How the Ginkgo biloba achieves near-immortality
Long-lived humans having nothing on trees. Some forest giants, like the Ginkgo biloba, can live more than 3000 years. Now, in the most comprehensive plant aging study to date, researchers have revealed the molecular mechanisms that allow the ginkgo—and perhaps other trees—to survive so long.
Watch wolf puppies stun scientists by playing fetch
Playing fetch with your dog isn’t as simple as it seems. Your pooch must be perceptive enough to realize you want the ball back—and social enough to want to play with you in the first place. It’s such an advanced skill, in fact, that many scientists think it could have arisen only over thousands of years of domestication.
New front emerges in battle to build giant telescope in Hawaii
On the rain-lashed road leading to the peak of Mauna Kea on Hawaii’s Big Island, the sounds of singing and drumming can be heard above a roaring wind. Under a canopy, dozens of people celebrate their connection to the mountain with Native Hawaiian songs, chants, and dances, as they have been doing three times daily for the past 7 months. Many of the tents scattered across this lava field are unoccupied during this winter lull, but the current residents take good care of the site, which includes tents for food, medical care, and classes. They seem happy to wait as long as it takes for astronomers to give up on their plan to build a giant telescope on their sacred mountaintop.
FDA and NIH let clinical trial sponsors keep results secret and break the law
For 20 years, the U.S. government has urged companies, universities, and other institutions that conduct clinical trials to record their results in a federal database, so doctors and patients can see whether new treatments are safe and effective. Few trial sponsors have consistently done so, even after a 2007 law made posting mandatory for many trials registered in the database. In 2017, the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration tried again, enacting a long-awaited “final rule” to clarify the law’s expectations and penalties for failing to disclose trial results. The rule took full effect 2 years ago, on 18 January 2018, giving trial sponsors ample time to comply. But a Science investigation shows that many still ignore the requirement, while federal officials do little or nothing to enforce the law.
‘Frankenstein’ material can self-heal, reproduce
Life is at the heart of much of our material world. We make two-by-four beams from wood, ethanol from corn, and textiles from cotton. But bricks? Researchers have now created a form of concrete that not only comes from living creatures but—given the right inputs—can turn one brick into two, two into four, and four into eight. Although the new material won’t build self-assembling houses anytime soon, it could soon lead to building components that can heal themselves when damaged. The living concrete could even offer Mars-bound astronauts a way to build structures from local materials plus a few adventurous microbes.