Latest Science


All-female Amazon molly is asexual and thriving

The rare fish is active, travels widely and, according to a recent study, is in remarkably good health. The Amazon molly is clearly thriving despite opting for a life without sex. The finding by a team from Washington University St Louis is surprising given that asexual reproduction is assumed to cause genomes to decay. However, when the researchers sequenced the Amazon molly’s genome they found few harmful mutations, little genetic decay and a high degree […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Bill Condie from Australia's Science Channel
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Soil proves rich source of new antibiotics

A new class of powerful antibiotics has been discovered in soil samples, which will soon provide doctors with much-needed new weapons to combat drug-resistant infections. The new class of antibiotics, called malactins, has also revived interest in the medical uses of so called “natural products” made by bacteria – historically where most clinically useful antibiotics have been found. But the strategy of drawing solutions from bacteria themselves has been largely abandoned during the past few […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Andrew Masterson from Australia's Science Channel

Spiders win gold in fastest spin competition

It’s the result we’ve all been waiting for – the gold medal for Fastest Leg-driven Turning Maneuver Of Any Terrestrial Animal (aka fastest spin) goes to the spider family Selenopidae. Researchers have just described how these creepy crawlies (commonly known as flattie spiders or wall spiders, and found in the Americas, Africa, Asia and Australia) can turn to strike their prey at speeds of up to 3000 degrees per second. In the literal blink of […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Casey Harrigan from Australia's Science Channel
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Measles vaccine has wider mortality benefits

Researchers find that timely administration of the measles vaccine after DTP3 vaccination can decrease mortality by up to 28 per cent, showing that the vaccine has profound effects beyond preventing measles. This is the largest study to date into a low or middle-income country. The researchers were particularly interested in the order in which childhood vaccines are given, and that the vaccination courses are fully completed. It was already known that child mortality is lower […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Casey Harrigan from Australia's Science Channel
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HIV prevention drug PrEP to be subsidised in Australia

The revolutionary HIV medication is up to 99% effective against the spread of the virus. The Australian government is to subsidise pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP through its Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. The oral medication, taken daily, dramatically reduces the chances of being infected with the HIV virus for those who are HIV-negative but at high risk. Unsubsidised, Truvada, the commercial name for PrEP, costs up to $10,000 a year. With government support, the cost falls to less […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Kelly Wong from Australia's Science Channel
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Lasers search for cyanide in food plants

Some common food plants contain potentially lethal doses of cyanide. A team led by scientists at Monash University in Melbourne has found a way to improve food safety. It’s long been known that many types of plants that feature heavily in foods around the world contain sometimes significant amounts of the deadly poison. Cassava, for instance, is a tuberous shrub that underpins the diet of an estimated half a billion people, mostly in South America. […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Andrew Masterson from Australia's Science Channel

The 10 best photographs from the SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch

SpaceX launched their Falcon Heavy rocket, complete with Tesla roadster and Starman payload, watched by an audience of millions around the world. Here are the 10 best photographs from the launch. No event since the Apollo missions to the Moon has made so many people as excited about space as the SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch this week. Livestreamed around the world, millions of people watched as Falcon Heavy lifted off from launchpad LC-39A at Cape […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Ben Lewis from Australia's Science Channel
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The beauty myth puts big users of social media at risk of low self-esteem

Poor body image linked to how often you log on to social networking sites, research shows. From movies to magazines, traditional media has long been criticised for perpetuating unrealistic beauty standards—thin ideals that generate low self-esteem among women and girls. In a new meta-analysis study from the University of South Australia, researchers have discovered a link between increased use of social networking sites and the internalisation of the thin ideal—the degree to which women strive […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Annabel Mansfield from University of South Australia
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Praying mantis 3D vision gets moving

The praying mantis has unique 3D vision abilities – we know that because scientists stuck 3D glasses on them. Praying mantises are the only insects with stereoscopic vision, which means they can perceive depth and three-dimensional structure. Humans also have this type of vision, and ours works by comparing the tiny differences in the images we receive in our right and left eyes. Mantises, though, compare the differences in movement between their eyes. This means […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Casey Harrigan from Australia's Science Channel

Magnesium back in the game in the search for a better battery

Safer, cheaper batteries with higher density of energy storage move a step closer. Despite being considered to have a number of advantages over lithium-ion (Li-on) technology, magnesium has been sidelined by a variety of problems, primarily the lack of a suitable cathode or positive electrode – the part of a battery where the magnesium ions enter during discharge of the battery to power an electronic device and then exit during charging. However, a redesigned form […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Bill Condie from Australia's Science Channel

Fear pathway in the brain means you can't totally erase traumatic memory

Researchers have discovered a new pathway in the brain that regulates the return of traumatic memories and fear. Dr Roger Marek and Professor Pankaj Sah from the Queensland Brain Institute say their finding has potential implications for treating trauma-related disorders, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). “A common approach of cognitive-behavioural therapies to treat patients with trauma-related disorders such as PTSD is often done using exposure therapy, which is based on an experimental paradigm known as […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Nick Carne from Australia's Science Channel
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Positive thinking staves off dementia, and social interaction improves well-being in dementia patients

Attitudes towards aging could impact your risk of dementia. Study into attitudes towards ageing and dementia development Researchers studied more than 4,000 people over four years to see if there is a link between culturally developed attitudes towards aging and developing dementia. Of the 4,765 subjects, 26 per cent were carriers of a gene variant which is well established as a high-risk factor for dementia, called APOE E4. (Of people who carry the E4 gene variant, 47 […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Casey Harrigan from Australia's Science Channel
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Finally we know where citrus fruit came from

