Top stories: A poisonous poop cocktail, sexist peer review, and 3D printed implants

Ancient megadrought entombed dodos in poisonous fecal cocktail A new study suggests that about 4000 years ago, a prolonged drought on the island of Mauritius left native species, like dodo birds and giant tortoises, dead in a soup of poisonous algae and their own feces. Sexist peer revi...

Gut bacteria help turn animals into fossils

Philip Donoghue doesn’t eat a lot of shrimp anymore. It’s hard to blame him. As a paleobiologist at the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom, he’s been studying how brine shrimp (Artemia) decay in various environments—one of the “less sexy sides” of science, he laughs. But thanks...

Global research chiefs seek ways to foster serendipity

TOKYO—How can research funding agencies foster scientific breakthroughs? Funding agency heads tackled that question this week at the annual meeting of the Global Research Council (GRC) here. Their conclusion: Researchers need freedom and the flexibility that leads to serendipity, and th...

House committee approves bill on speeding medical innovation

A major congressional effort to spur medical innovation passed another milestone today when a House of Representatives committee signed off on the 21st Century Cures Act. The bill, developed by representatives Fred Upton (R–MI) and Diana DeGette (D–CO), revamps policies and provides new...

Podcast: A plant that finds diamonds, the evolution of pop music, and why Americans smile more than…

Can a particular plant lead prospectors to diamond deposits? Does pop music evolve like biological organisms? And why do some cultures smile more than others? Science‘s Online News Editor David Grimm chats about these stories and more with Science‘s Susanne Bard. Plus, Micha...

Researchers closer to engineering yeast that make morphine, spurring worries

The opium poppy may soon meet its match. Researchers in the United States and Canada report today that they are closing in on a long-standing goal of engineering a complex suite of genes into yeast that would allow the microbes to synthesize morphine, codeine, and other medicines that h...

Podcast: Nuclear annihilation, drunk chimpanzees, and more

How do animals recover from nuclear annihilation? Do chimpanzees seek out alcohol the same way we do? And how many viruses have you been exposed to throughout your life? Science‘s Online News Editor David Grimm chats about these stories and more with Science‘s Sarah Crespi. ...

Why some stars are born alone

A few lucky stars in spiral galaxies belong to beautiful clusters of young stars, but most roam the galaxy alone or with just a partner or two. Now, as astronomers will report in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, a star’s chances of being born in a cluster dep...

European Union rejects plea to end animal research

The European Commission has rejected a plea to abolish animal research across the European Union, saying that doing so would harm biomedical research. On 3 March, a so-called European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) signed by 1.17 million signatories formally urged the commission to sc...

Podcast: Cosmic rays, a feces cocktail, and a porcupine-eagle face-off

Can particles from space shed light on lightning on Earth? How did a “feces cocktail” kill dodos and giant tortoises thousands of years ago? And why are eagles getting stuck with porcupine quills? Science‘s Online News Editor David Grimm chats about these stories and more with Sci...
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