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Scientists investigate how Venus fly trap plants shut in response to touch.

Scientists have revealed the three-dimensional structure of Flycatcher1, an aptly named protein channel that may enable Venus fly trap plants to snap shut in response to prey. The structure of Flycatcher1 helps shed light on longstanding questions about the remarkably sensitive touch response of Venus fly traps. The structure also gives the researchers a better understanding of how similar proteins in organisms including plants and bacteria, as well as proteins in the human body with similar functions (called mechanosensitive ion channels), might operate.

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What it takes to verify the hottest temperatures on Earth

A blistering 130-degree Fahrenheit (54.4 degrees Celsius) temperature reading in Death Valley, California, on August 16th quickly made headlines, but it could take months or even years before the number can officially break world records. If the temperature is verified, it will become the third hottest temperature ever recorded on Earth and the hottest temperature recorded on the planet since 1931.

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