Science News

Gene variant for autism discovered

Gene variant for autism discoveredLondon, Apr 29 : In the world''s largest DNA scan for autism, US scientists have uncovered a new gene variant, called CDH10, which is highly common in children suffering from the disorder.

In partnership with 30 research institutions across the US, scientists scrutinized the activity of CDH10 and found that it is most active in key regions that support language, speech and interpreting social behaviour.

The two findings suggest that CDH10 plays a critical role in shaping the developing brain and may contribute to a prenatal risk of autism.

Comets may have provided key ingredients for life on Earth

Tel Aviv, April 29 : A new study by researchers at Tel Aviv University in Israel has suggested that comets might have provided the elements for the emergence of life on our planet.

While investigating the chemical make-up of comets, Professor Akiva Bar-Nun of the Department of Geophysics and Planetary Sciences at Tel Aviv University found they were the source of missing ingredients needed for life in Earth's ancient primordial soup.

"When comets slammed into the Earth through the atmosphere about four billion years ago, they delivered a payload of organic materials to the young Earth, adding materials that combined with Earth's own large reservoir of organics and led to the emergence of life," said Professor Bar-Nun.

Large sponges may be reattached to coral reefs using new technique

coral reefsWashington, April 28 : A new study has described a novel technique for reattaching large sponges that have been dislodged from coral reefs.

According to the study in Restoration Ecology, the findings could be generally applied to the restoration of other large sponge species removed by human activities or storm events.

As part of the study, 20 specimens of the Caribbean giant barrel sponge were removed and reattached at Conch Reef off of Key Largo, Florida in 2004 and 2005 at depths of 15m and 30m.

Stress gives reef fish wonky ears

Sydney, April 28 : A new Australian study has suggested that reef fish, which are stressing about environmental changes, are creating irregular offspring that have wonky ears.

According to a report by ABC News, the study shows a clear link between mothers producing the stress hormone cortisol, and the development of asymmetrical ears in the offspring of the common coral reef fish, Pomacentrus amboinensis.

Most animals produce the hormone cortisol as a response to stress. Reef fish typically produce it in response to an encounter with a predator.

"Cortisol is needed for development," said study lead author Dr Monica Gagliano of James Cook University in Townsville.

Scientists shed light on neural basis of reading

Scientists shed light on neural basis of readingWashington, Apr 28 : In a new study, researchers have shown that early brain activity could provide a better understanding of the neural basis of reading.

Led by Piers Cornelissen, Morten Kringelbach, Ian Holliday and Peter Hansen from the Universities of York, Oxford, Aston, and Birmingham UK, the study showed very early interactions between the vision and language domains during reading.

‘Spooky action’ to distinguish between two similar quantum devices

‘Spooky action’ to distinguish between two similar quantum devicesWashington, April 28 : Physicists are using the phenomenon dubbed as `spooky action' to distinguish between two similar quantum devices.

`Quantum ghosts' are far distant particles that can somehow `talk' to each other, a theory put forward by famous scientist Albert Einstein, who called it `spooky action at a distance'.

Having confirmed its existence, scientists today are learning how to use this `spooky action' as a helpful tool.