biology

Scientists discover new DNA structure called i-motif

Scientists discover new DNA structure called i-motif

Scientists have discovered a new DNA structure that is inside human cells and have dubbed the structure "i-motif." I-motif resembles a twisted knot of DNA rather than the double helix were all learned about in school. This type of DNA had been suggested by previous lab work, but this is the first time that i-motif has been directly observed in living cells.

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Life on Venus could flourish – tiny but hardy – in the clouds

Life on Venus could flourish – tiny but hardy – in the clouds

Extraterrestrial life could be closer than we think, flourishing in the clouds around Venus, though think along the lines of microbes rather than little green men. The possibility of Venus' clouds being habitable was first raised back in the 60s, with subsequent probes dispatched to the planet confirming that the idea wasn't entirely improbable.

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Spiders eat twice as much as humans annually

Spiders eat twice as much as humans annually

If the title didn’t give it away, this piece is not for the squeamish or faint of heart. Sure, we won’t be talking gory details, but spiders have the unfortunate reputation of being one of the most feared or hated critters on the planet. And now scientists have just given haters even more ammo. According to research, which admittedly involves a lot of estimating, spiders eat somewhere between 400 to 800 million tons of prey a year. Which is pretty big considering there are believed to be only 25 million tons’ worth of spiders on the planet.

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This “fish-scale” lizard sheds its scale to escape

This “fish-scale” lizard sheds its scale to escape

Lizards are quite famous for their ability to voluntarily cut off and sacrifice their tail in order to escape with their lives. But for some types of lizards, that isn't the only thing they can shed. A specific genus named Geckolepis, endemic to Madagascar and the Comoro archipelago, also known as "fish-scale geckos", can also quickly remove their scales if needed, making them not only harder to capture but also harder to study. Which makes the classification of a new Geckolepis megalepis an even bigger accomplishment than it sounds.

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Frog saliva can be like water, then honey, then water again

Frog saliva can be like water, then honey, then water again

Frogs, among their other amphibious relatives, are popular, or notorious, for their rapid tongues that can seem to catch and hold on to any unwitting victim. But if you think its secret weapon is its tongue, you’d only be half right. Working secretly and almost invisibly is the frog’s reversible saliva. “Reversible” because it can switch from watery fluid to viscous honey-like liquid and back to watery form in a blink of an eye. And that is actually the secret of what makes frogs’ tongues so sticky.

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Many primates face impending extinction, and humans are to blame

Many primates face impending extinction, and humans are to blame

We're learning today that things are looking grim for many species of nonhuman primates. A new report published in Science Advances says that more than half of primate species are facing extinction, and even more are experiencing declining populations. The report also pegs humans as the cause of the troubles our closest biological relatives are facing, which at this point may not come as much of a surprise.

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Humans have a new organ and it’s been there for ages

Humans have a new organ and it’s been there for ages

You’d think that, by now, scientists would have gotten every body part identified and classified. But as the eternal mystery of the appendix proves, there are still parts of our body we have failed to grasp. Take for example the news that we have a new organ. No, we didn’t grow one over the decades as part of evolution (though some would wish we indeed grew more hands or arms). No, we’ve had the mesentery for as long as we had intestines, but it’s only now that it’s being raised to the status of “organ” from “anonymous tissue structure”.

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Rare dinosaur egg embryo hints at 6-month incubation times

Rare dinosaur egg embryo hints at 6-month incubation times

The popular image of dinosaurs is that of giant lizards. After all, that's where their name came from. Science, however, paints us a different and more complicated story. They were warm-blooded, unlike reptiles and some were actually closer to birds than lizards, having feathers and wings. There were, however, nonavian dinosaurs that were indeed closer to crocodiles than chicken. And these, according to scientists, laid eggs that took 6 months or more to hatch, which, in a sad way, helped bring about their extinction.

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Ultra rare “ghost shark” captured on film for first time

Ultra rare “ghost shark” captured on film for first time

Sharks like hammerheads or great whites might usually enjoy the most time in the limelight, but this past weekend, all eyes have been on the mysterious "ghost shark." While not technically a shark - National Geographic points out that these fish are relatives of sharks and rays - and most certainly not a ghost, Hydrolagus trolli is still making quite the splash. That's because this is the first time one has been captured alive on film, in its natural habitat.

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Scientists unearth fossilized tumor that’s 255-million-years-old

Scientists unearth fossilized tumor that’s 255-million-years-old

Scientists find neat things hiding in fossils all the time, but today they're sharing the discovery of a fossilized tumor that has them particularly excited. Why the fuss over a fossilized tumor? For starters, this tumor clocks in at an astounding 255-million-years-old.

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New study shows cloned sheep are living long lives with few health problems

New study shows cloned sheep are living long lives with few health problems

Those of you who survived the roarin' 1990s will almost certainly remember Dolly the Sheep, who was created from a single adult cell that was combined with an egg cell that had been stripped of its DNA. In other words, Dolly was a clone. Dolly was all over the news when she was born in 1996, but soon after, she started to suffer from health problems, with many people assuming that she was facing these issues because she was a clone.

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“Cyborg rose” gives a whole new meaning to flower power

“Cyborg rose” gives a whole new meaning to flower power

Forget about vicious, man killing humanoid cyborgs of the future. We might have more peaceful, more beneficial cyborg plants sooner. Researchers at Sweden's Linkoping University have successfully introduced circuitry into a rose's vascular system, opening the doors to new ways to study plants' biological systems as well as possibly derive energy from them as well. Soon, the term "power plant" might have a literal meaning, allowing humans to derive electrical power from an, again almost literal, green energy source. Thankfully, there's less chance to turn these cyborg plants into weapons of destruction.

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