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Wolf dogs are spreading more and more accelerating the extinction of wolves

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Herds of wolfdogs can pose serious difficulties and even lead to the extinction of wolves according to a new study produced by researchers of the University of Exeter. The wolf dogs, crossbreeds between dogs and wolves, could in fact drive out wolves from many regions of Europe, further reducing their habitats, until they accelerate their extinction.

The hybridization itself between dogs and wolves has been mostly driven by human activities. Humans have destroyed wolves’ habitats and encouraged an increasing spread of dogs in the wild, which has led to increasingly frequent crossings between the two species.

The study was based on the opinions of more than 40 scientists and experts on the subject, most of whom agree that it is a problem even though not everyone agrees on the methods to be used to address it. Not everyone agrees, for example, on the forced removal of dogs in freedom or on the fact that they should be kept in special facilities or sterilized or even suppressed.

The main author of the study, Valerio Donfrancesco, a researcher at the Centre for Ecology and Conservation at the University of Exeter, states that these disagreements “have emerged from divergent ethical values among scientists from different backgrounds, such as ecologists and geneticists, from the lack of data on the effectiveness of different interventions and from the concern of some scientists that, on a practical level, allowing the removal of hybrids could open a legal loophole for the killing of wolves.

According to the other author of the study, Paolo Ciucci, of the Sapienza University of Rome, although the situation is indeed complex, there is still room for consensus “if further research will address topical issues such as the effectiveness and feasibility of control measures and their social acceptability”.

The study was published in Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution.

Links/Sources:

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fevo.2019.00175/full

Bob Miller

Bob was Professor of Behavioural Neuroscience at the University of Denver from 2011-2018 and now works as a practicing psychiatrist. As a passionate scientist, he founded the website ScienceMagazine.us in early 2019 with the goal of delivering accurate and useful scientific reporting, and has since built it up as a valuable publication. While his field is in psychology, Bob also has a strong general understanding of many other fields in health, astronomy and applied science, and is able to write in a way that is easily understandable to the layman.

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Frontera, the fifth fastest supercomputer in the world, has been opened at the University of Texas

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The University of Texas has officially “inaugurated” Frontera, the fastest supercomputer available in any university in the world and generally the fifth most powerful computer in the world.

Located in the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) of the Texas faculty, this computer joins Stampede2, the second-fastest supercomputer available for any American university, also located in the same faculty.

These two computers make the University of Texas in Austin one of the leading institutions in the field of supercomputers. The same press release speaks of a “new era” in academic supercomputing with a resource that will help the nation’s best scientists to explore science on a large scale and make the next generation of discoveries.

The Frontera supercomputer has firmly placed fifth in the ranking of the fastest supercomputers in the world reaching 23.5 PetaFLOPS. The computer uses over 16,000 processors and a total of almost half a million cores.

However, the supercomputer has already been used by several researchers in recent months. For example, Olexandr Isayev, a chemist from the University of North Carolina, used it to perform more than 3 million atomic force field calculations in less than 24 hours.

But it is in the field of quantum mechanics that, according to the researchers themselves, this supercomputer will shine. “We are really looking forward to performing large-scale calculations that were not possible before,” says Isayev himself.

Links/Sources:

https://fronteraweb.tacc.utexas.edu/

Bob Miller

Bob was Professor of Behavioural Neuroscience at the University of Denver from 2011-2018 and now works as a practicing psychiatrist. As a passionate scientist, he founded the website ScienceMagazine.us in early 2019 with the goal of delivering accurate and useful scientific reporting, and has since built it up as a valuable publication. While his field is in psychology, Bob also has a strong general understanding of many other fields in health, astronomy and applied science, and is able to write in a way that is easily understandable to the layman.

2930 Scheuvront Drive, Denver Colorado, 80211
303-458-7258
[email protected]
Bob Miller
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A new dinosaur in Japan that lived 72 million years ago was just classified

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A new Hadrosaurus dinosaur that lived in the late Cretaceous was classified by a group of Japanese researchers.

The study, published in Scientific Reports, talks about the methods of analysis performed by researchers on a fossil found in the formation of Hakobuchi, an island of Hokkaido.

