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Protecting Cows—and People—from a Deadly Disease
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Springing forward
Amphibians
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Salamanders
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Sticky Silky Feet
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Earth from the inside out
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Earth
Life trapped under a glacier
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Environment
Animal CSI or from Science Lab to Crime Lab
Fishing for Fun Takes Toll
Lessons from a Lonely Tortoise
Finding the Past
Words of the Distant Past
Unearthing Ancient Astronomy
Writing on eggshells
Fish
Great White Shark
Tilapia
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Recipe for Health
Food for Life
Sponges' secret weapon
GSAT English Rules
Who vs. Whom
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Subject and Verb Agreement
GSAT Exam Preparation Jamaica
The Annual GSAT Scholarships
Ministry of Education Announces 82 GSAT Scholarships for 2010
Mastering The GSAT Exam
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GSAT stars reap scholarship glory
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How a Venus Flytrap Snaps Shut
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Human Body
Gut Microbes and Weight
Sun Screen
Attacking Asthma
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Parents
Raise a Lifelong Reader by Reading Aloud
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How children learn
Physics
Einstein's Skateboard
Extra Strings for New Sounds
Invisibility Ring
Plants
Sweet, Sticky Science
Springing forward
A Change in Leaf Color
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Black Mamba
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Space and Astronomy
Phantom Energy and the Big Rip
Unveiling Titan
Pluto's New Moons
Technology and Engineering
Toy Challenge
Spinach Power for Solar Cells
Slip Sliming Away
The Parts of Speech
What is a Verb?
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What is a Noun
Transportation
Flying the Hyper Skies
Morphing a Wing to Save Fuel
Ready, unplug, drive
Weather
Recipe for a Hurricane
Catching Some Rays
A Change in Climate
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Awake at Night

The less sleep I get, the unhappier I become. When I'm really tired, I have trouble concentrating. I can't get any work done. I get cranky and irritable, and everything starts to annoy me. I know lots of people just like me, but I also have friends who can stay up all night and still seem chipper the next day. How well do you fare after a slumber-less sleepover? Scientists have been studying sleep for decades, but they still know very little about the genes involved. Genes are stretches of DNA found within every cell. They direct all sorts of processes in the body. Sleep researchers from the University of Wisconsin–Madison decided to focus on certain fruit flies (called Drosophila melanogaster) because their genes are easy to study and similar to ours. Fruit flies also sleep a lot, typically 9 to 15 hours a day. A sleeping fly looks like it's just sitting still. You can't hear the snores. The researchers collected more than 9,000 groups of fruit flies. Each group had a different set of genes. The scientists then observed several flies of each type to see how many hours a day the insects slept and how they behaved after being kept awake for 24 hours. One group of flies proved to be the most interesting. Named minisleep flies, they slept only 4 to 5 hours a day. Even after 24 hours without sleep, they did just as well on reaction tests as rested flies did. Normal sleep-deprived flies were much slower to react. After a series of tests, the scientists discovered one mutation in a single gene in the minisleep flies. As a result, these flies have nerves that appear to get excited easily. It's possible that people who don't need much sleep have a similar mutation. In every other way, minisleep flies seemed normal—except one. Most fruit flies live for about 3 or 4 months. The minisleepers lived about 2 weeks less. So, even if you feel fine on little sleep, the researchers say, skimping on sleep might affect your health in other ways. Knowing that, I'm going to make sure to sleep in tomorrow. If nothing else, I'll be a lot more pleasant to be around.—E. Sohn

Awake at Night
Awake at Night








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