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Researchers funded in part by the EU have discovered that five genes play a key role in determining human facial shapes. Presented in the journal PLoS Genetics, the genome-wide association study on facial phenotype can help scientists identify more genes for other complex human phenotypes, including height. The research can help advance our understanding of the complex molecular interactions governing normal and pathological differences in facial shape (when combined with sophisticated three-dimensional imaging techniques).
Published: 10 October 2012
Fungi play an important role in the ecosystem, but scientists are still finding out just how big a role they really play in nature. Some fungi are easily recognisable, like mushrooms, most of which stick up out of the ground. Other fungi, however, exist beneath the Earth's surface where they extend, creating fungal threads through the soil. These fungal threads operate in a manner similar to road networks allowing bacteria to travel across them. Scientists from the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) in Germany are only now discovering another important traveller on these fungal highways: contaminants that would have otherwise remained immobile in the ground. These networks contribute to the restoration of impacted areas. Published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, this study was funded in part by the BIOGRID ('Biotechnology information and knowledge grid') project, which received almost EUR 835 000 under the Information Society Technologies (IST) Thematic area of the EU's Fifth Framework Programme (FP5).
Published: 3 September 2012
An international team of scientists has reconstructed the Last Ice Age's marine and terrestrial productivity and carbon stocks by combining isotope data that are relevant to both global quantities and models. The study, published in the journal Nature, is funded in part by the MOTIF ('Models and observations to test climate feedbacks') project, which clinched more than EUR 181 000 under the 'Energy, environment and sustainable development' (EESD) Thematic programme of the EU's Fifth Framework Programme (FP5).
Published: 15 December 2011
Women suffer from more arterial damage caused by cigarette smoking than men do, new EU-funded research shows. The amount of tobacco exposure during a person's lifetime correlates with the thickness of carotid arterial walls in both men and women, but the effect is twofold in females. The result is an outcome of the IMPROVE ('Carotid intima media thickness (IMT) and IMT-progression as predictors of vascular events in a high risk population') project, a large-scale epidemiological study that clinched a EUR 2.5 million grant under the 'Quality of life and management of living resources' (LIFE QUALITY) Thematic Programme of the EU's Fifth Framework Programme (FP5).
Published: 22 September 2011
Hypothyroidism can be triggered by the ingestion of too much lithium via groundwater, new Swedish research shows. Lithium is used to treat bipolar disorder as well as treatment—resistant depression worldwide. But high concentrations of this element were found in villages of the Argentinean Andes mountains, where people treated for bipolar disorder exhibited altered thyroid function. The research, presented in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, was funded in part by the PHIME ('Public health impact of long—term, low-level mixed element exposure in susceptible population strata') project, which clinched EUR 13.43 million under the 'Food quality and safety' Thematic area of the EU's Sixth Framework Programme (FP6). It is 1 of around 30 studies contributing to the PHIME objectives on the impact that toxic metals may have on several major diseases of great public health concern.
Published: 18 April 2011
Panic disorder sufferers will tell you the attacks are some of the most sudden, frightening and uncomfortable experiences ever. But what makes some people susceptible to these attacks and others not? Studies of twins point to hereditary factors playing a key role in 40% of cases. How genes are involved in panic disorder risk is unclear, however. A European group of researchers has implicated one type of molecular switch, short or micro ribonucleic acid molecules (miRNAs) in panic disorder. The research, funded in part by the EU, is presented in the journal Biological Psychiatry.
Published: 14 April 2011
Scientists in the UK have found a new way to produce water efficient seeds that they claim will help plants cope with drought resistance, thereby contributing to global food security. The research was partially supported by the PHARMA—PLANTA ('Recombinant pharmaceuticals from plants for human health') project, which clinched EUR 12 million under the 'Life sciences, genomics and biotechnology for health' Thematic area of the EU's Sixth Framework Programme (FP6).
Published: 13 April 2011
Killer spiders are playing havoc with insects that use vibration to attract a mate, a Cardiff University–led research study shows. Funded in part by the BREAKING THE CODE ('Breaking the code: interception and exploitation of intraspecific vibrational communication between insects by generalist predators') project, which clinched a Marie Curie Intra—European Fellowships grant worth almost EUR 229 000 under the EU's Sixth Framework Programme (FP6), the study is presented in the journal Molecular Ecology.
Published: 11 April 2011
Health practitioners and parents want the best for children, and helping drive this objective is the PRIOMEDCHILD ('Coordination of research on priority medicines for children') initiative, a Coordinated Action funded under the ERA—NET scheme of the EU's Sixth Framework Programme (FP6). PRIOMEDCHILD, backed with more than EUR 1.7 million, created a European platform for research, development and innovation of paediatric medicines by funding, coordinating and networking national programmes and researchers across Europe, now launched an EUR 8 million Joint Call.
Published: 8 April 2011
Pioneering researchers in Europe have done what no one has been able to do: surpass the limit on the sensitivity of a quantum measurement. The result could play a key role in interferometry and quantum limits of measurement. Presented in the journal Nature, the research was funded in part the EMALI ('Engineering, manipulation and characterization of quantum states of matter and light') project, which clinched a Marie Curie Research Training Networks grant worth more than EUR 439 000 under the EU's Sixth Framework Programme (FP6), to develop general theoretical and experimental techniques for engineering, manipulating and characterising quantum states of matter and light.
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Published: 4 April 2011