Science News

A New Theory to Create Bubble Universes

Imagine each universe is a bubble. Physicists recently found that a classical collision of two bubble universes results in a new, long-lived one. There is a chance our universe was created by this collision process, and cosmological observations are one way to test that theory. Professor Richard Easther of Yale University and collaborators submitted the theory to arXiv (an open e-print archive for mathematics and physical sciences) on July 19, 2009.

The Power of One

Researchers led by Dr. Ashok Aiyar at the Louisiana State University Health Center (LSUHC) have uncovered the gene that is responsible for abnormal cell proliferation in cancers resulting from the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). The Epstein-Barr virus, which originates from the Herpes family of viruses, is common and most of the human population will contract the virus at some point in their lives. In fact, at least 95% of adults in the U.S. between the ages of 35-40 have contracted the virus.

Aphids Develops Resistance to Parasitoid Wasps Through Virus-infected Bacteria

A common example of a parasitoid relationship, where an organism lies inside a single host organism for a significant part of its life history, is between the wasp and the aphid because parasitoid wasps lay eggs inside aphids. Aphids, commonly known as plant lice, are small plant-eating insects. When the eggs hatch, the larvae survive by consuming the aphid. It used to seem that the aphids had no defense mechanism against the parasitoid larvae, but scientists from the University of Arizona have discovered a method that allows the aphid to survive. Results of a study recently published in the August 2009 issue of Science show that virus-infected Hamiltonella defensa, a bacterium that resides inside aphids, can help confer survival.

Parasites Explain Advantage of Sexual Reproduction

Scientists from Indiana University and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology have provided a scientific rationale for the evolution of sex by studying the host-parasite relationship in the New Zealand snail. The unique ability of the snail, Potamopyrgus antipodarum, to hold asexual and sexual forms allowed scientists to confirm the strategic advantage of sexual reproduction over asexual reproduction. The results of this study were recently published in the July issue of the American Naturalist.