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  • Worker bees turn selfish to pass on dad’s genes - Futurity
    mother by grooming her But altruism can turn selfish if the queen dies Credit Penn State Worker bees turn selfish to pass on dad s genes Penn State right Original Study Posted by A ndrea Elyse Messer Penn State on January 14 2016 You are free to share this article under the Attribution 4 0 International license A study of worker honey bees suggests the genes they inherit from their queen matrigenes direct worker bees altruistic behavior But when the queen dies the genes they inherit from their fathers patrigenes direct them to selfishly compete with one another to lay eggs The findings provide strong support for the long standing but hotly debated evolutionary theory of kin selection which suggests that altruistic behavior occurs as a way to pass genes to the next generation We usually think of honey bees as ideal cooperators with all the members of the colony working together harmoniously says Christina Grozinger professor of entomology at Penn State Our studies demonstrate that there is actually conflict called intragenomic conflict among the genes inherited from the father and those inherited from the mother According to Grozinger in a normal colony the queen lays all the eggs and the workers remain sterile and help raise the queen s offspring When the queen dies the workers either behave altruistically by remaining sterile and helping rear the remaining offspring and the new offspring of their sisters or they behave selfishly by activating their own ovaries and laying their own unfertilized eggs which develop into males In 2003 David Queller published a key model using kin selection theory that predicted that under queenless conditions in a honey bee colony the patrigenes would promote selfish behavior in the workers while the matrigenes would promote altruistic behavior says David Galbraith postdoctoral scholar in entomology According to Queller this conflict is the result of unequal distribution of the matrigenes and patrigenes among the workers When the queen dies All the workers in the colony share the same set of matrigenes In contrast because the queen mated with 10 or more males the workers have different patrigenes If a worker behaves altruistically and helps rear her sisters offspring she ensures that her matrigenes are passed on However more of her patrigenes pass to the next generation if she behaves selfishly and lays her own eggs Honest pheromones may explain decline in queen bees It is very strange to think that your genes might be fighting with each other based on whether they came from your mother or your father says Queller Yet this is just what we found It turns out that when a queen dies worker bees behave the way their fathers want them to producing sons when possible The results appear in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences According to Queller this intragenomic conflict supports the theory of kin selection first proposed by William Hamilton in 1964 Altruism is defined as reducing one s own reproductive output to help others reproduce

    Original URL path: http://www.futurity.org/worker-bees-genes-1090932/ (2016-02-11)
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  • Unlike parents, immigrant kids eat an American diet - Futurity
    Northwestern University Penn State Princeton University Purdue University Rice University Rutgers University Stanford University Stony Brook University Syracuse University Texas A M University Tulane University University at Buffalo University College London University of Arizona University of California at Irvine University of California Berkeley University of California Davis University of California Santa Barbara University of Chicago University of Colorado at Boulder University of Copenhagen University of Florida University of Illinois University of Iowa University of Kansas University of Leeds University of Maryland University of Melbourne University of Michigan University of Minnesota University of Missouri University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill University of Nottingham University of Oregon University of Pennsylvania University of Pittsburgh University of Queensland University of Rochester University of Sheffield University of Southampton University of Southern California University of Texas at Austin University of Toronto University of Virginia University of Warwick University of Washington University of York Vanderbilt University Washington University in St Louis Yale University Health and Medicine Related Articles Can fatty acid in breast milk predict test scores Given choices teens pick long term birth control Rock a bye embryo to improve in vitro rates Share This Article facebook twitter Action googleplus Google linkedin LinkedIn pinterest Pinterest reddit Reddit Stumbleupon mail Email Print Food is a big marker of identity so perhaps children of immigrants feel pressured to fit in says Molly Dondero Credit Gilbert Mercier Flickr Unlike parents immigrant kids eat an American diet Penn State right Original Study Posted by Matthew Swayne Penn State on January 13 2016 You are free to share this article under the Attribution 4 0 International license Children of Mexican immigrants in the United States often abandon the generally healthy diet of their mothers for less