Science Small Plate (April 26, 2013)

Micah's DNA, by micahb37 on Flickr. Used under Creative Commons license.

(micahb37/Flickr)

Some tasty morsels of science:

  • A belated happy 60th birthday, DNA. Yesterday was DNA Day, marking the day the human genome sequence was completed in 2003 and the day in 1953 when the structure of DNA was announced.
  • The earth’s core is hot. Really, really hot. Maybe even hotter than we think, if a new experiment using iron, diamonds, lasers and x-rays is right.
  • One more thing about the earth: It’s been around for some 4 1/2 billion years, but if you back-calculate when life originated based on how complex it is today, the math will tell you life’s been around for more than twice that time…which raises some interesting questions.
  • Here’s something older than earth, older even than the sun: asteroids that landed in Antarctica holding within them mineral grains formed in a supernova that exploded before the solar system formed.
  • Species aren’t facts, they’re theories. And leeches and ligers can teach us a lot about that.
  • How do you turn bacteria into diesel refineries? By giving them genes that let them turn sugar into petroleum-like biofuels.
  • You can calm a rat ┬áby tickling it, from which we might learn something about how we respond to stress.
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