Planet Earth Report –“Amazon Paranoia, Insect Apocalypse, Transmissible Alzheimer’s”

Our Planet

 

The “Planet Earth Report” connects you to headline news on the science, technology, discoveries, people and events changing our planet and the future of the human species.

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EcoAlert –27 New Viruses Discovered in Bees –“World Populations are Declining”

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“Populations of bees around the world are declining, and viruses are known to contribute to these declines,” said David Galbraith, research scientist at Bristol Myers Squibb and a recent Penn State graduate. “Despite the importance of bees as pollinators of flowering plants in agricultural and natural landscapes and the importance of viruses to bee health, our understanding of bee viruses is surprisingly limited.”

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“Earthly Aliens, Unlike Anything Seen Before” –Strange, Giant Viruses Create Their Own Genes

 

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In 2013, the discovery of two giant viruses unlike anything seen before blurred the line between the viral and cellular world. Pandoraviruses are as big as bacteria, and contain genomes that are more complex than those found in some eukaryotic organisms (whose cells contain nuclei, unlike the two other kingdoms of living organisms, bacteria and archaea). Their strange amphora shape and enormous, atypical genome led scientists to wonder where they came from.

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“Planetary Killer” –First Observation Ever of DNA Process that Evolves Into Drug-Resistant Bacteria

 

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Scientists have made the first direct observation of a key step in the process that bacteria use to rapidly evolve new traits, including antibiotic resistance. Researchers recorded the first images of bacterial appendages — over 10,000 times thinner than human hair — as they stretched out to catch DNA. These DNA fragments can then be incorporated into bacteria’s own genome through a process called DNA uptake or “horizontal gene transfer.”

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Today’s ‘Planet Earth Report’ –‘One of the World’s Most Famous Biologists Wants to Reverse Aging in Dogs, Then Humans’

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The prolongation of human lifespan is “the biggest thing that is going to happen in the 21st century,” says David Sinclair, a Harvard biologist. “It’s going to make what Elon Musk is doing look fairly pedestrian.”

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Today’s “Planet Earth Report” –Two Mountaineers Recreate NASA’s Twin Study on Mount Everest

 

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The most intriguing early results suggest Scott Kelly experienced changes in the expression of thousands of genes; earlier this year, NASA reported that 7% of them—related to immune function, DNA repair, bone formation, and his body’s response to insufficient oxygen and abnormally high carbon dioxide levels in the blood—remained some 6 months after his return to Earth.

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