Latest Science


The genome of Lonesome George could unlock the secret of ageing

Giant tortoise DNA gives hints to cancer resistance and ageing. Giant tortoises may grow big and old and ward off cancer because of their genes, a new study suggests. An international research team that included Flinders University in Adelaide, has discovered several variants in tortoise genomes that potentially affect six of the nine hallmarks of ageing. None of the variants has been previously associated with the ageing process. They also found that giant tortoises have […] See more

Published 1 month ago. Author: Nick Carne from Cosmos Magazine
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Whale songs’ changing pitch may be response to climate changes

Blue whales – among the loudest animals in the oceans – are singing a little flat, and there may now be more clues as to why. Blue whales around the world have been dropping pitch incrementally over several decades, but the cause has remained a mystery. A new international study may have uncovered some clues. The study was led by Dr Emmanuelle Leroy, who conducted the research with colleagues at University of Brest & French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), […] See more

Published 2 months ago. Author: UNSW Newsroom from University of New South Wales
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New catalyst material produces abundant cheap hydrogen

Renewable energy storage could be far more straightforward thanks to the development of a more efficient way to produce hydrogen. QUT chemistry researchers have discovered cheaper and more efficient materials for producing hydrogen for the storage of renewable energy that could replace current water-splitting catalysts. Professor Anthony O’Mullane said the potential for the chemical storage of renewable energy in the form of hydrogen was being investigated around the world. “The Australian Government is interested in […] See more

Published 2 months ago. Author: QUT Newsroom from Queensland University of Technology

'Ghost imaging' could lead to safer and cheaper 3D X-rays

Safer, cheaper and more accessible X-ray imaging could be on its way thanks to a brand new approach developed by Australian researchers. A new study led by ANU has discovered a promising way to significantly lower doses of X-rays that has the potential to revolutionise 3D medical imaging and make screening for early signs of disease much cheaper and safer. The research team, which involved the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility and Monash University, built upon […] See more

Published 2 months ago. Author: ANU Newsroom from Australian National University
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Computing faces energy crunch unless new technologies are found

The energy required to power the massive, factory-sized data centres that computers rely on already consumes 5% of global electricity. And that energy load is doubling every decade. There’s little doubt the information technology revolution has improved our lives. But unless we find a new form of electronic technology that uses less energy, computing will become limited by an “energy crunch” within decades. Even the most common events in our daily life – making a […] See more

Published 2 months ago. Author: UNSW Newsroom from University of New South Wales

Researchers warn of uncertain future for the platypus

Scientists are worried about the platypus, with a national risk assessment led by UNSW Professor Richard Kingsford suggesting declines of up to 30%. Mounting evidence that platypus populations are falling has concerned scientists who are nearing the end of a three-year national survey of the iconic species. The UNSW-led Australian Research Council-funded project has compiled a comprehensive database of the distribution and abundance of the platypus over the last two centuries, combining this with data […] See more

Published 2 months ago. Author: UNSW Newsroom from University of New South Wales
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Predators predetermine the finding of Nemo

Fish-anemone partnerships have evolved at least 55 times. If you can’t find Nemo, try looking where the anemones hang out. They’ve become great friends in what Australian researchers say is a classic example of “interspecies mutualisms”. “Clownfish live in and around anemones, helping drive off the anemone’s predators and providing it with food, while in exchange the anemone provides protection with its stinging tentacles,” says biologist William Feeney from the University of Queensland (UQ). “Clownfish […] See more

Published 2 months ago. Author: Nick Carne from Cosmos Magazine
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Bees take unconventional parentage to the extreme

Flexibility in reproduction may be a key to colony survival. Some honeybees have what could politely be described as novel parental origins, according to new Australian research. We’re talking “sex mosaics”, with combinations of up to four parents per bee. A team of scientists from the University of Sydney found bees with two fathers, others with two mothers, and one with two fathers and no mother, arising from the fusion of two sperm. And that’s […] See more

Published 2 months ago. Author: Nick Carne from Cosmos Magazine
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Euthanasia reforms a case of “when not if” across Australia

