In cadaver caves, baby beetles grow better with parental goo

Growing up inside a dead mouse could really stink, but not for some burying beetles. Their parents’ gut microbes keep the cadaver fresh, creating a nursery where the larvae can thrive. What burying beetle parents can do with a small dead animal is remarkable, says coauthor Shantanu Shukla of the Max Planck Institute for Chemical ... Read more

Explore the history of blood from vampires to the ‘Menstrual Man’

Rose GeorgeMetropolitan Books, $30 The title of journalist Rose George’s new book, Nine Pints, quantifies how much blood George has flowing through her body. Her supply takes a temporary dip in the book’s opening chapter, when she donates about a pint (a story that continues on to recap the amazing accomplishment that is blood banking). ... Read more

Physicists wrangled electrons into a quantum fractal

Physicists have created an oddity known as a quantum fractal, a structure that could reveal new and strange types of electron behaviors. Fractals are patterns that repeat themselves on different length scales: Zoom in and the structure looks the same as it does from afar. They’re common in the natural world. For instance, a cauliflower ... Read more

The researcher who created CRISPR twins defends his work but fails to quell controversy

A Chinese researcher who helped create the world’s first gene-edited babies publicly disclosed details of the work for the first time to an international audience of scientists and ethicists, and revealed that another gene-edited baby is due next year. Lulu and Nana, twin girls whose DNA was edited with CRISPR/Cas9 to disable the CCR5 gene ... Read more

Kids born in August are diagnosed with ADHD more than kids born in September

Children who turn 5 just before starting kindergarten are much more likely to be diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder than their oldest classmates. The finding bolsters concerns that the common neurodevelopmental disorder may be overdiagnosed. “We think … it’s the relative age and the relative immaturity of the August-born children in any given class that increases ... Read more

Zaps to a certain spot in the brain may ease depression

Precisely placed zaps to the brain swiftly improved the moods of people with signs of depression. The results, achieved with implanted electrodes, bring scientists closer to understanding the nature of depression — and point to ways to treat it. Neurologist Vikram Rao and neuroscientist Kristin Sellers, both of the University of California, San Francisco, and ... Read more

Rebel honeybee workers lay eggs when their queen is away

Even honeybee queens have rebellious kids. In a colony of European honeybees (Apis mellifera), only the queen lays eggs that hatch into female workers who maintain the hive and nurse the young. But at times a colony experiences periods of queenlessness, when the old queen has left and a new one isn’t ready. Some of ... Read more

Scientists’ collection of gravitational waves just got a lot bigger

Astronomers have now tallied up more gravitational wave sightings than they can count on their fingers. Scientists with the LIGO and Virgo gravitational wave observatories report four new sets of these ripples in spacetime. Those additions bring the total count to 11, the researchers say in a study published December 3 at, marking major ... Read more

In a first, a woman with a uterus transplanted from a deceased donor gives birth

For the first time, a woman has given birth after receiving a uterus from a deceased donor. A reported 11 women have had babies after uterus transplants from living donors. But this breakthrough, described online December 4 in the Lancet, could boost the availability of viable organs for women who want to become pregnant but ... Read more

Artificial intelligence is mastering a wider variety of jobs than ever before

In 2018, artificial intelligence took on new tasks, with these smarty-pants algorithms acing everything from disease diagnosis to crater counting. Coming to a clinic near youIn April, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration permitted marketing of the first artificial intelligence that diagnoses health problems at primary care clinics without specialist supervision (SN: 3/31/18, p. 15). ... Read more