Latest Science


Extremophile survival secret could hold clues for disease treatments

RNA holds the key to Haloferax volcanii’s ability to cope with extreme heat. The discovery of the mechanism by which a species of extremophile deals with the consequences of heat, aridity and hyper-salinity reveals a connection with how the human body responds to cardiovascular and neurodegenerative disease threats. Research led by biologist Diego Rivera Gelsinger of Johns Hopkins University in Maryland in the US shows that the extremophile – a species of archaean called Haloferax volcanii […] See more

Published 1 year ago. Author: Andrew Masterson from Australia's Science Channel
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Lack of oxygen brings pore outcome for grapes

Wine grapes can suffocate while still ripening on the vine, causing them to die and sending vineyard harvests into freefall. The ability of grapes to absorb enough oxygen to survive varies between strains, new research has found, suggesting winemakers should adopt new strategies to match changing climates. The research, led by Stephen Tyerman from the University of Adelaide, used tiny probes to discover that cell death inside grapes is caused by lack of oxygen. In […] See more

Published 1 year ago. Author: Andrew Masterson from Australia's Science Channel
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Space pic of the week: The swirling clouds of Jupiter

Swirling cloud formations in the northern area of Jupiter’s north temperate belt have been photographed by NASA’s Juno spacecraft. This colour-enhanced image was taken on Wednesday 7 February at 1:42pm UTC, as Juno performed its eleventh close fly-by of Jupiter. At the time the image was taken, the spacecraft was about 8,186 kilometres from the tops of the clouds of the planet at a latitude of 39.9 degrees. Citizen scientist Kevin M. Gill processed this […] See more

Published 1 year ago. Author: Ben Lewis from Australia's Science Channel
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Silence around stillbirth a major issue for bereaved parents

New research has uncovered the biggest obstacle facing bereaved parents after losing a child at birth – the silent treatment and stigma surrounding stillbirth. Four years ago, University of South Australia PhD candidate Danielle Pollock gave birth to her first child, Sofia. Sofia was a perfectly normal baby but for some reason her heart stopped beating two days before she was born. “I got to kiss her, hold her, sing to her and tell her I […] See more

Published 1 year ago. Author: Candy Gibson from University of South Australia
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Winning the game of Faculty

Australia’s chief scientist Alan Finkel ponders the high stakes our universities play as they invent the modern world. I recently came across a board game called Power Grid. It’s like Monopoly for electricity: each player represents an energy company that bids for power plants, and then competes to supply the market. You win if you connect the most cities. Before you ask: yes, this board game was designed by Germans. It’s sold hundreds of thousands […] See more

Published 1 year ago. Author: Alan Finkel

Redefining type 2 diabetes sweetens future treatment

Researchers propose five new categories for adult-onset diabetes. Diabetes is currently categorised as type 1 or type 2. Type 2 diabetes is also known as adult-onset diabetes. But researchers now say that type 2 diabetes can be further categorised into five distinct variations. The majority of patients with diabetes (75-85%) have type 2. But current treatment plans usually fail to stop progression of the disease and prevent chronic complications. Redefining type 2 diabetes The new […] See more

Published 1 year ago. Author: Kelly Wong from Australia's Science Channel
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Scientists build a massive family tree to tell the story of humanity

Using crowdsourced data from a genealogy website, scientists have linked 13 million people through history. Your Christmas lunch is about to get a whole lot more crowded. Scientists have created the largest “family tree,” made up of 13 million people linked through time. What it reveals is amazing, tracking over 500 years of marriage and migration in Europe and North America to expose the impact of human culture and the spread of genes around the world. […] See more

Published 1 year ago. Author: Ben Lewis from Australia's Science Channel
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Making private browsing secure

Veil, an incognito web browser system, will turn your private browser truly private and prevent snoopers. Contrary to what you might think, the “private browser” setting on your web browser isn’t actually private. You might think it is no longer recording your browsing history, but data accessed during private browsing sessions can still end up stored away in your computer’s memory, retrievable by motivated hackers. This little known vulnerability has been tackled by a group […] See more

