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DNA sweep of French school completed

Police on Thursday completed an unprecedented collection of DNA samples from hundreds of male students and staff at a French school where a girl was raped last year. The one student who had refused to take part "for philosophical reasons," relented on Thursday after being warned by the prosecutor leading the investigation that he would be putting himself in a difficult position if he maintained his stance.

In a cloning first, scientists create stem cells from adults

By Sharon Begley NEW YORK (Reuters) - Scientists have moved a step closer to the goal of creating stem cells perfectly matched to a patient's DNA in order to treat diseases, they announced on Thursday, creating patient-specific cell lines out of the skin cells of two adult men.

West African Ebola outbreak caused by new strain of disease: study

By Saliou Samb CONAKRY (Reuters) - An Ebola outbreak blamed for 135 deaths in West Africa in the past month was not imported from Central Africa but caused by a new strain of the disease, a study in a U.S. medical journal said, raising the specter of further regional epidemics. The spread of Ebola from a remote corner of Guinea to the capital and into neighboring Liberia, the first deadly outbreak reported in West Africa, has caused panic across a region struggling with weak healthcare systems and porous borders.

Buenos Aires Zoo puts white Bengal tiger triplets on display

Buenos Aires, Apr 17 (EFE).- The Buenos Aires Zoo has put its white Bengal tiger triplets, who were born three months ago, on display, officials at the Argentine wildlife park said. "The cubs, two females and a male, weighed around one kilo (2.2 pounds) at birth after being born normally following a gestation period of 105 days," zoo veterinarian Miguel Perez told Efe. The three cubs inherited the black stripes on white coats of parents "Cleo" and "Rhiano," the zoo's youngest pair of tigers.

Ebola virus circulating in Guinea is new strain

The virus that has caused a deadly Ebola epidemic in Guinea is a new strain that emerged locally, possibly transmitted by fruit bats, virologists have said. The outbreak is the first to be recorded in west Africa, but researchers said the virus causing it did not come from other countries where Ebola already circulates. An international team of scientists unravelled the genome of the virus and found it to be distinct from strains in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Gabon, though they share an ancestor.

Down's chromosome cause genome-wide disruption

The extra copy of Chromosome 21 that causes Down's syndrome throws a spanner into the workings of all the other chromosomes as well, said a study published Wednesday that surprised its authors. Using data from a set of twins, one with Down's and one without, researchers found a major difference in how genes functioned between the two. The twins were born from a single egg that split, which means their DNA code started off identical.

Japan considers curtailing whale hunt further: media

By Elaine Lies TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan is considering scrapping a Northwest Pacific whale hunt just days before the fleet's planned departure, media said on Thursday, as the government grapples with its response to an international court ruling against its main whale hunt.

Vermont steps closer to passing GMO food-labeling law

By Carey Gillam and Lisa Baertlein (Reuters) - The Vermont Senate passed a bill on Wednesday that would make it the first U.S. state to enact mandatory labeling of foods made with genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. Unlike bills passed last year in Maine and Connecticut, which require other states to pass GMO labeling laws before they can be enacted, Vermont's contains no such trigger clause.

Paleontologists discover land herbivores' earliest ancestor

Paleontologists unearthed the oldest ancestor of land-dwelling herbivores with the discovery of a 300-million-year-old skeleton, shedding light onto plant eaters' emergence on land, a study said Wednesday. A partial fossil of the animal, called Eocasea martini, is "the first link between carnivores and herbivores, the transition," Robert Reisz, the article's principal author and professor at Canada's University of Toronto Mississauga, told AFP. Eocasea was a carnivore, but had certain skeletal features that indicate it was a close relative of herbivores, Reisz said.

California weighs listing grey wolf as endangered species while other states allow hunts

FRESNO, Calif. - While much of the country has relaxed rules on killing grey wolves, California will consider protecting the species after a lone wolf from Oregon raised hopes the animals would repopulate their historic habitat in the Golden State. The California Fish and Game Commission on Wednesday postponed for three months a decision on whether to list the grey wolf as endangered. Commissioners heard impassioned arguments from environmentalists who want the wolves to again to roam the state and from cattle ranchers who fear for their herds.
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