MI weekly selction #310

Juno space probe gets close-up view of storms at Jupiter’s poles

Massive storms at the poles of Jupiter have been spotted in images taken by a camera on NASA’s Juno space probe and processed by citizen scientists.

BBC

Elongated skulls may be linked to Neanderthal DNA

Some modern-day humans with slightly more elongated skulls may carry genes from ancient human interbreeding with Neanderthals and could help researchers better understand brain evolution. “We reasoned that if we could identify specific Neanderthal DNA fragments in a large enough sample of living humans, we would be able to test whether any of these fragments push towards a less globular brain shape, allowing us to zoom in on genes that might be important for this trait,” said Simon Fisher, the study’s senior author.

Live Science

DNA gives clues to corn’s domestication journey

Corn has had a long and complicated evolutionary history, from its beginnings as teosinte in Mexico about 9,000 years ago, to its spread into South America as maize, to its full domestication worldwide today. An international team of scientists charted corn’s journey by studying and comparing its DNA.

Science News

Exercise hormone may lead to bone disease treatments

Irisin, a hormone released from muscles as a result of exercise, helps burn calories and strengthen bones, and it may be helpful in treating bone diseases such as osteoporosis. “The whole idea of the project, 15 years ago when we started going in this direction, was to perhaps capture some of the benefits of exercise in molecular form,” said researcher Bruce Spiegelman.

The Scientist

Supernovas linked to Pliocene marine animal deaths

Giant sea creatures that filled Earth’s oceans for ages began dying off in vast numbers approximately 2.6 million years ago, and researchers say supernovas may have played a role. Stellar radiation from a string of nearby star explosions would have drastically affected the animals, likely triggering the Pliocene marine megafauna extinction along with climate changes at the time.

Live Science

 

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