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Cutting the Ties That Bind

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The development of a new organism from the joining of two single cells is a carefully orchestrated endeavor. But even before sperm meets egg, an equally elaborate set of choreographed steps must occur to ensure successful sexual reproduction. Those steps, known as reproductive cell division or meiosis, split the original number of chromosomes in half so that offspring will inherit half their genetic material from one parent and half from the other.

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Close Encounters: Comet Siding Spring Seen Next to Mars

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A composite Hubble Space Telescope image provides the position of comet Siding Spring during the comet's closest approach to Mars on October 19, 2014. Join Hubble astronomers for a live discussion at 3pm today during the Comet Siding Spring/Mars Hubble Hangout at https://plus.google.com/u/0/events/cq3l54o0if0solg51h5tocbf508.

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Silent Evidence of the Earthquake of 363 CE

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During their last excavation season archeologists from the Institute of Archaeology at the University of Haifa found fascinating findings: In addition to a gold pendant, they found a large muscular marble leg and artillery ammunition from some 2,000 years ago. “The data is finally beginning to form a clear historical-archaeological picture,” said Dr. Michael Eisenberg, the dig director

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Organic Molecules in Titan's Atmosphere Are Intriguingly Skewed

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While studying the atmosphere on Saturn’s moon Titan, scientists discovered intriguing zones of organic molecules unexpectedly shifted away from its north and south poles. These misaligned features seem to defy conventional thinking about Titan’s windy atmosphere, which should quickly smear out such off-axis concentrations.

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EMBARGOED

A reporter's PressPass is required to access this story until the embargo expires on 27-Oct-2014 3:00 PM EDT

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Human Skin Cells Reprogrammed Directly Into Brain Cells

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Scientists have described a way to convert human skin cells directly into a specific type of brain cell affected by Huntington’s disease, an ultimately fatal neurodegenerative disorder. Unlike other techniques that turn one cell type into another, this new process does not pass through a stem cell phase, avoiding the production of multiple cell types, report researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

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Phytoplankton as Carbon Pumps

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Phytoplankton blooms can fix as much carbon as an equivalent-size rainforest, but where does the carbon go when the bloom collapses? Three Weizmann Institute scientists – a marine microbiologist, a cloud physicist, and an oceanographer – investigate.

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Triplet Threat from the Sun

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The most obvious effects of too much sun exposure are cosmetic, like wrinkled and rough skin. Some damage, however, goes deeper—ultraviolet light can damage DNA and cause proteins in the body to break down into smaller, sometimes harmful pieces that may also damage DNA, increasing the risk of skin cancer and cataracts. Understanding the specific pathways by which this degradation occurs is an important step in developing protective mechanisms against it.

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Big Black Holes Can Block New Stars

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Massive black holes spewing out radio-frequency-emitting particles at near-light speed can block formation of new stars in aging galaxies, a study has found.

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See-Through Sensors Open New Window Into the Brain

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Developing invisible implantable medical sensor arrays, a team of University of Wisconsin-Madison engineers has overcome a major technological hurdle in researchers’ efforts to understand the brain. The team described its technology, which has applications in fields ranging from neuroscience to cardiac care and even contact lenses, in the Oct. 20 issue of the online journal Nature Communications.

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