Biology articlesScientists produce neurons from human skin
Scientists from Université Laval's Faculty of Medicine have succeeded in producing neurons in vitro using stem cells extracted from adult human skin. This is the first time such an advanced state of nerve cell differentiation has been achieved from human skin, according to lead researcher Professor François Berthod.
Stem cells determine their daughters fate
From roundworm to human, most cells in an animal's body ultimately come from stem cells. When one of these versatile, unspecialized cells divides, the resulting "daughter" cell receives instructions to differentiate into a specific cell type. In some cases this signal comes from other cells. But now, for the first time, researchers at the Carnegie Institution's Department of Embryology have found a type of stem cell that directly determines the fate of its daughters.
Birds found to plan for the future
Planning and worrying about the future has always been considered an exclusively human activity, but now at least one species of bird has also been found to plan for tomorrow. The finding also raises the intriguing possibility that, like humans, birds may get anxious about the future.
Microfluidic chip helps solve cellular mating puzzle
Using a biochemical version of a computer chip, a team led by Johns Hopkins researchers has solved a long-standing mystery related to the mating habits of yeast cells.
Researchers untangle nature of regressive evolution in cavefish
"Regressive evolution," or the reduction of traits over time, is the result of either natural selection or genetic drift, according to a study on cavefish by researchers at New York University's Department of Biology, the University of California at Berkeley's Department of Integrative Biology, and the Harvard Medical School.
Dna study explains unique diversity among melanesians
Small populations of Melanesians — among the most genetically diverse people on the planet — have significant differences in their mitochondrial DNA that can be linked to where they live, the size of their home island and the language they speak, according to a study being published in the new online journal, Public Library of Science ONE.
Why migrate? It's not for the fruit
Why do some birds fly thousands of miles back and forth between breeding and non-breeding areas every year whereas others never travel at all?
Lizards 'shout' against a noisy background
Lizards that signal to rivals with a visual display "shout" to get their point across, UC Davis researchers have found.
Isu anthropologist's study is first to report chimps hunting with tools
Chimpanzees in Senegal are regularly making and using spears to hunt other primates -- without human assistance -- according to research led by an Iowa State University anthropologist. That study, funded by the National Geographic Society, is the first to report habitual tool use by non-humans while hunting other vertebrates.
Dna barcoding uncovers likely new species of birds and bats
In the first effort to ever "barcode" species on a continental scale, scientists have completed a pilot study of U.S. and Canadian birds that suggests that 15 new genetically distant species have been overlooked in centuries of bird studies. The research validates DNA "barcoding" as an efficient means of identifying species based on just a tiny sample of biological material, and it has implications for environmental research as well as for reducing contamination in our food supply and preventing collisions between aircraft and birds.
Professors have hand in shaping new generation of prosthetics
About 1.8 million Americans live without one or more of their limbs, according to the National Limb Loss Information Center. Until recently, amputees could expect no more than a plastic mold of their arm or leg that requires manual control.
Social tolerance allows bonobos to outperform chimpanzees on a cooperative task
In experiments designed to deepen our understanding of how cooperative behavior evolves, researchers have found that bonobos, a particularly sociable relative of the chimpanzee, are more successful than chimpanzees at cooperating to retrieve food, even though chimpanzees exhibit strong cooperative hunting behavior in the wild.
Anthropologist's findings yield new insights on inca empire
Explorations that may rewrite the history of 15th-century South America are possible now that the "Shining Path" guerrilla fighters in Peru have been contained, and University of Illinois at Chicago archaeologist Brian Bauer looks forward to this new era of discovery.
Genome sequencing reveals a key to viable ethanol production
As the national push for alternative energy sources heats up, researchers at the University of Rochester have for the first time identified how genes responsible for biomass breakdown are turned on in a microorganism that produces valuable ethanol from materials like grass and cornstalks.
Pig study forces rethink of pacific colonisation
A survey of wild and domestic pigs has caused archaeologists to reconsider both the origins of the first Pacific colonists and the migration routes humans travelled to reach the remote Pacific.
Sequencing ocean's dna reveals a hidden world
Boldly going where no one has gone before, a team of researchers led by the J. Craig Venter Institute has discovered a new universe of ocean microbes -- sequencing an "ocean genome" more than twice the size of the human genome. And that is just from scooping surface waters with a bucket.
Kids learn words best by working out meaning
Toddlers learn new words more easily when they figure out the words' meaning for themselves, research by a 22-year-old Johns Hopkins undergraduate from Medford, N.J., suggests.
Cannibalistic signals help mammalian embryos develop normally
A cannibalistic process called autophagy spurs dying embryonic stem cells to send "eat me" and "come get me" signals to have their corpses purged, a last gasp that paves the way for normal mammalian development, UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have found.
Why are male antlers and horns so large?
Why are male ungulate antlers and horns so large? Darwin, when proposing his theory of evolution and sexual selection, suggested that the size of male ungulate antlers and horns may reflect male individual quality, and thereby be used by conspecifics as an honest signal of male sexual vigor, health, strength, hierarchical status, or ability to fight.
Biologists learn structure of enzyme needed to power 'molecular motor'
Researchers at Purdue University and The Catholic University of America have discovered the structure of an enzyme essential for the operation of "molecular motors" that package DNA into the head segment of some viruses during their assembly.