Deadly Super-Virus Created in Lab
Fears of a global bird flu pandemic have been abated by the fact that the virus is not communicable by air—until now. Dutch researchers want to publish their new virus recipe.
What's the Latest Development?
Dutch scientists have genetically altered the H5N1 bird flu virus to make it more contagious. A debate is now brewing on whether to publish their process. What has stopped the H5N1 virus, a nasty threat that kills over half its victims, from becoming a global pandemic is that, until now, is has not been readily transmittable from human to human. Scientists in Rotterdam used ferrets, which closely mimic the human response to influenza, to test their strain, which mutated to become airborne after just ten generations.
What's the Big Idea?
Should the research on how to engineer a deadly virus be published? Experts say that, were an airborne H5N1 to infect humans, it could wipe out half the population. Dr. Thomas Inglesby, director of the Center for Biosecurity of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, says the research should not have been done in the first place, let alone be published. Others defend the principle of freedom of information and say that the research will allow the scientific community to prepare for an H5N1 pandemic.
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Dogs' floppy ears may be part of why they and other domesticated animals love humans so much.
- Nearly all domestic animals share several key traits in addition to friendliness to humans, traits such as floppy ears, a spotted coat, a shorter snout, and so on.
- Researchers have been puzzled as to why these traits keep showing up in disparate species, even when they aren't being bred for those qualities. This is known as "domestication syndrome."
- Now, researchers are pointing to a group of a cells called neural crest cells as the key to understanding domestication syndrome.
Protected animals are feared to be headed for the black market.
Giving our solar system a "slap in the face."
- A stream of galactic debris is hurtling at us, pulling dark matter along with it
- It's traveling so quickly it's been described as a hurricane of dark matter
- Scientists are excited to set their particle detectors at the onslffaught
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