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Low-mass stars in binary stars appear to behave like high-mass, evolved...

Astronomers Steve Howell of the University of California, Riverside and Thomas E. Harrison and Heather Osborne of New Mexico State University have found from their observations of over a dozen mass-losing stars in 'cataclysmic variables' that most of the secondary stars do not appear to be normal main sequence stars in terms of their apparent abundances. To various degrees, each star seems to have low to no carbon and other odd mixtures of elements such as sodium and calcium, the astronomers announced today at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Nashville, Tenn.

Roads pave the way for weed invasions

Improved roads in wilderness areas spread more invasive weeds than primitive roads, while roadless areas act as refuges for native species against invasions, according to two new studies. Cheatgrass, knapweeds and other non-native plants have invaded nearly 125 million acres of the American West. Roads promote invasion because vehicles can transport non-native seeds into uninfested areas, and disturbed roadsides give weed seeds a place to grow.

Fast changing gene drives species split

A gene that stops different species of fruit flies from interbreeding is evolving faster than other genes, according to researchers at the University of California, Davis, and the University of Cambridge in England. The findings may help scientists understand how new species evolve from existing ones.

Molecular machine shuffles beads on a DNA string

Yards of DNA are packed into cells by wrapping the DNA around proteins called nucleosomes. But that tight packing makes it hard for the cell's machinery to get at the DNA code to read, copy or repair it. Now researchers at the University of California, Davis, have shown how two proteins form a molecular machine that shuffles the nucleosomes out of the way to expose the DNA double helix.

Nanotech Decoys for Viruses

Using nanotechnology to stop HIV viruses from entering cells is the ultimate aim of a new project at the University of California, Davis. The researchers hope to create tiny particles that can interfere with the proteins that viruses such as HIV use to attach to cells.

Bt found to kill parasitic roundworm

Biologists at the University of California, San Diego have discovered that Bacillus thuringiensis, or Bt -- a bacterium that produces natural protein insecticides that have been used by organic farmers for five decades -- can also produce similar natural proteins that kill nematodes. The discovery could pave the way for the development of an inexpensive and environmentally safe means of controlling the parasitic roundworms that each year destroy billions of dollars in crops, cause debilitating diseases in farm animals and pets, and now infect a quarter of the world's human population.

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