Biology articlesStudy reveals mussels' tenacious bonds
When it comes to sticking power, marine mussels are hard to beat. They can adhere to virtually all inorganic and organic surfaces, sustaining their tenacious bonds in saltwater, including turbulent tidal environments. Little is known, however, about exactly how the bivalves achieve this amazing feat.
Autonomous lenses may bring microworld into focus
When Hongrui Jiang looked into a fly's eye, he saw a way to make a tiny lens so "smart" that it can adapt its focal length from minus infinity to plus infinity — without external control.
Team discovers how we detect sour taste
A team headed by biologists from the University of California, San Diego has discovered the cells and the protein that enable us to detect sour, one of the five basic tastes. The scientists, who included researchers from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, suggest that this protein is also the long-sought sensor of acidity in the cerebrospinal fluid.
Ammonia-loving archaea win landslide majority
A genetic analysis of soil samples indicates that a group of microorganisms called crenarchaeota are the Earth's most abundant land-based creatures that oxidize ammonia, according to an international team of researchers from Norway, Germany, United Kingdom and the United States.
Have you ever seen an elephant…run?
If an elephant is thundering towards you at 15mph you are probably not too concerned with the finer points of biomechanics or the thorny question about whether they are truly running or not. But for researchers, understanding these points and getting a clearer picture of how elephants move their seven tonnes of bulk at speed offers the potential to improve animal welfare, inform human biomechanics and even help in the design of large robots.
Rapid-fire jaws propel ants to safety
Move aside, mantis shrimp; trap-jaw ants now hold the world record for fastest moving body parts.Scientists using a high-speed imaging system have found that the jaws in trap-jaw ants
Time of day tempers tadpoles' response to predators
To a tiny tadpole, life boils down to two basic missions: eat, and avoid being eaten. But there's a trade-off. The more a tadpole eats, the faster it grows big enough to transform into a frog; yet finding food requires being active, which ups the odds of becoming someone else's dinner.
Tiny shock absorbers help bacteria stick around inside the body
Bacteria have hair-like protrusions with a sticky protein on the tip that lets them cling to surfaces. The coiled, bungee cord-like structure of the protrusions helps the bacteria hang on tightly, even under rough fluid flow inside the body, researchers report in the journal PLoS Biology.
Even microbes favor their own kin
New research published by Rice University biologists in Nature finds that even the simplest of social creatures - single-celled amoebae - have the ability not only to recognize their own family members but also to selectively discriminate in favor of them.
Crucian carp live for months without oxygen
Cooling water temperature during the fall prompts the crucian carp to store vast amounts of glycogen in its brain to keep the brain functioning and healthy from February to April, when there is no oxygen left in the ponds, a new study finds.
Wild bees make honey bees better pollinators
When honey bees interact with wild native bees, they are up to five times more efficient in pollinating sunflowers than when native bees are not present, according to a new study by a pair of researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, and UC Davis.
Rehydrate – your rna needs it
Water, that molecule-of-all-trades, is famous for its roles in shaping the Earth, sustaining living creatures and serving as a universal solvent.Darfur is headed for a disaster unless the Sudanese Government changes its mind and allows a force of United Nations peacekeepers to take over from the existing African Union (AU) operation in the strife-torn region, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today
Organic semiconductors make cheap, flexible photovoltaics and leds
Imagine T-shirts that light up, or a beach umbrella that collects solar energy to run a portable TV. How about really cheap solar collectors for the roof?
Genetic surprise confirms neglected 70-year-old evolutionary theory
Biologists at the University of Rochester have discovered that an old and relatively unpopular theory about how a single species can split in two turns out to be accurate after all, and acting in nature.
Snake origin theories spark venomous debate
Rudyard Kipling tells a tale of how the elephant's trunk might have originated, thanks in part to the efforts of a quick-thinking snake. It seems Kipling did well to steer clear of questions pertaining to the evolution of snakes themselves - he might have found himself enmeshed within a highly charged debate which rages to this very day.
Could super furry animals provide clues for baldness?
Scientists looking at mice may have discovered why certain people are hairier than others in what could provide clues as to the reason some men go bald prematurely.
Physicists invent 'quiet'-single molecule transistors
University of Arizona physicists have discovered how to turn single molecules into working transistors. It's a breakthrough needed to make the next-generation of remarkably tiny, powerful computers that nanotechnologists dream of.
Evolution of old world fruit flies on three continents mirrors climate change
Fast-warming climate appears to be triggering genetic changes in a species of fruit fly that is native to Europe and was introduced into North and South America about 25 years ago.
Poplar dna code cracked – new possibilities for sustainable energy
Sustainable or renewable energy - in the form of bio-ethanol, for example - can be produced for us by trees. The influence trees have on our daily life is enormous. Forests cover 30% of the world's land area, accommodate two thirds of life on earth, and are responsible for 90% of the biomass on solid ground. Now, an international consortium, which includes researchers from the Flanders Interuniversity Institute for Biotechnology (VIB) at Ghent University, has succeeded in unraveling the first tree genome - that of the poplar.
Research shows how ultrasound can deliver drugs
Researchers have shown how ultrasound energy can briefly "open a door" in the protective outer membranes of living cells to allow entry of drugs and other therapeutic molecules – and how the cells themselves can then quickly close the door.