Top stories Why are parrots such good copycats a snailkilling worm invasion

first_imgFinal step in sugar-to-morphine conversion decipheredFor more than a decade, scientists have been working to figure out how poppies convert glucose into the precursors for morphine and other opiate drugs. Now, synthetic biologists have solved the last piece of the poppy puzzle, identifying the gene that controls a key intermediate step between the first and second halves of the process, which had already been sorted out. The discovery sets the stage for splicing the full suite of genes needed to produce morphine from yeast, which would produce safer and cheaper drugs—or allow drug deals to brew opiates.Protesters block effort to restart work on controversial Hawaii telescope; 11 arrested Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Emailcenter_img Native Hawaiian protesters once again blocked construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT), a $1.55 billion project to build one of the world’s largest optical telescopes atop Hawaii’s Mauna Kea volcano.  Construction had been on hold since the arrests of 31 protesters in March. But when workers tried to reach the construction site on 24 June, they found the road up the mountain blocked with rows of boulders. The latest standoff culminated with the arrest of 11 of the protesters. As a result of the manifestation the TMT board chair, Henry Yang, announced that the telescope’s construction will not resume until the issue was resolved.Newly identified brain structure may explain why parrots are such good copycatsScientists say they have pinpointed the neurons that turn parrots into copycats. The discovery could not only illuminate the origins of bird-speak, but might shed light on how new areas of the brain arise during evolution.Snail-killing worm invades U.S. mainlandOne of the world’s most destructive invasive species has come to the U.S. mainland. The New Guinea flatworm, which has helped decimate some snail populations on certain Pacific islands, is now rearing its head in Florida. The predatory worms have already helped drive several species of land snails to extinction in parts of the Pacific Islands. The invasion could be devastating not only for native snails, but for other predators who rely on them.Vulture populations plummet across AfricaIn the past 4 years, more than 2000 vultures have died in southern Africa. Most of the seven species that have been affected may qualify as critically endangered. The main threat appears to be poison. In most reported cases, vultures are the incidental victims of attempts by farmers to kill lions or hyenas by lacing carcasses with pesticides and other toxic compounds. But more and more frequently, vultures are being directly targeted by poachers who presumably don’t want park rangers to notice the birds circling over killed elephants or rhinos. The researchers conducted the study in hopes of educating the world on what is happening. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Countrylast_img read more