SCIENCE REPORTER

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ISSN: 0036-8512                                                                                              

VOLUME 48                                         NUMBER   1                                   JANUARY  2011

                                                              CONTENTS

 

COVER STORY

 

War And Peace: Conflict And Cooperation In An Insect Society

Raghavendra Gadagkar

 

8

FEATURE ARTICLES

Tags For Living Beings: The Saga Of Dna Barcode

A. Biju Kumar & Sanil George

 

 

19

Beetles Of The World

T.V. Venkateswaran

 

29

Incredible Brainy Animals

A. Krishna Murthy

 

33

Bacteria In Food

M.K. Chattopadhyay

 

44

Don’t Booze Out Your Liver

Arvind Dubey

46

Feast At The Fig

Meghna Krishnadas

 

56

INTERVIEW

Student Innovators Par Excellence

Anuj Sinha talks to two students whose innovation was recently honoured at the international level

 

36

REPORT

A report on the ‘International Conference on Climate Change and Environment’ held at Cochin and ‘International Workshop on Climate Change and Island Vulnerability’ held at Lakshadweep

 

52

DEPARTMENTS

 

Reactions

6

Editorial              

7

 

Anecdotes

14

Spectrum             

16

Point-Counterpoint

25

 

 

Test Your Knowledge

40

Puzzle Corner

50

 

Familiar Fossils                                                                                

55

Fun Quiz

58

What’s New       

60

Crossword                          

62

 

 

Science Reporter

Vol. 48, January 2011 pp 8-12

 

War And Peace: Conflict And Cooperation In An Insect Society

Raghavendra Gadagkar

 

Whether it is work distribution, choosing a leader or, for that matter, protecting colonies from foreign attacks, insect societies hold a mirror to us and make us think and reflect on the way we humans conduct our own affairs. Unknown to many of us, a large number of insect species organize themselves into very sophisticated societies. Their societies parallel and sometimes surpass human societies in their social organization, in their social integration, in communication, in division of labour and most importantly in the way in which they tread a very fine balance between conflict and cooperation.

 

 

Science Reporter

Vol. 48, January 2011 pp 19-23

Tags For Living Beings: The Saga Of DNA Barcode

A. Biju Kumar & Sanil George

In the early 1960s, World War II veteran Gene Roddenberry brought to air a now famous science fiction drama, Star Trek, in which a handheld ‘tricorder’ device was used to scan and identify alien life forms. Though this remains a fancy, today’s researchers are working on a technology called DNA barcoding that envisages an inexpensive handheld device the size of a mobile phone, a DNA barcode scanner, that provides quick identification of every species in the world and that could transform people’s relationship with nature!

Science Reporter

Vol. 48, January 2011 pp 29-32

Beetles Of The World

T.V. Venkateswaran

When theologians asked the famous biologist JBS Haldane, ‘what could be inferred about the mind of the Creator from the works of His creation’, he quipped in jest: “The Creator, if he exists, has a special preference for beetles.” True. The living world is predominated by various kinds of beetles – small, big, stout and slim. No other group of animals exhibits such a range of size, colour and shape. Imagine, one in four species in the world is a beetle and they account for 40% of all known insect species.  How come the world is full of beetles?

 

Science Reporter

Vol. 48, January 2011 pp 33-35

Incredible Brainy Animals

A. Krishna Murthy

Are humans the only intelligent species? We often assume that because we are at the acme of the high pyramid of evolution. But contemporary studies are revealing unbelievable facts about the intelligence of various animals. Let’s take a look at some of these findings.

Science Reporter

Vol. 48, January 2011 pp 44-45

 

Bacteria In Food

M.K. Chattopadhyay

Bacterial contamination of food materials is a major cause of health problems. The contaminating bacteria gain entry into the body of the consumers and infect them. In some cases they produce toxins, which cause severe illness to the consumers even in absence of the bacteria.

 

 

 

Science Reporter

Vol. 48, January 2011 pp 46-48

Don’t Booze Out Your Liver

Arvind Dubey

Alcohol has long been associated with serious liver diseases such as hepatitis or swelling of the liver. The relationship between drinking and alcoholic hepatitis is complex. Only a small percentage (10-20%) of heavy drinkers develop alcoholic hepatitis, yet the disease can occur in people who drink only moderately or binge just once. 

 

Science Reporter

Vol. 48, January 2011 pp 56-57

Feast At The Fig

Meghna Krishnadas

The soft golden hue of the early morning sunshine wafts through the canopy, bathing the evergreen forest in a honeyed hue. Spider webs gleam their intricate patterns like diamond dust on gossamer, as the dewdrops on them catch the first shafts of the morning light. The cackling “kok-koko-koko-kok” of the ubiquitous jungle fowl breaks through the early stillness, calling the forest to wakefulness.