CRISPR’d Cancer Cells Revolt Against Tumors – Harvard scientists are using CRISPR to rewire cancerous cells into lean, mean, disease-fighting machines. According to a paper published last week in the journal Science Translational Medicine, researchers can “rehome” cells to attack …

Source: Clemens Reinshagen, et al. CRISPR-enhanced engineering of therapy-sensitive cancer cells for self-targeting of primary and metastatic tumors. Science Translational Medicine, 2018.

Dogs spread across the Americas alongside humans. Then they got eaten. – When people traversed across the land bridge connecting Siberia to North America, dogs trotted by their sides. Canines and their human companions spread throughout the continent for thousands of years, settling from California to Nova Scotia and down to Peru. These dogs ranged from the size of squat bull-terroirs to as large as hulking malamutes. By all accounts, these early American hounds were thriving. That was, until the arrival of European colonists, when the continent of dogs was...

Source: Máire Ní Leathlobhair, et al. The evolutionary history of dogs in the Americas. Science, 2018.

New Aussie snake already at risk – The ink has not yet dried on a scientific paper describing a new species of snake, yet the reptile may already be in danger of extinction due to mining. A

Source: CHANTELLE M. DEREZ, et al. A new species of bandy-bandy (Vermicella: Serpentes: Elapidae) from the Weipa region, Cape York, Australia. Zootaxa, 2018.

New Class Of Commercial Herbicide Is All Natural - But Discovered Using Science – Nature is not just out to kill us, it is out to kill itself, in the interest of surviving over the long term. That is why even the most wholesome backyard organic garden is a hotbed of combat between plants and unseen microorganisms in the soil fighting for space to grow.

Source: Yan Yan, et al. Resistance-gene-directed discovery of a natural-product herbicide with a new mode of action. Nature, 2018.

Can we really ever know if animals are happy? – We assume animals are happy, sad, scared or upset based on their behavior. But how do we know if our pets are content?

Source: Mathilde Stomp, et al. An unexpected acoustic indicator of positive emotions in horses. PLOS ONE, 2018.

1918 influenza virus-like particles recreated in gov’t lab – A team of researchers who specialize in visualizing molecular structures developed a 3D model based on the 1918 influenza H1 pandemic virus.

Source: Dustin M. McCraw, et al. Structural analysis of influenza vaccine virus-like particles reveals a multicomponent organization. Scientific Reports, 2018.

Researchers create hybrid embryos of endangered white rhinos – Scientists have made the first rhino embryos, providing a small glimmer of hope for the nearly extinct northern white rhinoceros.

Source: Thomas B. Hildebrandt, et al. Embryos and embryonic stem cells from the white rhinoceros. Nature Communications, 2018.

Fern-tastic! Crowdfunded fern genomes completed – With crowdfunded support, researchers have sequenced the first two fern genomes ever. Their results include the discovery of an ancient gene transfer and novel symbiosis mechanisms.

Source: Fay-Wei Li, et al. Fern genomes elucidate land plant evolution and cyanobacterial symbioses. Nature Plants, 2018.

Ancient Toddlers Also Loved Climbing Trees – Skeletal remains of a tiny foot—about the size of a human thumb—suggest the children of our early ancestors were not so different from modern rugrats. The fossil belongs to Selam, a three-year-old female …

Source: Jeremy M. DeSilva, Corey M. Gill, Thomas C. Prang, Miriam A. Bredella, Zeresenay Alemseged. A nearly complete foot from Dikika, Ethiopia and its implications for the ontogeny and function of Australopithecus afarensis. Science Advances, 2018.

Soaring spiders may get cues from electric charges in the air – Spiders can sense atmospheric electric fields, which might give them cues to take to the air.

Source: Erica L. Morley, Daniel Robert. Electric Fields Elicit Ballooning in Spiders. Current Biology, 2018.