Are Cell Phones To Blame For The Disappearance Of Honey Bees?

The growing use of mobile telephones is behind the disappearance of honey bees and the collapse of their hives, scientists have claimed. Their disappearance has caused alarm throughout Europe and North America where campaigners have blamed agricultural pesticides, climate change and the advent of genetically modified crops for what is now known as ‘colony collapse disorder.’ Britain has seen a 15 per cent decline in its bee population in the last two years and shrinking numbers has led to a rise in thefts of hives.

Now researchers from Chandigarh’s Punjab University claim they have found the cause which could be the first step in reversing the decline: They have established that radiation from mobile telephones is a key factor in the phenomenon and say that it probably interfering with the bee’s navigation senses.

They set up a controlled experiment in Punjab earlier this year comparing the behavior and productivity of bees in two hives – one fitted with two mobile telephones which were powered on for two fifteen minute sessions per day for three months. The other had dummy models installed.
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Pesticide Turns Male Frogs Into Females

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A commonly used pesticide known as atrazine can turn male frogs into females that are successfully able to reproduce, a new study finds.While previous work has shown atrazine can cause sexual abnormalities in frogs, such as hermaphroditism (having both male and female sex organs), this study is the first to find that atrazine’s effects are long-lasting and can influence reproduction in amphibians.

The results suggest that atrazine, which is a weed killer used primarily on corn crops, could have potentially harmful effects on populations of amphibians, animals that are already experiencing a global decline, said study author Tyrone B. Hayes of the University of California, Berkeley. Atrazine is banned in Europe.And since atrazine interferes with the production of the sex hormone estrogen, present in people and frogs, the findings could have implications for humans as well. “If you have problems in amphibians, you can anticipate problems in other animals,” Hayes said.
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Pooch Power: Small Dogs Originated In Middle East

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Small domesticated dogs probably originated in the Middle East more than 12,000 years ago as the descendants of grey wolves, according to a gene study published on Wednesday.University of California at Los Angeles researchers Melissa Gray and Robert Wayne led a team that searched for variations of a gene called IGF1 which is a characteristic of small dogs.

“(The variant) probably arose early in their history,” said Gray, whose paper is published online by BMC Biology, an open-access journal.”Our results show that the version of the IGF1 gene found in small dogs is closely related to that found in Middle Eastern wolves and is consistent with an ancient origin.”The work concurs with archaeological work in the Middle East that has unearthed the remains of small domestic dogs dating to 12,000 years ago. Digs in Europe have uncovered older remains, to as much as 31,000 years ago, but these are of larger dogs.

Canine selection may have been carried out by villagers in the Fertile Crescent of modern-day Iraq and other cradles of agriculture.”Small size could have been more desirable in more densely-packed agrarian societies where dogs may have lived partly indoors or in confined outdoor spaces,” says the study.


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Pet Prozac To Treat Depression

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Dog owners will soon be able to give their pets Prozac to treat their depression.The once-a-day chewable tablet, which tastes of beef, has been launched in the US and will soon be available in the UK after being granted a licence.Its makers say it can help cure ‘canine compulsive disorder’, which apparently affects thousands of dogs and causes excessive licking, whimpering and tail-chasing

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The drug, called Reconcile, is also designed to curb the compulsive pacing, chewing and dribbling which its makers claim is a result of depression brought on by their owners’ long absences.The anti-depressant Prozac has been used to cure compulsive behaviour in humans, and works by increasing the brain’s levels of serotonin, a ‘happiness’ chemical.Trials involving more than 660 mentally-disturbed pets in Europe and the US produced improvements in behaviour within eight weeks.

Eli Lilly, the drug’s US manufacturer, said: ‘Treatment for companion animals is a relatively new area for us.’They point to research which shows that as many as 8 per cent of dogs suffer from canine compulsive disorder.Critics say gods are now being diagnosed with ‘lifestyle’ illnesses so that drugs can be marketed to treat them.Roger Mugford, an animal psychologist, said: ‘Most breakthroughs in dog behaviour are achieves by carrying a titbit and using it wisely, not by drugs.’Reconcile has now been granted a licence by the UK’s Veterinary Medicines Directorate.However, it was first licensed in the US three years ago for separation anxiety from being left alone for long periods.
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The World’s Rarest Cats

The 21st century is marked not only by new technologies but also by an ever growing number of extinct and endangered animals. Apart from the extinct animals we will never see, these rare felines are so few since they are either threatened by loss of habitat or they have suffered from rare color mutation. Take a look at the rarest animals in the world!

The Maltese Tiger

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The Blue tiger was reported mostly from the Fujian Province of China, being characterized by a bluish fur with dark stripes. The Maltese tigers have been reported as a subspecies of the South Chinese tiger, that is critically endangered. A blue tiger cub was born in 1964, in the Oklahoma Zoo, but died in its infancy. There are no blue tigers in zoos or private collections, and no known blue tiger pelts.

The Golden Tabby Tiger
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The golden tiger has its white coat and gold patches due to an extremely rare colour variation caused by a recessive gene. Around 30 tigers are believed to exist in the world but many more are carriers of the gene. Records of the golden or strawberry tiger date back to the 1900s, in India. The first golden tiger cub born in captivity was in 1983 and this came from standard colored Bengal tigers.
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The Golden Tabby Tiger

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The golden tiger has its white coat and gold patches due to an extremely rare colourvariation caused by a recessive gene. Around 30 tigers are believed to exist in the world but many more are carriers of the gene. Records of the golden or strawberry tiger date back to the 1900s, in India. The first golden tiger cub born in captivity was in 1983 and this came from standard colored Bengal tigers.

A golden tabby tiger is one with an extremely rare color variation caused by a recessive gene and is currently only found in captive tigers. Like the white tiger, it is a color form and not a separate species. In the case of the golden tiger, this is the wide band gene; while the white tiger is due to the color inhibitor (chinchilla) gene. There are currently believed to be fewer than 30 of these rare tigers in the world, but many more carriers of the gene.
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Giant Cattle To Be Bred Back From Extinction

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Aurochs were immortalised in prehistoric cave paintings and admired for their brute strength and “elephantine” size by Julius Caesar. But despite their having gone the way of the dodo and the woolly mammoth, there are plans to bring the giant animals back to life.The huge cattle with sweeping horns which once roamed the forests of Europe have not been seen for nearly 400 years. Now Italian scientists are hoping to use genetic expertise and selective breeding of modern-day wild cattle to recreate the fearsome beasts which weighed around 2,200lb and stood 6.5 feet at the shoulder.

Breeds of large cattle which most closely resemble Bos primigenius, such as Highland cattle and the white Maremma breed from Italy, are being bred with each other in a technique known as “back-breeding”.At the same time, scientists say they have for the first time created a map of the auroch’s genome, so that they know precisely what type of animal they are trying to replicate.”We were able to analyse auroch DNA from preserved bone material and create a rough map of its genome that should allow us to breed animals nearly identical to aurochs,” said team leader Donato Matassino, head of the Consortium for Experimental Biotechnology in Benevento, in the southern Campania region.
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