Tackling the canine obesity crisis

When it comes to man's best friend, science may finally have solved the mystery of their gluttony - some Labradors, it seems, are genetically predisposed to being hungry.

That's according to scientists who were discussing their ongoing mission to improve our favourite pets' health at the British Science Association Festival in Brighton, according to BBC.

Several research teams in the UK are on a mission to improve canine health.

Millions of new genes in human microbiome

A new study of the human microbiome -- the trillions of microbial organism56s that live on and within our bodies -- has uncovered millions of previously unknown genes from microbial communities in the human gut, skin, mouth, and vaginal microbiome, allowing for new insights into the role these microbes play in human health and disease.

The study, triples the amount of data previously analyzed in this project, and is the largest human microbiome study ever.

The results are a significant jump in the amount of information available to scientists. This publication provides new insight into the changes in our microbiome over time and could lead to a greater understanding of the genetic differences that are unique to an individual's microbes.

More evidence of water on Mars

River deposits exist across the surface of Mars and record a surface environment from over 3.5 billion years ago that was able to support liquid water at the surface. A region of Mars named Aeolis Dorsa contains some of the most spectacular and densely packed river deposits seen on Mars.

These deposits are observable with satellite images because they have undergone a process called "topographic inversion." where the deposits filling once topographically low river channels have been exhumed in such a way that they now exist as ridges at the surface of the planet.

With the use of high-resolution images and topographic data from cameras on orbiting satellites, B.T. Cardenas and colleagues identify fluvial deposit stacking patterns and changes in sedimentation styles controlled by a migratory coastline. They also develop a method to measure river paleo-transport direction for a subset of these ridges.

There are so many berries this year

Berries are appearing on plants and hedgerows early this year because of the unusual weather patterns.

The combination of a warm, dry spring, followed by July and.

"Berries are a vital part of gardens and wildlife, and things have come together this year to make an abundant and beautiful crop," said Guy Barter, chief horticulturist at the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), according to BBC.

Plants that are already bearing berries include spindle bushes (Euonymus) and firethorn (Pyracantha), while crab apples are also ripening early.

The fruits are likely to coincide with the appearance of autumn colour on leaves.

Skin patch dissolves 'love handles' in mice

Researchers have devised a medicated skin patch that can turn energy-storing white fat into energy-burning brown fat locally while raising the body's overall metabolism. The patch could be used to burn off pockets of unwanted fat such as "love handles" and treat metabolic disorders like obesity and diabetes, according to researchers.

Humans have two types of fat. White fat stores excess energy in large triglyceride droplets. Brown fat has smaller droplets and a high number of mitochondria that burn fat to produce heat. Newborns have a relative abundance of brown fat, which protects against exposure to cold temperatures. But by adulthood, most brown fat is lost.