Popular Science articles about Biology & Nature

A camera trap captures a panda walking through the snow in the Wolong Nature Reserve in Sichuan, China

Big data allows computer engineers to find genetic clues in humans

Big data: It's a term we read and hear about often, but is hard to grasp. Computer scientists at Washington University in St. Louis' School of Engineering & Applied Science...

Bats obey 'traffic rules' when trawling for food

Foraging bats obey their own set of 'traffic rules', chasing, turning and avoiding collisions at high speed, new research from the University of Bristol has found.

To survive, a parasite mixes and matches its disguises, study suggests

This is a microscopy image of <i>Trypanosoma brucei</i>, the African sleeping sickness parasite.Orchestrated costume changes make it possible for certain nasty microbes to outsmart the immune system, which would otherwise recognize them by the telltale proteins they wear. By taking the first...

How did the chicken cross the sea?

Michigan State University is solving the mysterious ancestry of the feral chicken population that has overrun the Hawaiian Island of Kauai.It may sound like the makings of a joke, but answering the question of how chickens crossed the sea may soon provide more than just a punch line.

MDC researchers greatly increase precision of new genome editing tool

CRISPR-Cas9 is a powerful new tool for editing the genome. For researchers around the world, the CRISPR-Cas9 technique is an exciting innovation because it is faster and cheaper than previous...

Shape-shifting frog discovered in Ecuadorian Andes

This image shows skin texture variation in one individual frog (<i>Pristimantis mutabilis</i>) from Reserva Las Gralarias. Note how skin texture shifts from highly tubercular to almost smooth; also note the relative size of the tubercles on the eyelid, lower lip, dorsum and limbs.A frog in Ecuador's western Andean cloud forest changes skin texture in minutes, appearing to mimic the texture it sits on.

A vineyard's soil microbes shape the grapes' microbial community

In the first study of an entire wine grapevine's microbiome, researchers have found that the microbes associated with the grapes, leaves and flowers are largely derived from the soil microbes...

'Attract and kill:' Trapping malaria mosquito mums before they lay eggs

In a world first, researchers have found that a naturally occurring chemical attracts pregnant malaria-transmitting mosquitoes -- a discovery which could boost malaria control efforts.

Squid enrich their DNA 'blueprint' through prolific RNA editing

The squid is a prolific editor of genetic information, a new study finds.One of the surprising discoveries to emerge from the young field of comparative genomics is that drastically different organisms--humans, sea urchins, worms, flies --are endowed with a more or less...

Citizen scientists discover new plant species in the Cape Floral Kingdom

These are flowers of <i>Psoralea vanberkelae</i>.Amateur botanists in the Western Cape Province of South Africa have discovered two new species of beautiful blue-flowered legumes. The study was published in the open access journal PhytoKeys.

Sexual selection isn't the last word on bird plumage, UWM study shows

The Gouldian finch was one of 977 species examined by UWM biologist Peter Dunn and his research partners in a worldwide study of the evolution of bird colors. This photograph shows a male.In the world of bird fashion, the guys seem to have all the fun: brighter feathers, sharper accessories, more pizzazz.

30 new species discovered in Los Angeles in first-ever intensive urban biodiversity survey

Six of the 30 new fly species discovered in Los Angeles by the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County's BioSCAN project. All these are flies in the family Phoridae, genus <i>Megaselia</i>, and were named to honor the collecting site hosts where the new species were found. From left to right, these specimens are: <i>Megaselia mikejohnsoni, M. creasoni, M. francoae, M. donahuei, M. lombardorum</i>, and <i>M. rodriguezorum</i>.A new paper to be published in the journal Zootaxa (April 6, 2015) describes 30 new insect species in a single genus, Megaselia, of the fly family Phoridae....

Honey bees use multiple genetic pathways to fight infections

These are bees on a hive.Honey bees use different sets of genes, regulated by two distinct mechanisms, to fight off viruses, bacteria and gut parasites, according to researchers at Penn State and the Georgia Institute...

Researchers master gene editing technique in mosquito that transmits deadly diseases

Mosquito larvae from two different lines fluoresce in different colors thanks to genetic tags that were inserted using the CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing system.Traditionally, to understand how a gene functions, a scientist would breed an organism that lacks that gene -- "knocking it out" -- then ask how the organism has changed. Are...

Coorong fish hedge their bets for survival

This is a sectioned ear bone of black bream showing its growth rings.Analysis of the ear bones of the River Murray estuarine fish black bream has revealed how these fish 'hedge their bets' for population survival.

Scientists coax stem cells to form 3-D mini lungs

Scientists, led by the University of Michigan Medical School, coax stem cells to form mini lungs, 3-D structures that mimic human lungs and survived in the lab for 100 days.Scientists have coaxed stem cells to grow the first three-dimensional mini lungs.

Manganese speeds up honey bees

Honey bees act like tiny vacuums, sucking up whatever is in their environment. And one ubiquitous contaminant is manganese, used in the manufacture of steel and in a gasoline additive. New research shows that it makes bees less efficient foragers at levels considered safe for humans.Asked to name one way people have changed the environment, many people would probably say "global warming." But that's really just the start of it.

Flower-enriched farms boost bee populations

Bumblebees are important pollinators.Flower strips sown into farmers' fields not only attract bees but increase their numbers, new University of Sussex research has shown.

Researchers develop detailed genetic map of world wheat varieties

Kansas State University scientists have released findings of a complex, two-year study of the genomic diversity of wheat that creates an important foundation for future improvements in wheat around the...

Healthy grain fiber helps barley resist pests

Research at the University of Adelaide's Waite campus has shed light on the action of the serious agricultural pest, cereal cyst nematode, which will help progress improved resistant varieties.

Nova Southeastern University researcher part of team researching DNA of tigers

The tiger <i>Panthera tigris</i> consists of nine subspecies, including four that have gone extinct from their natural range. The Sumatran tiger is the closest relative to the extinct Javan and Bali tigers.Tigers -- they are some of nature's most beautiful, deadly and endangered species. In fact, living tigers are severely endangered in fragmented geographic areas across Asia -- some reports show...

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