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Dr. Steve A. Kay confers with a student in his lab.

Program predicts placement of chemical tags that control gene activity

Biochemists working at the University of California, San Diego, have developed a program that predicts the placement of chemical marks that control the activity of genes based on sequences of...

Dwindling wind may tip predator-prey balance

An asian lady beetle rests on a plant in a soybean field in this time-exposure image. New research suggests that diminishing wind speeds caused by climate change affect the ability of such insects to capture prey.Bent and tossed by the wind, a field of soybean plants presents a challenge for an Asian lady beetle on the hunt for aphids. But what if the air --...

Small, fast, and crowded: Mammal traits amplify tick-borne illness

In the U.S., some 300,000 people are diagnosed with Lyme disease annually. Thousands also suffer from babesiosis and anaplasmosis, tick-borne ailments that can occur alone or as co-infections with Lyme...

Nature of war: Chimpanzees inherently violent according to study

Of all of the world's species, humans and chimpanzees are some of the only to engage in coordinated attacks on other members of their same species. Jane Goodall was among...

Counting fish teeth reveals regulatory DNA changes behind rapid evolution, adaptation

These are adult marine (top) and freshwater (bottom) threespine sticklebacks (<i>Gasterosteus aculeatus</i>) stained with a red dye that labels calcified bone. The freshwater fish has lost its armor, pelvic fin and other bones.Sticklebacks, the roaches of the fish world, are the ideal animal in which to study the genes that control body shape. They've moved from the ocean into tens of thousands...

Human faces are so variable because we evolved to look unique

The variety of human faces.The amazing variety of human faces -- far greater than that of most other animals -- is the result of evolutionary pressure to make each of us unique and easily...

Researchers develop improved means of detecting mismatched DNA

Researchers at Johns Hopkins have identified a highly sensitive means of analyzing very tiny amounts of DNA. The discovery, they say, could increase the ability of forensic scientists to match...

Pitt chemical biologist finds new halogenation enzyme

Molecules containing carbon-halogen bonds are produced naturally across all kingdoms of life and constitute a large family of natural products with a broad range of biological activities. The presence of...

Tigers, pandas and people a recipe for conservation insight

Neil Carter checks the alignment of a capture camera.The first big revelation in conservation sciences was that studying the people on the scene as well as nature conservation was crucial. Now, as this science matures, researchers are showing...

Conjecture on the lateral growth of Type I collagen fibrils

(a) From the planar configuration of the layering to a helicoidal one, the strong lines are triple helices in double-twist, and (b) quadrant of a phyllotactic pattern showing the increase of the spacing between grain boundaries when moving away from the center.Whatever the origin and condition of extraction of type I collagen fibrils, in vitro as well as in vivo, the radii of their circular circular cross sections stay distributed in...

New chip promising for tumor-targeting research

This illustration shows the design of a new chip capable of simulating a tumor's 'microenvironment' to test the effectiveness of nanoparticles and drugs that target cancer. The new system, called a tumor-microenvironment-on-chip device, will allow researchers to study the complex environment surrounding tumors and the barriers that prevent the targeted delivery of therapeutic agents.Researchers have developed a chip capable of simulating a tumor's "microenvironment" and plan to use the new system to test the effectiveness of nanoparticles and drugs that target cancer.

For legume plants, a new route from shoot to root

A new study shows that legume plants regulate their symbiotic relationship with soil bacteria by using cytokinins -- signaling molecules -- that are transmitted through the plant structure from leaves...

No sedative necessary: Scientists discover new 'sleep node' in the brain

Bass and colleagues have used designer genes to turn on specific neurons that result in deep sleep.A sleep-promoting circuit located deep in the primitive brainstem has revealed how we fall into deep sleep. Discovered by researchers at Harvard School of Medicine and the University at Buffalo...

Expedition finds Nemo can travel great distances to connect populations

Clownfish spend their entire lives nestling in the protective tentacles of host anemones.Clownfish spend their entire lives nestling in the protective tentacles of host anemones, but new research shows that as babies they sometimes travel hundreds of kilometres across the open ocean....

Parts of genome without a known function may play a key role in the birth of new proteins

Researchers in Biomedical Informatics at IMIM (Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute) and at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) have recently published a study in eLife showing that RNA...

Scientists create therapy-grade stem cells using new cocktail to reprogram adult cells

Researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have developed a new cocktail that is highly effective at coaxing adult cells to become quality pluripotent stem cells.

Decoding virus-host interactions in the oxygen-starved ocean

For multicellular life -- plants and animals -- to thrive in the oceans, there must be enough dissolved oxygen in the water. In certain coastal areas, extreme oxygen-starvation produces "dead...

Smithsonian scientists discover tropical tree microbiome in Panama

Smithsonian scientists and colleagues working in Panama discovered that small leaf samples from a single tree were home to more than 400 different kinds of bacteria.Human skin and gut microbes influence processes from digestion to disease resistance. Despite the fact that tropical forests are the most biodiverse terrestrial ecosystems on the planet, more is known...

If hippopotamuses can't swim, how can some be living on islands?

These are two limb bone fragments of <i>Hippopotamus antiquus</i> from the collections of the Geological and Palaeontological Section of the Museum of Natural History of the University of Florence, Italy. The broken diaphyses of the bones show the medullary cavities tightly packed with cancellous bone: A, distal half of right humerus (IGF 640), cranial view; B, distal half of right humerus (IGF 640), proximal view; C, distal half of right tibia (IGF 670), dorsal view; and D, distal half of right tibia (IGF 670), proximal view. The enlarged proximal views (B, D) show the medullary cavities of the diaphyses filled with cancellous bone. This solution, which can be observed also in modern H. amphibius, increases the specific bone density of the distal parts of the limb bones, enabling hippopotamuses to overcome buoyancy (Wall 1983; Fish & Stein 1991; Thewissen et al. 2009). Scale bar 10 cm.There is no published account where hippopotamuses are demonstrably shown swimming or floating at the surface of any body of water. But if they can't swim, how did they reach...

How an ancient vertebrate uses familiar tools to build a strange-looking head

This shows the morphology of an adult sea lamprey (top); the ventral view of the unique oral disc, adapted for a parasitic lifestyle (bottom left); and a transient transgenic lamprey embryo (bottom right).If you never understood what "ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny" meant in high school, don't worry: biologists no longer think that an animal's "ontogeny," that is, its embryonic development, replays its entire...

From worm muscle to spinal discs

The marine worm <i>Platynereis</i> has a muscle (red) which develops in the same place and has the same genetic signature as the notochord (blue) that develops into our spinal discs.Thoughts of the family tree may not be uppermost in the mind of a person suffering from a slipped disc, but those spinal discs provide a window into our evolutionary...

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