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Vol. 344 ,
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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Top Stories: Implanting False Memories in Mice, Space Vikings, and More
26 July 2013 3:15 pm
In humans, the Y chromosome makes men, men, or so researchers have thought: It contains genes that are responsible for sex determination, male development, and male fertility. But now a team has discovered that X—"the female chromosome"—could also play a significant role in maleness. It contains dozens of genes that are active only in tissue destined to become sperm. The finding shakes up our ideas about how sex chromosomes influence gender and also suggests that at least some parts of the X chromosome are playing an unexpectedly dynamic role in evolution.
A new study suggests that our current era of climate change won't just exceed the rate of evolution, but will do so by a factor of thousands. Although the work doesn't go so far as predicting an extinction rate, it means many more species than we thought will go extinct in the next 100 years.
Human memory is imperfect. In extreme cases, we may even think we remember something that never happened at all. Now, a group of neuroscientists has identified a potential mechanism of false memory creation and has managed to plant a false memory in the brain of a mouse.
A grad student's photo project to promote space science involving NASA researchers dressed as Vikings has sparked a government waste investigation triggered by a senior U.S. senator. Although NASA has yet to send an official reply, the agency says it has found no evidence that taxpayer money was used—except to fund the investigation itself.
Cut most species of flatworms in half, and you end up with two worms. Now, researchers have figured out why some worm species can't regenerate. More impressively, they've also managed to restore the worms’ full regenerative abilities by manipulating a single genetic pathway. Their findings suggest that regenerative abilities aren’t something that a few species independently evolved, but rather that they’re something the rest of us have lost. Now that scientists have figured out how to restore the flatworm’s ability to regenerate, are humans next?