nutritious American fare The change in children s diets may be related to other research that shows high obesity prevalence among children of Mexican immigrants researchers say Children in immigrant families are growing up in very different nutritional environments and very different social environments than their parents says Molly Dondero a postdoctoral fellow at the Population Research Institute at Penn State Mexican diets for example are based much less on processed foods although this too is starting to change The typical American diet on the other hand includes more processed foods less fresh foods and a reliance on fast food dishes such as hamburgers and pizza The findings published in the journal Social Science and Medicine suggest the dietary quality of first generation youth is worse than expected compared to the quality of their mothers diet Teens eat better if parents are home for meals Parents typically play an important role in shaping their children s diet Dondero says There are primarily two ways that parents can influence a child s diet The first is through modeling the children see what the parents are eating and take after them and the second is through control which can include what the parents prepare or permit their children to eat and even what they buy for

    Original URL path: http://www.futurity.org/mexican-american-youth-diet-1089952-2/ (2016-02-11)
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  • To test general relativity, use fast radio bursts - Futurity
    Related Articles How channels form is not so random after all Electronic eye sensor watches out for glaucoma Rainbow polymer reveals true colors Share This Article facebook twitter Action googleplus Google linkedin LinkedIn pinterest Pinterest reddit Reddit Stumbleupon mail Email Print If fast radio bursts are proven to originate outside the Milky Way Galaxy and if their distances can be measured accurately they will be a new powerful tool for testing Einstein s equivalence principle and for extending the tested energy range down to radio band frequencies says Peter Mészáros Credit Kevin Flickr To test general relativity use fast radio bursts Penn State right Original Study Posted by Barbara Kennedy Penn State on January 4 2016 You are free to share this article under the Attribution 4 0 International license Scientists have developed a new way to test one of the basic principles underlying Einstein s theory of general relativity using brief blasts of rare radio signals from space called fast radio bursts The new method is ten to one hundred times better than previous testing methods that used gamma ray bursts according to a paper in the journal Physical Review Letters This result is a significant tribute to Einstein s theory on the hundredth anniversary of its first formulation The work lines up with the 100th anniversary of Einstein s first formulation of the equivalence principle which is a key component of his theory of general relativity More broadly it also is a key component of the concept that the geometry of spacetime is curved by the mass density of individual galaxies stars planets and other objects Fast radio bursts Fast radio bursts are super brief blasts of energy lasting just a few milliseconds Until now only about a dozen fast radio bursts have been detected on Earth They appear to be caused by mysterious events beyond our Milky Way Galaxy and possibly even beyond the Local Group of galaxies that includes the Milky Way The new technique will be important for analyzing the abundance of observations of fast radio bursts that advanced radio signal observatories now being planned are expected to detect With abundant observational information in the future we can gain a better understanding of the physical nature of fast radio bursts says senior author Peter Mészáros chair in astronomy and astrophysics and professor of physics at Penn State Where do fast radio bursts come from Like all other forms of electromagnetic radiation including visible light fast radio bursts travel through space as waves of photon particles The number of wave crests arriving from fast radio bursts per second their frequency is in the same range as that of radio signals When more powerful detectors provide us with more observations Mészáros says we also will be able to use fast radio bursts as a probe of their host galaxies of the space between galaxies of the cosmic web structure of the universe and as a test of fundamental physics The impact of the new method using fast

    Original URL path: http://www.futurity.org/general-relativity-fast-radio-bursts-1083172-2/ (2016-02-11)
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  • Low zinc may predict breastfeeding trouble - Futurity
