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Study: 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.

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Izumo and Juno: Sperm-Egg Secret Unscrambled

Scientists said Wednesday they had made the long-sought discovery of how sperm latches onto an egg in the very first spark of reproduction, the outcome of a near decade-long hunt.

The find opens up avenues for new contraception or treating infertility, they said.

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Study: Sharks are Not 'Living Fossils'

Modern sharks are not "living fossil" replicas of their prehistoric ancestors but have evolved significantly over millions of years to develop their hallmark design, a consensus-busting study said Wednesday.

The newly discovered fossil skull of a shark-like ancestor of all jawed vertebrates adds to evidence that a bony skeleton, not a cartilaginous one, was the prototype.

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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 Agence France Presse.

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Russia Investigates Top Space Official for Abuse of Office

The head of the famed Russian space-rocket company Energia that makes the Soyuz spacecraft faces a criminal investigation into alleged abuse of office, Russia's Investigative Committee said on Wednesday.

Vitaly Lopota, president of Energia, is suspected of approving unauthorized loans to an international space consortium, Russia's equivalent of the FBI said in a statement.

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Goat to Be Cloned to Treat Rare Genetic Disorder

A goat in Machida, western Tokyo, on November 14, 2013

Scientists in Brazil have genetically modified a goat to produce milk with an enzyme to treat a rare genetic disorder, O Estado de Sao Paulo newspaper reported Tuesday.

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Oil Drilling Possible 'Trigger' for Deadly Italy Quakes

Italy's Emilia-Romagna region on Tuesday suspended new drilling as it published a report that warned that hydrocarbon exploitation may have acted as a "trigger" in twin earthquakes that killed 26 people in 2012.

The scientific report was commissioned after the quakes amid popular anger over alleged links to drilling activities, particularly an oil field, a gas storage facility and a geothermal energy plant in the area.

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Xi Urges China to Build Up Joint space and Air Power

Chinese President Xi Jinping has urged further integration of air and space defense capabilities, in what experts described Tuesday as a response to the militarization of space by rivals including the United States.

China says its ambitious space program is peaceful, but such claims were first questioned in 2007 when the military used a ground-based missile to destroy one of its own satellites in orbit.

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Americas to Get Glimpse of Total Lunar Eclipse

A total lunar eclipse, the first since December 2011, will take place Tuesday with the Americas best placed to get a glimpse. 

With a first phase -- known as a penumbral eclipse -- kicking off at 0453 GMT, the total lunar eclipse is due to start at 0706 GMT and last until 0824 GMT, the US space agency said.

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Study: Only 1 in 7 Japanese Scientists are Women

Just a seventh of scientists in Japan are female, government figures show -- the lowest rate of any developed nation, despite being a record high for the country.

The survey comes amid a high-profile row in Japan that has pitted a young female researcher against the scientific establishment, and after repeated calls for Tokyo to boost female participation in the workforce to help plug a skills gap in the economy.

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