Published: Saturday 04 July 2015

geography matters: A study shows that geography plays an important role in determining the global emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2). As per the research, conducted by Eric Neumayer of the London School of Economics and Political Science, countries with high average number of frost days produce more CO2 emissions because of heating requirements. On the other hand, nations having access to renewable energy resources can have lower emissions. Big countries with scattered populations also emit more CO2 than nations with densely located population. This is due to their higher transportation requirements.

chicken nitty-gritty: As per the US National Human Genome Research Institute, a draft genome of the ancestors of domestic chicken is now in a public database. The Beijing Genomics Institute of the Chinese Academy of Sciences has also produced a map showing genetic variations between chicken and their ancestor. A better understanding of the genetic make-up of chicken is expected to boost research on diseases like SARS.

antibelief: Antibacterial soaps, laundry powders or kitchen sprays do not provide protection against common infections, claim researchers from US-based Columbia University. During their study, the researchers found that most households using products containing antibacterial agents suffer from as many common infections (like coughs and colds) as households using the regular products.

eye catching development: The L V Prasad Eye Institute of Hyderabad has set up a centre for using adult stem cells to cure blindness in people who have damaged outer surface of eyes. The centre would be the first in the country to use a technique utilising stem cells derived from two different parts of the eye -- the conjunctiva (the membrane that lines the eye) and the limbus (the area next to the cornea). Growing limbal stem cells in the laboratory and thereafter transplanting them into the cornea is quite common. But this technique does not facilitate the treatment of the entire damaged eye within a short duration. Moreover, its cost is also high due to the prolonged treatment.

oceans without oxygen: Geochemists affiliated with the US-based University of Rochester have found that ancient oceans contained less oxygen than the levels at present. According to the researchers, the ancient oceans could have been devoid of oxygen for a billion years longer than previously thought. They came to the conclusion after studying rocks from northern Australia, which were at the floor of a ocean over a billion years ago. Their findings may help explain why complex life barely evolved for billions of years after it arose.

asbestos menace: More than 10,000 Americans die each year due to asbestos-related diseases, according to a report by the US-based Environmental Working Group. It predicts the death toll will increase to 100,000 in the next 10 years. The report is based on an analysis of data provided by the US government. As per the researchers, both the present and future scenario could be worse than portrayed, since they assessed the adverse outcomes of only two diseases -- mesothelioma and asbestosis.

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