9 Stories

Fukushima Fallout: Scads of Mutant Butterflies

Radiation link clear, scientists say, and it's only the beginning

(Newser) - The radiation that poured out of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear reactor last year looks like it's doing a number on Japan's animal populations, researchers warn, after discovering rampant mutations among butterflies. Scientists collected 144 adult pale grass blue butterflies—which would have been overwintering as larvae during the... More »

Mutating Malaria Mosquito Breeds Panic

Deadly insect splitting into two species

(Newser) - Scientists battling the deadliest creature on Earth have been alarmed to discover that it is rapidly evolving into two distinct species. The Anopheles gambiae mosquito, responsible for some million deaths from malaria every year, has split into two genetically different strains, the Independent reports. Scientists warn that this will complicate... More »

Pollution Turns Male Fish Into Mutant Mommies

Potomac river full of intersexed fish

(Newser) - The Potomac river has become so polluted that most of its male fish have mutated and developed female traits—like carrying eggs in their testes. More than 80% of the river's male bass have some female characteristic, the Potomac Conservancy tells the Guardian , blaming drugs and other chemicals that... More »

Swine Flu Mutation Worries Norway Scientists

CDC official says it's no cause for alarm

(Newser) - Norwegian scientists say they've discovered a mutated version of swine flu in two patients who died and another who is severely ill. The mutation "could possibly make the virus more prone to infect deeper in the airways and thus cause more severe disease," said the nation's health institute.... More »

Moms Can Pass Cancer to Kids In Utero

Mutation makes cancer cells 'invisible' to fetus' immune system

(Newser) - Mothers pass myriad things to their unborn babies via the placenta, and scientists have found that cancer is among them. Researchers studied the case of a mother who died of leukemia soon after she gave birth, and whose child was diagnosed with cancer months later. Though the baby’s cancer... More »

Breakthrough Raises Hope for HIV Vaccine

Antibodies could help scientists combat elusive virus' defenses

(Newser) - Researchers have found two antibodies that neutralize the AIDS virus more successfully than any identified in the past, resurrecting hopes that it may be possible to develop an effective vaccine, Time reports. The new antibodies are effective against a broad range of HIV variants, neutralizing the virus’ most effective defense:... More »

Seasonal Flu Strain May Have Mutated

Canadian researchers say H3N2 virus mutated from vaccine strain

(Newser) - A mutated version of the seasonal strain of flu targeted by this season's vaccine has surfaced in a traveler entering Canada from Mexico, Reuters reports. The development complicates the tracking of the virus in Mexico, which has suffered the majority of infections and deaths. The variant was previously found in... More »

Geneticists Solve Mystery of Giant Tomatoes

Without mutations on just 2 genes, red fruit would be tiny bud

(Newser) - Tomatoes would be about the size of blueberries if it weren't for two key genetic mutations, Reuters reports. Scientists mapping the plant's DNA discovered one gene that encourages additional cell division, and another that allows the fruit to grow many more internal compartments. Together the changes have created tomatoes up... More »

Drug Targets Hundreds of Disorders

Magic bullet hits mutations that prompt 1,800 genetic diseases

(Newser) - A magic bullet that could treat cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy, hemophilia and more than 1,800 other genetic disorders could be available by 2009. Lee Sweeney of UPenn, leader of the team developing the drug, tells the Times of London: “It doesn’t just target one mutation that causes... More »

9 Stories