ANSTI News

The Fishy Mystery of Lake Malawi


Stacks of rocks, like these in Lake Malawi National Park, are a favorite dwelling place for mouth-brooding cichlids. They dart behind the stones for cover when frightened. (Getty Images)

BY BEN CRAIR

In the second-largest lake in Africa, fish evolution is taking place at an explosive rate. Why? Scientists are diving into the question

first learned about cichlids when I was a boy, shopping to fill an aquarium. I’d wanted a saltwater tank, because its inhabitants tend to be so much more colorful, but my parents nixed that idea as too demanding. I was getting ready to resign myself to boring guppies, plastic plants and a catfish sucking algae on the glass when the man at the aquarium shop showed me the cichlids. They came from a freshwater lake, he said, but they were as colorful as the residents of any coral reef. I paid a few dollars for a pair of electric yellow Labidochromis caeruleus, and so began my fascination with an animal that would have amazed Darwin if only he’d known about it.

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Scientists Release Controversial Genetically Modified Mosquitoes In High-Security Lab

Genetically modified "gene drive" mosquitoes feed on warm cow's
blood.

Scientists have launched a major new phase in the testing of a controversial genetically modified organism: a mosquito designed to quickly spread a genetic mutation lethal to its own species, NPR has learned.

For the first time, researchers have begun large-scale releases of the engineered insects, into a high-security laboratory in Terni, Italy.

Read more: Scientists Release Controversial Genetically Modified Mosquitoes In High-Security Lab

This bat species may be the source of the Ebola epidemic that killed more than 11,000 people in West Africa


The huge Ebola epidemic that struck West Africa between 2013 and 2016 took the world by surprise. The virus had never been found in the region; all previous Ebola outbreaks were in countries in Central Africa or Sudan. And it posed a mystery: Where did the virus, called Ebola Zaire, come from?

Read more: This bat species may be the source of the Ebola epidemic that killed more than 11,000 people in...

Research, knowledge brokering key to Africa’s science revolution

Since 2000,Africa has experienced strong growth over the years despite a decline in economic performances and political instability in some African countries. Nonetheless, five of the fastest growing economies are in Africa.

Read more: Research, knowledge brokering key to Africa’s science revolution

South Africa’s science academy urges update to nation’s genetics laws

The country has become a hotspot for genomics research with the launch of projects to characterize and understand the genetics of its diverse population — work that often involves long-term storage of samples in biobanks. The nation hosts about a dozen such facilities, which enable large-scale analysis of diseases and health phenomena.

Read more: South Africa’s science academy urges update to nation’s genetics laws

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