The Week In Science: Mouse Inception, Cat Allergy Cures And Dinosaur Teeth

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This week in science, we delved into the mysteries of space centaurs, mulled the ethics of killing one owl to save another, and held our noses at some of the stinkiest creatures in creation. But there’s lots more science news afoot. Here’s a roundup of what we missed:

British scientists are working on a cure for cat allergies. University of Cambridge researchers said they’ve found a protein in cat dander that provokes most unwelcome reactions -- such as sneezing and asthma -- to feline presences. Blocking the immune receptor in humans that interacts with the protein could be a way to allow the previously catphobic to enjoy a feline companion. [CBC News]

Some plant-eating dinosaurs may have replaced their teeth every one or two months, according to a new study. Chewing tough plants leads to a lot of wear on teeth, but instead of investing resources in really strong choppers, as horses do, many dinosaurs appear to have gone with the more disposable approach. [New York Times]

Scientists planted false memories in the brains of mice by manipulating individual neurons in the rodents’ brains. They managed to make mice fear an electric shock in one chamber by “incepting” memories of being shocked in a different chamber. The research may allow scientists to delve further into human memories -- both false and otherwise -- and could also bring us a little closer to a science-fiction dystopia where nobody can trust the truth of his or her own memories. [Guardian]

Yuka, a 39,000-year-old woolly mammoth that was so well-preserved scientists were able to collect flowing blood from her corpse, is up for public display in Japan. Some scientists hope they might be able to extract the full mammoth genome from Yuka’s blood. [Verge]

The decline of honeybees across North America is alarming, especially because a clear explanation has yet to present itself. Now, a new study suggests that fungicides may play a bigger role in colony collapse disorder -- where bees abandon hives to ruin -- than previously thought. Scientists found that bees eating fungicides were much more susceptible to infection by a parasite implicated in CCD. [Quartz]

Major League Baseball and the U.S. Forest Service are teaming up to figure out why maple baseball bats shatter so violently. Maple wood, with a comparatively harder surface, is increasingly preferred over ash wood, but explosive bat breakages have injured some players and spectators. [New York Times]

A Google Doodle this week honored Rosalind Franklin, an oft-overlooked scientist who would have turned 93 this week. Franklin was the first person to take pictures of a DNA strand using X-rays. A colleague at her university showed Franklin’s DNA image to Cambridge scientists James Watson and Francis Crick, who went on to be largely credited with the discovery of DNA. [National Geographic]

The Van Allen belt -- a ring of radioactivity that orbits the Earth -- acts like a giant particle accelerator in space. [Popular Mechanics]

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