MI weekly selection #84


Common traits in tame animals may be due to neural crest changes

Genetic changes that may affect a group of embryonic stem cells known as the neural crest may produce a specific set of features in animals bred for tameness. Common features and behaviors in domesticated animals include patches of white fur, floppy ears, youthful faces and small jaws, among other traits.


Map gives researchers most detailed view of Mars ever

A new colorful, high-resolution map of Mars is the most detailed map of the red planet yet made, according the U.S. Geological Survey. “The new Mars global geologic map will provide geologic context for regional and local scientific investigations for many years to come. Findings from the map will enable researchers to evaluate potential landing sites for future Mars missions that may contribute to further understanding of the planet’s history,” said Suzette Kimball, acting director of the USGS.

StarStruck / National Geographic

Black holes may explode into white holes

At the end of their lives, black holes may turn into “white holes,” exploding out everything they’ve ever sucked up back into space, according to a theory of quantum bounce by physicists Carlo Rovelli and Hal Haggard. If their theory is correct, it could help explain the long-held question of whether black holes destroy information.

Nature news

CRISPR technology could end malaria by changing mosquito DNA

Altering mosquito DNA may be the answer to curbing the ongoing spread of malaria. The authors describe technology known as CRISPR, which could allow scientists to alter mosquito DNA, either to make the insects resistant to the malaria parasite or to engineer mosquitoes to become infertile, eliminating their population altogether. Since this technology has such wide-ranging effects, however, researchers are urging discussion before putting CRISPR into use.

The New York Times

Extinct elephant relative was on the menu for ancient Clovis culture

Ancient hunters in Sonora, Mexico, dined on an extinct relative of the elephant called the gomphothere, according to archaeologists who found the ancient creature’s bones mixed with 13,400-year-old weapons belonging to a group of paleo-Indians known as the Clovis. The find is the first to put the gomphothere together with the Clovis people, who are known for crafting weapons with projectile points meant to bring down giant creatures such as mammoths.


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