A new blue gene: NKPD1 variant increases depression risk

A study of people from an isolated village in the Netherlands reveals a link between rare variants in the gene NKPD1 and depressive symptoms. The study helps researchers understand the molecular pathology of the disease, which could eventually improve how depression is diagnosed and treated.

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Global growth of ecological, environmental citizen science is fueled by new technology

Scientists have revealed the diversity of ecological and environmental citizen science for the first time and showed that the changing face of citizen science around the world is being fueled by advances in new technology.

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In the future, we will control our mobiles using gestures

Being able to interact with mobile phones and other smart devices using gestures with our hands and fingers in three dimensions would make the digital world more like the real one. A new project will help develop this next-generation interface.

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When female mates multiply, males evolve to be choosy

Female choice for good quality males is familiar to everyone, whereas much less is known about the evolution of male mate choice. Researchers have studied the evolution of male and female mating strategies and mate choice for female fecundity and male fertilization ability in a system where both sexes can mate with multiple partners, and where there is variation in individual quality.

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Persistently high pesticide levels found in small streams

Small watercourses are contaminated with large numbers of herbicides, fungicides and insecticides. A study shows that the legal requirements specified for water quality are not met in any of the five Swiss streams investigated; thresholds for acute toxicity to aquatic organisms were also exceeded.

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Materials may lead to self-healing smartphones

Taking a cue from the Marvel Universe, researchers report that they have developed a self-healing polymeric material with an eye toward electronics and soft robotics that can repair themselves. The material is stretchable and transparent, conducts ions to generate current and could one day help your broken smartphone go back together again.

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Bio-sensing contact lens could someday measure blood glucose, other bodily functions

Transparent biosensors embedded into contact lenses could soon allow doctors and patients to monitor blood glucose levels and a host of other telltale signs of disease without invasive tests. Scientists say the bio-sensing lenses also could potentially be used to track drug use or serve an early detection system for cancer and other serious medical conditions.

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Hair strands could reveal lifestyle secrets of criminals

Hair fiber analysis, a forensic crime tool with a questionable past, could soon have a brighter future. That's thanks to the development of a more refined scientific technique, which could reveal much about a person's lifestyle, such as body mass, diet and exercise habits. These characteristics could then help investigators hone in on potential suspects.

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