Innocence on Death Row, Missing Frog Fathers, and Antibiotic Resistance

(Left to right): NOAA; Jesse RJ Delia; Alexander H. Tuttle

Top Stories: Innocence on Death Row, Missing Frog Fathers, and Antibiotic Resistance

First Global Drug Resistance Overview Paints Grim Picture

The World Health Organization (WHO) presented its first-ever global attempt to assess the spread of drug resistance—and the results are sobering. The study shows that high rates of antimicrobial resistance occur in most parts of the world. WHO’s assistant director-general for health security warned, "Without urgent, coordinated action by many stakeholders, the world is headed for a post-antibiotic era, in which common infections and minor injuries which have been treatable for decades can once again kill."

When Dads Go Missing, Frogs Start Hatching

Glass frog fathers sometimes abandon their eggs to get busy with other females. That's bad for the babies—they rely on their dads to moisten them nightly as they develop on leaves, or else they'll dry out and die. But new research shows that the abandoned eggs can take care of themselves. When dad takes off, they respond by hatching early. The findings make us think about embryos as cognitive organisms that can assess their surroundings—and even choose their own birthdays.

More Than 4% of Death Row Inmates May Be Innocent

One in 25 criminal defendants who has been handed a death sentence in the United States has likely been erroneously convicted. That number—4.1% to be exact—comes from a new analysis of more than 3 decades of data on death sentences and death row exonerations across the United States.

Male Scent May Compromise Biomedical Research

Researchers testing pain response in lab mice noticed something curious: The mice didn't seem to feel pain when they were handled by male researchers. After further testing, they discovered that the scent of a male—human or otherwise—actually acts like a painkiller by ramping up the animal’s stress levels. The findings suggest that the presence of male scientists may be influencing research results—and even clinical trials.

Snails Are Dissolving in Pacific Ocean

Acidic seas are already beginning to damage marine organisms. The shells of tiny marine snails that live along North America’s western coast are dissolving in an increasingly acidified Pacific Ocean. The finding suggests that sea life is already being affected by changes in the ocean’s chemistry caused by rising carbon dioxide levels.

Soaring MERS Cases Cause Pandemic Jitters, but Causes Are Unclear

A sharp increase in infections with the deadly new Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) virus in the Middle East is alarming public health officials around the world. The rising numbers have raised fresh fears that MERS has adapted and is becoming more easily transmissible between humans, which could result in global spread. But preliminary research has not shown any evidence of genetic changes, and the government of Saudi Arabia, where most of the new cases occur, says the sudden upswing is mostly the result of more widespread testing.