Science News

Collaborations with various media allow us to create a bank of science news of relevance to the Puerto Rican and Hispanic communities and give a venue that our scientific members can use to keep their communities informed and engaged with science.

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In this section you can find: news written by members of the CienciaPR team and written by other news media and which are reproduced with permission from the original source.

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Puerto Rico on the right track of the biosciences future

This article is reproduced by CienciaPR with permission from the original source.

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The Professional is a member of CienciaPR
The study of genomic expression –the translation of the DNA’s information that ultimately leads to the production of protein that carry out cellular function- offers information about how a cell works and how it responds to its needs and its environment. This requires sophisticated tools, expertise and facilities that are at the forefront of technology. Puerto Rico has one of these facilities, unique in its class, at the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus: the Functional Genomics Research Core. For more information you can visit Sandra Peña de Ortíz or Michelle Martínez Montemayor's CienciaPR profile. *This article is part of our ongoing collaboration with El Nuevo Dia

Bird-eye views of the Earth

This article is reproduced by CienciaPR with permission from the original source.

Photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand is exposing his work titled The Earth Seen from the Sky, a compilation of 120 photographs that want to make the audience reflect on the evolution of planet Earth and the future of its inhabitants. This is a free, open air exposition at the Santiago R. Palmer Recreational plaza of Caguas. Some of the themes presented throughout these bird-eye views are: deforestation, flooding, glacier melting, harmful agricultural practices, mining exploitation, the introduction of foreign species to inappropriate habitats and natural disasters. But not everything is negative. Other images bring messages of hope and good models. For example: the use of eolic energy; use of residues of the timber industry as fuel; artificial illumination to sustain agriculture in countries with bitter winters; algae cultivation for food purposes.

Students creative recycling in Isabela

This article is reproduced by CienciaPR with permission from the original source.

Dresses made of newspaper and plastic were part of te fashion show put together by students in Isabela, during the Fourth Recycling Fair organized by the municipality. Students from 21 schools which recycling initiatives were recognized by the city council participated in the event. The schools received donations of $200 and $225 for their participation in the collection of recyclable material during the year. The activity is part of the municipal initiatives to increase recycling percentage in Isabela, which currently is around 7%.

Children demand the leatheback sea turtle's protection

This article is reproduced by CienciaPR with permission from the original source.

Around 200 children –many of them dressed as leatherback sea turtles- from Vega Baja, Manati, Vieques, Rio Grande and Fajardo came to Luquillo to celebrate the Second Leatherback Sea Turtle Festival and make a claim to the Puerto Rican Senate to approve Project 2105, related to the Northeast Ecological Corridor, that will conserve land between Luquillo and Fajardo, and will encourage its eco-tourism development. During the celebration of the nesting season –from March to September- the children and the companions receive educational material about the turtles that live in the Corridor zone. Also, they enjoyed from music, dances, pantomimes, arts and crafts and food.

Multi-sectorial call to restore economic growth

This article is reproduced by CienciaPR with permission from the original source.

Eliminate favoritism when negotiating government permits; seek balance between ideas from all economic sectors; lower labor costs in the Island, and at the same time increase labor participation in the work force; reduce the number of Holidays; and consider regionalization as an economic development strategy were some of the recommendations to arise at the forum-workshop “Modifications to strengthen Puerto Rico’s economy” that gathered the private sector, the Government and the academia, sponsored by Puerto Rico’s Camber of Commerce.

Advances in biotechnology

This article is reproduced by CienciaPR with permission from the original source.

The Industrial Biotechnology (Biotec) program of the University of Puerto Rico in Mayaguez (RUM) is very active in several initiatives that reinforce teir academic agenda and promote Puerto Rico’s economic development, said Dr. Rosa Buxeda, director of Biotec. This involves projects that range from professional trainings, to donations and new curricula in that discipline. In collaboration with the Puerto Rico Industrial Development Company (PRIDCO), Biotec will be offering training courses in industrial biotechnology. On the other hand, Millipore of Puerto Rico recently donated a Quick-Scale chromatography column to the Biotechnology Program. According to Buxeda, the equipment donated by Millipore will strengthen the program’s infrastructure in protein purification. Another initiative is the biotechnology workshops for teachers at the Dr. Pedro Perea Fajardo vocational school, which started in April and will extend to May 2007, and from August 2007, 20 selected students will take the biotechnology courses at the Vocational school and at the RUM labs. Lastly, the Biotechnology Program is part of the project “Maleta cultural: de la mano la ciencia y el arte” (Cultural briefcase: Science and Art going hand in hand), of the Puerto Rico Museum of Contemporary Art and the Amgen Foundation.

Twice endemic

This article is reproduced by CienciaPR with permission from the original source.

The Puerto Rican Tanager (Nesospingus speculiferus), is an endemic bird of Puerto Rico, with a distribution range limited to forest in high mountains. Today, the Tanager can be found in the State Forest of Maricao and El Yunque, but in Comerío, Aibonito, Barranquitas, Adjuntas and Ciales. The Tanager is twice endemic, because it is a unique bird in Puerto Rico and its genus, Nesospingus, is also unique to the Island. This bird feeds of animals and fruits, and uses ants not only as food but to protect its feathers. How? It rubs ants against its feathers, using its beak. Ants produce formic acid (the same acid that makes ant bites so stingy) which prevent bacterial and fungal growth in its feathers.

Decontamination of Vieques shooting range under way

This article is reproduced by CienciaPR with permission from the original source.

The sub-secretary of the United States Department of Interior, Lynn Scarlett, said that a plan for the cleaning of the Navy’s old shooting range in Vieques will be ready in a few weeks. The plan will “determine who is responsible for what” in terms of cleaning and decontamination of the thousands of acres that comprise what was a Navy shooting range for more than 60 years. However, except for a small piece of land that could be transferred to the municipality, it is not expected that any transfer to reassign the lands to the municipality can be initiated, as has been claimed by viequenses, who aspire to a sustainable development of the island municipality.

Examining the "Reforma"

This article is reproduced by CienciaPR with permission from the original source.

The University of Puerto Rico, Medical Sciences Campus, School of Public Health carried out three pilot studies to investigate the health situation of beneficiaries of the State’s health insurance. These investigations were focused in the pediatric population. The first study analyzed “service usage patters by insurance type” in asthmatic children and adolescents. Asthma is one of the diseases with the highest prevalence in the Island. The second study investigated the development of the “organizational climate” that the State’s health insurance created, from the provider’s point of view. The third investigation compared prenatal care, low weight and infantile mortality tendencies after the establishment of the State’s health insurance from 1995 to 2000.

Saving a forest in Toa Baja

This article is reproduced by CienciaPR with permission from the original source.

After several manifestation, a legal procedure and an intense negotiation with a real state Developer, neighbors of El Plantio in Toa Baja finally got the municipality of Toa Baja to acquire, “for its conservation and preservation”, 4.7 acres of high ecological value limestone where developer Freddy Peguero Maldonado wanted to build 57 living units, a parking lot with more than 100 spaces, a basketball court, pool and other recreational areas


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