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Magdalena Koziol, a former postdoc at Yale University, was the victim of scientific sabotage. Now, she is suing the...
Antiretroviral drugs can protect people from becoming infected by HIV. But so-called pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP...
Two studies show that eating a diet low in protein and high in carbohydrates is linked to a longer, healthier life, and...
Considered an icon of conservation science, researchers at World Wildlife Fund (WWF) headquarters in Washington, D.C.,...
The new atlas, which shows the distribution of important trace metals and other substances, is the first product of...
Early in April, the first of a fleet of environmental monitoring satellites will lift off from Europe's spaceport in...
Since 2000, U.S. government health research agencies have spent almost $1 billion on an effort to churn out thousands...
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ScienceShot: Future of Frankincense Not So Sweet
21 December 2011 10:50 am
The mythical gifts of the Magi—gold, frankincense, and myrrh—represented the rarest and most precious tributes one could give a king. Unfortunately, frankincense, a sweet-scented resin from the desert tree Boswellia, has become even rarer and will continue to do so, researchers report today in the Journal of Applied Ecology. Boswellia trees have had trouble reproducing in recent years, and ecologists believed that they were weakened when traders tapped them for resin. Working in Ethiopia over a period of 2 years, the researchers monitored 12 copses of B. papyrifera: six that had been tapped and six that had not. They found that the tapped trees were able to reproduce as well as the untapped, ruling out human interference as the major killer. Instead, the biggest threats seemed to be grazing livestock, fires, and the longhorn beetle, which burrows into trees' bark, kills them, and leaves them as ready fuel for forest fires. If these problems aren't remedied soon, the team's models suggest that frankincense production could drop by 50% in the next 15 years: a tough blow to the economies of Ethiopia and Eritrea who export it.
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