Snail's DNA secrets unlocked in fight against river disease

Scientists have decoded the genome of a snail involved in the spread of a deadly parasitic disease.

They say the information will help in the fight against schistosomiasis, an infection caused by a parasitic worm that lives in streams and ponds, according to BBC.

The disease affects millions of people a year in sub-tropical and tropical regions.

More than 100 researchers from around the world have unlocked the DNA secrets of a snail that transmits the parasite.

Earth was barren, flat and almost entirely under water 4.4 billion years ago

Scientists say the early Earth was likely to be barren, flat and almost entirely under water with a few small islands, following their analysis of tiny mineral grains as old as 4.4 billion years. According to Science daily

Lead researcher Dr Antony Burnham said the team studied zircon mineral grains that were preserved in sandstone rocks which were the oldest fragments of the Earth ever found.

"The history of the Earth is like a book with its first chapter ripped out with no surviving rocks from the very early period, but we've used these trace elements of zircon to build a profile of the world at that time," said Dr Burnham.

Fossil sheds light on 'Jurassic Park' dinosaurs

The fossil of a dinosaur that has been languishing in a museum for decades has been re-examined - and it turns out to be that of a new species. According to BBC

Brachiosaurus, depicted in Jurassic Park, now has an early relative, providing clues to the evolution of some of the biggest creatures on Earth.

Scientists say the plant-eating dinosaur was longer than a double-decker bus and weighed 15,000kg.

Its remains were found in the 1930s.

Since then it has been somewhat over-looked, spending most of that time in storage crates.

Lead researcher Dr Philip Mannion said the dinosaur would have eaten all kinds of vegetation, such as ferns and conifers, and lived at a time when Europe was a series of islands.

What's coming next? Scientists identify how the brain predicts speech

An international collaboration of neuroscientists has shed light on how the brain helps us to predict what is coming next in speech. According to Science daily

In the study, scientists, report that they have discovered mechanisms in the brain's auditory cortex involved in processing speech and predicting upcoming words, which is essentially unchanged throughout evolution. Their research reveals how individual neurons coordinate with neural populations to anticipate events, a process that is impaired in many neurological and psychiatric disorders such as dyslexia, schizophrenia and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

Physics of throwing analysed by scientists

Scientists have calculated the optimal strategy for throwing something accurately - whether it's a dart or a crumpled-up piece of paper. According to BBC

Researchers say the slow-is-more-accurate rule generally applies.

In a series of calculations, they looked at the physics behind releasing a projectile with the human arm.

Their equations suggest a slow underarm throw is the best strategy for getting a piece of paper into a nearby bin.

Lead researcher Madhusudhan Venkadesan, assistant professor of mechanical engineering and materials science, said faster throws tend to be less accurate.

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