Science

The Two-Way
4:41 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

In U.S., Mudslides Common, But Usually Few Deaths

Workers use heavy equipment to clear trees and other debris, near Darrington, Wash., on Thursday.
Ted S. Warren AP

Originally published on Sat March 29, 2014 2:31 am

Washington state, with its many steep slopes, streams and rivers and some of the heaviest annual rainfall in the country, is a mudslide waiting to happen. Add in soil erosion from logging, as was reportedly the case near the community of Oso before last week's tragedy, and the probability of such an event increases.

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Shots - Health News
5:01 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

How Being Ignored Helped A Woman Discover The Breast Cancer Gene

Mary-Claire King says obscurity gave her the freedom to spend years looking for breast cancer genes.
Mary Levin/University of Washington

Originally published on Sun March 30, 2014 8:17 am

Back in the 1970s, a geneticist named Mary-Claire King decided she needed to figure out why women in some families were much more likely to get breast cancer.

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Shots - Health News
3:14 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

Custom Chromo: First Yeast Chromosome Built From Scratch

The research team used yeast chromosome No. 3 as the model for their biochemical stitchery. Pins and white diamonds in the illustration represent "designer changes" not found in the usual No. 3; yellow stretches represent deletions.
Lucy Reading-Ikkanda

Originally published on Thu March 27, 2014 6:03 pm

Using the labor of dozens of undergraduate students, scientists have built a customized yeast chromosome from scratch.

It's a milestone in the rapidly growing field of synthetic biology, where organisms can be tailored for industrial use. In this case, the near-term goal is to understand the genetics of yeast, and eventually the genetics of us.

This was quite an undertaking. Yeast have about 6,000 genes packed in 16 tidy bundles called chromosomes. Each chromosome is an enormous molecule of DNA packed in proteins.

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The Salt
11:39 am
Thu March 27, 2014

Can The Meat Industry Help Protect Wildlife? Some Say Yes

Fox Ranch, outside Yuma County, Colo., is a 14,000-acre nature preserve and working cattle ranch owned by The Nature Conservancy. The ranch is an experiment in planned grazing, which aims to improve soil health and help ranchers' bottom lines.
Luke Runyon Harvest Public Media

Originally published on Thu March 27, 2014 2:15 pm

Last week we reported on a new campaign from the Center for Biological Diversity that hopes to persuade Americans to cut back on their meat consumption. Their pitch? Eat less meat and you will help save wildlife.

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Shots - Health News
5:56 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

Brain Changes Suggest Autism Starts In The Womb

Researchers say intervention in early childhood may help the developing brain compensate by rewiring to work around the trouble spots.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu March 27, 2014 10:03 am

The symptoms of autism may not be obvious until a child is a toddler, but the disorder itself appears to begin well before birth.

Brain tissue taken from children who died and also happened to have autism revealed patches of disorganization in the cortex, a thin sheet of cells that's critical for learning and memory, researchers report in the New England Journal of Medicine. Tissue samples from children without autism didn't have those characteristic patches.

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