Tag Archives: scientists

Giant Cattle To Be Bred Back From Extinction

Posted by: Audiegrl

Aurochs were immortalized in prehistoric cave paintings and admired for their brute strength and “elephantine” size by Julius Caesar

Aurochs

Aurochs are depicted in ochre and charcoal in paintings found on the walls of cave galleries such as those at Lascaux in France Photo: ALAMY


Telegraph.co.uk/Nick Squires~~But despite their having gone the way of the dodo and the woolly mammoth, there are plans to bring the giant animals back to life.

The huge cattle with sweeping horns which once roamed the forests of Europe have not been seen for nearly 400 years.

Now Italian scientists are hoping to use genetic expertise and selective breeding of modern-day wild cattle to recreate the fearsome beasts which weighed around 2,200lb and stood 6.5 feet at the shoulder.

Breeds of large cattle which most closely resemble Bos primigenius, such as Highland cattle and the white Maremma breed from Italy, are being bred with each other in a technique known as “back-breeding“.

At the same time, scientists say they have for the first time created a map of the auroch’s genome, so that they know precisely what type of animal they are trying to replicate.

We were able to analyse auroch DNA from preserved bone material and create a rough map of its genome that should allow us to breed animals nearly identical to aurochs,” said team leader Donato Matassino, head of the Consortium for Experimental Biotechnology in Benevento, in the southern Campania region.

We’ve already made our first round of crosses between three breeds native to Britain, Spain and Italy. Now we just have to wait and see how the calves turn out.

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Cleopatra’s Stunner Make-up Cured Eye Disease As Well

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Cleopatra's likeness was pieced together from images on ancient artifacts, including a ring dating from Cleopatra’s reign 2,000 years ago, and the remains of her sister Princess Arsinöe found in 2009

Cleopatra's likeness was pieced together from images on ancient artifacts, including a ring dating from Cleopatra’s reign 2,000 years ago, and the remains of her sister Princess Arsinöe found in 2009

AFP~~Ancient Egypt’s stunning eye make-up not only shielded wearers from the dark deeds of the evil eye but also protected them against eye disease, French scientists said Thursday.

Ancient Egyptians some 4,000 years ago produced the make-up used to darken and adorn eyes with lead and lead salts in mixtures that sometimes took a month to concoct, said Philippe Walter, who co-headed a team of scientists from the Louvre Museum and the (CNRS) National Center of Scientific Research.

We knew ancient Greeks and Romans too had noted the make-up had medicinal properties, but wanted to determine exactly how,” he told AFP.

Contrary to widely held belief that lead is harmful, the team, using analytical chemistry, determined that “in very low doses lead does not kill cells.”

Curator Sally-Ann Ashton admires one of the statues of Cleopatra at the British Museum in London.

Curator Sally-Ann Ashton admires one of the statues of Cleopatra at the British Museum in London.

Instead, it produces a molecule — nitric oxide — that activates the immune defense system which beats back bacteria in case of eye infection.

The research was carried out using a tiny electrode, the 10th of the size of a hair, to look at the effect of a lead chloride synthesized by the Egyptians — laurionite — on a single cell.

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Discoveries: The First Women in Antarctica

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Forty years ago, a pioneering research team from Ohio State made history as the first U.S. women in Antarctica

Terry Tickhill (light hat) and Eileen McSaveney (red headband) use a hand augur to drill Lake Vanda, Wright Valley, Antarctica, during the 1969-1970 field season. Water collected during this effort was used to date the lake. The green tent in the background was of the same type as the field crew used for housing during their work in Wright Valley. (Credit: Lois Jones)

Terry Tickhill (light hat) and Eileen McSaveney (red headband) use a hand augur to drill Lake Vanda, Wright Valley, Antarctica, during the 1969-1970 field season. Water collected during this effort was used to date the lake. The green tent in the background was of the same type as the field crew used for housing during their work in Wright Valley. (Credit: Lois Jones)

January 11, 2010~~In the spring of 1969, Terry Tickhill Terrell was 19 and an undergraduate chemistry major at Ohio State University, bored with her lab work and restless. She had never traveled more than 250 miles from the Barnesville, Ohio, farm where she grew up.

One day, after reading an article in the school newspaper about a graduate student who had just returned from Antarctica, Terrell decided that that was where she wanted to go.

I couldn’t understand why all this awful lab work was important,” Terrell said. “So I walked into the Polar Studies office and said: ‘I want a job in Antarctica.’ The room fell dead silent. The secretary took pity on me and said: ‘There’s a group of women going this year. Dr. Lois Jones is in her office right now, and I’ll call her.”‘

The secretary was referring to geochemist Lois Jones, the leader of the four-woman Ohio State team scheduled to leave in October for four months in Antarctica. Terrell wanted to be a part of it.

