To woo public, Europe opens up on animal experiments, but U.S. less transparent

first_imgA pig at the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom is prepared for surgery to insert an artificial blood vessel. Researchers hope to replace veins used in human heart bypass operations with more durable vessels. By Meredith WadmanJul. 14, 2017 , 3:00 PM Slipping support Pollsters have periodically asked U.K. adults whether they “accept animal experimentation” for medical research, and U.S. adults whether “medical testing on animals” is “morally acceptable.” To woo public, Europe opens up on animal experiments, but U.S. less transparent Richard Scrase/Understanding Animal Research Such views contrast starkly with practices at many U.S. research institutions, which have been reluctant to publicly describe and defend their animal experiments. But the emerging European experience suggests that might be the wrong approach, says Tom Holder, UAR’s head of campaigns. He argues that “being more open doesn’t result in greater attacks from animal rights groups, but instead builds resilience in an institution and trust with the public.”Opponents of animal research counter that the new transparency is merely public relations. “A whitewash web page that includes content they choose to show—it’s just propaganda,” says Justin Goodman, vice president for advocacy and public policy at the White Coat Waste Project, a Washington, D.C.–based group that lobbies for transparency in U.S.-funded animal research.A fall in the polls In the United Kingdom, one catalyst for the transparency push was a sudden drop in public acceptance of animal research between 2010 and 2012—a decline of 10 percentage points, to 66%, according to a government-commissioned poll. UAR, the London-based Science Media Centre, research institutions, and funders including the Wellcome Trust and the Medical Research Council began discussing responses. The result was a 2014 Concordat on Openness on Animal Research in the United Kingdom, now signed by 116 life science organizations, including 42 universities. The signatories pledge to improve communication about their research by detailing when, how, and why they use animals, and by launching projects—such as the video tour—that pull in the public. Last October, for the first time, the top 10 U.K. research universities joined together to publicize the number of animal experiments they conducted the previous year. The number for the entire United Kingdom in 2016 was released yesterday. The Home Office reported that 3.94 million procedures were done, a decline of 5%, or 206,000 experiments, from 2015.Since the concordat was launched, public support for animal research has stabilized in the United Kingdom, although showing cause and effect is difficult. Meanwhile, similar efforts are underway elsewhere in Europe. In Spain, 90 institutions and societies last year signed an animal research transparency agreement. Institutions in Belgium, France, and Germany are exploring ways to emulate the U.K. model.In the United States, a lower profileIn the United States, few research players have adopted proactive communication strategies, according to Speaking of Research (SoR), a group based in London and Washington, D.C., that advocates for biomedical research. It monitors websites of institutions that conduct or fund animal research in a dozen countries, and grades their transparency efforts. To make SoR’s list, an organization must at a minimum maintain a public web page with a position statement on animal research.Although at least 1000 U.S. research facilities use animals, SoR’s list includes just 65 U.S. universities, as well as 39 other groups, including charities, government labs, and drug companies. Just two universities—the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and the University of Wisconsin in Madison, along with several federally funded National Primate Research Centers—earn SoR’s top marks. More than half of the universities—including private research powerhouses such as Harvard, Stanford, and Johns Hopkins universities—get low grades because they don’t present case studies, videos, or extensive public-facing information about their animal research on a dedicated website.Johns Hopkins says that it works hard to communicate its animal work by highlighting it in press releases, and that it lacks a dedicated animal research web page because its web content is decentralized. Harvard says it is treading a fine line between openness and keeping its scientists safe. Stanford pointed to a three-paragraph online statement on animal research that notes achievements such as the isolation of insulin.In contrast, the University of Wisconsin in Madison offers a website with a long, easy reading list of its animal research highlights. It includes scores of findings with relevance to human or animal health, including the 2012 discovery in a rat model showing that iron deficiency worsens fetal alcohol syndrome, and the use of pigs to learn that Tasers can send the heart into an often-fatal abnormal rhythm. A hot topics tab includes a video responding to a campaign by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) in Norfolk, Virginia, which used public records law to obtain stark photos of a cat with a steel post implanted in its skull and wires connected to brain electrodes through holes drilled in her skull, used by university researchers to study how the brain processes sound. In the video, now-retired neuroscience chairman Tom Yin explains how the experiments in cats made clear that two cochlear implants would help deaf people more than one. The video opens with a formerly deaf man singing the praises of his implants.Because the University of Wisconsin’s 7-year-old website was up and running when PETA launched its campaign, “we had this place to respond,” says Terry Devitt, the university’s director of research communications. “We could tell our own story.”Some research advocates worry the anemic U.S. outreach is allowing animal research opponents to define the debate, and may be contributing to a slide in public support for animal studies. Approval of animal research hit a new low in a U.S. Gallup poll released in May; 51% said “medical testing on animals” is “morally acceptable,” down from 65% in 2001. Disapproval was highest among adults younger than 35. Such numbers suggest that “in the U.S. there has not been enough proactive communication,” says Kirk Leech, executive director of the London-based European Animal Research Association.One group, Americans for Medical Progress (AMP) in Washington, D.C., wants to change that. Last month it launched a website, Come See Our World. It provides photos and videos of research animals, along with background information on the experiments. Individual U.S. scientists are becoming more willing to publicly discuss their animal work, says Paula Clifford, AMP’s executive director. But “the sticking point is the risk assessment of the higher-ups” at research institutions, she says.Leech, for one, believes U.S. institutions must become more tolerant of the risks of openly describing their animal work. If research advocates keep “sticking our heads in the sand and hoping [animal rights activists] will go away,” he predicts, “we will fail.”To be sure, animal researchers on both sides of the Atlantic can be anxious about going public. Andrew Parker, a University of Oxford physiologist who uses rhesus macaques to study binocular vision, is one of the researchers who speaks about his work at LabAnimalTour.org. “I have had a number of people tell me that ‘It’s quite brave’—which in the U.K. usually is code for ‘risky,’” he says. But “the climate has changed” in United Kingdom, he believes. “There is more [public] willingness to listen to the discussion of and opinions of scientists on animal research—which in itself builds confidence.” Credits: (Graphic) J. You/Science; (Data) Ipsos MORI, Gallup Last month, a London-based group that supports the use of animals in biomedical science began inviting the public to take an unusual digital tour of laboratories at four U.K. research institutions. At LabAnimalTour.org, users can watch a monkey with a bolt in its skull forage in its cage at a University of Oxford neuroscience lab and a technician check on some of the 8000 mice housed in one room at the Medical Research Council’s Harwell Institute. Another video shows researchers preparing a pig for surgery at the University of Bristol.The tour—created by the nonprofit Understanding Animal Research (UAR), which is funded by groups including universities, companies, and charities—is part of a growing push by research institutions and funders in the United Kingdom and some European countries to open up about animal experiments. Faced several years ago with polls showing declining public support for animal research, institutions there began shedding their traditional queasiness about discussing the sometimes controversial work.At the University of Bristol, where just 2 decades ago animal rights activists planted one bomb that damaged a major building and another that targeted a veterinary scientist, there was “complete positivity” about putting their animal research on display, says Maggie Leggett, the university’s director of communications. “We believe in openness. We are using taxpayers’ money. People have a right to know.”Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)last_img read more

