Human genes often best Neandertal ones in brain, testes

Humans and Neandertals are still in an evolutionary contest, a new study suggests. Geneticist Joshua Akey of the University of Washington in Seattle and colleagues examined gene activity of more than 700 genes in which at least one person carried a human and a Neandertal version of the gene. Human versions of some genes are ... Read more

Invasive species, climate change threaten Great Lakes

Every summer, people flock to the Great Lakes to swim and fish in the seemingly infinite waters and hike along the idyllic shores. But an ominous undercurrent flows just out of sight. Below the water’s surface rages an environmental catastrophe 200 years in the making. In The Death and Life of the Great Lakes, journalist ... Read more

How one enslaving wasp eats through another

Parasites can drive their hosts to do weird, dumb things. But in certain oak trees, the parasites themselves get played. “Creepy and awesome,” says Kelly Weinersmith of Rice University in Houston, who has helped reveal a Russian doll of nested parasitisms. The saga begins when two majestic live oak species in the southeastern United States ... Read more

Gene editing of human embryos yields early results

Scientists have long sought a strategy for curing genetic diseases, but — with just a few notable exceptions — have succeeded only in their dreams. Now, though, researchers in China and Texas have taken a step toward making the fantasies a reality for all inherited diseases. Using the gene-editing tool known as CRISPR/Cas9, the researchers ... Read more

Shock-absorbing spear points kept early North Americans on the hunt

Ancient North Americans hunted with spear points crafted to absorb shock. Clovis people, who crossed a land bridge from Asia to North America around 13,500 years ago, fashioned stone weapons that slightly crumpled at the base rather than breaking at the tip when thrust into prey, say civil engineer Kaitlyn Thomas of Southern Methodist University ... Read more

Lakes worldwide feel the heat from climate change

About 40 kilometers off Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula, in the waters of Lake Superior, rises the stone lighthouse of Stannard Rock. Since 1882, it has warned sailors in Great Lakes shipping lanes away from a dangerous shoal. But today, Stannard Rock also helps scientists monitor another danger: climate change. Since 2008, a meteorological station at the ... Read more

New rules for cellular entry may aid antibiotic development

Like entry to an exclusive nightclub, getting inside a gram-negative bacterial cell is no easy feat for chemical compounds. But now a secret handshake has been revealed: A new study lays out several rules to successfully cross the cells’ fortified exteriors, which could lead to the development of sorely needed antibiotics. “It’s a breakthrough,” says ... Read more

U.S. will withdraw from climate pact, Trump announces

President Donald Trump announced on June 1 that the United States will pull out of the Paris climate accord. In signing the 2015 Paris agreement, the United States, along with 194 other countries, pledged to curb greenhouse gas emissions to combat global warming. But Trump — who has called climate change a “hoax” despite scientific ... Read more

Magma stored under volcanoes is mostly solid

Most of a volcano’s magma probably isn’t the oozing, red-hot molten goo often imagined. Analyses of zircon crystals, spewed from a volcanic eruption in New Zealand, show that the crystals spent the vast majority of their time underground in solid, not liquid, magma, researchers report in the June 16 Science. The results suggest the magma ... Read more

Drowned wildebeests can feed a river ecosystem for years

More than a million wildebeests migrate each year from Tanzania to Kenya and back again, following the rains and abundant grass that springs up afterward. Their path takes them across the Mara River, and some of the crossings are so dangerous that hundreds or thousands of wildebeests drown as they try to traverse the waterway. ... Read more