    of Washington University of York Vanderbilt University Washington University in St Louis Yale University Health and Medicine Related Articles What a pain in the ion channel To heal chronic wounds level inflammation Teens with epilepsy at greater risk of poisoning Share This Article facebook twitter Action googleplus Google linkedin LinkedIn pinterest Pinterest reddit Reddit Stumbleupon mail Email Print Twelve previously unknown variants of ZnT2 were identified in the participants and five of these variants were statistically associated with abnormal zinc levels in breast milk We had no idea that genetic variation in ZnT2 would be so common says Shannon L Kelleher Credit C K Koay Flickr Low zinc may predict breastfeeding trouble Penn State right Original Study Posted by Victoria Indivero Penn State on December 23 2015 You are free to share this article under the Attribution 4 0 International license Zinc levels in breast milk may be a way to indicate breast function during lactation report researchers In previous research Shannon L Kelleher of Penn State and colleagues found that the protein ZnT2 is critical for secreting zinc into breast milk and women who have mutations in the gene that encodes ZnT2 have substantially lower milk zinc levels leading to severe zinc deficiency in exclusively breast fed infants They had also found that in mice the deletion of ZnT2 alters milk composition and profoundly impairs the ability of mice to successfully nurse their offspring Now the researchers have found that genetic variation resulting in either loss or gain of function may be common in women and in some cases is associated with indicators of poor breast function They suggest that by identifying women with abnormally low levels of zinc in breast milk they may be able to more quickly recognize mothers who might have trouble breastfeeding Surprisingly common In the current study the researchers found that of 54 breastfeeding women 36 percent had at least one non synonymous single nucleotide polymorphism SNP or mutation in the protein ZnT2 and that genetic variation was associated with abnormal levels of zinc in their breast milk Twelve previously unknown variants of ZnT2 were identified in the participants and five of these variants were statistically associated with abnormal zinc levels in breast milk We had no idea that genetic variation in ZnT2 would be so common says Kelleher associate professor of cellular and molecular physiology and pharmacology in the College of Medicine The protein ZnT2 transports zinc in specific tissues of the body including the mammary glands Women who have mutations or SNPs in ZnT2 may have difficulty breastfeeding because zinc is necessary for the growth of mammary glands and the function of mammary epithelial cells and secretion pathways Breastfeeding past 2 months lowers obesity risk Even if they do successfully breastfeed their breast milk will likely contain a lower than normal amount of zinc which can cause severe zinc deficiency in exclusively breast fed infants Infants who don t receive enough zinc in their diet are in danger of immunological and developmental

    Original URL path: http://www.futurity.org/zinc-breastfeeding-1076632/ (2016-02-11)
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  • Tasty metaphors spark brain's 'emotional centers' - Futurity
    to share this article under the Attribution 4 0 International license We re so used to metaphors about tastes that when we hear a kind smile called sweet or a nasty comment called bitter the descriptions almost seem literal New research shows that taste related metaphors actually engage the emotional centers of the brain more than literal words with the same meaning A new study in the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience is the first to experimentally show that the brain processes these everyday metaphors differently than literal language In the study participants read 37 sentences that included common metaphors based on taste while the researchers recorded their brain activity Each taste related word was then swapped with a literal counterpart so that for instance She looked at him sweetly became She looked at him kindly The researchers found that the sentences containing words that invoked taste activated areas known to be associated with emotional processing such as the amygdala as well as the areas known as the gustatory cortices that allow for the physical act of tasting Interestingly the metaphorical and literal words only resulted in brain activity related to emotion when part of a sentence but stimulated the gustatory cortices both in sentences and as stand alone words Sweet vs kind Metaphorical sentences may spark increased brain activity in emotion related regions because they allude to physical experiences says coauthor Adele Goldberg a professor of linguistics at Princeton University Human language frequently uses physical sensations or objects to refer to abstract domains such as time understanding or emotion Goldberg says For instance people liken love to a number of afflictions including being sick or shot through the heart with an arrow Similarly sweet has a much clearer physical component than kind The new research suggests that these associations go beyond just being descriptive to engage our brains on an emotional level and potentially amplify the impact of the sentence Goldberg says You begin to realize when you look at metaphors how common they are in helping us understand abstract domains Goldberg says It could be that we are more engaged with abstract concepts when we use metaphorical language that ties into physical experiences Emotional impact If metaphors in general elicit an emotional response from the brain that is similar to that caused by taste related metaphors then that could mean that figurative language presents a rhetorical advantage when communicating with others explains coauthor Francesca Citron a postdoctoral researcher of psycholinguistics at the Free University of Berlin s Languages of Emotion research center Related Articles On Futurity Carnegie Mellon University Lower risk of hypertension for seniors who volunteer Penn State 9 11 newslore gave regular folks a voice University of Michigan Tiny bits of DNA control hunger neurons Figurative language may be more effective in communication and may facilitate processes such as affiliation persuasion and support Citron says Further as a reader or listener one should be wary of being overly influenced by metaphorical language Colloquially metaphors seem to be

