20 August 2014

The genetics of Ecuadorians, Caribbean reefs under threat, and dinosaur nests in Argentina.

image

Ecuadorian hats via Wikipedia

Ecuador

The book “Genética Molecular y Citogenética Humana” (Human Cytogenetics and Molecular Genetics) compiles 20 years of genetic studies in Ecuador and reveals that the lack of oxygen in the Andean highlands is a dominant environmental factor for Down’s syndrome; inbreeding causes high incidence of genetic disease in several provinces; and problems at birth and in the first days of life are the most common cause of disability in 18 indigenous populations in Ecuador.

Caribbean

A study of the state of Caribbean coral reefs from 1970 to 2012 has determined that fishing, especially of parrotfish, and tourism are the main reasons why reef coverage has declined by one-sixth. The report notes that if the situation continues, the reefs could disappear in the next 20 years.

Argentina

A new park in La Rioja, Argentina hopes to show visitors where dinosaurs once laid their eggs. More than 80 dinosaur nests with their eggs have been found at this breeding site.

Argentine and American researchers identified brain regiones key involved in motor planning voluntary movement. The study explained that the primary motor cortex determines the amplitude of the movement and together with the premotor cortex in the same direction.

Mexico

A study of cannabinoids showed that these synthetic compounds dilate the arteries, reducing blood pressure, through the action of CB1 receptors. Knowledge of this mechanism can lead to the design of new drugs.

The exposure to chemicals in the construction, agriculture and textile industry, among others, without proper protection has caused cancer and other diseases in Mexico, conclude researchers from Mexico’s UNAM.