Nationwide reforms to euthanasia laws are coming. Reforms to assisted dying laws throughout Australia will steadily but surely take place in the coming years, say QUT law experts. QUT’s Professor Lindy Willmott and Professor Ben White from the Australian Centre for Health Law Research have discussed the status of end-of-life laws across Australia in an article for the Australian Health Review. Looking at moves nationally and internationally to permit voluntary assisted dying, Professor Willmott says […] See more

Published 2 months ago. Author: Ben Lewis from Australia's Science Channel
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Four ways our cities can cut transport emissions in a hurry

In the aftermath of the UN IPCC report warning of 1.5℃ of global warming, Professor of Engineering Hussein Dia outlines four actions we can take to cut our emissions in a hurry. The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recently warned that global warming could reach 1.5℃ as early as 2030. The landmark report by leading scientists urged nations to do more to avert an impending crisis. We have 12 years, the report said, to […] See more

Published 2 months ago. Author: Swinburne University of Technology Newsroom from Swinburne University of Technology

Unicorns did exist – until they didn’t

A monstrous rhino species survived until much more recently than thought. What’s four metres long, 2.5 metres high, weighs 3.5 tonnes and has a preposterously large horn in the middle of its face? A really massive unicorn, that’s what. Research published in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution has now uncovered the details of the life, history and extinction of a spectacular species dubbed the “Siberian Unicorn”. A team of international researchers from a range […] See more

Published 2 months ago. Author: Stephen Fleischfresser from Cosmos Magazine
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Keep slapping on that sunscreen and ignore toxic claims

Research has confirmed that it’s safe to keep using sunscreens. It’s safe to slap on the sunscreen this summer – in repeated doses – despite what you have read about the potential toxicity of sunscreens. A new study led by the University of Queensland (UQ) and University of South Australia (UniSA) provides the first direct evidence that zinc oxide nanoparticles used in sunscreen neither penetrate the skin nor cause cellular toxicity after repeated applications. The […] See more

Published 2 months ago. Author: UniSA Newsroom from University of South Australia
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Climate litigation heats up globally

Climate litigation against governments has been successful, and it could continue to increase, says a QUT expert. Climate change lawsuits against governments have had more success than those against fossil fuel companies and are a legal tool for communities and Indigenous groups to promote climate change mitigation and adaptation. The finding is contained in a chapter of a new book, Intellectual Property and Clean Energy, by QUT Intellectual Property and Innovation Professor Matthew Rimmer. “Climate […] See more

Published 2 months ago. Author: QUT Newsroom from Queensland University of Technology
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Photos make people believe

Adding a photograph makes people believe your claims – even if the photo doesn’t provide any evidence itself. People are more likely to believe a true or false claim if it is paired with a photograph, a researcher from The Australian National University (ANU) has found. Dr Eryn Newman, from the ANU Research School of Psychology, has been finding out how people find truth in a fake-news era. In her research, Dr Newman has found […] See more

Published 2 months ago. Author: ANU Newsroom from Australian National University
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Young stars push back to keep the universe ‘vibrant’

Researchers identify a cosmic counterforce to gravity. Deep in the Large Magellanic Cloud lies the Tarantula Nebula. Deep within that lies R136, a cluster of young and dense stars – and deep within that lies the most massive star so far detected in the universe. The cluster has recently been the focus of intense research by a team led by ANU astronomer Roland Crocker. By using data gathered by NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope the scientists […] See more

Published 2 months ago. Author: Andrew Masterson from Cosmos Magazine
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The industrial potential of wombat poo

The cube-shaped poo dropped by Fatso and co could actually be useful. Wombats, the short-legged marsupials native to Australia, are the only mammals known to produce unique cube-shaped poop. Thanks to new research, scientists now know why and, surprisingly, it could actually be worth knowing – and not just as quirky trivia. When mechanical engineers and biologists from the US and Australia studied the digestive tracts of wombats euthanised following motor vehicle collisions, they found […] See more

Published 2 months ago. Author: Nick Carne

Aussies needed for world's biggest genetic study of bipolar

Australian researchers need your help for the world’s biggest genetic study of bipolar disorder. Australian researchers have put a call out for 5,000 Australians who have been treated for bipolar disorder to help them with the world’s largest genetic investigation into the illness. The team from Brisbane’s QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute hope that with the help of the public, the Australian Genetics of Bipolar Disorder Study will identify the genes that predispose people to […] See more

