Popular Science articles about Biology & Nature

Mystery of polar bear Knut's disease finally solved

Knut, the famous polar bear of the Berlin Zoological Garden (Germany) died of encephalitis, as diagnosed soon after his death. However, the cause of his disease has remained elusive until now. A team of scientists from the German Center for...

Researchers use DNA 'clews' to shuttle CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing tool into cells

When the nanoclew comes into contact with a cell, the cell absorbs the nanoclew completely -- swallowing it and wrapping it in a protective sheath called an endosome. But the nanoclews are coated with a positively charged polymer that breaks down the endosome, setting the nanoclew free inside the cell. The CRISPR-Cas9 complexes can then free themselves from the nanoclew to make their way to the nucleus.Researchers from North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have for the first time created and used a nanoscale vehicle made of DNA to...

Neurodegenerative disease clogs nuclear pores

Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) scientists have discovered how the most common genetic defect in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis kills nerve cells. Their study suggests that the pores that allow molecules...

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Home sweet microbe: Dust in your house can predict geographic region, gender of occupants

This image shows household dust under a microscope.The humble dust collecting in the average American household harbors a teeming menagerie of bacteria and fungi, and as researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder and North Carolina State...

UCSF researchers control embryonic stem cells with light

UC San Francisco researchers have for the first time developed a method to precisely control embryonic stem cell differentiation with beams of light, enabling them to be transformed into neurons...

New Indonesian crayfish species escapes the decor market to become a freedom fighter

This is <i>Cherax snowden</i> from Sungai River drainage, Sawiat DistrictWith its orange to greenishly orange motley tip, the new crayfish species has been long-confused with its relatives by the tradesmen who have been collecting them for ornamental purposes. Being...

Vomiting device offers direct evidence that vomit aerosolizes norovirus-like particles

Using a vomiting device of their creation, researchers at North Carolina State University and Wake Forest University are reporting the first direct evidence that vomiting can aerosolize virus particles similar...

Firefly protein enables visualization of roots in soil

This is a composite image of a growing experimental mustard plant, <em>Arabidopsis thaliana</em>, along with a luminescence-based image of the root system of the same plant.Plants form a vast network of below-ground roots that search soil for needed resources. The structure and function of this root network can be highly adapted to particular environments such...

Supercomputers listen to the heart

New supercomputer models have come closer than ever to capturing the behavior of normal human heart valves and their replacements, according to recent studies by groups including scientists at the...

The Tree of Life may be a bush

New species evolve whenever a lineage splits off into several. Because of this, the kinship between species is often described in terms of a 'tree of life', where every branch...

'Fishing expedition' nets nearly tenfold increase in number of sequenced virus genomes

Using a specially designed computational tool as a lure, scientists have netted the genomic sequences of almost 12,500 previously uncharacterized viruses from public databases.

Scientists identify possible key in virus, cancer research

Florida State University researchers have taken a big step forward in the fight against cancer with a discovery that could open up the door for new research and treatment options.

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Research identifies a protein that helps determine the fate of RNA

The newly identified protein, HNRNPA2B1 (green), which recognizes the m6A tag, is found within the nuclei (blue) of cells. Actin filaments, important elements of the cell's structure, show up in red.After it is transcribed from DNA, RNA can go on to many fates. While the most familiar path may lead directly to the production of protein, RNA molecules themselves can...

Sir Elton John is the inspiration behind the name of a new coral reef crustacean species

<I>Leucothoe eltoni</I>, new crustacean species, from Raja Ampat, Indonesia.While exploring the remote coral reefs of Raja Ampat in Indonesia, Dr. James Thomas from the Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography, Florida, and his colleagues from...

New fungi behind emerging wheat disease

This is Associate Professor Solomon in the wheat biosecurity lab at the Research School of Biology.Researchers have unraveled the mystery cause of the emerging wheat disease White Grain Disorder.

Study shows plant species' genetic responses to climate change

Thse are semi-natural grassland plots at Buxton Climate Change Impacts Lab.A study by the University of Liverpool has found that the genetic diversity of wild plant species could be altered rapidly by anthropogenic climate change.

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Tiny antibodies point to vulnerability in disease-causing parasites

By teasing apart the structure of an enzyme vital to the infectious behavior of the parasites that cause toxoplasmosis and malaria, Whitehead Institute scientists have identified a potentially 'drugable' target...

TSRI scientists uncover surprising mechanism behind antibiotic-resistant bacteria

Scripps Research Institute Professor Floyd Romesberg and Research Associate Arryn Craney were among the authors of the new study.Every year, more strains of bacteria develop resistance to the antibiotics we use to treat deadly infections. At The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) scientists have been working to develop new...

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Female fish genitalia evolve in response to predators, interbreeding

Female and male mosquitofish genitalia in different Bahamian locations show contrasts between living in waters with and without the threat of predation.Female fish in the Bahamas have developed ways of showing males that "No means no."

New research shows that hummingbird tongue is really a tiny pump

A juvenile male Black-throated Mango hummingbird (<em>Anthracothorax nigricollis</em>) extends his tongue after feeding. A hummingbird can extend its tongue twice the length of the bill to reach the nectar inside flowers.In a paper titled Hummingbird tongues are elastic micropumps which appears in the August 19 issue of Proceedings of the Royal Society B, Alejandro Rico Guevara and Margaret Rubega from...

UGA collaboration discovers toxic chemical in birds outside of Superfund site

A least tern chick moves away from an unhatched sibling egg on Andrews Island, Georgia.Researchers at the University of Georgia's Savannah River Ecology Laboratory have found that a contaminated mixture called Aroclor 1268 has spread beyond a former chemical plant, now a Superfund site,...

Alert to biologists: Ribosomes can translate the 'untranslated region' of messenger RNA

A ribosome (gray) creates a protein by translating the genetic code within an mRNA molecule (blue). Once it reaches the stop signal, it releases the protein (orange string of beads) and is "recycled" by Rli1 by being split into two pieces.In what appears to be an unexpected challenge to a long-accepted fact of biology, Johns Hopkins researchers say they have found that ribosomes -- the molecular machines in all cells...

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