Tweaking the genes of mosquitoes that can carry disease can sometimes transform those blood suckers into weapons that fight disease. This is the finding of a new study in Brazil.
Dengue (DEN-gay) fever is a viral disease spread by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. This potentially life-threatening infectious disease causes high fevers, headaches, pain and sometimes mild to severe bleeding....Readability Score: 8.1
Scientists have just uncovered a gene that explains an example of natural selection often mentioned in textbooks. This gene turns mottled-grey peppered moths black. The gene may also control wing-color changes in brightly hued butterflies.
A mystery emerged in Britain during the 1800s. An Industrial Revolution had just taken hold. Busy factories started to darken the skies with smoke...Readability Score: 7.2
Dogs were such great friends that humans appear to have domesticated them at least twice, a new study suggests.
Domestication (Doh-MES-ti-KAY-shun) is the gradual process by which humans can produce a tame and useful animal from a wild one. This happens over countless generations. It may take thousands of years, but eventually the tamed animals can become so different from their wild...Readability Score: 6.7
Anna Savage hikes through a Florida swamp looking for frogs. She spots a shiny black critter hopping in the swamp grass. It’s a tiny cricket frog, no bigger than a bug. She’s hunting a killer infection — and the few frogs able to survive it.
Learning what makes these frogs special could hold a key to managing the fungal scourge.
Savage is a frog biologist at the University of...Readability Score: 7.1
Unlike people in the rest of world, some modern-day Pacific Islanders have inherited genes from two different groups of Stone Age relatives. That’s the conclusion of new research. And the ancient DNA they carry still affects their health and well-being — in a good way.
Melanesians live in a group of islands northeast of Papua New Guinea. Their ancestors mated with Neandertals, the new...Readability Score: 8.5
What are the fewest genes needed to sustain life? To test that, scientists started with a microbe having one of the smallest known genomes — or entire sets of genetic instructions. Then scientists figured out the magic minimum for this microbe, which was 473 genes. By whittling down the genes to this number, scientists learned a lot about biology. But there is still much to discover....Readability Score: 6.4
Many people frown at the thought of fattening up. But fats can be useful because they store energy. And new research finds that having extra fat might be good — for yeast, at least. Their “fat” cells can outlive lean ones.
For now, it’s unclear what these results mean for people — or even simpler organisms such as worms and flies.
Yeast consist of only a single cell. Still, the...Readability Score: 7.0
Humans and Neandertals may have hooked up much earlier than previously thought.
Neandertals — Homo neanderthalensis — are ancient members of the human family tree. New evidence has just turned up early ancestors of humans in Africa mated with Neandertals about 110,000 years ago. The clue to that mixing is in the DNA of a Neandertal woman in Siberia, Russia.
Many humans today carry...Readability Score: 7.6
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, more U.S. teens vape than smoke. Many of those teens may have assumed that electronic cigarettes are a safe, high-tech alternative to tobacco. And it’s true that e-cigs don’t emit many of the 7,000 chemicals found in tobacco smoke. Still, teens are fooling themselves if they think vaping is harmless, scientists reported February 11 and 12 at a major science meeting....Readability Score: 8.4
Coughs, fevers and green mucus can accompany a respiratory infection. Most of the time, doctors can only guess whether bacteria or viruses were responsible. A new study now points out a new way to identify the perp.
An infection changes the actions of the sick person’s genes. And that response differs depending on whether bacteria or viruses are doing the damage, scientists now report....Readability Score: 7.7