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“What some people have pointed to is that because they’re using distributed ledger technology and they’re calling it a cryptocurrency, that could have a positive effect on the industry,” said Mati Greenspan, senior market analyst at eToro in Tel Aviv. Bitcoin climbed as much as 3.1 percent Tuesday to $3,970. At least one measure followed by technical analysts suggests Bitcoin has more room to run, with the digital token in a solid buy trend for the first time since mid-December.
For a multitude of reasons, great white sharks should be considered nature's ocean-dwelling superheroes -- they're big and strong, live long lives, can heal their wounds remarkably fast, and it's even likely that they rarely get cancer. But how is it possible that these ancient giants have so many superhero-like traits? Scientists have now taken a major step toward answering that question by decoding the entire genome of the great white shark.An international team of researchers led by scientists at the Save Our Seas Foundation Shark Research Center and the Guy Harvey Research Institute at Nova Southeastern University in Florida sequenced the genome of the great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) and compared it with the genomes of several other vertebrate species. The team discovered a wealth of unusual genetic characteristics that might explain why white sharks are the superheroes (or supervillains, if you're a plump sea lion) of the sea. Their study was published online on Monday (Feb. 18) in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Genetic stability is keySequencing the great white shark genome was no small task -- the genome consisted of 4.63 billion base pairs (the nitrogen-containing molecules that make up the "rungs" of the DNA ladder), which is about 1.5 times the size of the human genome. "It's quite an impressive effort," said Dovi Kacev, a marine molecular ecologist and researcher at the National Marine Fisheries Services Southwest Fisheries Science Center in California, who was not involved with the study. [Image Gallery: Great White Sharks]Nearly 60 percent of the white shark genome consisted of repeated genetic sequences, which is similar to what's seen in the human genome. What's special about the white shark genome was that many of those repeated regions are codes for a special group of genes known as LINEs."These [LINEs] make copies of themselves and then reinsert randomly in various locations in the genome, and in the process they make double-stranded breaks in the DNA that need to be repaired," said Michael Stanhope, an evolutionary biologist at Cornell University in New York. Stanhope co-led the study with Nicholas Marra and Mahmood Shivji, conservation biologists at Nova Southeastern University.Those frequent breaks in the DNA make the genome unstable, which typically leads to a higher risk of problem-causing genetic mutations that can eventually lead to cancer. But white sharks seem to have evolved a way to avoid such genomic instability.The researchers found that the white shark genome contained a lot of genes responsible for maintaining genetic stability -- things like DNA-repair genes and tumor-suppressing genes. And when the researchers compared the white shark's stability genes with analogous genes in other vertebrates, they found small changes in the gene sequence that suggest a specific pattern of evolutionary adaptation for these genes in white sharks."Think of it as fine-tuning the role of these genes in maintaining genome stability in the white shark," Stanhope said.People have speculated that sharks have a much lower rate of cancer than other animals, but "there's not a lot of real data to say that with certainty," Kacev said. Nonetheless, the abundant presence of specially adapted stability genes could explain the potential cancer resistance."If you want to prevent cancer, you need to maintain the stability of your genome," Stanhope said, which means avoiding genetic mutations. An accumulation of excess mutations leads to cancer, but the shark genome seems specifically designed to prevent that. "These are things we would have to test in the lab, though, to really know," he said.Stanhope also cautioned that while white sharks might have a genetic adaptation to prevent them from getting cancer, that does not mean that consuming shark products could prevent a human from getting cancer, despite what proponents of "alternative medicine" may claim. And their other special abilities …Genetics may also explain another one of the white shark's superpowers: the ability to heal quickly. The team discovered several white shark genes that are known to play important roles in vertebrate wound-healing processes. And, similar to the stability genes, the wound-healing genes in the white shark were under the same kind of positive evolutionary selection pressures, meaning there's a tendency for the number of these beneficial traits to increase."We also found an enrichment of genes for both wound healing and genome stability genes in the white shark compared to other vertebrates," Stanhope said. In other words, the white shark genome has a higher proportion of these types of genes compared with what's seen in other vertebrate genomes.While the team discovered a number of genes that may be responsible for many of the great white's super-shark abilities, there was one characteristic that wasn't clearly accounted for by the genome: the shark's sensitive sniffer.Sharks are known for having