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Want to write a hit song? Here are some tips

first_img Want to write a hit song? Here are some tips For every song that makes it into the pop charts, there are dozens more that flop. Now, scientists say they’ve figured out what separates a hit from a miss.Researchers analyzed half a million songs released in the United Kingdom between 1985 and 2015 from a database called AcousticBrainz. The AcousticBrainz project uses software to extract the basic properties of songs, such as rhythm and frequencies. Higher-level characteristics are then provided by machine learning techniques, which have been trained by experts to infer acoustic features (e.g. danceability, timbre) and mood (e.g. happy, relaxed) of the music from its basic properties. The researchers looked at how these features have changed over time—and whether they are markedly different for songs that made the U.K. top 100 singles chart.Over the past 3 decades, songs have become less happy and have a less bright timbre, the team found, but are also more danceable with a more relaxed mood. But there were also clear differences between charting and noncharting songs. Among other characteristics, songs that made the charts tended to be happier, more partylike, and more danceable, the authors report today in Royal Society Open Science.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off,” for example, had a particularly high danceability rating and made it into the charts in 2014. On the other hand, “Cristina,” by Desperate Journalist, scored low on danceability—and didn’t end up charting.By training models on music from recent years, the team could even predict which new songs were likely to chart with about 74% accuracy. So if you’re a singer looking to write the next big hit, embracing the musical features of top charting songs could maximize your chance of making it into pop stardom. By Matt WarrenMay. 15, 2018 , 7:01 PMcenter_img Rick Scuteri/Invision/AP last_img read more

