MI weekly selection #496

Image: Malin Space Science Systems/NASA/JPL-Caltech

Over two-thirds of world’s glaciers will melt by 2100

More than two-thirds of the world’s glaciers will disappear by 2100 if the climate continues to warm at current trends. The global temperature is on track to rise 2.7 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels by the end of the century, but scientists note that if future warming can be limited to meet international goals of 1.5 degrees Celsius, then 26% of the world’s glaciers will melt.

Full Story: The Associated Press

Humans got new genes for building brains

Humans’ genes evolved so that bigger brains developed since splitting with simian relatives. Researchers identified cases where humans’ long non-coding RNAs evolved into protein-coding genes and changed functions to produce more neurons.

Full Story: Ars Technica

Evidence of opal in Mars crater

Mars’ 154-kilometer-wide Gale Crater may be filled with opal gemstones, which could indicate water and silica-rich rocks were mixing under the planet’s surface. The study, which examined old images of the crater taken by NASA’s Curiosity rover and analyzed light-colored fracture halos on the ground, suggests water existed in the crater after ancient lakes evaporated and could have supported microbial life.

Full Story: Live Science

Rats, seabirds and fish linked in island ecosystems

Rats can alter the behavior of fish and disrupt the balance of island and coral reef ecosystems, scientists found on Indian Ocean coral islands. Islands without rats have a large population of seabirds that deposit nutrients through their excrement and create fields of algae for fish, while islands with rats have fewer seabirds and less fertilized algae for fish.

Full Story: The Hill

Gender matters in the immune response to flu vaccine after COVID-19

Investigators compared the immune responses to flu vaccines of healthy individuals who had mild COVID-19 cases and recovered with those who had not been infected with SARS-CoV-2 and found weaker responses in people who had not contracted COVID-19 and in women who had mild COVID-19 cases, compared with men who had mild COVID-19 cases. “This was a total surprise. Women usually mount a stronger overall immune response to pathogens and vaccines but are also more likely to suffer from autoimmune diseases,” said John Tsang, an author of the study.

Full Story: HealthDay News

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