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Wednesday, Jul 30th

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Earth-like planet discovered outside solar system

Astronomers have discovered an Earth-like planet outside the Solar System, 'shortening' the odds that alien life could exist. A new study of the planet, which orbits a star 500 light years away, has shown that its density is similar to Earth's, indicating it is a solid rocky world.

Known as COROT-7b, it was discovered in February this year by the European space telescope COROT, which had been tracking the star it circles.

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First Genetic Link Between Reptile And Human Heart Evolution Found

Scientists at the Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease (GICD) have traced the evolution of the four-chambered human heart to a common genetic factor linked to the development of hearts in turtles and other reptiles.

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Galaxy's 'cannibalism' revealed

The vast Andromeda galaxy appears to have expanded by digesting stars from other galaxies, research has shown. When an international team of scientists mapped Andromeda, they discovered stars that they said were "remnants of dwarf galaxies".

The astronomers report their findings in the journal Nature.This consumption of stars has been suggested previously, but the team's ultra-deep survey has provided detailed images to show that it took place.

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Scientists identify coldest place on earth

The site, known simply as Ridge A, is nearly 14,000 metres high and is located deep within the Antarctic Plateau. It has an average winter temperature of minus 94 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 70 degrees Celsius) and is so remote that it is thought that no human has ever set foot there.

A team of American and Australian scientists identified Ridge A from satellite imagery and climate models during an exhaustive search for the best observatory site in the world.

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The brain may not be fooled by sugar substitutes

As the palette of artificial sweeteners has grown and manufacturers have honed the skill with which they blend them to mimic sugar taste, debate has swirled around whether these sensory stand-ins really help people consume fewer calories and avoid weight gain.

New research adds another dimension to the uncertainty: It suggests that even when artificial sweeteners fool the taste buds, they still don't fool the ultimate arbiter of our appetites -- our subconscious brains.

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Single molecule's stunning image

The detailed chemical structure of a single molecule has been imaged for the first time, say researchers.

The physical shape of single carbon nanotubes has been outlined before, using similar techniques - but the new method even shows up chemical bonds. Understanding structure on this scale could help in the design of many things on the molecular scale, particularly electronics or even drugs.

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DNA Evidence Can Be Fabricated, Scientists Show

Scientists in Israel have demonstrated that it is possible to fabricate DNA evidence, undermining the credibility of what has been considered the gold standard of proof in criminal cases.

The scientists fabricated blood and saliva samples containing DNA from a person other than the donor of the blood and saliva. They also showed that if they had access to a DNA profile in a database, they could construct a sample of DNA to match that profile without obtaining any tissue from that person.

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