Arctic SOS, Cancer’s Germ Foe (ABSTRACT SCIENCE: FEB. 6-10)
Can we bring back sea ice, genetically modified bacteria fighting cancer and using DNA to track wild pigs.
(NPR Science, 2/7/17, Rae Ellen Bichell)
Wild hogs inflict $1.5 billion in damage on United State property each year. But biologists can now track feral swine through environmental DNA (eDNA) by looking for tiny traces of their appearance in mud and water. eDNA has been used in the past to monitor invasive fish and endangered whale sharks. Enter Kelly Williams, a biological science technician at the National Wildlife Research Center. She has developed a way to keep tabs on the animals without even seeing them. All she needs is a scoop of water.
(Nature 2/8/17, Julia Rosen)
In the span of a few months, the cap of sea ice covering the Arctic Ocean started to shrink. Temperatures at the North Pole soared and polar bears had a record number of run-ins with people near the Hudson Bay. So, what happens now? Sea-ice researcher, Stephanie Pfirman and her colleagues have started a broader conversation about the re-growth of ice. Could the same physics that makes it easy for Arctic sea ice to melt rapidly may also allow it to regrow?
(Science, 2/8/17, Michael Price)
Salmonella bacteria has long been associated with food poisoning but don’t be so quick to write off this bacteria completely. Scientists have modified Salmonella to trigger a powerful immune response against human cancer cells implanted in mice, shrinking the tumors and preventing them from metastasizing.
—Compiled by Social Media Specialist Jillian Scola