Biology articlesNew plant familiy tree sheds light on evolution of life cycles
In the history of life on earth, one intriguing mystery is how plants made the transition from water to land and then went on to diversify into the array of vegetation we see today, from simple mosses and liverworts to towering redwoods.
Giant pandas see in color
They may be black and white, but new research at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Zoo Atlanta shows that giant pandas can see in color. Graduate researcher Angela Kelling tested the ability of two Zoo Atlanta pandas, Yang Yang and Lun Lun, to see color and found that both pandas were able to discriminate between colors and various shades of gray.
How ants find their way
Ever wondered how ants find their way straight to the uncovered food in your kitchen? Now scientists have discovered how the humble wood ant navigates over proportionally huge distances, using just very poor eyesight and confusing and changing natural landmarks. The research could have significant benefits in the development of autonomous robots and in furthering our understanding of basic animal learning processes.
Comparing chimp, human DNA
Most of the big differences between human and chimpanzee DNA lie in regions that do not code for genes, according to a new study. Instead, they may contain DNA sequences that control how gene-coding regions are activated and read.
Caterpillars tell us how bacteria cause disease
Caterpillars and other invertebrates are helping to provide a cheap, easy and safe way to identify the genes which help bacteria cause infections in humans. Researchers from the University of Bath have discovered a way to sort through large numbers of bacterial gene sequences by testing them in caterpillars to see how their immune systems respond. This new technique known as Rapid Virulence Annotation (RVA) allows them to pinpoint the genes which code for virulence.
Cancer stem cells linked to radiation resistance
Certain types of brain cancer cells, called cancer stem cells, help brain tumors to buffer themselves against radiation treatment by activating a "repair switch" that enables them to continue to grow unchecked, researchers at Duke University Medical Center have found.
New genetic analysis forces re-draw of insect famility tree
The family tree covering almost half the animal species on the planet has been re-drawn following a genetic analysis which has revealed new relationships between four major groups of insects.
Honey bee genome holds clues to social behaviour
By studying the humble honey bee, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have come a step closer to understanding the molecular basis of social behavior in humans.
Biofuel cells without the bio cells
Proteins keep cells humming. Some are enzymes that taxi electrons to chemicals outside the cell, to discharge excess energy generated during metabolism. This maintains energy flow in the cell and, in turn, keeps the cell alive.
First evidence to show elephants, like humans, apes and dolphins, recognize themselves in mirror
Elephants have joined a small, elite group of species-including humans, great apes and dolphins-that have the ability to recognize themselves in the mirror, according to a new finding by researchers at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Emory University, and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) in New York.
Study demonstrates improved health, survival in aged overweight male mice on resveratrol
Overweight aged male mice whose high calorie (fat) diet was supplemented by resveratrol, a natural compound found in common foods like grapes, wines and nuts, had better health and survival than aged overweight mice who did not receive it, according to a study published online in the Nov. 1 issue of Nature.
Plant studies reveal how, where seeds store iron
Dartmouth biologists are leading a research team that has learned where and how some plant seeds store iron, a valuable discovery for scientists working to improve the iron content of plants. This research helps address the worldwide issue of iron deficiency and malnutrition.
New phylum sheds light on ancestor of animals, humans
Genetic analysis of an obscure, worm-like creature retrieved from the depths of the North Atlantic has led to the discovery of a new phylum, a rare event in an era when most organisms have already been grouped into major evolutionary categories.
Stem cells engage in dialogue with cells that regulate their future
Dialogue, not a monologue, is the basis of all good communication. Stem cells are no exception. Recent University of Washington (UW) research has found an early indication of two-way cellular communication. This two-way cell-to-cell signaling occurs in the miniscule niches of the body where the futures of stem cells are determined.
Testing how well chemical cells work could provide answer to recognising life
A test to see how well manmade chemical 'cells' can pass themselves off as the real thing could help scientists solve the problem of defining when something is alive, say researchers writing in Nature Biotechnology.
Origins, spread of honeybees determined
The honeybee, a species that contributes billions of dollars to the world's agricultural economy each year through pollination, originated in Africa and is evolving in surprising ways in the Americas today, according to a UC Irvine researcher. The findings could have significant implications for honeybee breeding and the crucial role these creatures play in farming worldwide.
New insight into cell division
When cells divide, control mechanisms ensure that the genetic material, in other words the chromosomes, is correctly distributed to the daughter cells. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics in Berlin have now explained the molecular principles of these control processes.
Scientists' cell discovery unearths evolutionary clues
Researchers, headed by evolutionary biologist Professor Sandie Baldauf, of the University of York, and biochemist Professor Pauline Schaap, of the University of Dundee, have produced the first molecular 'dictionary' of the 100 or so known species of social amoeba.
Researchers discover evolutionary oddity in flamingos
With their spindly legs, long necks and bright plumage, flamingos are a curiosity of nature. Now a new discovery by a team of Ohio University researchers reveals an anatomical oddity that helps flamingos eat: erectile tissue.
Landmark study finds ants diverged more recently from common ancestor
Follow the branching family tree for all modern-day ant species, and it will lead you back 115-135 million years before you come to the most recent common ancestor, say researchers at UC Davis, the California Academy of Sciences and the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History. That's a long time ago, but previous estimates, based on DNA differences, had placed the divergence among ants even earlier, during the Jurassic period that dates back roughly 140 to 200 million years ago.