mudslide that killed at least 14 people was predicted
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6 | NewScientist | 29 March 2014
THE clearest map yet of how genes are used by cells to make our bodies work has been drawn. It is challenging ideas about what our genes do and may accelerate the development of gene therapies.
Every cell in the body contains the same genetic code. But which genes are active or “expressed” in the cell depends on its function. This is controlled by tiny bits of the genome called promoters and enhancers.
An international consortium of researchers, led by the RIKEN institute in Japan, have uncovered which promoters and enhancers are used by which cells. By looking at more than 800 human tissue samples, covering nearly all cell types, they found 44,000 enhancers and 180,000 promoters that control gene expression. The work has been published across 18 papers in
THEY were warned. Heavy rainfall has been blamed for the largest landslide in the US for a decade. On Monday, the government said the area was considered safe, but it has emerged that the potential for a catastrophic slide was predicted 15 years ago.
By Tuesday, the slide in Oso, Washington state, had killed 14 people, with 176 still missing. Covering about 2.5 square kilometres, it occurred at 10.45 am local time on 22 March, leaving much of the town under mud and
Gene use mapped Mudslide foretold
“The map has already been used to find gene patterns that predict the spread of colon cancer”
–Skin off: the IXV–
–A tragic conclusion–
Nature, Blood and BMC Genomics.Combining their map with
other data showed that mutations linked to diseases occurred more often in the enhancers and promoters than they did in the genes themselves. Researchers can now try to design therapies that target these mutations.
Yoshihide Hayashizaki of RIKEN, who is head of the consortium, says the team has already used the data to find gene expression patterns that predict the spread of colon cancer. He thinks the finding could help treat people within three years.
debris up to 12 metres thick. After viewing images of the
scene, geologist and landslide expert Dave Petley at Durham University, UK, speculates that heavy rain in March saturated soil on the upper slope, causing it to fail and slide onto lower slopes. As the load squashed the lower reaches, it liquefied the soil, creating a muddy torrent.
A 1999 report from the US Army Corps of Engineers warned of the potential for a deadly slide at Oso, but the Department of Emergency Management said on Monday that the area was considered safe.
EUROPE’S home-grown space shuttle is taking shape. If the maiden flight of the Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle (IXV, pictured) in October goes to plan, it will be the first time in 16 years that the European Space Agency (ESA) has returned a craft to Earth.
Atmospheric re-entry is key for any astronaut trip or bringing rock samples back from other worlds. Unlike the US, Chinese and Russian space agencies, which
Crash confirmed by dataMATHS has solved the mystery. An analytical technique never before applied to aircraft tracking this week led investigators to a tragic conclusion: the missing Malaysia Airlines jet crashed into the southern Indian Ocean killing all 239 people on board.
Flight MH370, missing since 8 March, had VHF radio and satellite transmitters on board for sending technical data to the airline. Even though the satellite transmitter was unused, it maintained a connection to a satellite by pinging it with an hourly radio pulse, much like an unused cellphone stays connected to a network.
On 15 March, the power of those hourly pings was used to calculate how far the plane was from a
geostationary Inmarsat satellite. That showed the plane was flying either north towards Kazakhstan, or south into the open reaches of the Indian Ocean.
Now a deeper mathematical analysis using the Doppler effect has quantified how ping frequencies change as planes approach or move away from a satellite. The frequency of the pings received from flight MH370 were checked against other flights in the same region to show that the plane flew the southern route until it ran out of fuel 2500 kilometres west of Perth, Australia.
In a text message to relatives, Malaysia Airlines said: “We have to assume beyond any reasonable doubt that MH370 has been lost and none of those on board survived.”
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