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Dartmouth researchers determine key element in circadian clock speed

In a discovery that may lead to new treatments for sleep disorders, jet lag and other health problems tied to circadian rhythms, researchers at Dartmouth's Geisel School of Medicine have identified a determinant of the circadian clock's period. Their findings...

Structure of world's largest single cell is reflected at the molecular level

This is the frond apex of <i>Caulerpa taxifolia</i>, a single celled organism, producing leaf-like pinnules. Without multicellularity, <i>Caulerpa</i> independently evolved a structure and form similar to land plants.Daniel Chitwood, Ph.D., assistant member, and his research group at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center's in St. Louis, in collaboration with the laboratory of Neelima Sinha, Ph.D., at the...

Ancient 'genomic parasites' spurred evolution of pregnancy in mammals

This figure shows the number of genes that gained or lost expression in the uterus during the evolution of pregnancy at three major points in mammalian evolution.An international team of scientists has identified large-scale genetic changes that marked the evolution of pregnancy in mammals.

Damaged DNA may stall patrolling molecule to initiate repair

XPC DNA repair protein shown in two modes, patrolling undamaged DNA (in green) and bound to DNA damage site (magenta, with blue XPC insert opening the site). The sun behind the molecule is a reminder that the sun is the primary source of lesions recognized by XPC.Sites where DNA is damaged may cause a molecule that slides along the DNA strand to scan for damage to slow on its patrol, delaying it long enough to recognize...

Blind beetles show extraordinary signs of sight

Blind predatory subterranean diving water beetles from a single calcrete aquifer in the Australian desert (Dytiscidae: Hydroporini) are shown left-to-right: <i>Paroster macrosturtensis, P. mesosturtensis, P. microsturtensis</i>.University of Adelaide researchers have made a surprising discovery in the aquifers beneath the Western Australian desert, which challenges the traditional Darwinian view of evolution.

Urban sprawl promotes worm exchange across species

New research has shed light on the complex exchange of parasitic worms between wildlife, rats and humans.

Engineering self-assembling amyloid fibers

Amyloid fibers self-assemble from smaller proteins. UC Davis researchers have engineered other proteins so they spontaneously form amyloid. These new proteins could be useful in nanotechnology. Here, the cap structure (red) was removed from spruce budworm antifreeze protein and other structures adjusted so that molecules could link up as fibrils (bottom).Nature has many examples of self-assembly, and bioengineers are interested in copying or manipulating these systems to create useful new materials or devices. Amyloid proteins, for example, can self-assemble into...

Scientists identify new mechanism to aid cells under stress

A team of biologists from NYU and Harvard has identified new details in a cellular mechanism that serves as a defense against stress. The findings potentially offer insights into tumor...

Snack attack: Bears munch on ants and help plants grow

Tiny ants may seem like an odd food source for black bears, but the protein-packed bugs are a major part of some bears’ diets and a crucial part of the...

Endangered chimpanzees may experience drastic habitat loss within 5 years

"Ngambe" is a chimpanzee rescued from illegal animal trafficking who now lives at the Limbe Wildlife Center in Cameroon.Dramatic habitat loss by 2020 threatens the population of the planet's most endangered chimp subspecies, according to research published in BMC Evolutionary Biology. The work suggests that climate change could...

Study shows how Ebola becomes lethal as it spreads

Scientists investigated why Ebola virus is so deadly when it spreads from animals to humans and then from human-to-human contact. The research team looked at the Zaire Ebola strain in...

Researchers at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory have uncovered a remarkable, new proofreading mechanism. In general, enzymatic machines are responsible for weeding out and correcting errors. But a team of scientists has found that the CCA-adding enzyme (shown here in blue, green, and pink) doesn't edit at all. Instead, the RNA (in orange) has a built-in mechanism that allows it to proofread itself.

Baleen whales hear through their bones

The fin whale skull used for this study now resides in SDSU's Museum of Biodiversity.Understanding how baleen whales hear has posed a great mystery to marine mammal researchers. New research by San Diego State University biologist Ted W. Cranford and University of California, San...

Canceled flights: For monarch butterflies, loss of migration means more disease

Dara Satterfield, in the pink jacket, surveys a tropical milkweed garden with citizen scientist Marty Webb in Houston, Texas, in January 2012.Human activities are disrupting the migration patterns of many species, including monarch butterflies. Some monarchs have stopped migrating to their traditional overwintering sites in Mexico, remaining in the southern U.S....

Did genetic links to modern maladies provide ancient benefits?

A reconstruction of <i>Homo neanderthalensis</i>, as created by artist John Gurche for the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History. A study led by University at Buffalo biologist Omer Gokcumen compared the DNA of modern humans to Neanderthals and Denisovans (another ancient hominin). The research found that genetic deletions associated with various aspects of human health, including psoriasis and Crohn's disease, likely originated in a common ancestor of the three species.Psoriasis, a chronic skin condition, can cause rashes that itch and sting.

Things smell good for a reason

These are vinegar flies (<i>Drosophila melanogaster</i>) on an overripe cherry.Antioxidants are natural food ingredients that protect cells from harmful influences. Their main task is to neutralize so-called "free radicals" which are produced in the process of oxidation and which...

Largest-ever autism genome study finds most siblings have different autism-risk genes

The largest-ever autism genome study, funded by Autism Speaks, reveals that the disorder's genetic underpinnings are even more complex than previously thought: Most siblings who have autism spectrum disorder (ASD)...

UGA researchers image and measure tubulin transport in cilia

Julie Craft is a sixth-year doctoral student at the University of Georgia and is studying the mechanism behind tubulin transport and its assembly into cilia.Defective cilia can lead to a host of diseases and conditions in the human body--from rare, inherited bone malformations to blindness, male infertility, kidney disease and obesity. Scientists knew that...

Pictured together for the first time: A chemokine and its receptor

The newly solved structure of the CXCR4 receptor (black) in complex with a chemokine (purple surface). The background shows cell migration, a process driven by chemokines interacting with receptors on cell surfaces.Researchers at University of California, San Diego Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and the Bridge Institute at the University of Southern California report the first crystal structure of...

Biological safety lock for genetically modified organisms

The creation of genetically modified and entirely synthetic organisms continues to generate excitement as well as worry.

Synthetic amino acid enables safe, new biotechnology solutions to global problems

Scientists from Yale have devised a way to ensure genetically modified organisms (GMOs) can be safely confined in the environment, overcoming a major obstacle to widespread use of GMOs in...

Climate change does not bode well for picky eaters

Gentoo and Chinstrap penguins evolved differences in diets over time that reduce competition for food and help them co-exist. However, recent climate-driven declines in Antarctic krill, the main prey of Chinstrap penguins, have led to declines in the population. In contrast, the flexible diets of Gentoo penguins likely are better suited to the rapidly changing environmental conditions in the Antarctic Peninsula.In a part of the world that is experiencing the most dramatic increase in temperature and climate change, two very similar species of animals are responding very differently. New research...

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