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Could an Algal Toxin Cause Motor Neurone Disease?

Could an Algal Toxin Cause Motor Neurone Disease?

By Rachael Dunlop

It’s long been thought that blue-green algae might cause several brain diseases. Now a missing piece in the puzzle has been found.

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No Honey, Not Tonight: Why and How Female Animals Avoid Sex

Female Lake Eyre dragon lizards will flip over onto their backs to prevent males

Female Lake Eyre dragon lizards will flip over onto their backs to prevent males from mounting them.

By Devi Stuart-Fox

So much of our obsession with sex revolves around how to get it, and how often, but the females of many animal species have evolved remarkable adaptations to avoid it. Why?

Devi Stuart-Fox is Senior Lecturer in The University of Melbourne’s Zoology Department.

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Ruling the Roost

While there has been a huge effort to try and sanitise the processing of chicken meat to eliminate bacterial contamination, they still persist in low numbers. Credit: roibu/Adobe

While there has been a huge effort to try and sanitise the processing of chicken meat to eliminate bacterial contamination, they still persist in low numbers. Credit: roibu/Adobe

By Tamsyn Crowley & Ben Wade

More than four million Australians suffer from food poisoning each year, many due to bacterial contamination of poultry products. Now nanotechnology is being tested as an alternative to antibiotic use in chickens prior to processing.

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Big Questions about Little Hominins

The skull of Homo floresiensis (right) is much smaller than ours (left).

The skull of Homo floresiensis (right) is much smaller than ours (left), but other evidence supports that it is a new hominid species and not a modern human that suffered from a genetic or pathological condition. Credit: Debbie Argue

By Debbie Argue

The discovery of diminutive human fossils in Indonesia has challenged paradigms in human evolution – and has therefore been highly controversial. How strong is the evidence that Homo floresiensis is a separate species and not a stunted modern human?

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Breath of Life: How a Jetlag Treatment Could Prevent Permanent Newborn Brain Damage

baby

Childbirth causes short periods of time without access to oxygen for the baby. Permanent damage can occur if something goes wrong and the oxygen supply is low for too long.

By James Aridas

A common jetlag treatment in a simple skin patch could be the key to improving the lives of babies all around the world.

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After the Oil Spill

oil spill

The oil spill at Montara lasted for 74 days.

By Asa Wahlquist

Just 4 years after the Montara oil spill, scientists have compiled the most detailed description yet of the wildlife, fish and habitats of the Timor Sea as they monitor the recovery of the species affected by the spill.

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Sex without Seed

Mouse-ear hawkweed can clone itself through its seeds.

Mouse-ear hawkweed can clone itself through its seeds.

By Dyani Lewis

Plant biologists are finding ways to retain hybrid vigour in important crops by generating clonal seed.

Dyani Lewis is a freelance science writer.

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The Social Lives of Sharks

A group of Port Jackson sharks under kelp at their mating aggregation site in Jervis Bay, NSW. Credit: Johann Mourier

A group of Port Jackson sharks under kelp at their mating aggregation site in Jervis Bay, NSW. Credit: Johann Mourier

By Culum Brown

Tracking technology reveals that Port Jackson sharks have buddies of similar age and gender, and can navigate across Bass Strait to the same breeding grounds.

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How Early Can We Predict and Prevent Psychosis?

There is growing evidence that subtle changes in brain function can be identified long before the onset of psychotic symptoms. Credit: vchalup/Adobe

There is growing evidence that subtle changes in brain function can be identified long before the onset of psychotic symptoms. Credit: vchalup/Adobe

By Scott R. Clark, K. Oliver Schubert & Bernhard T. Baune

The addition of a simple blood test could improve predictions of a first psychotic episode.

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Off the Grid

dmfoto12/Adobe

Credit: dmfoto12/Adobe

By Cameron Shearer

Australians have taken to solar energy, but much of the electricity they generate cannot be stored and is returned back to the grid. However, commercial residential battery systems are now available, with new technologies on the horizon.

An increasing number of Australian households now produce their own electricity through rooftop solar panels. During a typical day, the electricity generated will be used to run some appliances, and any power left over is returned to the electricity grid with the homeowner receiving a feed-in tariff for the electricity they return. The plan of the homeowner is for the initial cost of the solar panel installation to be slowly paid back through lower power bills and feed-in tariffs.