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Top stories: A new kind of hair ‘ID,’ healing broken bird wings, and double-dipping NIH researchers


By Eva Frederick

Ultrasensitive protein method lets scientists ID someone from a single strand of hair

A new forensic technique could have criminals—and some prosecutors—tearing their hair out: Researchers have developed a method they say can identify a person from as little as 1 centimeter of a single strand of hair—and that is eight times more sensitive than similar protein analysis techniques. If the new method ever makes it into the courtroom, it could greatly expand the ability to identify the people at the scene of a crime.

Dog bones could help patch broken bird wings

A broken wing can be deadly for a bird, not to mention heartbreaking for the person who finds the creature flopping on the ground. Now, researchers have developed a new treatment for injured birds using a surprising material: the bones of sheep and dogs.

Investigation reveals widespread double dipping in NIH program to pay off school debt

Since 1988, the National Institutes of Health Loan Repayment Program has aimed to keep promising young biomedical scientists in academic research by helping repay school loans that can run up to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Without it, supporters say, many of these researchers might have chosen lucrative slots at pharmaceutical companies or in private practice. But a Science investigation reveals that many of these researchers are breaking the program’s often-changing rules by double-dipping—accepting thousands of dollars of industry money even as U.S. tax dollars pay off their student loans.

Here’s a better way to convert dog years to human years, scientists say

Following the long-debunked but still popular idea that one dog year equals seven human years, a 2-year-old pup would be 14, and a 14-year-old dog would be almost a centenarian. Now, researchers say they have a new formula to convert dog years to human years—one with some actual science behind it. Follow the link to calculate your own pup’s age in dog years.

Bangladesh could be the first to cultivate Golden Rice, genetically altered to fight blindness

Soon. That has long been scientists’ answer when asked about the approval of Golden Rice, a genetically modified crop that could help prevent childhood blindness and deaths in the developing world. Ever since Golden Rice first made headlines nearly 20 years ago, it has been a flashpoint in debates over GM crops. Now, Bangladesh appears about to become the first country to approve Golden Rice for planting.

Source: Science Mag