Published 2 months ago. Author: Ben Lewis from Australia's Science Channel
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Warming microbes may shrink Southern Ocean carbon sink

Warming oceans may cause aquatic microbes to release more carbon back into the atmosphere, say scientists. The amount of carbon locked away in the depths of the Southern Ocean could fall by almost 20 per cent by 2100 as warming waters lead to increased microbial activity, according to new IMAS research. The Southern Ocean absorbs a large proportion of heat and CO2 from anthropogenic emissions, with billions of tonnes of carbon locked away as phytoplankton […] See more

Published 2 months ago. Author: University of Tasmania Newsroom from University of Tasmania
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ANU researchers find new disease

Researchers at The Australian National University (ANU) have discovered a new genetic disease and a method for detecting more unexplained medical conditions. “We’ve discovered a new syndrome, the genetic cause and the mechanism that explains how the genetic variation causes the illness,” said Professor Matthew Cook from The ANU College of Health and Medicine. “It is a disease which is characterised by immune deficiency where patients get recurrent infections, especially chest infections, including recurrent pneumonia, […] See more

Published 2 months ago. Author: ANU Newsroom from Australian National University
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Dolphin research informs marine zone planning

Better informed marine park zones ensure proper protection of local species. The Coffin Bay dolphins off South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula mainly live in the shallow waters close to the coast and oyster farms – and outside the declared conservation sanctuary zones. While that’s good for the locals and tourists who enjoy the area’s wildlife and picturesque location, it can be harmful for the dolphin population exposed to a range of human threats, researchers at Flinders […] See more

Published 2 months ago. Author: News Desk from Flinders University
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First genetic testing for weighty issue

Volunteers from South Australia wanted for international study into the genetics of lipoedema. In a world first, South Australian researchers are joining a global project to determine whether this common health issue is linked to genetics, or a person’s appearance or phenotype related to their genotype. Funded by a $615,000, three-year grant from the US Lipedema Foundation, the researchers are calling for volunteers to take part in a new study to fathom any genetic connections with […] See more

Published 2 months ago. Author: News Desk from Flinders University
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Super-fast flying machines defy body logic

Flying insects respond incredibly fast to their environment – unlocking this behaviour could advance neuroscience. The size of a tiny insect brain bears no comparison to the super capacity of its killer instinct and flying skills and speed. Just like in humans, the brains of hoverflies and even tiny predatory robberflies have hundreds of thousands of neurones which give them survival abilities for hunting and pollen collecting unparalleled even in the most advanced human technologies. […] See more

Published 2 months ago. Author: News Desk from Flinders University
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Omega-3 found to reduce premature births

Omega-3 supplements may be the simple and cost effective way of reducing premature births. Increased intake of omega-3 long-chain fatty acids during pregnancy has been found to reduce the risk of premature birth, according to a new review of research. The Cochrane review into Omega-3 fatty acid addition during pregnancy was conducted by SAHMRI’s Healthy Mothers, Babies and Children theme in collaboration with the Women’s and Children’s Hospital and the University of Adelaide. University of […] See more

Published 2 months ago. Author: University of Adelaide Newsroom from The University of Adelaide
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Astronomers find massive “ghost galaxy” near the Milky Way

Gaia data reveals previously undiscovered entity as big as the Large Magellanic Cloud. Astronomers have discovered an immense “ghost galaxy” very close to the Milky Way. The low-density, extremely old galaxy, now dubbed Antlia 2, is massive but until now has gone completely undetected, despite being – in cosmological terms – right on our doorstep. Actually, however, perhaps “right outside the back door” is a more apt description. In a paper published on the pre-print […] See more

Published 2 months ago. Author: Andrew Masterson from Cosmos Magazine
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Loss of animal or plant species to climate change causes global ‘extinction domino effect’

Impact of co-extinctions between species is not to be underestimated in the face of environmental catastrophe. New research reveals the extinction of plant or animal species from extreme environmental change increases the risk of an “extinction domino effect” that could annihilate all life on Earth. This would be the worst-case scenario of what scientists call ‘co-extinctions’, where an organism dies out because it depends on another doomed species, with the findings published today in the […] See more

Published 2 months ago. Author: News Desk from Flinders University
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