Weekly News Bites: Space water, spider mating strategies, and mouse whiskers

Asia Research News monitors the latest research news in Asia. Some highlights that caught our attention this week are particles from the Ryugu asteroid that look like water, mating strategies used by male spiders, and the effect of trimming mouse whiskers on their social development.

The latest analysis of the samples brought back from the Ryugu asteroid by the Hayabusa2 found particles that closely resemble the water we find here on Earth. “...it is possible that small celestial bodies brought things that led to water and life on Earth," says one of the researchers at the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology.

The dating game is rough, even more so when your partner could potentially eat you! Male spiders only have one shot at success when mating with a cannibalistic female. Scientists from the National University of Singapore (NUS) found that some spiders maximize their chances by choosing to use the sexual organ which contains more sperm.

As animals and humans grow up their brains are changed depending on the environment around them. Mice use their whiskers to help them explore their surroundings and so they are a very important sensory organ. Zhejiang University researchers wanted to study the effect of trimming the whiskers at an early stage of development on mouse behavior in adulthood. The team found that mice with trimmed whiskers were less social and had lower levels of oxytocin than those who had normal whiskers.

“Forever chemicals” that don’t break down naturally pose a serious pollution problem to both humans and the environment. Northwestern University, University of California at Los Angeles, and Tianjin University scientists have developed a promising new method to decompose these chemicals (perfluorocarboxylic acids) into benign products

By using pixel analysis and magnification, National Taiwan University researchers can use a smartphone to detect narrowed arteries in the neck which are a risk factor for strokes. The team analyzed videos taken with a smartphone to look at changes in the pulse rate in the neck arteries which can identify blockages.