Latest research news

August 6, 2003

Human drugs alter biting insects' resistance
Common malaria drugs make mosquitoes more susceptible to some insecticides and more resistant to others, new research suggests. Understanding the relationship could improve disease management.

You are what your mother ate, suggests study
What mothers eat during pregancy could have a fundamental and lifelong effect on the genes of their children, suggests an intriguing new study in mice. Researchers found they could change the coat colour of baby mice by feeding their mothers different levels of four common nutrients during pregnancy. These altered how the pups' cells read their genes. As a result the mice were also less prone to obesity and diabetes than genetically identical mice whose mothers received no supplement.
(New Scientist)

Protection needed for 'marine Serengetis'
Efforts to conserve threatened marine creatures such as sharks and turtles should concentrate on so-called hotspots of biodiversity, according to a new scientific study. Researchers from Germany and Canada discovered that certain areas of the ocean seem to teem with many different species and that these locations should be developed as marine reserves.

Nasa selects next Mars lander
The US space agency has announced plans for yet another mission to land on Mars. It has selected a proposal for a craft called Phoenix to touch down in the high northern latitudes of the Red Planet to study the water-ice thought to lurk just beneath the surface.

Toxic algae suspected in whale deaths
A deadly alga is the leading suspect in the mass death of humpback whales around 150 miles off Cape Cod, say marine experts. Carcass sightings suggest that at least 12 whales, mostly humpbacks, have died in the Georges Bank area, making it one of the worst known mass fatalities.

Where the deuce do tennis balls go?
Peter McCrory, editor of the British Journal of Sports Medicine, wants to know where nearly 14 million tennis balls get to every year in Australia alone. Australia imports the equivalent of 0.6 balls for every member of the population every year. He contacted an Australian organisation called Waste Audit, which counts waste materials, but tennis balls did not even rate as an item of litter. He concedes that some will be eaten by dogs, but it still leaves too many unaccounted for.
(Daily Telegraph)

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