The Australian Science Media Centre (AusSMC) is an independent, not-for-profit service for the news media, giving journalists direct access to evidence-based science and expertise.

We aim to better inform public debate on the major issues of the day by improving links between the media and the scientific community.

EXPERT REACTION: Nepalese earthquake



Early on Saturday, a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck an area of central Nepal between Kathmandu and the Pokhara, killing more than 3,000 people. The tremor also unleashed avalanches on Mount Everest. A powerful aftershock was felt on Sunday in Nepal, India and Bangladesh, and more avalanches were reported near Everest. read more

EXPERT REACTION: World’s first genetic modification of human embryos reported (Protein & Cell)*



Chinese scientists say they’ve genetically modified human embryos for the very first time. The team attempted to modify the gene responsible for β-thalassaemia, a potentially fatal blood disorder, using a gene-editing technique known as CRISPR/Cas9. Gene editing is a recently developed type of genetic engineering in which DNA is inserted, replaced, or removed. read more

NEWS BRIEFING: Warming ‘slowdown’ no cause for carbon complacency (Nature Climate Change*)


EMBARGO LIFTED 01:00 AEST Friday April 24Click here to follow a recording of the entire briefing

The much-discussed recent ‘hiatus’ in global warming is a short-term natural fluctuation in a warming climate, not a sign that carbon cuts are unnecessary, according to new Australian research. read more

EXPERT REACTION: Are sugar and carbohydrates behind the current surge in obesity? (British Journal of Sports Medicine*)


EMBARGO LIFTED 08:30 AEST Thur 23 Apr 2015

In an editorial, US and South African scientists question whether we can overcome an unhealthy diet through exercise alone. The experts say they believe excess sugar and carbohydrates, and not a lack of exercise, lie behind the surge in obesity.

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EXPERT REACTION: UK expert questions link between serotonin and depression (The BMJ)*


EMBARGO LIFTED 08:30 AEST Wednesday 22 April 2015

In an editorial article, a UK-based Professor of Psychiatry says the widely held belief that depression is caused by low levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain – and that raising these levels with drugs known as SSRIs (e.g. Prozac) is an effective treatment – is a myth. This is a controversial view because SSRIs are the most widely used treatment for depression around the world. read more

BRIEFING: The science behind crystal methamphetamine (ice)


BACKGROUND BRIEFING – Wednesday April 15th at 11:00 AEST onlineClick here to follow a recording of the entire briefing

As the Federal Government launches its task force to tackle the ‘menace’ of crystal methamphetamine, join us to hear some of Australia’s top experts on the drug discuss the science behind ice use.

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AQ Magazine: Getting science in the spotlight


The Australian Science Media Centre (AusSMC) is delighted to feature in this month’s AQ Magazine with our article “Getting science in the spotlight”. read more

EXPERT REACTION: Climate change to wake sleeping dragons (Nature*)


EMBARGO LIFTED 10:01 AEDT Wednesday 1 April 2015

Australian and UK research has indicated that increasing temperatures will result in an explosion of fire-breathing dragons around the world. The authors say that dragon numbers declined during cool periods in history, such as the so-called Little Ice Age, but are likely to make a comeback as the planet warms. Additionally, the researchers say throughout history, fire-breathing dragons have been known to favour knights as a food source. They recommend that countries, like Australia, avoid honorific titles to escape the attention of hungry dragons. read more

EXPERT REACTION: Ten years on, no-take marine reserves in the Great Barrier Reef are a success (Current Biology)*


EMBARGO LIFTED 03:00 AEDT Fri 27 Mar 2015

A decade has passed since the no-take marine reserves (NTMRs) were expanded within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, and Australian researchers say it’s working. The NTMRs were expanded from around five per cent to more than one third of the park, which the authors say has certainly helped in the reef’s recovery.

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EXPERT REACTION: Soil bacteria play a role in wine quality (mBio)*


Vineyards producing high-quality ‘classic’ wines may owe their success to the local bacteria rather than the soil’s physical characteristics, argue the authors of new US-led research. For the first time the scientists studied an entire wine grapevine’s microbiome and found that the microbes associated with the grapes, leaves and flowers were largely derived from the soil microbes found around the plant’s roots – and the same microbes were found in different vineyards in New York, California and Bordeaux. read more