By Sharon Begley NEW YORK (Reuters) – Scientists have moved a step closer to the goal of creating stem cells perfectly matched to a patient’s DNA in order to treat diseases, they announced on Thursday, creating patient-specific cell lines out of the skin cells of two adult men. The advance, described online in the journal Cell Stem Cell, is the first time researchers have achieved “therapeutic cloning” of adults. Technically called somatic-cell nuclear transfer, therapeutic cloning means producing embryonic cells genetically identical to a donor, usually for the purpose of using those cells to treat disease. But nuclear transfer is also the first step in reproductive cloning, or producing a genetic duplicate of someone – a technique that has sparked controversy since the 1997 announcement that it was used to create Dolly, the clone of a ewe. …read more
A magnitude-4.9 earthquake in central Idaho on Saturday (April 12) was the biggest of three weeks of small to moderate temblors that have unnerved residents in this remote region of the Northwest. Seismologists are now installing at least three portable earthquake-monitoring instruments near the town of Challis to better understand the cause of the seismic swarm. While small earthquakes are common in Idaho, the swarm is not far from the epicenter of the state’s largest quake, the magnitude-6.9 Borah Peak earthquake in 1983. The seismometers will help scientists better pinpoint the location and depth of future earthquakes, said Katherine Whidden, a seismologist with the University of Utah Seismograph Stations network, which is adding the new instruments.
The fruit-eating bats belong to the Sturnira genus. They can grow to be 0.5 to 3 ounces (14 to 85 grams) in size and live in tropical and montane forests from Mexico to northern Argentina. The creatures get their colloquial name from the males’ shoulder glands, or epaulettes, which have a yellowish tint and give off a fragrant scent, said Bruce Patterson, curator of mammals at The Field Museum in Chicago. “It’s vaguely sweet and well-balanced and invites a deeper sniff,” Patterson told Live Science in an email.
A distant group of hot, young stars cause a cloud of hydrogen gas to glow a rosy red 7,300 light-years from Earth in the latest amazing view from a telescope in Chile. Called Gum 41, the cloud stars in a new photo released by the European Southern Observatory today (April 16). Radiation emitted by the newborn stars near the middle of the image gives the hydrogen a rosy glow, ESO officials said. “In this picture of Gum 41, the clouds appear to be quite thick and bright, but this is actually misleading,” ESO officials said in a statement.
Herbs and other dietary supplements besides vitamins are the most commonly used type of “complementary medicine” (also called alternative medicine) in the United States, followed by visits to chiropractors, yoga and massage, a new report finds. In 2012, nearly 18 percent of American adults said they took herbs or other supplements that were not vitamins and minerals. Other types of complementary medicine were less common: 8.5 percent said they were treated by a chiropractor or osteopathic physician, 8.4 percent said they did yoga, 6.8 percent said they had a massage and 4.1 percent said they meditated. People in the West and Midwest used complementary medicine more commonly than people in other regions, according to the report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. …read more
On March 26, researchers announced the discovery of 2012 VP133, an estimated 280-mile wide (450-kilometer) object that lies just beyond the Kuiper Belt of icy objects that swarm outside of Neptune’s orbit. The new object is nicknamed “Biden” after the vice-president of the United States, because both Joe Biden and 2012 VP133 are “VPs.” It is one of only two dwarf planets discovered beyond the Kuiper Belt, with Sedna (a decade ago) being the other one. Mapping tiny worlds at the Solar System’s edge could one day show scientists how life arose on Earth. Are the possible organics —which show up as ultra-red material in telescopes — a possible source for life on Earth?
By Warren Strobel and Andrea Shalal TAMPA/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. intelligence community has thrown its support behind a bid by commercial space imagery provider DigitalGlobe Inc to sell higher resolution images from its satellites, the leading U.S. intelligence official said Tuesday. DigitalGlobe has pressed the government for years to allow it to sell such imagery but U.S. government agencies worried that giving public access to them could undermine the intelligence advantage they have from even higher resolution satellite images. The green light from the U.S. intelligence community follows rapid advances by non-U.S. space imagery companies that have raised concerns DigitalGlobe could lose market share if it is not allowed to compete on high resolution images. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told an industry conference that U.S. intelligence agencies had agreed to allow commercial providers to sell higher resolution imagery but that the decision still needed approval by other agencies.
The moon took on an eerie blood-red hue early Tuesday during the first total lunar eclipse of 2014, a celestial sight that wowed potentially millions of stargazers across North and South America. The total lunar eclipse of April 15 lasted about 3.5 hours between late Monday and early Tuesday, with the Earth’s shadow slowing darkening the face of the so-called “Blood Moon” in a jaw-dropping sight for stargazers willing to stay up extra late or rise super-early for the event. The lunar eclipse peaked at 3 a.m. EDT (0700 GMT), with the moon taking 78 minutes to pass through the darkest point of Earth’s shadow. Astronomer Bob Berman, who hosted a live lunar eclipse webcast for the Slooh community telescope using views from Arizona’s Prescott Observatory, said event was also one for the record books because of another bright object in the predawn sky.
The lunar eclipse will unfold over three hours beginning at 1:58 a.m. EDT when the moon begins moving into Earth’s shadow. Eclipses occurs two or three times per year when the sun, Earth and the full moon line up so that the moon passes through Earth’s shadow. Tuesday’s eclipse will be the last full lunar eclipse visible from the United States until 2019, NASA said. Weather permitting, the eclipse will be visible from most of the country, with the exception of New England and Alaska. …read more
Pollution from China’s coal-burning power plants is pumping up winter storms over the northwest Pacific Ocean and changing North America’s weather, a new study finds. Northwest Pacific winter storms are now 10 percent stronger than they were 30 years ago, before Asian countries began their industrial boom, according to research published today (April 14) in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. North America will be hardest hit by the intensifying storms, which move from west to east, said lead study author Yuan Wang, an atmospheric scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. “The increasing pollution in Asian countries is not just a local problem, it can affect other parts of the world,” Wang told Live Science.
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