Popular Science articles about Biology & Nature

This is Lizard Island coral reef with study species, Spiny damselfish (<i>Acanthochromis polyacanthus</i>).

First accurate simulation of a virus invading a cell

For the first time, scientists know what happens to a virus' shape when it invades a host cell, thanks to an experiment by researchers at Penn State College of Medicine...

Snails' speedy insulin

This is a <i>Conus geographus</i> hunting a fish.University of Utah researchers have found that the structure of an insulin molecule produced by predatory cone snails may be an improvement over current fast-acting therapeutic insulin. The finding suggests...

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Seek and you shall find -- bees remain excellent searchers even when ill

Honeybees are hardwired to efficiently search the landscape enabling them to continue working for the greater good of their hives even when they are sick, according to new research co-authored...

Male chemistry primes females for reproduction -- but at a cost

A research team led by a Northwestern University scientist has discovered that male animals, through their invisible chemical "essence," prime female animals for reproduction but with the unfortunate side effect...

Linking RNA structure and function

Several years ago, biologists discovered a new type of genetic material known as long noncoding RNA. This RNA does not code for proteins and is copied from sections of the...

Genetic analysis uncovers 4 species of giraffe, not just 1

This image shows an Angolan giraffe herd in Damaraland, NW Namibia.Up until now, scientists had only recognized a single species of giraffe made up of several subspecies. But, according to the most inclusive genetic analysis of giraffe relationships to date,...

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The history of beer yeast

This graph represents the history and domestication of yeast used for making beer and other types of alcohol are revealed through genomic and phenotypic analyses.Today's industrial yeast strains are used to make beer, wine, bread, biofuels, and more, but their evolutionary history is not well studied. In a Cell paper publishing September 8, researchers...

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Yellow or black, large or small? Ant color and body size respond strongly to environment

The Sani Pass, one of the mountains in South Africa sampled for the study.A University of Liverpool study of ants across three continents has revealed that their colour and size is strongly influenced by their environment, and that the dominant colour and average...

Humans may be uniquely identified by the proteins in their hair

Glendon Parker, a biochemist with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's Forensic Science Center, examines a 250-year-old archaeological hair sample that has been analyzed for human identification using protein markers from the hair. Researchers from LLNL and a Utah startup company have developed the first-ever biological identification method that exploits the information encoded in proteins of human hair.Unique protein markers in hair could be used alongside DNA profiling for human identification, according to a study published September 7, 2016 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Glendon...

How fungi help trees tolerate drought

The mutualistic relationship between tree roots and ectomycorrhizal (ECM) fungi has been shaping forest ecosystems since their inception. ECM fungi are key players supporting the growth, health and stress tolerance...

Study reveals how ionising radiation damages DNA and causes cancer

For the first time, researchers from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and their collaborators have been able to identify in human cancers two characteristic patterns of DNA damage caused by ionising radiation. These fingerprint patterns may now enable doctors to...

Trees recognize roe deer by saliva

After a young maple tree has been cut, roe deer saliva is applied with a pipette to the cut surface.In spring, the young, delicate shoots in the forest light up, bright and May green. The buds and shoots are the future of the forests as they allow young trees...

Hippo teeth reveal environmental change

Elephants crossing the highway outside of Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda.Loss of megaherbivores such as elephants and hippos can allow woody plants and non-grassy herbs and flowering plants to encroach on grasslands in African national parks, according to a new...

Training human antibodies to protect against HIV

During HIV infection, the virus mutates too rapidly for the immune system to combat, but some people produce antibodies that can recognize the virus even two years after infection. With...

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Kill them with cuteness: The adorable thing bats do to catch prey

Echolocating bats are champions of auditory scene analysis, exploiting active sensing processes to perceive the world in high spatial and temporal resolution.  The bat adapts in tandem its outgoing sonar vocalizations with movements of the external auditory system to increase sensory acuity.A Johns Hopkins University researcher noticed the bats he works with cocked their heads to the side, just like his pet Pug.

A cinematic approach to drug resistance

In a creative stroke inspired by Hollywood wizardry, scientists from Harvard Medical School and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology have designed a simple way to observe how bacteria move as they...

Bacteria supply their allies with munitions

<em>Vibrio cholerae</em> bacteria (green) recycle T6SS proteins of the attacking sister cells (red) to build their own spear gun (light green intracellular structure).Many bacteria possess molecular spear guns, which they fire at enemies and rivals, thus putting them out of action. The tips of these nano-spear guns, known as Type VI secretion...

Chinese investigators characterize the world of resistance gene exchange among bacteria

Certain antibiotic resistance genes are easily transferred from one bacterial species to another, and can move between farm animals and the human gut. A team led by Chinese researchers has...

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Critical information needed in fight to save wildlife

Mark Urban, associate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Connecticut, stands under a sheet of aufeis in Alaska. These ice sheets form over Arctic underground springs but have become less prevalent with global warming.With global temperatures rising, an international group of 22 top biologists is calling for a coordinated effort to gather important species information that is urgently needed to improve predictions for...

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Crab from the Chinese pet market turns out to be a new species of a new genus

Live male <i>Yuebeipotamon calciatile</i> gen. n., sp. n., color in life.Shimmering carapaces and rattling claws make colourful freshwater crabs attractive to pet keepers. To answer the demand, fishermen are busy collecting and trading with the crustaceans, often not knowing what...

Does recent isolation of Zika virus from Culex mosquitoes point to a new transmission source?

<p><a target="_blank" href="http://www.liebertpub.com/vbz"><em>Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases</em></a> is an authoritative peer-reviewed journal published monthly online with open access options and in print dedicated to diseases transmitted to humans by insects or animals.  Led by Stephen Higgs, Ph.D., Director, Biosecurity Research Institute, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS, the Journal covers a widespread group of vector and zoonotic-borne diseases including bacterial, chlamydial, rickettsial, viral, and parasitic zoonoses and provides a unique platform for basic and applied disease research. The Journal also examines geographic, seasonal, and other risk factors that influence the transmission, diagnosis, management, and prevention of zoonotic diseases that pose a threat to public health worldwide. <em>Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases</em> is the official journal of SocZEE, the Society for Zoonotic Ecology and Epidemiology. Complete tables of content and a sample issue may be viewed on the <em>Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases</em> website.Researchers have identified Zika virus in mosquito species other than Aedes aegypti, which is largely responsible for the current outbreaks of Zika infection, raising concerns that different mosquito vectors may...

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