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Sunday, February 25, 2018

How plants grow new lateral roots: New method uses 3D live imaging

Researchers have used 3D live imaging to observe the formation process of lateral roots in plants, and clarified part of the mechanism that creates new meristematic tissue. If the root formation mechanism in plants is revealed further, this could potentially be used to control plant growth by artificially altering root system architecture.

Soil modeling to help curb climate change

Soil is a major carbon pool, whose impact on climate change is still not fully understood. According to a recent study, however, soil carbon stocks and could be modeled more accurately by factoring in the impacts of both soil nutrient status and soil composition. Determining the volume of carbon dioxide efflux from soil is important to enabling better choices in forest management with respect to curbing climate change.

An algorithm for taxi sharing

Researchers in Uruguay have developed an evolutionary algorithm to allow a smart city to facilitate efficient taxi sharing to cut an individual's transport costs as well as reduce congestion and traffic pollution.

Ancestor of arthropods had the mouth of a penis worm

Imagine a meter long worm with 12 stubby legs and matching sets of flaps running down the body. On the head is a large pair of spiny appendages used for grasping prey that transport victims into a circular mouth with several rows of teeth. For years, scientists have disagreed over whether this mouth belonged to the Anomalocaris, the largest sea predator from the Cambrian Period, or was comparable to the penis worm, a subset of priapulids, a category of marine worms that were diverse in the Cambrian.

Shape-shifters found in the Belt Supergroup: Revelations about Tappania plana

The rise of eukaryotic organisms (organisms with complex cells, or a single cell with a complex structure) is still a mystery, but researchers have compelling evidence that Tappania plana may represent one of the earliest eukaryotic fossils. Well-preserved Tappania plana fossils from a Montana field site could be a crown-group eukaryote, providing one of the first links from this period in the fossil record to extant eukaryotes.

Acidity in atmosphere minimized to preindustrial levels

New research shows that human pollution of the atmosphere with acid is now almost back to the level that it was before the pollution started with industrialization in the 1930s. The results come from studies of the Greenland ice sheet.

How natural selection acted on one penguin species over the past quarter century

Biologists combed through 28 years' worth of data on Magellanic penguins to search for signs that natural selection -- one of the main drivers of evolution -- may be acting on certain penguin traits.

In bird feathers, scientists find hints about color of extinct animals

In order to discover the true colors of ancient animals, scientists are using X-rays to closely examine the chemical details of modern bird feathers. The researchers were able to map elements that make up pigments responsible for red and black colors in feathers. They hope to use this information to find traces of the same pigments in fossil specimens of extinct animals, such as dinosaurs. This latest discovery means that scientists may be able to go beyond monochrome in their depictions of fossilized creatures, and make steps towards portraying their colors more accurately.

Ice Man, Ötzi: A treacherous murder with links to Central Italy

The copper used to make Ötzi's axe blade did not come from the Alpine region as had previously been supposed, but from ore mined in southern Tuscany. Ötzi was probably not involved in working the metal himself, as the high levels of arsenic and copper found in his hair had, until now, led us to assume. His murder over 5,000 years ago seems to have been brought about due to a personal conflict a few days before his demise, and the man from the ice, despite his normal weight and active life-style, suffered from extensive vascular calcification.

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