    Original URL path: http://www.futurity.org/metaphors-taste-brain-723322/ (2016-02-11)
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  • Why African ranchers should let elephants gorge on poison apples - Futurity
    other hand grazers such as cows sheep and zebras primarily eat grass which is rarely poisonous Grazers easily succumb to to the Sodom apple that causes emphysema pneumonia bleeding ulcers brain swelling and death Ecological mayhem As more African savanna is converted into pasture the proliferation of the Sodom apple may only get worse Pringle says which means that the presence of elephants to eat it may become more vital to the ecosystem and livestock The Sodom apple thrives on ecological mayhem such as the stress of overgrazing put on the land Pringle says Typically people will overload the land with more cattle than it can support Then they remove the animals that eat the plant The researchers present enough data to potentially determine the amount of pastureland that wild Sodom apple eaters would be able to keep free of the noxious plant says Ricardo Holdo a savanna ecologist and assistant professor of biological sciences at the University of Missouri Holdo who is familiar with the research but had no role in it says that beyond removing the Sodom apple animals such as elephants and impalas could potentially increase the food available to cattle This is a departure from the conventional view in Africa that livestock and wild animals compete for the same scarce resources There is enough quantitative information in this paper that they can probably model this effect in a meaningful way Holdo says When you add the wild herbivores they have a negative effect on the Solanum so they re actually promoting a higher biomass of high quality habitat for livestock So it s a win win in the sense that you re creating a situation in which you can both have livestock and wild animals and probably actually increase your yield for livestock Functional redundancy Researchers say this is one of the first studies to examine functional redundancy in land animals Functional redundancy refers to the situation in which one species declines or goes extinct and another species steps in to fulfill the same ecological role This consideration helps ecologists predict the overall effect of extinction on an entire ecosystem In this case the effect of large mammals such as elephants and impalas on the Sodom apple population and perhaps the populations of other plants is unlikely to be duplicated by another animal species That s an important question because some species are quite vulnerable to extinction and others aren t Pringle says The ones that go first tend to be the biggest or the tastiest or the ones with ivory tusks We re trying to gauge how the world is changing and we need to understand to what extent these threatened animals have unique ecological functions The majority of studies on functional redundancy have been conducted in aquatic systems because large land animals can be hard to control in an experiment The new study is also unusually long by ecology standards Pringle says the researchers observed similar patterns year after year Keeping elephants out A

    Original URL path: http://www.futurity.org/africa-elephants-sodom-apple-720802/ (2016-02-11)
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  • Healthier babies: Are US policies working? - Futurity
    University of Minnesota University of Missouri University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill University of Nottingham University of Oregon University of Pennsylvania University of Pittsburgh University of Queensland University of Rochester University of Sheffield University of Southampton University of Southern California University of Texas at Austin University of Toronto University of Virginia University of Warwick University of Washington University of York Vanderbilt University Washington University in St Louis Yale University Health and Medicine Related Articles Acai supplement adds time to fruit fly lives Better access to donor eggs means more babies born Infants with leukemia may inherit risk from both parents Share This Article facebook twitter Action googleplus Google linkedin LinkedIn pinterest Pinterest reddit Reddit Stumbleupon mail Email Print We know a lot more about improving health at birth than we did 20 years ago and there are more policies now that are trying to do just that says Anna Aizer Credit Dennis Frank Flickr Healthier babies Are US policies working Brown University Princeton University right Original Study Posted by Courtney Coelho Brown on May 26 2014 You are free to share this article under the Attribution 4 0 International license Public policies aimed at improving prenatal health care nutrition and education appear to be having a positive effect on the health of babies born to economically