Magazine article Newsweek

Science Notes

Magazine article Newsweek

Science Notes

Article excerpt

MATING Someone for Everyone What on earth does she see in him? Thanks to a study of thrushlike birds called bluethroats, researchers may be closer to an answer. Instead of going for "good genes" (read: strong, rich, studly), females seem to sniff out mates with "compatible" genes. Norwegian scientists find that some 60 percent of bluethroat females indulged in "extra-pair copulations." But the mothers did not cheat with males carrying the "best" genes, Arild Johnsen of the University of Oslo reports in the journal Nature. Rather, they seem to have sought out males whose genes, combined with their own, produce offspring with robust immune systems. The researchers are still mystified about how the birds identify compatible genes. But the results offer hope to all the scrawny, myopic, dopey guys out there: you, too, can find that special someone.

PARTICLES The Tau of Neutrinos The tau neutrino, an elusive subatomic particle whose existence was long suspected but never observed, has finally been detected. Physicists at Fermilab blasted a beam of protons into a tungsten plate, generating a rain of micro-shrapnel. They used magnets and other tricks to separate out anything that could not be a neutrino, and aimed what was left at iron. Those collisions generated four telltale tracks, which could only have been the footprints of tau neutrinos. That finally completes the roster of 12 basic building blocks of matter... or so physicists hope.

CELLS From Blood to Liver: Grow Your Own Organ Turns out the Brits can do more to liver than overcook it. …

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