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One and a half million people per year are poisoned by snake venom in Sub-Saharan Africa. An IRD researcher recently analysed around 100 surveys and medical reports published over the past 40 years. No large-scale study of the situation had hitherto been conducted and public health authorities had underestimated the size of the problem. This means that currently only 10% of victims are treated, owing to a shortage of antivenoms * and lack of awareness among health care practitioners. Yet the clinical complications can be very serious, even fatal. A bite from a cobra or mamba can bring on death by asphyxia –due to respiratory paralysis– within 6h after the incident. Venom injected by the ocellated carpet viper, common in the African savannah, can cause haemorrhages leading to the victim’s death in a few days.
This new study provides authorities with more detailed and reliable figures which should enable them to readjust their health-care services in better tune with needs.
Rice is the world’s most commonly used cereal food, feeding half of humanity. However, rice production will have to double within 20 years from now to meet the needs of a growing population.
Two species are used for cultivation, one Asian and the other African. The Asian species gives much stronger agronomic performances, but the African one is more rustic, more resistant to pathogens, more tolerant to drought and soil salinity.
With the aim of transferring these properties to Asian rice, IRD scientists and their research partners( 1) are seeking to overcome the sterility between the two species( 2). They used genome sequencing to compare the structure of a portion of chromosome, identified as the factor behind the reproductive barrier. These investigations, the first results of which were published recently in the journal PLoS One , have led to the definition of genetic markers allowing more rapid development of fertile lineages of improved Asian rice.
Green garnet( 1), recently introduced on to the gemstone market, is renowned for its brilliance, hardness and rarity –much rarer than diamond for example. On top of these fine qualities this precious stone has a high level of purity and a lower price compared with emerald, its direct competitor since it has the same colour. These properties give it high economic potential for the producer countries, essentially Tanzania and Kenya.
However, although these gemmological characteristics( 2) have already been described and are now well known to experts, its genesis and mineralogical and geochemical properties, which would be useful for determining its geological and geographical origin, have not up to now been clarified. An IRD team and its research partners( 3) have drawn up the first identitification card for green garnets according to their deposit of origin. A first step towards certification of the new gemstone and greater added value on the jewellery market.
The cichlids are tropical freshwater fish well known to aquarists for their display of magnificent colours and the unparalleled diversity of species. Moreover, those of the East African Great Lakes (Malawi, Tanganyika and Victoria) are renowned among evolution researchers : they give an ...
Research work reported on recently by an international research team1, including an IRD scientist, brought out evidence of the impact on the fish communities of a mass bleaching event resulting from the 1997-1998 El Niño climatic episode. The investigation was wide in scope, focusing on more ...