The new dinosaur has been named Kamuysaurus japonicus. The first term refers to “Kamuy,” a deity of the Ainu, an indigenous population of the Japanese island of Hokkaido. The second term refers to Japan.

The discovery, made by Yoshitsugu Kobayashi and colleagues, is related to an adrosaur of about eight meters long that lived about 72 million years ago. It can be considered an average-sized adult hadrosaur weighing 4 tonnes or 5.3 tonnes, depending on whether it was walking on two or four legs.

Unique features found by researchers include a small crest on the head and a row of neural spines pointing forward. According to the researchers, the Kamuysaurus japonicus is related to other adrosaurs whose fossils have been found in the Far East. Among the latter are the Chinese Laiyangosaurus and the Russian Kerberosaurus.

Important discovery

This is an important discovery because it could allow a better understanding of the evolution of the Hadrosaurids during the late Cretaceous period, from 100.5 to 66 million years ago, that is until the period of the very disappearance of the dinosaurs.

Moreover, the fact that it was found near the sea, makes this fossil an important finding in relation to the understanding of the development and evolution of the same adrosaurids in such environments. This discovery, in fact, suggests that the members of the adrosaurids and its subfamilies, Hadrosaurinae and Lambeosaurinae, preferred to live near the coasts.

Links/Sources:

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-48607-1

Bob Miller

Bob was Professor of Behavioural Neuroscience at the University of Denver from 2011-2018 and now works as a practicing psychiatrist. As a passionate scientist, he founded the website ScienceMagazine.us in early 2019 with the goal of delivering accurate and useful scientific reporting, and has since built it up as a valuable publication. While his field is in psychology, Bob also has a strong general understanding of many other fields in health, astronomy and applied science, and is able to write in a way that is easily understandable to the layman.

2930 Scheuvront Drive, Denver Colorado, 80211
303-458-7258
[email protected]
Bob Miller
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Scientists discover how typhoid bacterium causes DNA breakage

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A team of researchers at the University of Sheffield studied how the pathogen Salmonella typhi, which causes typhoid, accelerates the aging of body cells by “hijacking” molecules for DNA repair.

Typhoid fever, also known as “typhus,” affects more than 21 million people worldwide each year, killing about 168,000 people. The disease is particularly widespread in Southeast Asia.

Researchers have infected human cells with Salmonella typhi in the laboratory and used fluorescent microscopes to understand how this pathogen damaged DNA. They then discovered that it induced a particular form of damage to the DNA itself by taking control of DNA repair machines and making cells more susceptible to infection, in practice accelerating their aging.

DNA repair “machines” are molecules inside the cells that constantly protect our DNA when it is threatened by environmental factors such as ultraviolet light or smoke. By attacking these molecules, the typhoid pathogen causes serious damage that damages cellular DNA.

Daniel Humphreys, one of the authors of the study, comments on the results: “Our results have shown that pathogenic bacteria can accelerate cell aging through a toxin and take advantage of it to establish infections. This makes sense because infections are often more difficult to fight and recover as we age, which is partly due to cellular aging, but the fact that bacterial pathogens affect this phenomenon was unexpected.”

Another author of the study, Sherif El-Khamisy, a researcher at the Healthy Lifespan Institute at the University of England, comments: “Until now, how Salmonella typhi’s typhoid toxin contributed to the infection was a mystery. If we want to fight typhoid, understanding how the toxin causes breakage in the DNA of human cells and promotes infection is key and we hope this discovery will be the first step in developing new strategies to control typhoid, which affects some of the most vulnerable communities in the world.”

Researcher Angela Ibler was also involved in the research.

Links/Sources:

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-019-12064-1

Bob Miller

Bob was Professor of Behavioural Neuroscience at the University of Denver from 2011-2018 and now works as a practicing psychiatrist. As a passionate scientist, he founded the website ScienceMagazine.us in early 2019 with the goal of delivering accurate and useful scientific reporting, and has since built it up as a valuable publication. While his field is in psychology, Bob also has a strong general understanding of many other fields in health, astronomy and applied science, and is able to write in a way that is easily understandable to the layman.

2930 Scheuvront Drive, Denver Colorado, 80211
303-458-7258
[email protected]
Bob Miller
Continue Reading

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