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Stories by Katherine Harmon

What's next for synthetic life?

COLD SPRING, N.Y.— J. Craig Venter and his colleagues recently announced that they had created the first cell to run on a fully artificial genome.

June 3, 2010 — Katherine Harmon
Deadly Pandemic

Deadly Pandemic

Notwithstanding the tameness of H1N1, influenza viruses could still wipe out millions and wreak economic havoc

June 1, 2010 — Katherine Harmon
Microscopic Giants

Microscopic Giants

Mat of microbes the size of Greece discovered on seafloor

June 1, 2010 — Katherine Harmon

Old oyster shells reveal dry, salty details of Jamestown settlers' hardships

What can a handful of old oyster shells reveal about the trials some of the New World's early European settlers? A lot, it turns out.

As a prevalent resource in the Chesapeake Bay, eastern oysters ( Crassostrea virginica ) ended up being a crucial food source for the first full-time European settlers in North America, who arrived in 1607, the second year of a seven-year drought that was the worst the region had seen in some 800 years...

May 31, 2010 — Katherine Harmon

Tiny radio transmitters track flight of tropical orchid bees

Rare tropical orchids can be few and far between in the wild, often separated by spotty landscape and human-made obstacles. But powerful tropical orchid bees do the leg—or wing—work, flying great distances to pollinate isolated flowers and keep the flora gene pool fresh...

May 27, 2010 — Katherine Harmon

Inhaled chemo cocktail might fight lung cancer better

Lung cancer affects both smokers and nonsmokers, killing more than half of the people who get it within five years. It has been notoriously hard to treat, frequently resulting in widespread resistance and nasty side effects from high doses of drugs...

May 24, 2010 — Katherine Harmon

Thousands of new drug leads identified in the fight against malaria

Malaria kills hundreds of thousands of people every year, and the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum is behind a majority of those deaths. Although newer drug combinations (of artemisinins) proved effective after resistance to widely used treatments appeared, hints of resistance to this newer therapy are also beginning to emerge, creating a darkening cloud over a field already beset with challenges...

May 19, 2010 — Katherine Harmon
12 Events That Will Change Everything

12 Events That Will Change Everything

In addition to reacting to news as it breaks, we work to anticipate what will happen. Here we contemplate 12 possibilities and rate their likelihood of happening by 2050

May 19, 2010 — THE EDITORS, Charles Q. Choi, George Musser, John Matson, Philip Yam, David Biello, Michael Moyer, Larry Greenemeier, Katherine Harmon and Robin Lloyd
Fact or Fiction: Fathers Can Get Postpartum Depression

Fact or Fiction: Fathers Can Get Postpartum Depression

Mothers are at higher risk for depression during and after pregnancy--and many continue to have depressive symptoms even as children grow up. But are fathers, whose bodies do not go through all of the same biological changes, also at risk for prenatal and postpartum depression?...

May 18, 2010 — Katherine Harmon
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End of Summer Sale

End of Summer Sale