Fukushima Disaster Caused Butterflies to Mutate

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The Fukushima disaster seems to have caused three generations of butterflies near the nuclear plant to mutate. This has raised fears that it could affect other species as well. 12% of pale grass blue butterflies (Pseudozizeeria maha) were exposed to the nuclear fallout as larvae after the tsunami-sparked disaster.

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Mysterious Gene Mutation Provides Window into the Biology of Language Cognition

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David Skuse, a psychiatrist and an expert on language development working at the Institute of Child Health at University College London, encountered a mysterious ailment that affected a mother and son that had trouble following conversations and remembering words in their native language.

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Mutated Protein Allows Flu’s Lethality in Some Patients

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The flu can be lethal in some patients, but benign in others. The reason that this is the way that flu infections work might be the cause of a protein, which might be mutated in patients who are more easily affected by the flu than others.

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Cancer-Causing Mutations Disrupt Cells’ Ability to Differentiate

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Researchers have published a series of three papers today in the journal Nature, explaining some of the mysteries of how the mutations in a gene called isocitrate dehydrogenase 1 (IDH1) cause brain cancer and leukemia. The mutations cause the production of an enzyme that can reconfigure on-off switches across the genome and stop cells from differentiating.

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