Journal Club

Highlighting recently published papers selected by Academy members

Journal Club: Charred fossilized eggs suggest that humans contributed to Australia’s megafaunal extinction

A huge flightless bird known as Genyornis newtoni once roamed the Australian Outback along with a host of other giant animals. Now scientists have unearthed what may be the first reliable evidence that humans contributed to the extinction of these … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Why do trees fix nitrogen in certain forests and not others? Model offers insights with big implications for the biosphere

Many trees can generate their own fertilizer from nitrogen in the air. But it remains a mystery as to why they grow where they do – for example, few grow in the nitrogen-poor soils of temperate forests but many thrive … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Even in honeybees, early aggression makes for angry adults

A childhood of violence can make humans and other animals violent later on. Now scientists unexpectedly find the same holds true for even the simple honeybee. Unlike people, however, greater aggression in honeybees was not associated with later health problems. … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Maya altered their environment significantly, for better or worse

The ancient Maya once had a civilization in the Americas that stretched over an area the size of Texas. Now scientists detail a number of key ways the Maya left behind a lasting impact on the environment during the so-called … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Record-breaking galaxy offers insight into early universe

A new champion has been crowned in the hunt for the most distant, independently-confirmed galaxy ever observed. Called EGS8p7, the galaxy existed when the universe was a mere 570 million years old, beating the previous frontrunner by almost 100 million … Continue reading

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Journal Club: T-cells transform, defying expectations and suggesting a new therapeutic avenue

Inflammation can help the human body fight off infections. If left unchecked, it can also lead to a variety of inflammatory disorders, such as gout and lupus. Now scientists find that in mice, a kind of immune cell that normally … Continue reading

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Journal Club: A new take on why tumors develop drug resistance

Cancer’s notorious resistance to therapy is often explained as the result of natural selection of newly mutating cells. Cancer-killing drugs wipe out nearly all of a tumor’s cells, but random mutations may allow for drug resistance in some cells, and … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Epigenetic marks may reveal how the environment affected ancient societies

Ancient DNA can shed light on the past in myriad ways — for instance, genes and mutations may reveal important adaptations or physiological changes. But gene-regulating molecules latched onto the DNA, known as epigenetic marks, may also reveal important clues. … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Study reveals most comprehensive snake family tree to date

Snakes are incredibly diverse, with more than 3,400 living species found on land and in the water. But little is known about how the first serpents looked and behaved. Now scientists at Yale University have reconstructed what the ancestor of … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Newly found mutation contributes to irregular chromosome number, a major cause of pregnancy loss

When a baby does not make it to term, an irregular number of chromosomes in the embryo is often the root cause. The phenomenon, known as aneuploidy, is surprisingly common: it can be detected in roughly three-quarters of human embryos … Continue reading

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