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Feature article

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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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.

The Other Red Meat on the “Real” Palaeodiet

Rama/CC BY-SA 2.0 fr

Reconstruction of a Mesolithic (late hunter-gatherer) tomb from France. It shows two women in their twenties or early thirties, both with traumatic injuries to the skull. One is believed to have been buried while still alive. Rama/CC BY-SA 2.0 fr

By Darren Curnoe

Are we really willing to eat the authentic palaeodiet, even if it means taking up cannibalism?

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Can Hookworms Cure Coeliac Disease?

Can Hookworms Cure Coeliac Disease?

By Paul Giacomin

Coeliac disease patients infected with hookworms can tolerate gluten-containing foods, revealing the potential for these parasites and their secretions to treat a range of inflammatory diseases.

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Conditions for Creation

A deep-sea volcanic eruption at Brimstone Pit, a vent on the side of a large submarine volcano in the Mariana Arc – part of the “Submarine Ring of Fire” that circles the Pacific Ocean basin, where tectonic plates spread or collide. Credit: NOAA Submarine Ring of Fire 2006 (Volcanoes Unit MTMNM)

A deep-sea volcanic eruption at Brimstone Pit, a vent on the side of a large submarine volcano in the Mariana Arc – part of the “Submarine Ring of Fire” that circles the Pacific Ocean basin, where tectonic plates spread or collide. Credit: NOAA Submarine Ring of Fire 2006 (Volcanoes Unit MTMNM)

By Simon Turner, Tracy Rushmer, Mark Reagan & Jean-Francois Moyen

A sequence of the world’s oldest rocks in the depths of the Mariana Trench indicates that both plate tectonics and life may have commenced on Earth 4.4 billion years ago.

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Survival of the Different

When a simple ancestral population of bacteria is kept in a constant controlled environment, a rich mixture of types evolves rather than a single “winner”.

When a simple ancestral population of bacteria is kept in a constant controlled environment, a rich mixture of types evolves rather than a single “winner”.

By Tom Ferenci

If evolution is about survival of the fittest, why does diversity emerge instead of perfectly evolved organisms that are fit in all environments? Now the complex trade-offs that shape the evolution of diversity have been measured.

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Islands of Extinction

The flooding of Chiew Larn Reservoir

The flooding of Chiew Larn Reservoir created scores of small islands like the one in the foreground. Photo: Tony Lynam

By William Laurance

Native mammals are disappearing rapidly as an aggressive invader takes over in forests fragmented by a hydroelectric dam.

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Why Don’t Mozzies Get a Fever?

mosquito

Viral diseases transmitted by mosquito bite are a major public health problem worldwide.

By Prasad Paradkar, Jean-Bernard Duchemin & Peter Walker

Understanding how mosquitoes protect themselves from the viruses they carry could lead to new ways of controlling the spread of viral diseases like dengue or yellow fever.

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A Quantum of Silence

Credit: Anterovium/Adobe

Credit: Anterovium/Adobe

By Luke Helt & Michael Steel

Single photons have weird yet useful behaviours, with applications ranging from secure communications to quantum computing. While current silicon photon sources often produce additional “noise photons” that interfere with these emerging technologies, new research has discovered a method to quieten this quantum chaos.

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