August 14, 2013

    Photo: University of Hawaii

Glowing Rabbits Born in Turkey

Join glowing cats, mice, pigs

We already had glowing dogs, pigs, mice, and cats. Now, genetic engineering's latest coup is a litter of glowing bunnies.

The rabbits, which were born in Turkey through a collaboration between researchers from the University of Hawaii, the University of Istanbul, and Mamara University, glow in the presence of ultraviolet light due to a jellyfish gene inserted into their DNA when they were embryos.

"These rabbits are like a light bulb glowing, like an LED light all over their body," said researcher Dr. Stefan Moisyadi. "And on top of it, their fur is beginning to grow and the greenness is shining right through their fur. It’s so intense."

Scientists hope that the glowing animals could eventually pave the way to create lab creatures that could produce enzymes and other medically valuable substance more easily and cheaply than they could be produced in a factory.

Via The Atlantic

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Eaton and Eaton Medal at IAAF Worlds

Newlyweds take home gold and silver

There was no Caribbean honeymoon in the cards for Olympic champion decathlete Ashton Eaton and his new bride, Canadian track athlete Brianne Theisen Eaton. Instead, the newly-married couple headed to Russia for the IAAF World Championships, where each of them took home a medal.

Thiesen Eaton took second in the heptathlon, a seven-event competition which for women includes the 100-meter hurdles, high jump, shot put, 200-meter, long jump, javelin throw, and 800-meter. Her husband won the gold in the decathlon.

"I've always watched him get his medals and think, 'I wonder what that feels like?" Thiesen Eaton told the AP. "Now I'm getting a little taste of it."

The pair, who met while student athletes at the University of Oregon, married last month, with their coach Harry Marra serving as pastor.

Via Montreal Gazette

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Giant Redwood trees     Photo: Paul Hamilton/ Flickr

Giant Redwoods in Unprecedented Growth Spurt

Climate change may be responsible

The last of the giant, old-growth redwood trees along the California coast have experienced an unprecedented growth spurt in recent years, a study by the Redwoods and Climate Change Initiative revealed Wednesday. Over the past century, the trees produced more wood than over any other period in their lifetime, accelerating in the last few decades after a slowdown in the 1950s and 1960s.

"It shows these trees are being impacted by something in the environment," Emily Burns, director of science for Save the Redwoods League, the San Francisco nonprofit that is managing the initiative, told the San Francisco Chronicle. "Our hypothesis is that it's because it is warmer. That lengthens the growth season."

Researchers believe the changes are due to an increased level of sunshine—as fog became less common along the coast—and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. While rainfall has kept the forests wet, fog and cloud cover has decreased by 33 percent from the 20th century, according to a 2010 study.

"What we're seeing is that the redwoods are growing even better as the fog has declined," Burns said. "It's fantastic. For me this is a really hopeful story about the redwoods."

As part of the $3 million study, researchers examined 137 coast redwoods and giant sequoias on 16 plots. Due to their efforts, the tree-ring record can now be traced back to the year 328, extending the record by more than 1,4000 years. (One tree near Crescent City, California, turned out to be 2,520 years old, breaking the previous record by more than 300 years for coast redwoods.)

Ancient redwoods may become a valuable commodity in California's carbon market because the trees store three times more carbon than other species and trap carbon even after they die.

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