‘Three-parent baby’ boy healthy so far

New details about a baby boy born with genetic material from his mother, his father and a female donor show the promise and drawbacks of a technique used to produce a “three-parent baby.” Called spindle transfer (SN Online: 10/18/2016), the technique is designed to avoid passing on potentially harmful DNA mutations in the mother’s mitochondria, ... Read more

HIV came to NYC at least a decade before virus ID’d

A genetic study of HIV viruses from the 1970s may finally clear the name of a man long identified as the source of the AIDS epidemic in the United States. HIV came to New York City between 1969 and 1973, long before the man known as Patient Zero became infected, researchers report October 26 in ... Read more

Learning curve not so smooth

Many preschoolers take a surprisingly long and bumpy mental path to the realization that people can have mistaken beliefs — say, thinking that a ball is in a basket when it has secretly been moved to a toy box. Traditional learning curves, in which kids gradually move from knowing nothing to complete understanding, don’t apply ... Read more

Supersolids produced in exotic state of quantum matter

A mind-bogglingly strange state of matter may have finally made its appearance. Two teams of scientists report the creation of supersolids, which are both liquid and solid at the same time. Supersolids have a crystalline structure like a solid, but can simultaneously flow like a superfluid, a liquid that flows without friction. Research teams from ... Read more

Zap to the head leads to fat loss

SAN DIEGO — A nerve-zapping headset caused people to shed fat in a small preliminary study. Six people who had received the stimulation lost on average about 8 percent of the fat on their trunks in four months, scientists reported November 12 at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience. The headset stimulated the ... Read more

How a ring of mountains forms inside a crater

Building mountains in minutes requires deep rocks and a big bang. Rings of mountainous peaks sit inside large impact craters, but scientists weren’t sure how these features formed. One explanation proposed that these mountains form from deep rocks jolted to the surface by the impact. Another theory suggested that uplift caused surface rocks to congregate ... Read more

For some early monks, impaired hearing amplified sounds of silence

SAN ANTONIO — Early Christian monks’ vows of silence may have attracted not only the devout but also a fair number of hearing-impaired men with a sacred calling. A team led by bioarchaeologist Margaret Judd of the University of Pittsburgh found that a substantial minority of Byzantine-era monks buried in a communal crypt at Jordan’s ... Read more

Scientific success depends on finding light in darkness

Without light, we cannot see. That’s why “dark galaxies” have eluded astronomers for so long. Two years ago, these star-starved entities were virtually unknown. But scientists now have better ways of seeing, even in dim conditions. New telescopes that can detect the faint light from these mysterious galaxies have enabled scientists to chalk up a ... Read more

Stellar vomiting produces dark galaxies, simulations suggest

Brilliant births and destructive deaths of stars might take a runt of a galaxy and stretch it to become a ghostly behemoth, new computer simulations show. This process could explain the origin of recently discovered dark galaxies, which can be as wide as the Milky Way but host roughly 1 percent as many stars. Since ... Read more

Cells avoiding suicide may play role in spread of cancer

SAN FRANCISCO — Mostly dead is still partly alive, even for cells on the brink of suicide, new research suggests. Near-death experiences may play a role in embryo development and help cancer cells that survive chemotherapy spread throughout the body, Denise Montell, a cell biologist at the University of California, Santa Barbara, reported December 6 ... Read more