a keen sense of smell, so the researchers expected to find numerous olfactory receptor (OR) genes, which are the genes responsible for the effective schnozes of other vertebrates. But the white shark genome contained exceptionally few of these genes. What the researchers found instead was another category of genes, called vomeronasal genes. These genes can also be involved in the perception of smell, but they aren't normally as abundant as OR genes, Stanhope said. In the white shark genome, however, there are more than dozen vomeronasal genes, so the researchers suggested that maybe those genes drive smell perception in the white shark."We're still at a point here where we're scratching the surface, but having this genome sequence gives us a starting point for addressing these questions in more detail," Kacev said. This research will undoubtedly help answer questions about other species, too, he added. "Understanding the genome of the white shark is not only important for the white shark, but it's a scaffold, or jumping-off point to understand related species."Great white sharks are one of the world's most well-recognized marine creatures, but their populations are struggling as people continue to hunt them out of fear and greed. "People have these images of [white sharks] that are depicted in movies and TV shows as being these killing machines," Kacev said. Yet, the reality is that humans kill far more sharks than sharks kill humans."Humans kill many, many millions of sharks every year across the world for silly, fake medicine reasons; for shark fin soup and all sorts of reasons that are just tragic, really," Stanhope said. The researchers hope their study helps more people realize how special these ancient vertebrates are."I hope that people recognize the remarkable, biological adaptations of these animals and as a consequence, have a greater appreciation for them," Stanhope said. * In Photos: Glow-in-the-Dark Sharks * 8 Weird Facts About Sharks * In Photos: Baby Sharks Show Off Amazing AbilityOriginally published on Live Science.
The Extinction Rebellion, a network of climate activists who use civil disobedience to spotlight inaction on global warming, is rooted in the conviction that humanity has dug its own grave and has one foot dangling over the edge. "It is really about waking people up to the fact that this is an emergency situation," said Sara Arnold, a 32-year designer and entrepreneur who has helped to lead campaigns in Britain, including one Sunday disrupting traffic around London Fashion Week. Whether it's time to panic about the threat of runaway global warming may depend less on Earth systems than human ones.
The trucking company and warehouse operator will use the bonds to repay borrowings under its existing credit agreement, according to a statement from the firm. XPO cut its 2019 profit forecast on Feb. 15 for the second time in two months, citing the loss of business from its largest customer and softening European demand. While it didn’t identify the firm that cut back business by two-thirds, Wall Street analysts and industry consultants said it was most certainly Amazon.com Inc., which has been building up its own logistics network, reducing the e-commerce giant’s need for third-party providers.
Comparable sales for Walmart stores in the U.S. -- a key performance barometer -- rose 4.2 percent in the quarter that included Christmas, beating analysts’ estimates by a full percentage point. “This is a blockbuster quarter for Walmart,” Moody’s analyst Charlie O’Shea said in an interview. The strong fourth-quarter results from the world’s biggest retailer is a welcome change for a consumer sector after a bout of disappointing results.
Citroën has presented its vision of urban mobility for all with its new Ami One Concept, which will be on display at the Geneva Motor Show in Switzerland, March 7-17, 2019. Citroën is marking its centenary year with a fully electric and connected ultra-compact concept echoing the brand's "Inspired By You" baseline. Accessible without a driving license from age 16, the Ami One Concept has been designed as much to be purchased by individual users as for creating carsharing fleets.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Tens of billions of devices, ranging from coffee makers to cars to spacecraft, could someday be connected to global networks thanks to what's known as the Internet of Things, or IoT, and cybersecurity experts say that could open up a whole new universe for hackers and eavesdroppers. Consider the humble coffee maker, for example: University of North Carolina techno-sociologist Zeynep Tufekci suggested that if Chinese authorities wanted to, say, root out Muslim activists in the country's far western Xinjiang region, they could watch for the telltale sign of coffee or tea being brewed before morning prayers. "Your coffee… Read More
HELSINKI/LONDON (Reuters) - Atomico-backed Finnish startup Varjo on Tuesday launched its top-of-the-range virtual reality headset, aiming to take VR technology to the aerospace and automotive sectors. The most widely known VR headsets such as HTC Vive or Facebook's Oculus have so far mostly made headlines with consumer applications, but with a $5,995 price tag Varjo is betting on industrial uses in architecture, engineering and construction. "There are millions of architects or engineers working on architectural projects ... once they start to use VR on a daily basis, that's when we start to see the volumes," Niko Eiden, founder and CEO of Varjo, told Reuters.