Published 1 year ago. Author: Ben Lewis from Australia's Science Channel

A new signal from the very beginning of the universe

Astronomers have detected signals from what could be some of the first stars ever created, and these signals may tell us more about the nature of dark matter. Astronomers have potentially just answered one of the big questions about the birth of the universe. They’ve detected some of the first light from some of the first stars ever to form. And not only that, they could have revealed some of the mysteries of dark matter […] See more

Published 1 year ago. Author: Ben Lewis from Australia's Science Channel
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Microbes in cows' stomachs may hold keys to biofuel production

Industry and agriculture are lined up to benefit from new research into cattle’s digestive systems. More than 900 strains of microbe have been identified living inside the stomachs of cows, providing new insight into how the animals convert plant tissue into muscle and milk. The findings of a new study will assist researchers in discovering ways to improve the digestive efficiency and health of cattle. They may also provide clues for new methods of biofuel […] See more

Published 1 year ago. Author: Andrew Masterson from Australia's Science Channel
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The surprisingly complex social lives of sleepy lizards

A longstanding study seeks to understand the connections between climate, lizard movements and parasites. Biological Sciences at Flinders University continues longstanding research projects that are identifying surprising animal behaviour traits. Associate Professor Mike Gardner leads a social behaviour study of sleepy lizards that has continued over 35 years and addresses fundamental biological questions of animal migration, social behaviours, networking and health issues. This detailed research has unlocked a hidden world of knowledge about animals and […] See more

Published 1 year ago. Author: News Desk from Flinders University
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Childhood and adult cancers are different – and that's good news for children

Using genomics to create tailored treatments for childhood cancers. Childhood cancers have lower mutation rates and are often driven by a mutation on a single gene specific to a certain disease. Adult cancers, on the other hand, have higher mutation rates, multiple mutations driving the cancer, and mutations shared across cancer types. These findings were made over two studies, one in which the researchers investigated 24 different types of cancer in 914 young people, and […] See more

Published 1 year ago. Author: Casey Harrigan from Australia's Science Channel
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Science can help save 15 million people from mercury poisoning

The deadly heavy metal is taking its toll on health in the poorest countries of Asia. But Australian chemists have cheap, effective solutions.   Mercury poisoning through artisanal and small-scale gold mining is increasing – with critical health dangers affecting more than 15 million people a year. Award-winning South Australian scientist Dr Justin Chalker, Senior Lecturer in Synthetic Chemistry at Flinders University, believes that chemists can provide cheap and effective solutions to curb the damage. […] See more

Published 1 year ago. Author: News Desk from Flinders University
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The Check Up - medicine, music and sleep

The Check Up is a weekly feature highlighting some of the best, most fascinating, most important, or simply unmissable health, medical, and human stories from around the web. Meet Dr Palipana This profile of quadriplegic doctor Dinesh Palipana is fascinating, but I hope in the future it’s not newsworthy for people with disabilities to be excelling in the career of their choice. Halfway through his medical studies, Dr Palipana was in a serious car crash that left him […] See more

Published 1 year ago. Author: Casey Harrigan from Australia's Science Channel
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Fracking does cause earthquakes – but you can avoid them

It’s all a question of how far you stay away from faults – and the answer is remarkably specific. From the start of this century, something odd started happening in the United States. In the middle of the North American continent, large areas of land long considered to be geologically stable began to experience earthquakes. Most were small enough to be missed by residents and were recorded only by seismologists. Others, however, came it at […] See more

Published 1 year ago. Author: Andrew Masterson from Australia's Science Channel
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Watch and wait could be best option for cervical lesions

Younger women may be better off having regular monitoring rather than immediate treatment according to a new study. Traditional pap smear tests look for abnormal cellular growth on the cervix.  These lesions are not cancer yet, and are called cervical intra-epithelial neoplasia (CIN) and are graded 1, 2 or 3 according to the severity of change.  CIN cells can progress towards cancer, but can also return to normal (regress), or remain the same. Currently, detection […] See more

Published 1 year ago. Author: Lisa Bailey from Australia's Science Channel
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Tiny birds go the same way as the dodo

Scientists have identified the fossilised bones of two new species of flightless birds of a miniscule scale. It often seems like all the pre-historic animals were huge. There was the dinosaurs, of course, but also  megafauna – giant wombats weighing two tonnes or more and three-metre tall kangaroos. There were even ancient giant penguins or the famous huge flightless Moa of New Zealand. But not all birds were giants. New research examining fossils from the area that […] See more

