Wireless heart A picture of a key enzyme in AIDS virus...

Newswatch ... ON SCIENCE

June 30, 1992

Wireless heart A picture of a key enzyme in AIDS virus infections has been created by a team of Yale University scientists in a discovery that may accelerate development of new AIDS-fighting drugs, according to a report published today in the journal Science.

Thomas A. Steitz, head of the Yale University research team, said that by knowing the shape of the AIDS enzyme, reverse transcriptase, researchers will be able to more quickly find drugs that effectively disable the AIDS virus with minimum side effects.

Reverse transcriptase, or RT, is used by the human immunodeficiency virus, which causes AIDS, to take over the genetic pattern of a target cell.

If the function of RT can be blocked, then the HIV infection can be halted.

Native hunting:

Natives of the Amazon kill 14 million animals a year, wiping out large animals in some areas and threatening the survival of otherwise lush, healthy forests, a study by Kent Redford of the University of Florida in Gainesville shows.

Mr. Redford's study suggests that the people living in the forests may not be the best conservationists, as some environmentalists have argued.

The disappearance from tropical forests of large animals -- which can help disperse seeds and perform many other important ecological tasks -- can threaten the long-term survival of the forests, Mr. Redford said.

Killer bees:

Colorado scientists have developed a "bee perfume" -- based on the common chemical scent shared by bees in a hive, allowing them to tell friend from foe -- that they say could be used to impede the invasion of highly aggressive Africanized "killer" bees into the United States.

Based on this, the researchers suggest that it should be possible to remove the queen from an Africanized hive, treat the hive with the "perfume" and then insert a European queen treated with the same scent. The Africanized bees would treat the European queen as their own, breeding with her and thereby genetically reducing the African bees' aggressiveness.

Wait a second:

Because the Earth is gradually slowing down, the world's official timekeepers will add a second -- a leap second -- just before 8 o'clock tonight to their super-accurate atomic clocks at the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington.

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