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7 March 2016

Missing genes not always a problem for people [ScienceNews]

Many genes may be dispensable.
Each of 3,222 British people with Pakistani heritage carries, on average, mutations in 140 genes that stop those genes from working, researchers report online March 3 in Science. Examination of those people’s exomes, the small portion of the genome that encodes proteins, revealed that among a subset of 821 participants, a total of 781 genes were rendered obsolete by “loss-of-function” mutations. Those genes include 422 that scientists didn’t know people could live without and still be healthy.

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7 March 2016

Un rite mystérieux chez les chimpanzés [Futura-sciences]

En Afrique de l’ouest, et seulement là, des chimpanzés ont une drôle d’habitude : ils jettent de lourdes pierres contre un arbre, toujours le même. La signification de ce comportement est énigmatique. Les chercheurs qui l’ont découvert pensent qu’il est peut-être de la même nature que les rituels humains.

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5 March 2016

Rare Australian bird farms nourishing manna from trees [New Scientist]

An endangered Tasmanian songbird doesn’t have to wait for manna from heaven: it goes out and gathers its own.
The forty-spotted pardalote (Pardalotus quadragintus) is the first Australian bird found to deliberately encourage trees to release manna, a sugary crystallised sap. In doing so it not only provides food for its young but might also engineer the environment in a way that benefits other Tasmanian animals.

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5 March 2016

Trees vital to improving stream quality, study finds [Phys]

Want better streams? Plant some trees, according to a University of Georgia study.
Researchers from UGA’s Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources found that where landowners cut down the forests that bordered streams—turning them into pastures or lawns—the structure and even the amount of aquatic habitat changes dramatically.

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4 March 2016

Cette araignée mâle qui mutile le sexe de sa femelle [Le Monde]

Cela s’appelle le conflit sexuel. Derrière cette expression utilisée par les biologistes se trouve l’idée qu’au sein d’une même espèce, même si tous les individus "souhaitent" maximiser leurs chances de transmettre leurs gènes, mâles et femelles n’ont pas les mêmes stratégies pour y parvenir.(...)

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