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SCIENCE

Wool genes now fashionable

Australian scientists say they have isolated genetic markers for high-quality wool, a breakthrough that could help save the struggling industry. Agricultural scientists here are testing blood and wool samples from sheep bred for both heavy and lighter fleece. The breakthrough would allow producers to select the best animal early in life, instead of having to wait years to see fleece quality. This could save millions of dollars for the industry, which is struggling to survive depressed prices and changing fashions. The industry has been shaken by world fashion that is leaning toward synthetics and cotton fibers.

Clucking T-Rex?

Researchers from the US, China, Mongolia, and Japan discovered masses of mineral grains inside the rib cages of 12 small dinosaurs from China. The research, reported in the journal Nature, may be the remnants of gizzards, which the animals may have used to grind up plant matter, similar to poultry and modern-day birds. The new discovery shows that these dinosaurs, which date to the Upper Cretaceous period, were eating plants, and not meat.

Compiled from news wires

by Lane Hartill

The standards on standards

Want to ace that physics course or shine as the office technical guru? Just log onto the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Web site for the latest values of the fundamental constants of nature. Those are the mathematical values in the formulas for basic natural laws that determine such things as the strength of gravity, the force of magnets, or the workings of the subatomic world. NIST works with the international Committee on Data for Science and Technology. The values haven't changed much. But, NIST says, they now are more accurately know than ever before. Check out the new values at: http://physics.nist.gov/constants

Robert C. Cowen

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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