SHORT SCIENCE

Chinese researchers develop transparent eggshells ... for research

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 08 February, 2015, 8:41am
UPDATED : Monday, 09 February, 2015, 10:33am

No yolk! See-through egg finally cracked

Chinese researchers have developed transparent artificial eggshells for use in the lab. The point is to create a small, easily regulated medium to grow and test avian embryos in. Scientists often use chicken embryos as models for development, and they need to be able to peek at them as they grow and change. Labs "usually accomplish this by "windowing" the egg - otherwise known as punching a hole in it and covering it up as needed. But scientists at Beijing's Tsinghua University have presented an alternative. According to Science China Technological Sciences, the project has created "eggs-on-a-chip" that allow scientists to observe the birds from all sides. The researchers didn't "hatch" living chickens from the artificial eggs, but they did grow them for more than 17 days. The Washington Post

 

Migrating birds take turns as leader

Flying in a V-formation is toughest for the leader, and migrating birds compensate by taking turns so that no one gets exhausted, international researchers say. The authors of the study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a US peer-reviewed journal, described the discovery as the "first convincing evidence for 'turn-taking' reciprocal cooperative behaviour in birds." The research is based on 14 northern bald ibis which migrate from Salzburg, Austria to Orbetello, Italy. Each bird wore a data-logging device that allowed scientists to track how individuals acted within the flying V-formation. Researchers found that the "birds changed position frequently within the flock." AFP

 

Russian scientist in trouble over secrets

A Russian nuclear scientist has been charged with disclosing state secrets and faces up to four years in prison over an article he published in a Czech journal. Vladimir Golubev, a former employee of the country's top nuclear weapons research and development centre, is accused by the security services of disclosing state secrets after publishing an article about explosives, according to his lawyer. The article was based on a report he gave at an international conference in the Czech Republic in 2013. AFP