Sea star’s ability to clone itself may empower this mystery globetrotter — ScienceDaily

For decades, biologists have captured tiny sea star larvae in their nets that did not match the adults of any known species. A Smithsonian team recently discovered what these larvae grow up to be and how a special superpower may help them move around the world. Their results are published online in the Biological Bulletin.

“Thirty years ago, people noticed that these asteroid starfish larvae could clone themselves, and they wondered what the adult form was,” said staff scientist Rachel Collin at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI). “They assumed that because the larvae were in the Caribbean the adults must also be from the Caribbean.”

Scientists monitor larvae because the larvae can be more sensitive to physical conditions than the adults and larval dispersal has a large influence on the distribution of adult fishes and invertebrates. Collin’s team uses a technique called DNA barcoding to identify plankton. They

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Ultrasound screening may be limited in ability to predict perinatal complications — ScienceDaily

Delivering a newborn with macrosomia (weighing more than 8 pounds, 13 ounces at birth) may be associated with higher risk of adverse outcomes, including perinatal death and injuries related to traumatic delivery, such as stuck shoulders (shoulder dystocia). A study in PLOS Medicine by Gordon Smith at the University of Cambridge and colleagues suggests that third trimester fetal ultrasound screening has the ability to identify more pregnancies with macrosomia.

The diagnostic effectiveness of ultrasound screening in predicting the delivery of a macrosomic infant, shoulder dystocia and associated neonatal morbidity is not well established. To better understand the relationship between estimated fetal weight (EFW), macrosomia, and perinatal complications, researchers systematically reviewed the literature from four different clinical databases. The authors then analyzed 41 studies involving 112,034 non-high risk patients who had undergone a third trimester ultrasound screening as part of universal screening.

The authors found that a third trimester ultrasonic EFW

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Chemists create new crystal form of insecticide, boosting its ability to fight mosquitoes and malaria — ScienceDaily

Through a simple process of heating and cooling, New York University researchers have created a new crystal form of deltamethrin — a common insecticide used to control malaria — resulting in an insecticide that is up to 12 times more effective against mosquitoes than the existing form.

The findings, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), may provide a much-needed and affordable insecticide alternative in the face of growing resistance among mosquitoes.

“The use of more active crystal forms of insecticides is a simple and powerful strategy for improving commercially available compounds for malaria control, circumventing the need for developing new products in the ongoing fight against mosquito-borne diseases,” said Bart Kahr, professor of chemistry at NYU and one of the study’s senior authors.

“Improvements in malaria control are needed as urgently as ever during the global COVID-19 crisis,” added Kahr. “The number of

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Designing solar panels in checkerboard lines increases their ability to absorb light by 125%, a new study says — ScienceDaily

Designing solar panels in checkerboard lines increases their ability to absorb light by 125 per cent, a new study says.

Researchers say the breakthrough could lead to the production of thinner, lighter and more flexible solar panels that could be used to power more homes and be used in a wider range of products.

The study — led by researchers from the University of York and conducted in partnership with NOVA University of Lisbon (CENIMAT-i3N) — investigated how different surface designs impacted on the absorption of sunlight in solar cells, which put together form solar panels.

Scientists found that the checkerboard design improved diffraction, which enhanced the probability of light being absorbed which is then used to create electricity.

The renewable energy sector is constantly looking for new ways to boost the light absorption of solar cells in lightweight materials that can be used in products from roof tiles to

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Scientists develop a tool that could drastically speed up the ability to design new biological systems — ScienceDaily

If you’ve eaten vegan burgers that taste like meat or used synthetic collagen in your beauty routine — both products that are “grown” in the lab — then you’ve benefited from synthetic biology. It’s a field rife with potential, as it allows scientists to design biological systems to specification, such as engineering a microbe to produce a cancer-fighting agent. Yet conventional methods of bioengineering are slow and laborious, with trial and error being the main approach.

Now scientists at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have developed a new tool that adapts machine learning algorithms to the needs of synthetic biology to guide development systematically. The innovation means scientists will not have to spend years developing a meticulous understanding of each part of a cell and what it does in order to manipulate it; instead, with a limited set of training data, the algorithms are able

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Ireland’s data regulator under pressure over ability to police Google

  • Ireland’s data watchdog is the lead regulator for Google in Europe, because the ad giant’s European HQ is in Dublin.
  • The watchdog faces questions about whether it is up to the job, after dragging out an investigation into Google’s ad practices for more than a year.
  • The probe centers on allegations that Google processes and shares intimate data with third-party brokers in a way that breaches EU privacy rules.
  • Regulators across the EU have come under fire for having insufficient resources to uphold privacy regulation.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

 

The regulator tasked with policing Google in Europe is under pressure to prove it’s up to the job.

The non-profit Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) has written to Ireland’s Minister for Justice Helen McEntee to ask if the Ireland’s Data Protection Commission is capable of acting on claims that Google violates EU citizens’ data privacy. 

The letter

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