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R & D

Origin of X

Researchers at the Sanger Institute in Cambridgeshire, UK, have confirmed the X ch-romosome's 'non-sex' origins by showing its resemblance to large segments of chromosomes in birds, reports Nature. Sequencing of the hum-an X chromosome and comparing it with that of birds indicate that this has changed little since the evolution of placental mammals.

New shrimp

Surveyors belonging to the Idaho National Guard in the US have discovered a new species of mega-size shrimp in the desert lakes of southwestern Idaho. The shrimps eat their relatives and smaller counterparts. Sporting hooked arms, this 7.6-cm flesh-coloured crustacean's eggs lie dormant for decades, spawning only when the lakes get filled with rainwater.

Saturn vapour

Data collected by the US-European Cassini spacecraft reveal that the snow-white satellite of Saturn, Enceladus, is covered by an invisible water-vapour atmosphere, indicating toeholds for life on the tiny moon. Cassini was able to discover it because it makes a bending effect on Saturn's magnetic fields.

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