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My picks from ScienceDaily

Synthesis Of Natural Molecule Could Lead To Better Anti-cancer Drugs:

In early 2007, Northwestern University chemist Karl Scheidt’s interest was piqued when marine chemist Amy Wright reported in the Journal of Natural Products that a new natural compound derived from an uncommon deep-sea sponge was extremely effective at inhibiting cancer cell growth.

Ants And Avalanches: Insects On Coffee Plants Follow Widespread Natural Tendency:

Ever since a forward-thinking trio of physicists identified the phenomenon known as self-organized criticality—a mechanism by which complexity arises in nature—scientists have been applying its concepts to everything from economics to avalanches. Now, researchers at the University of Michigan and the University of Toledo have shown that clusters of ant nests on a coffee farm in Mexico also adhere to the model. Their work, which has implications for controlling coffee pests, appears in the Jan. 24 issue of the journal Nature.

Vets Focus On Neurological Disorders In Dogs, Humans:

Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy strike millions of people each year. They also affect countless dogs, and veterinarians at the University of Missouri are working to find ways to treat these and other neurological diseases in both species.

Lessons From Evolution Applied To National Security And Other Threats:

Could lessons learned from Mother Nature help airport security screening checkpoints better protect us from terror threats? The authors of a new book, Natural Security: A Darwinian Approach to a Dangerous World, believe they can — if governments are willing to think outside the box and pay heed to some of nature’s most successful evolutionary strategies for species adaptation and survival.

Tasmanian Devils’ Existence Threatened By Rapidly Spreading Cancer:

Researchers are working toward an understanding a unique transmissible and rapidly spreading cancer that threatens the very existence of Tasmanian devils. To combat this particularly aggressive disease, a Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory research team in collaboration with 454 Lifesciences is committing resources to sequence parts of the devil’s genome in an effort to increase the odds of saving them from extinction.

Scientists Call For Urgent Research Into ‘Real’ Impacts Of Invasive Species:

Scientists warn that unless more research is carried out to highlight the damage caused by invasive species, more livelihoods and natural ecosystems will be ruined as a consequence of their effects. Invasive alien species are those that occur outside their natural range and threaten the existence of native plants and animals. They can be plants, animals or microorganisms that are introduced intentionally for economic or agricultural purposes, or accidentally, through tourism, travel or trade, or when domestic animals become feral.