Sir David Attenborough turned 90!

Most people who have an interest in the life sciences are also die-hard David Attenborough fans. He has single-handedly changed the way the public perceive nature and brought the wonders of wildlife on the small screens in millions of homes. His soothing voice has been the soundtrack to entire generations of children discovering and getting excited about science *SNIFF* He has more legendary anecdotes per year of his life than most people would be able to accumulate in a lifetime. If you want to dwell in the nostalgia for a little bit longer, check this out!

It is a man’s world (sometimes)

Researches from the university of Stamford, California, have shown that the male population on this planet has undergone several bursts over the past 55,000 years. The study analysed the Y chromosome of 1200 individuals over 26 countries and found over 65,000 Y-DNA variants. The authors were then able to reconstruct the most likely phylogenetic tree connecting the Y-DNA variants, indicating how all the 1200 y-chromosomes were related to each other. This revealed several rapid increases in the number of men carrying certain Y-DNA variants – interestingly, these “male-dominated” periods occurred mainly after big technological advances, like learning how to make metal tools and organised warfare.

There might be hope for the Zika outbreak

We have been covering science news relating the Zika outbreak for a while. The NIAD now plans on starting tests for a new lab-made Zika vaccine in September. If these tests are positive, we could be looking at a larger trial at the beginning of 2017. This is much needed news on the Zika pandemic, that is endangering over 500 million people over 37 countries in South America and the Caribbean. While the virus is mostly harmless (only about 20% of infected patients develop symptoms), it presents a real threat to pregnant mothers, whose newborns run a hihh risk of developing microcephaly.

Written by: Gaia Cantelli