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A koala’s diet would kill most mammals. Their genome reveals how they survive

first_imgRob D/500px By Elizabeth PennisiJul. 2, 2018 , 11:00 AM Imagine being able to sniff or lick a chunk of cheese and immediately know its nutritional value. That’s what koalas do when they forage on their sole foodstuff: eucalyptus leaves toxic enough to kill most mammals. Now, researchers know which genes make these cute Australian icons such foodies.After sequencing the genome of the koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) and determining which genes are active in the heart, liver, and other tissues, the researchers discovered that these marsupials have greatly expanded the number of bitter taste buds, they report today in Nature Genetics. In addition, the animals have an extra copy of a gene that helps them assess a leaf’s water content, and more “sweet” taste bud genes than most animals on specialized diets. These extra genes finely tune the koala’s ability to assess their snack’s nutritional value. Finally, their genomes pack in an unusually large number of genes for detoxifying the leaf’s toxins, the scientists report.All these precautions help koalas get the most bang for the bite of food, which is important because eucalyptus leaves are not very high in calories. Yet even filling their gullets with the best leaves, koalas don’t have a lot of energy to do much more than eat: They can spend up to 22 hours a day resting or sleeping.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)The genomic data also reveal how the koala immune system reacts to chlamydia, a sexually transmitted bacterium thought to be acquired from livestock brought in by Europeans just a few centuries ago. That information could help speed the development of a vaccine. Moreover, with the genome in hand, conservationists can better assess the genetic relatedness of koalas and try to protect the animal’s genetic diversity.center_img A koala’s diet would kill most mammals. Their genome reveals how they survivelast_img read more

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‘Dragon teeth’ reveal ancient ape’s place in primate family tree

first_img In 1935, anthropologist Gustav von Koenigswald came across several strange teeth in drug stores in Hong Kong and southern China. The specimens, sold as “dragon teeth,” to be ground up for use in Chinese medicine, were special: They were apelike, but huge—much bigger than the molars of any other fossil or living primates. Their size (and that of four fossilized jaw bones) suggested that Gigantopithecus blacki was the largest primate ever discovered, towering nearly 3 meters in height. But without any skulls or skeletons, researchers didn’t know whether the animal, which lived from roughly 2 million to 200,000 years ago, was a relative of today’s orangutans, today’s African apes, or something else entirely.Now, by piecing together clues from proteins in the enamel of a 1.9-million-year-old tooth found in Chuifeng Cave in southern China, researchers have evidence that at last allows them to place G. blacki on the primate family tree. The work solves a long-standing evolutionary puzzle and demonstrates that genetic information can survive in proteins much longer—and under more difficult conditions—than many people had thought.Frido Welker, an evolutionary geneticist at the University of Copenhagen, and his colleagues set out to examine G. blacki teeth for intact pieces of proteins called peptides, which may be preserved for up to a few million years—far longer than more fragile DNA. Welker and his colleagues dissolved tiny amounts of enamel from a G. blacki molar and used mass spectrometry to identify more than 500 peptides that matched six proteins. By comparing the amino acids to those in the same six proteins in living apes, including orangutans, gorillas, and other apes and monkeys, they calculated that the giant ape was most closely related to orangutans. The two lineages probably split off between 10 million and 12 million years ago, they report today in Nature.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)That’s not completely unexpected, says paleoanthropologist Russell Ciochon of the University of Iowa in Iowa City, who wasn’t involved in the study. But having direct molecular evidence—especially of the timing of the split—is exciting. The work also shows for the first time that fossil teeth can retain usable genetic information for millions of years in hot and humid regions where organic matter breaks down faster. Although the tooth itself is just shy of 2 million years old, the warm temperatures of the cave (an average of 20°C) pushes its so-called “thermal age” to 12 million years—about five times the thermal age of any other skeletal proteins sequenced to date. “Now, we know that we can retrieve [genetic information] from something that is almost 2 million years old from a subtropical environment,” says University of Copenhagen paleogeneticist Enrico Cappellini, who helped lead the project with Welker.The key, he says, was to focus on the enamel proteins. Both before and after death, the minerals in tooth enamel keep water out and help the tooth resist decomposition. The success with G. blacki suggests enamel from other fossil teeth might help sort out the relationships between other early apes, Ciochon says, including how G. blacki was related to great apes that lived in India and Pakistan. And because 12 million years is close to the thermal age of many intriguing fossils in the human lineage, Cappellini says, “This brings us closer to thinking it could be feasible to investigate hominins from Africa. It’s at least possible.” Wei Wang ‘Dragon teeth’ reveal ancient ape’s place in primate family tree By Gretchen VogelNov. 13, 2019 , 1:00 PM Proteins from this Gigantopithecus blacki jaw reveal how the mysterious ape relates to modern primates.last_img read more

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