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Feature article

Tolerate Thy Neighbour

cane toad

While adult cane toads are poisonous to terrestrial animals, their eggs and tadpoles are just as lethal to aquatic species. Credit: brian.gratwicke

By Georgina Caller

Cane toads have been wiping out native species, but one fish species has learnt to avoid toxic toadpoles.

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When the Devil’s Away the Possums Will Play

A large male Tasmanian devil with advanced facial tumours

A large male Tasmanian devil with advanced facial tumours, the disease that has caused widespread and severe decline across the devil’s range.

By Tracey Hollings and Menna Jones

Brushtail possums are boldly venturing away from the safety of trees to forage on the ground as an unprecedented transmissible cancer removes their major predator, the Tasmanian devil.

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The Changing Role of IP in Genomics

Credit: Sergey Nivens/adobe

Credit: Sergey Nivens/adobe

By Dianne Nicol

Recent court decisions have overturned previous rulings about genetic patents, but other intellectual property regimes are already taking their place.

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Born Too Soon

herjua/iStockphoto

Credit: herjua/iStockphoto

By Sarah Robertson & Mark Hutchinson

Each year a million babies die after premature birth, but researchers have now identified a potential treatment.

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Australia’s First Dingo

dingo

The low genetic diversity observed in dingoes indicates that present-day populations might be derived from an isolated colonisation event that involved just a single pregnant female. Credit: Sam Fraser-Smith/Wikimedia Commons

By Joanne Wright & David Lambert

Genetic analyses suggest that in a single colonising event the dingo reached Australia during the Holocene. Since rising seas had already inundated the land bridge connecting Australia to South-East Asia, the dingo must have been accompanying an ancient human sailor.

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Meet Our Weirdest Ever Cousins

A school of vetulicolians swimming in the Cambrian ocean

Our strangest relatives? A school of vetulicolians swimming in the Cambrian ocean, 515 million years ago. Credit: Katrina Kenny

By Diego García-Bellido & Michael Lee

Strange-sounding and even stranger-looking, vetulicolians are close relatives of vertebrates.

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Human Races: Biological Reality or Cultural Delusion?

race

The use of “race” in biology has been controversial for many decades irrespective of which species it has been applied to, human or otherwise.

By Darren Curnoe

Is the concept of racial groups a sociopolitical construct or is there scientific evidence that races exist in humans?

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The Myth of the Love Hormone

Oxytocin is the molecule that helps a mother bond with her baby

Oxytocin is the molecule that helps a mother bond with her baby, and also to fiercely protect it from those she doesn’t trust.

By Signe Cane

There is a molecule intimately involved in your sex life. However, its effects are not as straightforward as some would make you think.

Signe Cane is a freelance science writer, and editor at Wonder (www.pausetowonder.org).

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Ancient Agriculture’s Role in Maternal and Infant Mortality

The skull of a young woman from Quiani-7 shows abnormal bone formation (arrowed) that may be associated with scurvy-related haemorrhage of the infraorbital artery. Credit: A. Snoddy

The skull of a young woman from Quiani-7 shows abnormal bone formation (arrowed) that may be associated with scurvy-related haemorrhage of the infraorbital artery. Credit: A. Snoddy

By Anne Marie Snoddy & Siân Halcrow

Ancient human remains have revealed evidence that the adoption of agriculture led to malnutrition in a mother, her foetus and other infants.

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The Wild West of Robot Law

Credit: DM7/Adobe

Credit: DM7/Adobe

By Matthew Rimmer

Robots remain a law unto themselves, with legal frontiers including issues such as liability, copyright and even the taxing of robots much like the human workers they are replacing.

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