The European Parliament and the Council, which represents the 28 EU member countries, struck a compromise in the early hours that will reduce average CO2 emissions compared with 2019 levels, the European Commision said in a statement. There is also an interim 15 percent reduction target for 2025 and incentives for manufacturers to make low and zero-emission trucks. "For the first time binding CO2-reduction targets for trucks at the EU-level, including a clear stimulus for zero and low-emission trucks," Bas Eickhout, a Greens lawmaker who had negotiated on behalf of the European Parliament, said on Twitter.
The known Universe just got a lot bigger. A new map of the night sky published Tuesday charts hundreds of thousands of previously unknown galaxies discovered using a telescope that can detect light sources optical instruments cannot see. The international team behind the unprecedented space survey said their discovery literally shed new light on some of the Universe's deepest secrets, including the physics of black holes and how clusters of galaxies evolve.
'River of Stars' Streaming Through the Milky Way Was Hiding in Plain Sight for 1 Billion Years
One billion years ago, a cluster of stars formed in our galaxy. Since then, that cluster has whipped four long circles around the edge of the Milky Way. In that time, the Milky Way's gravity has stretched that cluster out from a blob into a long stellar stream. Right now, the stars are passing relatively close to Earth, just about 330 light-years away. And scientists say that river of stars could help determine the mass of the entire Milky Way..Astronomers have seen these stars before, mixed in with lots of stars all around them. But until now, they didn't realize the stars were part of a group. The river, which is 1,300 light-years long and 160 light-years wide, winds through the Milky Way's vast, dense star field. But 3D-mapping data from Gaia, a European Space Agency spacecraft, showed that the stars in the stream moved together at roughly the same speed and in the same direction."Identifying nearby disk streams is like looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack. Astronomers have been looking at, and through, this new stream for a long time, as it covers most of the night sky, but only now realize it is there, and it is huge, and shockingly close to the sun," Joao Alves, an astronomer at the University of Vienna and second author of the paper, said in a statement. [Large Numbers That Define Our Universe]Though space is full of these stellar streams, they're often difficult to study because they're well-camouflaged amidst surrounding stars. Typically, these stellar streams are also much farther away."Finding things close to home is very useful, it means they are not too faint nor too blurred for further detailed exploration, [an] astronomer's dream," Alves said.Scientists suspect that star clusters, like the one that eventually became this stellar stream can reveal how galaxies get their stars. But in a big, heavy galaxy like the Milky Way, those clusters usually end up shredded, with gravity pulling individual stars in different directions. [Amazing Astronomy: Victorian-Era Illustrations of the Heavens]This stream is big enough though, and heavy enough, that it's remained intact (albeit stretched) in the billion years it has circled the galactic center. And there may be more stars in the stream than those found in the initial Gaia data. * 11 Fascinating Facts About Our Milky Way Galaxy * Big Bang to Civilization: 10 Amazing Origin Events * Spaced Out! 101 Astronomy Photos That Will Blow Your MindOriginally published on Live Science.
NIH Funding Opportunities
- Development, Implementation, and Management of a Funding System to support the Grade A Milk Safety Program and National Shellfish Sanitation Program (U18)
- Notice of Correction to RFA-CA-19-008 "The Experimental Therapeutics Clinical Trials Network (ETCTN) Pharmacokinetic Resource Laboratories (U24 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)"
- Development of Standard Core Clinical Outcomes Assessments (COAs) and Endpoints (UG3/UH3 Clinical Trial Optional)
- Notice of Removal of Matching Requirement Instructions for RFA-EB-18-003 "HEAL Initiative: Translational Development of Devices to Treat Pain (U18 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)"
- Notice of Intent to Publish a Funding Opportunity Announcement for Trans-Agency Blood-Brain Interface Program (R61/R33 - Clinical Trials Not Allowed)