Short Science, November 11, 2012

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 11 November, 2012, 1:25am
UPDATED : Sunday, 11 November, 2012, 2:53am

1,000 Genomes Project results published

Scientists have published the full genetic sequences of more than 1,000 people from 14 countries, creating the most complete inventory of the millions of variations between people's DNA sequences ever assembled. The resource, built by the 1,000 Genomes Project, will shed light on the genetic roots of complex diseases and suggest ways to treat them as well as informing studies of human evolution. The results of the 1,000 Genomes Project have been published in the science journal Nature and contain the full DNA sequences of 1,092 people drawn from 14 populations around the world, including Europe, the Americas, East Asia and Africa. The pilot results were unveiled in 2010, with the genomes of 179 people published to show that the technology and methods were robust. The five-year project, which cost about US$120 million,  is an international collaboration between scientists, charities and companies to map the full diversity of human DNA.  The Guardian


House finch a fair weather friend

House finches avoid sick members of their own species, scientists said in a finding that could be useful for tracking the spread of diseases like bird flu that also affects humans. Laboratory tests showed that the house finch, a particularly social North American species, was able to tell the difference between sick and healthy fellow birds and tended to avoid those that were unwell. This is the first time that avoidance of sick individuals, already observed in lobsters and bullfrog tadpoles, has been shown in birds, according to a paper in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters. AFP


'Mad scientist' seeks Bigfoot in a blimp

An American scientist, shrugging off sceptical fellow scholars in his quest for evidence of Bigfoot, has turned his sights skyward, with plans to float a blimp over the western United States  in search of the mythic, ape-like creature. Idaho State University has approved the unusual proposal of faculty member Jeffrey Meldrum,  ridiculed by some peers for past research of a being whose existence is widely disputed. Reuters


Heartbeat could power pacemaker

Your own beating heart may generate enough electricity to power a heart-regulating pacemaker, ending the need for operations to replace batteries,  an early study of an experimental energy-converting device shows. US researchers in the aerospace engineering department at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor tested an energy-harvesting device that runs on piezoelectricity - the electrical charge generated from motion. Reuters