Dr. Jones said, ‘We have everyone we need, but tell me about yourself,”‘ Terrell recalled. “I said, ‘I’m a chemistry major. I grew up on a farm. I am a hard worker.’ She asked if I’d done any camping. I said, ‘I’m an outdoor person, and took outdoor cookery at 4H.’ The next day she called me up and said: ‘One of the ladies is unable to go. I need a cook and field assistant.”‘

In addition to Terrell and Jones–who passed away in 2000–the team also included Kay Lindsay and geologist Eileen McSaveney. McSaveney, the other surviving member of the group, had graduated from the University of Buffalo and came to Ohio State for graduate work in landscape changes and glacial geology.

One day, Lois asked me if I would be interested in going to Antarctica as one of her field assistants,” McSaveney said. “I said yes without any hesitation–many fellow geology grad students were involved in polar work. Also, my fiancé, Mauri, had already been to Antarctica that year. Going to the Antarctic didn’t seem an unusual thing to do.”

At the time, neither woman thought much about the fact that their forthcoming journey would mark the triumphant end to a decade-long struggle. Until then, no one could convince the U.S. Navy to rescind its long-standing policy against transporting women onto the Antarctic continent.

The Navy, which had established McMurdo Station, the main American base in Antarctica, as a military outpost in 1956, had been adamant in its refusal to allow women there. Moreover, the National Science Foundation (NSF), which funded the program, did not challenge the Navy’s position.

The U.S. Navy was in charge of field operations and they regarded Antarctica as a male-only bastion,” McSaveney said. “Eventually they agreed to allow women to go, but specified an all-female field team.”

Now, as we celebrate the 40th anniversary of that pioneering expedition, about a third of Antarctic scientists are women. Hundreds of women have worked in the program, some of them leading research stations and heading major expeditions. More than 50 are working at the South Pole during the 2009-2010 summer season.

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DNA tests on skull fragment cast doubt on Adolf Hitler suicide story

Bone with bullet hole found by Russians in 1946 came from an unknown woman, not the German monster

Research on a skull fragment thought to be Hitler's has cast doubt on the circumstances of his death/ Reuters

Research on a skull fragment thought to be Hitler's has cast doubt on the circumstances of his death/ Reuters

Guardian.co.uk/Uki Goñi—In countless biographies of Adolf Hitler the story of his final hours is recounted in the traditional version: committing suicide with Eva Braun, he took a cyanide pill and then shot himself on 30 April 1945, as the Russians bombarded Berlin.

Some historians expressed doubt that the Führer had shot himself, speculating that accounts of Hitler’s death had been embellished to present his suicide in a suitably heroic light. But a fragment of skull, complete with bullet hole, which was taken from the bunker by the Russians and displayed in Moscow in 2000, appeared to settle the argument.

Until now. In the wake of new revelations, the histories of Hitler’s death may need to be rewritten – and left open-ended. American researchers claim to have demonstrated that the skull fragment, secretly preserved for decades by Soviet intelligence, belonged to a woman under 40, whose identity is unknown. DNA analyses performed on the bone, now held by the Russian State Archive in Moscow, have been processed at the genetics lab of the University of Connecticut. The results, broadcast in the US by a History Channel documentary, MysteryQuest: Hitler’s Escape, astonished scientists.

According to Connecticut archaeologist and bone specialist Nick Bellantoni, it was clear from the outset that something was amiss. “The bone seemed very thin; male bone tends to be more robust,” he said. “And the sutures where the skull plates come together seemed to correspond to someone under 40.” In April 1945 Hitler turned 56.

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History Channel’s Mysteryquest: Hitler’s Escape

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Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five

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Researchers Identify Genes Affecting Alzheimer’s Risk

Alzheimer's Stamp

Alzheimer's Stamp

By David Brown, Washington Post Staff Writer—Two European research teams have identified three genes that affect a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, the most common cause of dementia in the elderly.

The new genes appear to have at least as big a role as four others discovered in the last 15 years that are known to play a role in Alzheimer’s.

“The message here is that genes are important in Alzheimer’s disease . . . and there may be multiple ways of reducing the risk that the genes produce,” said Julie Williams, a neuroscientist at Cardiff University in Wales who helped lead one of the teams.

All so-called “Alzheimer genes” have normal roles in brain physiology; they don’t exist solely to cause dementia. Instead, small variations in their DNA alter their function and, through processes only now being uncovered, increase or reduce a person’s risk of developing the disease.

Two of the genes described in the new research may be involved in determining the brain’s capacity to clear itself of toxic “amyloid” proteins that collect outside neurons, eventually poisoning them.

The most important previously known Alzheimer gene promoted overproduction of amyloid. The new findings suggest that at least two processes — production of amyloid and its removal — are involved in the disease.

At least 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease. By one estimate, one in seven people aged 72 and older have dementia, with Alzheimer’s the most common form.

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