Biology articlesAncient trans-atlantic swarm brought locusts to the New World
Somewhere between three and five million years ago, a massive swarm of locusts took off from the west coast of Africa and made an unlikely voyage across the Atlantic Ocean to colonize the New World, says an international team of researchers.
Researchers scientifically link dancing ability to mate quality
Dance has long been recognized as a signal of courtship in many animal species, including humans. Better dancers presumably attract more mates, or a more desirable mate.
Woolly mammoth genome comes to life
A McMaster University geneticist, in collaboration with genome researchers from Penn State University and the American Museum of Natural History has made history by mapping a portion of the woolly mammoth's genome. The discovery, which has astounded the scientific world, surpasses an earlier study released today by Nature that also concerns the woolly mammoth.
Genetic analysis of asian elephants in India reveals some surprises
Researchers in India and from The Earth Institute at Columbia University have discovered that one of the few remaining populations of Asian elephants in India is actually two genetically distinct groups. The results of the study, which appear in the current issue of the journal Animal Conservation, could have far-reaching implications in conservation plans for the endangered elephants as well as other species on the Subcontinent.
New study examines how sense of smell affects mating and aggression in mice
New research by scientists at UCSF sheds light on how the odor detecting system in mice sends signals that affect their social behavior.
Study finds genes that 'fine-tune' muscle development process
Scientists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have found two genes that are essential for the proper development of muscle. Their findings are in the latest online edition of the journal Nature Genetics.
Researchers make long DNA "wires" for future medical and electronic devices
Ohio State University researchers have invented a process for uncoiling long strands of DNA and forming them into precise patterns.
Biologists clarify how a cellular 'spacecraft' opens its airlock
Scientists have a tough time visualizing the tiny hatchways that allow nutrients to pass into our cells, but a group of Purdue University biologists may have found the next best thing: a glimpse into the workings of the "motor" that opens and closes them.
Evidence for expanded color vision for some colorblind individuals
Some forms of colorblindness may actually afford enhanced perception of some colors, according to findings reported in Current Biology by John Mollon and colleagues at the University of Cambridge.
Nurse delivers first baby from commercial frozen donor egg bank
Wendy and Jared Kennedy find it hard to take their eyes off their new daughter, Avery Lee, born in the early morning hours of Dec. 31 at the University of Kentucky Chandler Medical Center. Avery is special to them for many reasons, but she's also special to the world.
Researchers find link between social behavior, maternal traits in bees
One of the puzzling questions in the evolution of bees is how some species developed social behaviors. Arizona State University Life Sciences associate professor Gro Amdam thinks part of the answer can be traced back to bee reproductive traits.
New retinal receptor
A new retinal photoreceptor adjusts its sensitivity in different lighting conditions, according to scientists at Brown University, where the rare eye cells were discovered.
Similar stem cells in insect and human gut
The six-legged fruitfly appears to have little in common with humans, but a new finding shows that they are really just tiny, distant cousins. Scientists at the Carnegie Institution's Department of Embryology have found that adult fruitflies have the same stem cells controlling cell regulation in their gut as humans do.
The secret love life of plants
Researchers in Cologne discover signals between plant embryos and their endosperm.
In bacterial diversity, Amazon is a 'desert'; desert is an 'Amazon'
Ironically, in the diversity of soil bacteria, the otherwise species-rich Amazon is a more like a desert, while the arid desert is a teeming microbial Amazon, researchers have found.
The secret life of algae
A fundamental process that has puzzled researchers for many years has been explained by UK scientists. Some simple plants that are crucial in maintaining the balance of carbon in the Earth's atmosphere require vitamin B12 to grow properly but it has been a mystery to scientists why some types needed external sources and others did not. Now researchers at the Universities of Cambridge and Kent have discovered that half of all algae have a dependent but beneficial relationship with bacteria that make the vitamin for them.
-First demonstration of 'teaching' in non-human animals
Certain species of ant use a technique known as 'tandem running' to lead another ant from the nest to a food source. Signals between the two ants control both the speed and course of the run. It is believed to be the first time a demonstration of 'formal' teaching has been recognised in any non-human animal.
Long-term memory controlled by molecular pathway at synapses
Harvard University biologists have identified a molecular pathway active in neurons that interacts with RNA to regulate the formation of long-term memory in fruit flies. The same pathway is also found at mammalian synapses, and could eventually present a target for new therapeutics to treat human memory loss.
Researchers discover a biological clock within a clock
Just as a pocket watch requires a complex system of gears and springs to keep it ticking precisely, individual cells have a network of proteins and genes that maintain their own internal clock -- a 24-hour rhythm that, in humans, regulates metabolism, cell division, and hormone production, as well as the wake-sleep cycle. Studying this "circadian" rhythm in fruit flies, which have genes that are similar to our own, scientists have constructed a basic model of how the cellular timekeeper works. But now, a new report in this week's issue of the journal Science turns the old model on its head: By providing a glimpse into living cells, Rockefeller University researchers have uncovered a previously undetected clock inside the circadian clock.
Sun protection for plants
Scientists in Sheffield working on the fundamental biological processes of plants could make significant difference to the lives of farmers in many parts of the world. Using model plant species, such as the tiny weed Arabidopsis, the researchers have uncovered one of the processes used by the plants to protect themselves from potentially lethal environmental conditions. Their discoveries are now being applied to improve the productivity of bean farmers in South America and rice producers in Asia.