Published: Tuesday 30 November 2004

calling trouble: As per a study of Sweden-based Karolinska Institutet, 10 or more years of mobile phone use increases the risk of acoustic neuroma, a tumour on the auditory nerve.

no more allergic: Researchers from the University College London, UK, have found that by inactivating a molecule called p110delta, effects of allergies can be reduced. In response to allergens such as pollen, the immune system activates mast cells, which release inflammatory agents, leading to symptoms like skin rashes. The researchers found that mice lacking the gene for p110delta showed substantially less rashes or other adverse affects related to allergies.

amphibian alert: The world's amphibian species are facing an unprecedented assault, as per the most comprehensive study conducted on these creatures. More than 500 scientists from over 60 nations analysed the distribution and conservation status of all 5,743 known amphibian species. The scientists found that 1,856 species are now threatened with extinction. Data is lacking to assess the status of 1,300, which are also said to be threatened.

right move: Brazil has moved a step closer to permitting the planting of genetically modified crops as well as research on human embryos, with the country's senate approving a bill that would allow both the practices.

gender bender: Almost half of the female sea snails found in Australia have grown a penis after exposure to a toxic paint used to prevent barnacles and algae growing on boat hulls. The paint contains tributyltin, a endocrine-disrupting chemical that has been linked to imposex, or unwanted sex changes, in marine snails around the world.

Leonie Andersen from Central Queensland University studied more than 1,000 mulberry whelks collected from 10 harbour locations in port Curtis, located north of the city of Brisbane. Andersen found that the rate of imposex in the whelks was much more in harbours having intense shipping activity.

Subscribe to Daily Newsletter :

Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.