Aussie fruit are late bloomers, genomic study discovers. The geographical origins of citrus fruit have been unclear until now – but genomics has changed all that. Their evolution began in Asia, but it took the fruit four million years to make the relatively small jump from there to Australia, researchers have found. The study also throws light on the domestication of the fruit from the the pure pomelo, or pummelo, that is one of the original citrus species. […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Kelly Wong from Australia's Science Channel
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Smarter magpies live in bigger groups

If you see a large group of magpies, you can guarantee they’re pretty clever. Researchers from have found that wild magpies who live in big groups are smarter than ones living in small groups, and that smarter females have more chicks. They tested 14 groups of birds ranging from 3 to 12 members – 56 birds in total. The birds were wild but tagged with coloured bands, making them easily identifiable and trackable. The scientists […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Casey Harrigan from Australia's Science Channel
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The Check Up - thunderstorm asthma, beach therapy, and body hacking

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. Cancer research funding Here’s a thorny question for you – if you had a million bucks to fund cancer research, would you put it towards a type of cancer that is very common but already highly funded, or towards a type of cancer that’s rare but underfunded? That’s the sort […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Casey Harrigan from Australia's Science Channel
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Sharks inspire aero engineering of the future

The way sharks move through water may help us design better planes, drones and wind turbines. A shark’s body allows it to move efficiently and almost effortlessly through water. That’s not great news if you’re in the water nearby at the time, but it has provided inspiration for a group of researchers interested in making things move more efficiently in the air. The key lies is the thousands and thousands of small scales called denticles […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Nick Carne from Australia's Science Channel

Unravelling the inflammation mystery

Scientists have discovered the mechanism that turns on and off inflammation, with implications for treating chronic diseases such as Alzheimer’s and gout. Inflammation is a double-edged sword in the progress of many illnesses. At the onset of a disease, an inflammatory response by the body’s immune system is essential to ensure optimal pathogen-fighting as well as to protect the integrity of the central nervous system (CNS). However, in many diseases, such as Alzheimer’s or gout, […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Andrew Masterson from Australia's Science Channel
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Smaller cities will bear the brunt of effects of Artificial Intelligence

Towns and smaller cities will be most affected by the implementation of automation, according to a new study. Artificial Intelligence and robotics are coming, and they’re going to change the way we live. Understandably, this has caused worry about job losses, the impact on the economy, and how society itself will change. However, new research has shown that those changes will be felt differently depending on where you live. According to the findings, towns and […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Ben Lewis from Australia's Science Channel

Can modified gluten fix your damaged hair?

Wheat could hold the key to achieving shinier, more manageable hair. It may not sound too sexy in one of those ubiquitous TV shampoo commercial, but Chinese researchers  say modifying the natural glutens allows them to interact more effectively with dirt and oils in the hair, helps shampoos foam better, and could deal with the dreaded curse of split ends. And they have found a way to make the appropriate modification. By weight, human hair […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Nick Carne from Australia's Science Channel
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Antibiotic resistant organisms flourish in hospital pipes

Why we shouldn’t panic about the superbugs in hospitals’ plumbing. Researchers from the National Institutes of Health in the USA went looking for bacterial plasmids (antibiotic resistance-providing DNA rings) that would indicate resistance to a type of ‘last-resort’ antibiotics called carbapenems. While the majority of samples they collected from hospital pipes and sewers did contain carbapenem-resistant organisms, areas which staff and patients could access (including “high-touch” areas such as taps, doors, computers, and countertops) only […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Casey Harrigan from Australia's Science Channel
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Mass grave linked to Viking Great Army

A mass grave uncovered in the English East Midlands in the 1980s may indeed be as significant as archaeologists had first thought and hoped. During the initial excavations at Repton, in Derbyshire, everything pointed to the grave’s association with the Viking Great Army, but initial radiocarbon dating suggested otherwise. It revealed a mix of bones of different ages. However, new dating carried out by a team from the University of Bristol’s Department of Anthropology and […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Nick Carne
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Ozone continues to deplete

The ozone layer that shields us from damaging UV radiation is not recovering at lower latitudes, even though the hole over the Antarctic is healing, and scientists don’t really know why. The Montreal Protocol in 1987 was one of those rare times in human history where we saw a problem and came together to implement a global solution.  The problem was CFCs from aerosols and refrigerants that were chewing through atmospheric ozone.  The Montreal Protocol […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Lisa Bailey from Australia's Science Channel
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Everything you need to know about the SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch

Watch the most anticipated space launch of 2018. UPDATE: THE LAUNCH HAS BEEN RESCHEDULED FOR 7:45AM AEDT, WEDNESDAY 7 FEBRUARY. It’s the most anticipated launch of 2018 – today’s the day when SpaceX test launch their brand new Falcon Heavy rocket. You can watch the launch above, with the launch window opening at 5:30am AEDT, Wednesday 7 February. What is it? The Falcon Heavy could be a game-changer from SpaceX. It is essentially 3 of […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Ben Lewis from Australia's Science Channel
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Blue dye is the secret sauce in curing malaria

Adding just one ingredient to antimalarial drugs not only cures the patient in two days, but stops them from spreading the parasites to other people. A recent study has shown that the crucial addition for antimalarial drugs is a dye called methylene blue, which is commonly used in laboratories to tell the difference between dead and living cells. It’s safe for human use, and the only side effect is it turns your urine blue – […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Casey Harrigan from Australia's Science Channel
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Cancer risk increase in older people may be linked to an ageing immune system 

Do genetic mutations alone account for the rapid rise in cancer incidence with age? Most anti-cancer efforts across the world focus on genetic mutations as the cause, but age-related increases in cancer risk may actually be linked to the immune system, according to a new study. For decades it has been known that mutations arising as a result of genetic predisposition or lifestyle and environmental factors cause cancer and that the chance of developing most […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Nick Carne from Australia's Science Channel
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