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Scientists call for investigation of mysterious cloud-like collections in cells

About 50 years ago, electron microscopy revealed the presence of tiny blob-like structures that form inside cells, move around and disappear. But scientists still don't know what they do -- even though these shifting cloud-like collections of proteins are believed...

Memory in silent neurons

When we learn, we associate a sensory experience either with other stimuli or with a certain type of behaviour. The neurons in the cerebral cortex that transmit the information modify...

New research reveals how wild rabbits were genetically transformed into tame rabbits

The genetic changes that transformed wild animals into domesticated forms have long been a mystery. An international team of scientists has now made a breakthrough by showing that many genes...

Prions can trigger 'stuck' wine fermentations, researchers find

A chronic problem in winemaking is "stuck fermentation," when yeast that should be busily converting grape sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide prematurely shuts down, leaving the remaining sugar to...

Small molecule acts as on-off switch for nature's antibiotic factory

The soil bacteria <i>Streptomyces</i> form filamentous branches that extend into the air to create spiraling towers of spores. Duke researchers have discovered the switch that can turn off sporulation and turn on antibiotic production.Scientists have identified the developmental on-off switch for Streptomyces, a group of soil microbes that produce more than two-thirds of the world's naturally derived antibiotic medicines.

A touching story: The ancient conversation between plants, fungi and bacteria

The mechanical force that a single fungal cell or bacterial colony exerts on a plant cell may seem vanishingly small, but it plays a heavy role in setting up some...

Walking fish reveal how our ancestors evolved onto land

This is <I>Polypterus senegalus</I>.About 400 million years ago a group of fish began exploring land and evolved into tetrapods -- today's amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. But just how these ancient fish used...

Researchers find boron facilitates stem cell growth and development in corn

McSteen and Durbak found that boron plays an integral role in development and reproduction in corn plants. Scientists anticipate that understanding how corn uses the nutrient can help farmers make informed decisions in boron deficient areas and improve crop yields.Boron deficiency is one of the most widespread causes of reduced crop yield. Missouri and the eastern half of the United States are plagued by boron deficient soil and, often,...

Scientists uncover navigation system used by cancer, nerve cells

Duke University researchers have found a "roving detection system" on the surface of cells that may point to new ways of treating diseases like cancer, Parkinson's disease and amyotrophic lateral...

Evolutionary history of honeybees revealed by genomics

New findings show a surprisingly high level of genetic diversity in honeybees, and indicate that the species most probably originates from Asia, and not from Africa as previously thought.In a study published in Nature Genetics, researchers from Uppsala University present the first global analysis of genome variation in honeybees. The findings show a surprisingly high level of genetic...

Calcium and reproduction go together

Everyone's heard of the birds and the bees. But that old expression leaves out the flowers that are being fertilized. The fertilization process for flowering plants is particularly complex and...

Zooming in for a safe flight

As nocturnal animals, bats are perfectly adapted to a life without light. They emit echolocation sounds and use the delay between the reflected echoes to measure distance to obstacles or prey. In their brains, they have a spatial map representing...

Not all phytoplankton in the ocean need to take their vitamins

This is <i>Emiliana huxleyi</i>, a marine phytoplankton whose blooms can grow so large they are visible from space. The researchers found it does not require vitamin B1 to grow, as previously thought.Some species of marine phytoplankton, such as the prolific bloomer Emiliania huxleyi, can grow without consuming vitamin B1 (thiamine), researchers have discovered. The finding contradicts the common view that E....

Study finds marine protected areas inadequate for protecting fish and ocean ecology

A school of common bluestripe snappers in the waters off Kenya. A new study conducted by the Wildlife Conservation Society and other organizations reports that further expansion of marine protected areas is needed to protect fish species playing key ecological functions.A new study reports that an expansion of marine protected areas is needed to protect fish species that perform key ecological functions. According to investigators from the Wildlife Conservation Society...

Flapping baby birds give clues to origin of flight

A nine day-old chukar chick is righting itself using asymmetric wing flapping and rolling after being dropped upside down.How did the earliest birds take wing? Did they fall from trees and learn to flap their forelimbs to avoid crashing? Or did they run along the ground and pump...

Scientists looking across human, fly and worm genomes find shared biology

Researchers analyzing human, fly, and worm genomes have found that these species have a number of key genomic processes in common, reflecting their shared ancestry. The findings, appearing Aug. 28,...

Water 'thermostat' could help engineer drought-resistant crops

Duke University researchers have identified a gene that could help scientists engineer drought-resistant crops. The gene, called OSCA1, encodes a protein in the cell membrane of plants that senses changes...

More wolf spiders feasting on American toads due to invasive grass, UGA study shows

UGA researchers found that Japanese stiltgrass affects arachnid predators. Wolf spiders thrive in the grass. As their numbers grow, more spiders then feed on young American toads, ultimately reducing the amphibian's survival wherever this grass grows.An invasive grass species frequently found in forests has created a thriving habitat for wolf spiders, who then feed on American toads, a new University of Georgia study has found.

Zombie ant fungi 'know' brains of their hosts

A dead ant manipulated by a species of so-called "zombie ant fungus" clings to a twig in a South Carolina forest. Newly published Penn State research represents the first extensive study of zombie ants in North America.A parasitic fungus that reproduces by manipulating the behavior of ants emits a cocktail of behavior-controlling chemicals when encountering the brain of its natural target host, but not when infecting...

Core mechanism for root growth identified

Cell division in the root meristem is maintained by PLETHORA transcription factors solely transcribed in the stem cells. Outside the stem cells the amount of PLETHORA protein in the cells halves each time the cells divide. In the end there is so little PLETHORA left in the cells that they cannot stay in the dividing mode and start to elongate and differentiate.During plant growth, dividing cells in meristems must coordinate transitions from division to expansion and differentiation. Three distinct developmental zones are generated: the meristem, where the cell division takes place,...

Signatures of selection inscribed on poplar genomes

One aspect of the climate change models researchers have been developing looks at how plant ranges might shift, and how factors such as temperature, water availability, and light levels might...

From dandruff to deep sea vents, an ecologically hyper-diverse fungus

A ubiquitous skin fungus linked to dandruff, eczema and other itchy, flaky maladies in humans has now been tracked to even further global reaches -- including Hawaiian coral reefs and...

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