and Central American countries, threatening livelihoods and imperiling the world's favorite treat. A team of scientists from Brazil has taken the first steps towards conquering this aggressive fungus by deciphering the interaction between the fungus and the chocolate tree at the molecular level.
São Paulo Research Foundation

Contact: Tyrone Spady
301-251-0560 x121
American Society of Plant Biologists

Public Release: 31-Oct-2014
Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
Is fleet diversity key to sustainable fisheries?
Concern about fisheries is widespread around the world. Over the past several decades, a robust discussion has taken place concerning how to manage fisheries better to benefit ecosystems and humans. Much of the discussion has focused on preserving biological diversity, a critical component of healthy ecosystems. One aspect that gets less attention is the role of fishing fleet diversity.

Contact: James Badham
University of California - Santa Barbara

Public Release: 31-Oct-2014
Cell division, minus the cells
Researchers have reconstituted cell division -- complete with signals that direct molecular traffic -- without the cell. Combining frog-egg extracts with lipid membranes that mimic the membrane of the cell, they built a cell-free system that recapitulates how the cleavage furrow is assembled.
National Institutes of Health, Marine Biological Laboratory/Evans Foundation

Contact: David Cameron
Harvard Medical School

Public Release: 31-Oct-2014
Improved mouse model will accelerate research on potential Ebola vaccines, treatments
Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and colleagues have developed the first genetic strain of mice that can be infected with Ebola and display symptoms similar to those that humans experience. This work, published in the current issue of Science, will significantly improve basic research on Ebola treatments and vaccines, which are desperately needed to curb the worldwide public health and economic toll of the disease.
NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases/Intramural Research Program

Contact: Thania Benios
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Public Release: 31-Oct-2014
Green spaces don't ensure biodiversity in urban areas
Green spaces in cities are great, but they don't ensure biodiversity, according to University of Iowa biologists. The team found insect abundance was lacking in two common urban trees, suggesting insect movement may be limited by barriers, such as roads and buildings. Results appear in the journal PLOS ONE.
The University of Iowa

Contact: Richard Lewis
University of Iowa

Public Release: 31-Oct-2014
Lack of oxygen delayed the rise of animals on Earth
Scientists have long speculated as to why animal species didn't flourish sooner, once sufficient oxygen covered the Earth's surface. Animals began to prosper at the end of the Proterozoic period -- but what about the billion-year stretch before that, when most researchers think there also was plenty of oxygen? Yale University researcher Noah Planavsky and his colleagues found that oxygen levels during the 'boring billion' period were only 0.1 percent of what they are today.
NASA Exobiology Program, National Science Foundation

Contact: Jim Shelton
Yale University

Public Release: 31-Oct-2014
Bladderwrack: Tougher than suspected
The bladderwrack Fucus vesiculosus is actually one of the most important species of brown algae along the North Atlantic coasts. But for years their populations in the Baltic Sea were declining. Looking for the reasons, biologists of GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel now have analyzed the defense mechanisms of bladderwrack against bacterial vermins under different environmental conditions. The surprising result: The defense proved to be very robust to environmental changes. The study is published today in the international online-journal PLOS ONE.

Contact: Jan Steffen
Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel (GEOMAR)

Public Release: 31-Oct-2014
Cancer Research
Viewing cancer on the move: New device yields close-up look at metastasis
Johns Hopkins engineers have invented a lab device to give cancer researchers an unprecedented microscopic look at metastasis, the complex way that tumor cells spread through the body, causing more than 90 percent of cancer-related deaths.
Johns Hopkins University Institute for NanoBioTechnology, National Institutes of Health

Contact: Phil Sneiderman
Johns Hopkins University

Public Release: 31-Oct-2014
Journal of Synchrotron Radiation
A new generation of storage -- ring
The MAX IV facility, currently under construction in Lund, Sweden, is the first of a new generation of storage-ring-based synchrotron light sources which employ a multibend achromat lattice to reach emittances in the few hundred pm rad range in a circumference of a few hundred meters.

Contact: Dr. Jonathan Agbenyega
International Union of Crystallography

Public Release: 31-Oct-2014
Strange, fanged deer persists in Afghanistan
More than 60 years after its last confirmed sighting, a strange deer with vampire-like fangs still persists in the rugged forested slopes of northeast Afghanistan according to a research team led by the Wildlife Conservation Society, which confirmed the species presence during recent surveys.