disadvantaged women in the United States The next step researchers say is to understand which policies are most effective for which populations so that resources can be deployed most effectively Related Articles On Futurity Yale University Poll shows Americans are really confused about gun laws Brown University High risk adults don t get Hepatitis B vaccine McGill University Low vitamin D raises risk of preterm birth for black moms Despite the fact that the US economic inequality gap has been widening for decades the health of newborns has actually improved nationally in recent years says Anna Aizer associate professor of economics at Brown University That was really surprising to us For a new study published in Science Aizer and Janet Currie of the National Bureau of Economic Research and Princeton University looked at economics research from the last four years to get a picture of how maternal disadvantage affects the health of newborns The study highlights four conditions common to disadvantaged mothers that can affect newborn health poor health behaviors during the prenatal period greater exposure to harmful environmental factors including the direct effect of toxic pollutants violence and stress combined with a lower likelihood of taking action to avoid potential harms poorer access to medical care and worse underlying health including poorer nutrition But an assessment of newborn health at birth shows that the rate of low birth weight of newborns a strong indicator of poor health has actually gone down among disadvantaged mothers over the last 20 years That number has remained relatively constant among advantaged mothers within the same timeframe Public programs The authors suggest an increase in public policies and programming in recent decades may be starting to break

    Original URL path: http://www.futurity.org/babies-low-income-moms-getting-healthier-start/ (2016-02-11)
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  • Google Trends shows 'climategate' was just a blip - Futurity
    new study shows This dynamic suggests that climate scientists should re examine how to effectively and more regularly engage the public the researchers write Measured by how often people worldwide scour the internet for information related to climate change overall public interest in the topic has steadily waned since 2007 according to a report in the journal Environmental Research Letters Yet the downturn in public interest does not seem tied to any particular negative publicity regarding climate change science which is what the researchers primarily wanted to gauge Related Articles On Futurity Cornell University Facebook posts can infect you with emotions Rice University Does dim view of atheism mute Dawkins message University of California Santa Barbara Would you friend Shakespeare First author William Anderegg a postdoctoral research associate in the Princeton Environmental Institute who studies communication and climate change and Gregory Goldsmith a postdoctoral researcher at Oxford s Environmental Change Institute specifically looked into the effect on public interest and opinion of two widely reported almost simultaneous events The first involved the November 2009 hacking of emails from the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom which has been a leading source of data confirming human driven climate change Known as climategate this event was initially trumpeted as proving that dissenting scientific views related to climate change have been maliciously quashed Thorough investigations later declared that no misconduct took place The second event was the revelation in late 2009 that an error in the 2007 Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change IPCC an organization under the auspices of the United Nations that periodically evaluates the science and impacts of climate change overestimated how quickly glaciers in the Himalayas would melt Searching for climategate To first get a general sense of public interest in climate change Anderegg and Goldsmith combed the freely available database Google Trends for global warming climate change and all related terms that people around the world searched for between 2004 and 2013 The researchers documented search trends in English Chinese and Spanish which are the top three languages online Google Trends receives more than 80 percent of the world s search engine activity and it is increasingly called upon for research in economics political science and public health Internet searches related to climate change began to climb following the 2006 release of the documentary An Inconvenient Truth starring former US vice president Al Gore and continued its ascent with the release of the IPCC s fourth report the researchers found Anderegg and Goldsmith specifically viewed searches for climategate between November 1 and December 31 2009 They found that the search trend had a six day half life meaning that search frequency dropped by 50 percent every six days After 22 days the number of searches for climategate was a mere 10 percent of its peak Information about climategate was most sought in the United States Canada and Australia while the cities with the most searchers were Toronto

    Original URL path: http://www.futurity.org/climategate-climate-science-public-opinion/ (2016-02-11)
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