Environment

Metagenomics: how to uncover the unseen majority!

Metagenomics is just genomics, but a lot more of it all at once. The term is applied to research which focuses on many genomes at the same time, such as is typical in some sections of environmental study.

Huge parts of the world are drying up

The soils in large areas of the Southern Hemisphere, including major portions of Australia, Africa and South America, have been drying up in the past decade, a group of researchers conclude in the first major study to ever examine "evapotranspiration" on a global basis. Most climate models have suggested that evapotranspiration, which is the movement of water from the land to the atmosphere, would increase with global warming. The new research, published online in the journal Nature, found that's exactly what was happening from 1982 to the late 1990s. But in 1998, this significant increase in...

The DDT debacle

WHILE AN ESTIMATED 880 000 people – most of them young children – die each year of malaria in the developing world, we may underestimate the potential effects of continued DDT use on future generations. In South Africa, as in several other developing countries, the use of the powerful insecticide DDT is allowed for malaria control in high-risk areas such as KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo. However, DDT is also one of the 'dirty dozen' synthetically-produced chemicals banned by the rest of the world, as well as an endocrine disrupting chemical – meaning it can mimic or antagonise the function of...

Is eating meat worse for the environment than driving?

Sheep farm
Director general Carlos Seré of the Nairobi based International Livestock Research Insitute responds to an August 2007 New York Times article about animal rights groups promoting vegetarianism as an answer to global warming.

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