Although mutations, the driver of evolution, occur at random, a study of the bacterium Escherichia coli reveals that nature often finds the same solution to the same problem again and again. Continue reading Predictable evolution trumps randomness of mutations
Europe’s leading scientific institutions could work with less-developed regions to create a new type of research centre, suggests a proposal backed by science ministers last week.
Under the ‘teaming’ proposal, the partners would put forward joint business plans to bid for European Union (EU) start-up funds as part of Horizon 2020, the EU research funding programme for 2014–20, which will replace the current Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) after it expires next year. Ministers gave their backing for the general structure of Horizon 2020 last June. Continue reading European ministers back research-buddy plan
Water ice on the moon may be more widespread than previously thought. Permanent shadows have been spotted far from the lunar poles, expanding the number of sites that would be good candidates for exploration by robotic rovers — or even for the locations of lunar bases.
Researchers have known for decades that the Moon’s poles host craters with lofty rims that shield their floors from sunlight, so searches for shadowed areas harbouring water ice have focused on the poles. But over the past few months, researchers have built a catalogue of permanently shadowed regions elsewhere on the Moon.
Urbanization shapes the environment, but the way in which it does so depends on where and how cities grow. In an effort to forecast how urbanization over the next couple of decades might affect biodiversity and the carbon cycle around the world, researchers have made detailed predictions about how urban areas are likely to grow. Continue reading How future urban sprawl maps out