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Malaysian biologist named head of U.N. biodiversity panel

A prominent Malaysian biologist on Saturday was named first chief of a UN scientific panel which aims to turn the world’s spotlight on species loss, as a Nobel-winning counterpart has done for climate change. In their first plenary meeting, members of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, or…

Leprosy: an ancient disease thrives in 21st century

It has been called the world’s oldest recorded disease, an evil that humans have known for more than 3,500 years, as papyri from ancient Egypt testify. Yet drugs to cure leprosy are cheap, plentiful and effective. So why is this biblical curse still around? Doctors speaking ahead of World Leprosy…

One-third of fish caught in English Channel have plastic contamination

Fish were found to contain small pieces of plastic known as ‘microbeads’, in a study of 10 species One-third of fish caught off the south-west coast of England have traces of plastic contamination from sources including sanitary products and carrier bags, scientists have found. The Plymouth University study, published in…

Earth’s species may not be vanishing as fast as previously believed

Mass extinction? Man may still have time to catalog Earth's species. For years, ecologists and biologists have warned that the planet is sliding into a mass extinction event comparable to the one that did in the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. But Earth’s species may not be vanishing as fast…

More than 1 in 5 infected with H1N1 virus worldwide during 2009-10 flu season

More than a fifth of the world’s population was infected by the H1N1 virus in the 2009-2010 flu pandemic, according to new estimates released on Friday. The study confirms warnings that so-called swine flu was highly contagious. It also estimates that the flu’s lethality — as previously reported — was…

Dung beetles use Milky Way light to guide them

Dung beetles use light from the Milky Way to roll their balls of precious dung out of the way of competitors, scientists reported on Friday. Even though they have just a tiny brain and weak eyes, the beetles use the progressive gradient of light in the skies, provided by the…

Study of new mutations may show how cancers grow

Scientists have discovered two new genetic mutations that occur together in 71 percent of malignant melanoma tumors, an aggressive and deadly cancer of the skin, a study said. The mutations, detected in a part of the cancer genome that controls genes but not in the genes themselves, could aid understanding…

Researchers: Pesticides causing dramatic die-off in frog population worldwide

A plunge in the world’s population of frogs and toads may be blamed, at least in part, on farm pesticides, researchers in Germany said on Thursday. Tests of fungicides and insecticides, when used at recommended dilutions, killed 40 percent of frogs after seven days, and in one case, 100 percent…

Breakthrough: High pressure oxygen chambers repair ‘significant’ stroke damage

If you or someone you love have suffered a stroke and been forced into disability, a new breakthrough made by doctors at Tel Aviv University appears to offer hope for a “significant” level of recovery in the near future. Clinical trials conducted by Dr. Shai Efrati found that sitting inside…

Genetic analysis reveals how wolves evolved into dogs

Genetic sequencing of wolves and domesticated dogs has revealed a key insight into how that evolutionary change happened, finding that it has to do more with human diets than previously expected. To many dog owners, it probably won’t come as a surprise that food motivation has been a key driver…

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