Science and Medicine

Should We Bring Back Extinct Species?

Scientists are currently working on three different approaches to restore lost plants and animals. In cloning, scientists use genetic material from the extinct species to create an exact modern copy.

Within 15 years, scientists may be able to revive some recently extinct species, like the dodo or the passenger pigeon. It’s not Jurassic Park, but is it a good idea?

In the April 5 issue of Science, Stanford University law Professor Hank Greely identifies the ethical landmines of this new concept of de-extinction.

“I view this piece as the first framing of the issues,” said Greely, director of the Stanford Center for Law and the Biosciences. “I don’t think it’s the end of the story, rather I think it’s the start of a discussion about how we should deal with de-extinction.”

Greely lays out potential benefits of de-extinction, from creating new scientific knowledge to restoring lost ecosystems. But the biggest benefit, Greely believes, is the “wonder” factor.

“It would certainly be cool to see a living saber-toothed cat,” Greely said. “Wonder may not seem like a substantive benefit, but a lot of science—such as the Mars rover—is done because of it.”

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Can snail teeth improve battery tech, solar cells?

Can biominerals sourced from snails improve lithium-ion batteries and solar cellconcentration?

Can biominerals sourced from snails improve lithium-ion batteries and solar cell concentration?

According to researchers at the University of California, Riverside, the hunt for ways to improve battery energy storage and recharging, as well as the sunlight capture and concentration in solar cells, could be found in the strangest of places.

Assistant Professor David Kisailus, who has been studying a marine snail found off the U.S. coast called the chiton, has found that the snail’s teeth—constantly worn down by rasping algae off rocks and then replaced by further rows—could hold the key for improving our battery technology. The teeth, which contain the hardest-known biomineral magnetite, undergo an interesting process to become hard enough to cope with gnawing on rocks, as Wards autosummarizes:

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Chewing Gum Helps Maintain Focus

Previous research has shown that chewing gum can improve concentration in visual memory tasks.

Chewing gum can help you stay focused for longer on tasks that require ongoing attention.

Previous research has shown that chewing gum can improve concentration in visual memory tasks. This study focused on the potential benefits of chewing gum during an audio memory task.

It’s been well established by previous research that chewing gum can benefit some areas of cognition. The study focused on an audio task that involved short-term memory recall to see if chewing gum would improve concentration, especially in the latter stages of the task.

The study, published in the British Journal of Psychology, involved 38 participants being split into two groups. Both groups completed a 30-minute audio task that involved listening to a list of numbers from 1 through 9 being read out in a random manner.

The researchers, including Chris Miles of Cardiff University, scored participants on how accurately and quickly they were able to detect a sequence of odd-even-odd numbers, such as 7-2-1. Participants also completed questionnaires on their mood both before and after the task.

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