Contact: Stephen Sautner
Wildlife Conservation Society

Public Release: 31-Oct-2014
Current Biology
'Divide and rule' -- raven politics
Mythology has attributed many supernatural features to ravens. Studies on the cognitive abilities of ravens have indeed revealed that they are exceptionally intelligent. Ravens live in complex social groups and they can gain power by building social bonds that function as alliances. Cognitive biologists of the University of Vienna now revealed that ravens use a 'divide and rule' strategy in dealing with the bonds of conspecifics: Socially well integrated ravens prevent others from building new alliances by breaking up their bonding attempts.

Contact: Jorg J.M. Massen, Ph.D.
University of Vienna

Public Release: 31-Oct-2014
New step towards eradication of H5N1 bird flu
A University of Adelaide-led project has developed a new test that can distinguish between birds that have been vaccinated against the H5N1 strain of avian influenza virus or 'bird flu' with those that have been naturally infected.

Contact: Dr. Farhid Hemmatzadeh
University of Adelaide

Public Release: 31-Oct-2014
Avivagen publishes evidence for natural alternative to antibiotic use in livestock
Today the leading journal PLOS ONE published research that provides underlying scientific support for a fundamentally new type of natural alternative to the use of antibiotics in livestock feeds for growth promotion and disease prevention. This research comes at a time when stakeholders across the globe, including national health regulators, are looking to avoid usage of antibiotics in livestock due to concerns they pose threats to public health.

Contact: Cameron Groome
Avivagen Inc.

Public Release: 31-Oct-2014
National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) Cancer Conference
Scientists trigger self-destruct switch in lung cancer cells
Cancer Research UK scientists have found a drug combination that can trigger the self-destruct process in lung cancer cells -- paving the way for new treatments.

Contact: Emily Head
Cancer Research UK

Public Release: 31-Oct-2014
Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment
ESA Frontiers November preview
Connectivity cost calculations for conservation corridors, crop companions, jellyfish and human well-being and micromanaging microbes.

Contact: Liza Lester
202-833-8773 x211
Ecological Society of America

Public Release: 31-Oct-2014
Report examines health care challenges for pregnant women enrolled in covered California
A new report by Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University examines the challenge of maintaining enriched health care for pregnant women who are enrolled in Covered California and who are also eligible for Medi-Cal, which includes the Comprehensive Perinatal Services Program.

Contact: Kathy Fackelmann
George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health

Public Release: 31-Oct-2014
Nature Biotechnology
Efficient genetic editing
Led by Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology David Liu, a team of Harvard researchers have developed a system that uses commercially-available molecules called cationic lipids -- long, greasy molecules that carry a positive charge -- to efficiently deliver genome-editing proteins into cells, and have even demonstrated that the technology can be used to perform genome editing in living animals.

Contact: Peter Reuell
Harvard University

Public Release: 31-Oct-2014
Molecular Neurodegeneration
Tau, not amyloid-beta, triggers neuronal death process in Alzheimer's
New research points to tau, not amyloid-beta plaque, as the seminal event that spurs neuron death in disorders such as Alzheimer's disease. The finding, which dramatically alters the prevailing theory of Alzheimer's development, also explains why some people with plaque build-up in their brains don't have dementia.
Georgetown University, Merck & Co.

Contact: Karen Teber
Georgetown University Medical Center

Public Release: 31-Oct-2014
168th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America
Captive rhinos exposed to urban rumbles
The soundtrack to a wild rhinoceros's life is wind passing through the savannah grass, birds chirping and distant animals moving across the plains. But a rhinoceros in a zoo listens to children screaming, cars passing and the persistent hum of urban life. A group of researchers from Texas believes that this discrepancy in soundscape may be contributing to rhinos' difficulties thriving and reproducing in captivity.

Contact: Jason Socrates Bardi
Acoustical Society of America

Public Release: 30-Oct-2014
Molecular Cell
A matter of life and death: Cell death proteins key to fighting disease
Melbourne researchers have uncovered key steps involved in programmed cell death, offering new targets for the treatment of diseases including lupus, cancers and neurodegenerative diseases.
National Health and Medical Research Council, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Australian Research Council, Australian Cancer Research Foundation, Victorian Government

Contact: Alan Gill
Walter and Eliza Hall Institute