SciNews, Sunday, October 23, 2016

Zika’s effect on brain development; parents not interested in having baby’s genome profiled; water escaping from Mars; Samsung’s exploding batteries; Telsas to be be fully self-driving; suspense waiting to hear from Mars lander – just a few of the themes in today’s eclectic collection of SciNews.  Share these stories with your students and get them excited about science.

SciNews is published twice weekly. Stay tuned for more.

7308778_s from 123rfBiology

Zika disrupts DNA to impair brain development. Science News

Zika infection interferes with DNA replication and repair machinery and also prevents production of some proteins needed for proper brain growth, geneticist Feiran Zhang of Emory University in Atlanta reported October 19 at the annual meeting of the American Society of Human Genetics. Read more…  

Surprisingly few new parents enlist in study to have baby’s genome sequenced.  Science Mag

One of the first studies to explore the idea of routinely sequencing the genes of newborns to help guide their health care has run into an unexpected road bump: Few parents approached are interested in having their baby’s genome profiled.  Read more…


13698187_s from 123rf

Ups and downs of water escape from Mars. Science Daily

After investigating the upper atmosphere of the Red Planet for a full Martian year, NASA’s MAVEN mission has determined that the escaping water does not always go gently into space. Hydrogen in Mars’ upper atmosphere comes from water vapor in the lower atmosphere. An atmospheric water molecule can be broken apart by sunlight, releasing the two hydrogen atoms from the oxygen atom that they had been bound to. Several processes at work in Mars’ upper atmosphere may then act on the hydrogen, leading to its escape. Read more…

Bad wiring or bad chemistry? What’s behind Samsung’s exploding smartphone batteries? CBC

Samsung has been forced to recall thousands of its Galaxy Note 7 smartphones because some of the batteries in the devices overheated and exploded.

The company hasn’t yet explained the cause. And it’s curious, because lithium-ion batteries — the kinds used in the phones — are safely used in millions of wireless devices around the world. Read more…


18685938_s from 123rf

All new Tesla vehicles will have self-driving technology, Elon Musk says. CBC

All new Tesla Motors Inc. models will come with hardware to enable them to be fully self-driving, Chief Executive Elon Musk said Wednesday, as the Silicon Valley-based electric car company bids to be the first among many rivals to get autonomous vehicles on the road.  Read more…

Earth and Space Science12693495_s from 123rf

Mission scientists await signal from Mars lander. Science News

The Schiaparelli Mars lander, scheduled to touch down on the Red Planet on October 19 at 10:48 a.m. EDT, went silent a few minutes before touchdown, leaving mission scientists hanging on whether the lander safely made it to the surface. Meanwhile, its counterpart, the Trace Gas Orbiter, appears to have successfully entered orbit around Mars.  Read more…

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