Grades 9-12

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Science Bulletin

Rare Disorder Sheds Light on Sociability

Ongoing studies of people with a rare congenital disorder called Williams Syndrome are revealing the genetic basis and brain activity behind their striking lack of social anxiety. The work, conducted by Karen Faith Berman and colleagues at the National Institute of Mental Health, is helping to unravel the complex biological influences on human social behavior.

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Science Bulletin

Scientists Generate Brain Cells

For the first time, researchers have converted one type of mature cell directly into another. Stanford University scientists used a technique that was developed for the conversion of adult cells to stem cells, but in this instance, they did not use stem cells as an interim step. The findings were reported in a recent issue of the journal Nature.

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Science Bulletin

Scientists Identify Earliest Primate

Researchers from the universities of Florida and Winnipeg have reconstructed the brain of Ignacius graybullianus, one of the earliest primates known, from a 54-million-year-old fossil skull. It's the most complete brain model of its kind and casts new light on the beginnings of primate brain development.

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Science Bulletin

Scientists Map Human Brain Connections

The human brain contains about 100 billion interconnecting neurons, or cells that create and transmit messages. Scientists are just beginning to understand how this extremely complicated organ is "wired" to process information and relay commands to the body. Using a cutting-edge brain imaging technique called diffusion spectrum imaging, a team of Swiss and American researchers has produced the first detailed map of nerve fibers in the human cerebral cortex, the outer layer of the brain that is believed to be responsible for our species' unique mental capacity.

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Science Bulletin

Tibetans Show Recent Evolution

To understand how the native people of the Tibetan plateau have adapted to their extreme low-oxygen environment, several research teams are comparing the genetic makeup of these mountain dwellers to that of the lowland Han Chinese. Chinese, British, and American researchers recently reported in the journals Science and PNAS that the two populations have strong differences in EPAS1, a gene involved in response to low oxygen. Scientists speculate that Tibetans have evolved a unique array of genetic adaptations in a relatively short period of evolutionary time, equipping them to thrive where most others cannot.

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