Science News

Insects Smell differently

A new study published in Nature shows that insects' ability to smell evolved differently from that of other organisms. It has been believed that the ability to smell in all organisms, including insects, is dependent on a general pathway, or sequence of biochemical reactions within cells. Now Leslie Vosshall, head of the Laboratory of Neurogenetics and Behavior at Rockefeller University, and Kazushige Touhara, researcher at the University of Tokyo, say that insects' olfactory senses bypass these pathways altogether.

Quasars Confound With X-rays

A recent look into the some of the farthest reaches of the universe has revealed that certain Quasi-Stellar Objects , which are more commonly known as "quasars" , emit more X-rays than researchers previously thought possible, showing that current theories about these mysterious objects still need some work. This discovery, described in a paper published March 20th by JunXian Wang and his team of researchers at the University of Science and Technology of China , Hefei, may help get us one step closer in understanding the inner workings of some of the strangest objects in the universe.

Testing the Tree of Life

The comb jelly cannot sting its prey, but it has certainly shocked its researchers. Traditional evolutionary theory implies that more complicated creatures derive from simpler ones, yet recent research suggests that the organism at the first branching point in the animal evolutionary tree was the comb jelly: a more complex organism than the previously acknowledged animal ancestor, the sponge.

The DaVinci Robot: Reducing Recovery Time and Medical Costs in the Operating Room

With the rising costs of medical care, healthcare recipients as well as medical specialists are putting an increasing emphasis on treatment options that curtail the amount of necessary post-operational care. The invention of the DaVinci robot is rapidly becoming to be the surgeon's first hand companion in the operating room, from cardiac bypasses to hysterectomies to prostatectomies. With its ability to facilitate surgical procedures with minimal incisions, the DaVinci robot is pioneering a new era of medical practice. Patients now recover faster and stay in the hospital for shorter periods, effectively reducing the long term medical care expenditures.

Countering global warming or depleting ozone layer

Sometimes what is assumed to be good may prove to have unforeseen consequences. A well-known solution for countering global warming is found to be an enemy to the ozone layer, which blocks the dangerous Ultra Violet Rays (UV rays) from reaching to the earth. Simone Tilmes of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), and her team has recently alarmed the world that the stratosphere injection, a very popular idea to offset the global warming, could have a severe impact on the ozone layer.

Restoring Vision Seeking the Elixir

Recently, two teams from the University of Pennsylvania and University College London applied gene therapy to treat a degenerative eye disease. Published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the research article investigates a form of LCA2 (Leber's congenital amaurosis). Currently untreatable, LCA is a group of inherited blindness disorders that affects about 3000 Americans, and its onset occurs at birth. Affected individuals gradually begin to lose light-sensing photoreceptors in the retina until they become completely blind at age 40.

Dinosaur Demise and Earth's Movement in the Milky Way

A recent study at the Cardiff Centre for Astrobiology suggests that mass life extinctions on Earth correspond to the solar system's movement in the galaxy. Center director Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe and the Cardiff team developed a computer simulation that mapped the movement of the solar system in our galaxy, the Milky Way, and found that times of greater comet bombardment , and therefore mass extinctions , are linked to our movement through the galaxy.