Biology articlesLiving view in animals shows how cells decide to make proteins
Scientists at Duke University Medical Center have visualized in a living animal how cells use a critical biological process to dice and splice genetic material to create unique and varied proteins.
Ebola-outbreak kills 5000 gorillas
Over the last decade human outbreaks of the deadly Ebola virus in Africa have been repeatedly linked to gorilla and chimpanzee deaths in nearby forests. Hotly debated has been whether these wild ape deaths were isolated incidents or part of a massive die-off. New research published in the journal Science puts this debate to rest, providing strong evidence that Ebola killed at least 5,000 gorillas at a single site. The study also provides new hope for controlling the devastating impact of Ebola on wild gorilla and chimpanzee populations.
First comprehensive genetic analysis of invasive marine animal and its parasites sheds light on spread of disease
A paper that authors are calling a "home run" study on the spread of disease has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
Shoulder ligament a linchpin in the evolution of flight
Brown and Harvard scientists have learned that a single ligament at the shoulder joint stabilizes the wings of birds during flight. In an advanced online publication of Nature, they explain how this tough bit of tissue evolved to become a linchpin for today's fliers.
Too mellow for our predatory world
Marine iguanas on the Galápagos Islands live without predators - at least this was the case up until 150 years ago. Since then they have been confronted with cats and dogs on some islands of the Archipelago. For scientists, they are therefore a suitable model of study in order to discover if such generally tame animals are capable of adapting their behaviour and endocrine stress response to novel predation threats.
How does a zebrafish grow a new tail?
If a zebrafish loses a chunk of its tail fin, it'll grow back within a week. Like lizards, newts, and frogs, a zebrafish can replace surprisingly complex body parts. A tail fin, for example, has many different types of cells and is a very intricate structure. It is the fish version of an arm or leg.
Squirrels place winning bet in unpredictable world
In an evolutionary game of tug-of-war, red squirrels have gained the upper hand over the cunning spruce trees, says new University of Alberta research that suggests the clever animals are staying one step ahead of its food source.
Researchers discover new species of fish in Antarctic
What's 34 centimeters (13.39 inches) long, likes the cold and has an interorbital pit with two openings? The answer is Cryothenia amphitreta, a newly discovered Antarctic fish discovered by a member of a research team from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
'Marathon mice' elucidate little-known muscle type
Researchers report in the January issue of the journal Cell Metabolism, published by Cell Press, the discovery of a genetic "switch" that drives the formation of a poorly understood type of muscle. Moreover, they found, animals whose muscles were full of the so-called IIX fibers were able to run farther and at higher work loads than normal mice could.
How fish species suffer as a result of warmer waters?
Ongoing global climate change causes changes in the species composition of marine ecosystems, especially in shallow coastal oceans. This applies also to fish populations. Previous studies demonstrating a link between global warming and declining fish stocks were based entirely on statistical data. However, in order to estimate future changes, it is essential to develop a deeper understanding of the effect of water temperature on the biology of organisms under question. A new investigation, just published in the scientific journal Science, reveals that a warming induced deficiency in oxygen uptake and supply to tissues is the key factor limiting the stock size of a fish species under heat stress.
Complexity constrains evolution of human brain genes
Despite the explosive growth in size and complexity of the human brain, the pace of evolutionary change among the thousands of genes expressed in brain tissue has actually slowed since the split, millions of years ago, between human and chimpanzee, an international research team reports in the December 26, 2006, issue of the journal, PLOS Biology.
Mit creates 3D scaffold for growing stem cells
Stem cells grew, multiplied and differentiated into brain cells on a new three-dimensional scaffold of tiny protein fragments designed to be more like a living body than any other cell culture system.
Big-brained birds survive better in nature
Birds with brains that are large in relation to their body size have a lower mortality rate than those with smaller brains, according to new research published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences today.
Rapid evolutionary change may help annual plants cope with global warming better than long-living species
Countering Charles Darwin's view that evolution occurs gradually, UC Irvine scientists have discovered that plants with short life cycles can evolutionally adapt in just a few years to climate change.
Why are lions not as big as elephants?
Carnivores are some of the widest ranging terrestrial mammals for their size, and this affects their energy intake and needs. This difference is also played out in the different hunting strategies of small and large carnivores.
Scientists discover new, readily available source of stem cells
Scientists have discovered a new source of stems cells and have used them to create muscle, bone, fat, blood vessel, nerve and liver cells in the laboratory. The first report showing the isolation of broad potential stem cells from the amniotic fluid that surrounds developing embryos was published in Nature Biotechnology.
For crickets, parasitic flies can stop the music
— Love hurts — really bad, for some unlucky crickets, anyway. Male crickets draw not only females with their songs but also parasitic flies. The uninvited guests then deposit larvae that burrow into their amorous hosts, grow for about a week and then tear their way out in "Alien" fashion, killing the cricket as they emerge.
Bats in flight reveal unexpected aerodynamics
The maneuverability of a bat in flight makes even Harry Potter's quidditch performance look downright clumsy. While many people may be content to simply watch these aerial acrobats in wonder, Kenneth Breuer and Sharon Swartz are determined to understand the detailed aerodynamics of bat flight – and ultimately the evolutionary path that created it.
World's largest flower evolved from family of much tinier blooms
The plant with the world's largest flower - typically a full meter across, with a bud the size of a basketball - evolved from a family of plants whose blossoms are nearly all tiny, botanists write this week in the journal Science. Their genetic analysis of rafflesia reveals that it is closely related to a family that includes poinsettias, castor oil plants, the tropical root crop cassava, and the trees that produce natural rubber.
Quantum biology: powerful computer models reveal key biological mechanism
Using powerful computers to model the intricate dance of atoms and molecules, researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have revealed the mechanism behind an important biological reaction. In collaboration with scientists from the Wadsworth Center of the New York State Department of Health, the team is working to harness the reaction to develop a "nanoswitch" for a variety of applications, from targeted drug delivery to genomics and proteomics to sensors.