Published 1 year ago. Author: Lisa Bailey from Flinders University
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Chimps and bonobos find a common language

It seems chimpanzees and bonobos have a lot more in common than just looks and genes. They use many similar gestures during grooming and usually mean the same thing when they use them. An international team has painstakingly defined the meaning of 33 bonobo gesture types and compared them with known chimpanzee gesture meanings. The overlap was quite substantial and, according to lead author Dr Kirsty Graham from the University of York, “may indicate that […] See more

Published 1 year ago. Author: Nick Carne from Australia's Science Channel
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Life is out there… maybe

The search for extra-terrestrial life has had a boost, with two new papers finding life is able to exist on Mars and Enceladus In the ongoing search for extra-terrestrial life, researchers keep looking towards Enceladus – the icy moon of Saturn – and Mars. This is for a good reason, both planets have conditions which are thought to be able to support life. Adding weight to this search is two papers released this week which […] See more

Published 1 year ago. Author: Ben Lewis from Australia's Science Channel
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Long-term depression changes your brain

Discovery of raised inflammation could lead to new treatments. People with longer periods of untreated depression over a decade had significantly more brain inflammation compared to those who had less than 10 years of untreated depression. It suggests that depression may be progressive, rather than a static condition. Despite depression not being a neurodegenerative disease, it draws parallels with degenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease which are associated with brain inflammation and […] See more

Published 1 year ago. Author: Kelly Wong from Australia's Science Channel
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Secrets of super sorghum revealed

A super-fertile strain of sorghum produced accidentally in 2013 has now been fully sequenced, revealing the secret of how it doubles seed-production. Sorghum (Sorghum bicolor) is a critically important cereal crop used for human and animal feed around the world. Its seeds are produced in clusters along multi-branched structures at the top of each stem. However, in its natural state, each structure produces two types of flowers – sessile spikelets (SS) and pedicellate spikelets (PS) […] See more

Published 1 year ago. Author: Bill Condie from Australia's Science Channel
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Opportunity’s 5,000 sols on Mars

It’s the Mars rover that just won’t quit – Opportunity has clocked up 5,000 Martian days exploring the red planet. And it’s still serving up surprises. On Saturday 17 February, the NASA-operated rover Opportunity awoke to its 5000th sol, or Martian day, on Mars. But rather than celebrating, the dependable rover just kept plugging away on its scientific mission. Each sol, a Martian day, is slightly longer than Earth’s at around 24 hours and 40 […] See more

Published 1 year ago. Author: David Gozzard from The International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research
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We're living in the aftermath of a galactic tidal wave

An ancient fly-by of our Milky Way by a neighbour may have warped our galaxy into a huge galactic wave, scattering stars 14,000 light years above and below the disc, according to new observations. It looks like our galaxy had a more violent past than previously thought. The location of two collections of stars, A13 and TriAnd, have been a long-running mystery for astronomers studying the structure of the Milky Way. One previous model suggested […] See more

Published 1 year ago. Author: Alan Duffy from Australia's Science Channel
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The caterpillar that learnt to whistle

When is a caterpillar like a kettle? It sounds like a Christmas cracker joke, but it isn’t, especially in the case of the Nessus sphinx hawkmoth. The moth species (Amphion floridensis) is common in the eastern regions of the United States and Canada, and because they are active during the day the adults are a familiar sight in fields and suburbs alike. The caterpillars, however, are less visible, at least to humans, being a dull […] See more

Published 1 year ago. Author: Andrew Masterson from Australia's Science Channel
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Scientists map the elephant's genetic family tree

An international team of researchers has finally worked out the evolutionary relationships of elephants and their ancestors. The researchers analysed 14 complete elephant genomes, from the three modern species of elephants, and 11 extinct species including mastadons, woolly mammoths, Columbian mammoths and the largest elephant ever to walk the earth – Palaeoloxodon which lived about 120,000 years ago. Ancient elephants interbred with each other “Elephants and their ancient relatives like the woolly mammoths and mastodons […] See more

Published 1 year ago. Author: Lisa Bailey from Australia's Science Channel
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