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Salamander found to reproduce using the sperm of at least three males

Salamander found to reproduce using the sperm of at least three males

Science
June 12 (UPI) -- Why pass along the genes of a single mate when you can impart one's offspring with DNA from three fathers? Such is the unique reproductive strategy used by hybrid all-female populations of ambystomatid salamanders.When biologists from the University of Iowa sequenced the genome of all-female, or unisexual, salamanders, they found equal portions of DNA from three different species, Ambystoma laterale, Ambystoma texanum and Ambystoma tigrinum."We're hypothesizing the successful individuals have balanced gene expression," Maurine Neiman, a professor of biology at Iowa, said in a news release. "This balance might have been a prerequisite for the emergence and continued success of this particular hybrid lineage."Researchers believe all-female salamanders employ a reproductive t...
Hand-washing is like hitting a reset button in the brain

Hand-washing is like hitting a reset button in the brain

Science
June 12 (UPI) -- Hand-washing has surprising effects on the human brain. According to a series of experiments conducted by researchers at the University of Toronto, the act of hand-washing leads to more flexible thinking.Researchers found the intellectual priorities of study participants who had disinfected their hands with cleansing wipes were more malleable. In other words, a person's goals were more easily reoriented after hand-washing.To begin the experiment, researchers at Toronto's Rotman School of Management primed participants for a specific goal or behavioral outcome using word games or surveys. Participants were then asked to either evaluate a cleansing hand wipe or use one.Participants who used a hand wipe proved to be less influenced by their priming. They were less likely to a...
Bloodhound supersonic car set for October trials

Bloodhound supersonic car set for October trials

Science
The Bloodhound supersonic car will run for the first time on 26 October. It is going to conduct a series of "slow speed" trials on the runway at Newquay airport in Cornwall. Engineers want to shake down the vehicle's systems before heading out to South Africa next year to try to break the land speed record. This stands at 763mph (1,228km/h), and Bloodhound's aim is to raise the mark in two stages - by getting first to 800mph and then to 1,000mph. The Newquay trials will not see anything like those speeds. The 9,000ft-long (2,744m) runway at the former RAF base is simply too short to allow Bloodhound to use the full thrust at its disposal. Instead, driver Andy Green will take the car up to about 200mph using just its Eurofighter-Typhoon jet engine. The rocket motor that would ordinarily pro...
Scientists map invasive species hotspots

Scientists map invasive species hotspots

Science
June 12 (UPI) -- Where are alien, or invasive, species most abundant? Where do they have the most success?According to new research by an international team of scientists, foreign invaders -- both plants and animals -- most frequently take root on islands and among the coastal regions of continents.In an effort to identify geographical patterns, scientists mapped the distribution of different types of invasive species, including mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, fishes, spiders, ants and vascular plants. Their analysis identified 186 islands and 423 mainland regions with high concentrations of alien species.Scientists measured the largest number of invasive species -- from all groups -- in Hawaii and New Zealand."Both regions are remote islands that used to be very isolated, lacking so...
The future will be rainier than expected, according to new NASA data

The future will be rainier than expected, according to new NASA data

Science
June 12 (UPI) -- In a new study, NASA scientists argue the latest predictive climate models underestimate future levels of precipitation in the tropics.NASA data suggests the tropics will host fewer tall, high-alittude clouds as global warming continues, boosting rainfall totals in the region.Under different circumstances, fewer clouds would likely translate to less precipitation. But tall tropical clouds help trap heat in the atmosphere. Without fewer of them around, the air above the tropics is expected to cool. Cooler air means more rain.But the confusing changes don't stop there. The increase in rain is expected to reheat the atmosphere. As raindrops condense, they transfer energy to their surroundings, warming the atmosphere. The cycle of heating and cooling encourages large-scale air...