Hard-to-detect chromosomal anomalies explain neurodevelopmental birth defects

Balanced chromosomal abnormalities (BCAs), a category of structural changes to the human genome, may account for a large portion of birth defects related to brain development and function, according to research presented at the American Society of Human Genetics 2015 Annual Meeting in Baltimore. BCAs are changes to the structure of an individual’s chromosomes, in which one or more fragments of DNA breaks apart from the regions around it and is reattached elsewhere in the genome. —> Read More

Why A Danish Zoo Wants To Publicly Dissect A Lion

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — A Danish zoo is planning to publicly dissect a nine-month-old lion — a year after another park’s decision to dissect and skin a giraffe and feed it to lions triggered massive online protests.

The Odense zoo in central Denmark says the female lion was put down nine months ago because the zoo had too many felines. It said the animal, which has since been kept in a freezer, will be dissected Thursday to coincide with the schools’ fall break.

The move has so far attracted several protests but has been mostly well received in Denmark, unlike similar plans at the Copenhagen Zoo in February 2014. That zoo faced international protests after a healthy 2-year-old giraffe named Marius, also put down to prevent inbreeding, was dissected in front of a crowd that included children and then fed to lions.

Zookeeper Michael Wallberg Soerensen said Saturday that Odense Zoo, about 170 kilometers (105 miles) west of Copenhagen, has performed public dissections for 20 years and that they are “not for entertainment” but are educational.

“We are not chopping up animals for fun. We believe in sharing knowledge,” Wallberg Soerensen said. “It is important not to give animals human attributes that they do not have.”

Many Danes posted positive comments on Odense Zoo’s Facebook page, with some agreeing that children will not be harmed watching the dissection.

Wallberg Soerensen the lion was put to sleep with a bolt pistol to prevent inbreeding. He added “it is better to have space to promote the breeding of animals than securing for an individual who is inbred.”

Each year, thousands of animals are euthanized in European zoos for poor health, old age, lack of space or conservation management reasons. Zoo managers say their job is to preserve species, not individual animals.

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NASA measuring the pulsating aurora

Greenbelt MD (SPX) Oct 08, 2015
Thanks to a lucky conjunction of two satellites, a ground-based array of all-sky cameras, and some spectacular aurora borealis, researchers have uncovered evidence for an unexpected role that electrons have in creating the dancing auroras. Though humans have been seeing auroras for thousands of years, we have only recently begun to understand what causes them.

In this study, published in t —> Read More

ISRO looking to extend GPS services to SAARC countries

Bengaluru, India (IANS) Oct 09, 2015
An ISRO official said on Thursday that they are looking to extend the GPS Aided Geo Augmented Navigation (GAGAN) and Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) applications to Saarc countries.

“Already we are having within the country the provision for providing the services, we are looking at how we can extend this (navigation services) to Saarc countries in the near future and g —> Read More

Dream Chaser preps for 2nd free-flight test and first orbital test

Sparks NV (SPX) Oct 09, 2015
In anticipation of a second phase of flight testing, Sierra Nevada Corporation’s (SNC) Space Systems has announced significant updates to two Dream Chaser spacecraft currently in development.

The spacecraft are the atmospheric engineering test article (ETA) and the advanced composite orbital vehicle, which when tested will undergo a suborbital and orbital flight regimen, respectively. SNC’ —> Read More

Astronaut brains as beacons for researchers

Paris (ESA) Oct 09, 2015
How astronauts adapt to the stresses of living in space is helping researchers to pinpoint the causes of common disorders on Earth. From the brain’s point of view, living in space is very stressful. The signals from an astronaut’s body in space go haywire as they float in weightlessness. The inner ear reports that it is falling, but the eyes show that nothing is moving.

As fluid shifts to —> Read More

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