Science

6:25pm

Thu March 27, 2014
Shots - Health News

How Being Ignored Helped A Woman Discover The Breast Cancer Gene

Originally published on Sun March 30, 2014 9:17 am

Mary-Claire King says obscurity gave her the freedom to spend years looking for breast cancer genes.
Mary Levin/University of Washington

Back in the 1970s, a geneticist named Mary-Claire King decided she needed to figure out why women in some families were much more likely to get breast cancer.

Read more

4:36pm

Thu March 27, 2014
Shots - Health News

Custom Chromo: First Yeast Chromosome Built From Scratch

Originally published on Thu March 27, 2014 7:03 pm

The research team used yeast chromosome No. 3 as the model for their biochemical stitchery. Pins and white diamonds in the illustration represent "designer changes" not found in the usual No. 3; yellow stretches represent deletions.
Lucy Reading-Ikkanda

Using the labor of dozens of undergraduate students, scientists have built a customized yeast chromosome from scratch.

It's a milestone in the rapidly growing field of synthetic biology, where organisms can be tailored for industrial use. In this case, the near-term goal is to understand the genetics of yeast, and eventually the genetics of us.

This was quite an undertaking. Yeast have about 6,000 genes packed in 16 tidy bundles called chromosomes. Each chromosome is an enormous molecule of DNA packed in proteins.

Read more

1:59pm

Thu March 27, 2014
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Happy 80th Birthday, Jane Goodall

Originally published on Thu March 27, 2014 2:44 pm

Jane Goodall holds a baby Cebus capucinus monkey during a 2013 visit to a primate rescue center in Chile.
Hector Retamal AFP/Getty Images

On April 3, one week from today, Dr. Jane Goodall, the world-renowned chimpanzee expert and conservationist, will turn 80.

In advance of this milestone birthday, we all have a chance to thank Goodall for her lifelong work on behalf of chimpanzees and other wildlife.

Read more

12:06pm

Thu March 27, 2014
The Salt

Can The Meat Industry Help Protect Wildlife? Some Say Yes

Originally published on Thu March 27, 2014 3:15 pm

Fox Ranch, outside Yuma County, Colo., is a 14,000-acre nature preserve and working cattle ranch owned by The Nature Conservancy. The ranch is an experiment in planned grazing, which aims to improve soil health and help ranchers' bottom lines.
Luke Runyon Harvest Public Media

Last week we reported on a new campaign from the Center for Biological Diversity that hopes to persuade Americans to cut back on their meat consumption. Their pitch? Eat less meat and you will help save wildlife.

Read more

6:30pm

Wed March 26, 2014
Shots - Health News

Brain Changes Suggest Autism Starts In The Womb

Originally published on Thu March 27, 2014 11:03 am

Researchers say intervention in early childhood may help the developing brain compensate by rewiring to work around the trouble spots.
iStockphoto

The symptoms of autism may not be obvious until a child is a toddler, but the disorder itself appears to begin well before birth.

Brain tissue taken from children who died and also happened to have autism revealed patches of disorganization in the cortex, a thin sheet of cells that's critical for learning and memory, researchers report in the New England Journal of Medicine. Tissue samples from children without autism didn't have those characteristic patches.

Read more

5:39pm

Wed March 26, 2014
The Two-Way

Massive Nor'easter Rakes New England

A NOAA satellite image of the storm off the coast of New England.
NOAA

New England is getting a hard glancing blow from a huge winter storm that has generated hurricane-force winds and such adjectives as "mind-blowing" and "monster" from normally mild-mannered meteorologists.

One look at weather satellite images of North America is all it takes to understand: This is a huge, classic nor'easter. WeatherBell meteorologist Ryan Maue says the storm's "integrated kinetic energy" is four times that of superstorm Sandy.

Read more

5:38pm

Wed March 26, 2014
Around the Nation

Washington State's 'Slide Hill' Has A History Of Landslides

Originally published on Wed March 26, 2014 8:24 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

It's now five days into the search for survivors of the massive landslide in Oso in Washington's Snohomish County. National Guard Troops are combing the area with emergency extraction teams. The unofficial death toll so far is now 24, and authorities are promising more clarity tomorrow on the list of missing people. Some 176 persons are unaccounted for but the real number is thought to be lower than that.

Read more

4:41pm

Wed March 26, 2014
The Salt

Does Beaver Tush Flavor Your Strawberry Shortcake? We Go Myth Busting

Originally published on Wed March 26, 2014 7:15 pm

So what's behind that strawberry flavoring?
Meg Vogel/NPR

A few years ago, celebrity chef Jamie Oliver kicked up a foodie firestorm when he told the audience at the Late Show with David Letterman that vanilla ice cream contains flavoring from a beaver's ... um, derriere.

"Beaver anal gland — yes," Oliver shouted bluntly, as the crowd booed and hissed. "Oh, come on! You're telling me you don't like a little beaver? ... It's in cheap sorts of strawberry syrups and vanilla ice cream."

Read more

3:01pm

Wed March 26, 2014
The Two-Way

New Dwarf Planet Found At The Solar System's Outer Limits

Originally published on Thu March 27, 2014 8:44 am

This diagram for the outer solar system shows the orbits of Sedna (in orange) and 2012 VP113 (in red). The sun and terrestrial planets are at the center, surrounded by the orbits (in purple) of the four giant planets — Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. The Kuiper belt, which includes Pluto, is shown by the dotted light blue region.
Scott S. Sheppard Carnegie Institution for Science

Scientists have spotted a new dwarf planet at the edge of our solar system. It's a kind of pink ice ball that's way out there, far beyond Pluto.

Astronomers used to think this region of space was a no man's land. But the new findings suggest that it holds many small worlds — and there are even hints of an unseen planet bigger than Earth.

Read more

12:26pm

Wed March 26, 2014
The Two-Way

Soyuz Misfire Delays Crew Trying To Reach Space Station

Originally published on Wed March 26, 2014 1:18 pm

From left: U.S. astronaut Steve Swanson, and Russian cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Artemyev prior to the launch of their Soyuz-FG rocket Wednesday at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
Dmitry Lovetsky AP

A problem with a thruster aboard a Russian Soyuz capsule ferrying one American and two Russians to the International Space Station has caused an unexpected delay for the crew in reaching the orbiting platform.

As NPR's Geoff Brumfiel reports, it was supposed to be a six-hour journey from the launch at Kazakhstan's Baikonur Cosmodrome to the ISS, but one of the thrusters didn't fire at the right time.

Read more

Pages