UC Berkeley Science News
News from the University of California, Berkeley
Updated: 41 min 46 sec ago
UC Berkeley seismologists Doug Dreger and Avinash Nayak looked at seismic records of quakes that preceded the formation of a massive sinkhole near Bayou Corne, La., in 2012, and determined that they came from strong underground gas discharges, which may have caused the collapse of a salt dome now flooded with water.
Tens of thousands of years ago, the common ancestors of Han Chinese and Tibetans interbred with a mysterious human-like group known as Denisovans and picked up a unique variant of a gene for hemoglobin regulation that later helped them adapt to a low-oxygen environment on the high Tibetan plateau, reports UC Berkeley professor of integrative biology Rasmus Nielsen.
Grad student Jingyi Jesscia Li, plant and microbial biology professor Steve Brenner and colleagues compared the genes activated during development in the early fruit fly and nematode (C. elegans) and found them to be surprisingly similar. Fruit flies actually use these genes twice, once during larval development and again during metamorphosis. The research is part of the modENCODE project.
Robert Dudley, an evolutionary physiologist and professor of integrative biology, discusses his new book, "The Drunken Monkey, Why we drink and abuse alcohol" (UC Press 2014). Dudley talks about his motivations for writing the book, the evidence that our attraction to alcohol is an evolutionary adaptation, and what this means for efforts to prevent alcohol abuse.
Imagine feeling a slimy jellyfish, a prickly cactus or map directions on your iPad display. Virtual textured touchscreens are where tactile technology is headed. New research has found that people are faster at navigating tactile technology when using both hands and several fingers. Moreover, blind people in the study outmaneuvered their sighted counterparts.
Don DePaolo, professor of earth and planetary sciences and LBNL researcher, received the Harry Hess Medal of the American Geophysical Union for groundbreaking research on the geochemical structure of Earth’s mantle, the isotopic and trace element chemistry of oceanic volcanoes, and the origin of granitic igneous rocks.
Richard Allen, professor of earth and planetary sciences and director of the Berkeley Seismological Laboratory, is taking 10 students on a research cruise to study the Cascadia subduction zone, a major source of Northwest coast earthquakes. The students hope to send daily video blogs about their experiences and the science of subduction quakes @BerkeleySeismo.
BERKELEY — Three young UC Berkeley researchers have been selected as 2014 Pew scholars, The Pew Charitable Trusts announced this week. The researchers are: Elçin Ünal, assistant professor of molecular and cell biology, who was selected as one of 22 2014 Pew Scholars in the Biomedical Sciences. The award supports promising early-career scientists in the health sciences, particularly young researchers […]
UC Berkeley and Berkeley Lab physicists have detected what is believed to be the smallest force ever measured: approximately 42 yoctonewtons. A yoctonewton is one septillionth of a newton and there are approximately 3 x 10^23 yoctonewtons in one ounce of force. They employed a combination of lasers to push and probe a cloud of ultracold atoms.
The disco clam was named for the rhythmic, pulsing light that ripples along the lips of its mantle. UC Berkeley graduate student Lindsey Dougherty now reports that the mirror is actually a highly reflective, densely packed layer of silica spheres a mere 340 nanometers across never before seen in animals.
Solomon Hsiang, a Berkeley researcher on a study of economic impacts of U.S. climate change, reports that the South, the Midwest and the Great Plains will bear the largest economic burden, while states like Oregon and Washington are likely to benefit economically. The study examines climate impacts on mortality, crime, energy, agriculture and labor productivity down to a county-by-county level.
Berkeley's Jennifer Doudna and European colleague Emmanuelle Charpentier are the winners of the 2014 Dr. Paul Janssen Award for Biomedical Research, awarded by Johnson & Johnson. Their collaboration led to the discovery of a new method for precisely manipulating genetic information in ways that should produce new insights in health and disease and may lead to new drug targets.
When a plant needs to slow down its light gathering after a burst of activity, it adopts a drastic tactic: its photoreceptors, called phytochrome, destroy their regulating molecules, in turn assuring their own destruction. The discovery by Peter Quail of plant & microbial biology could have broad implications for agriculture and cancer research.
Trolling for real-world solutions to support ocean fisheries, the U.S. State Department sponsored a "Fishackathon" at five sites across the country over the June 14-15 weekend. A team from UC Berkeley's School of Information, working out of the Monterey Bay Aquarium, took home the national grand prize for a mobile app designed to help West African fishermen.