Biology articlesScientists image plant attack signaling system
Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory have adapted radiotracer tools and imaging techniques pioneered at Brookhaven for medical science, exploiting the technology to discover new aspects of the way plants respond to stresses such as environmental pollutants, microorganisms, or grazing insects.
No sex for 40 million years? No problem
A group of organisms that has never had sex in over 40 million years of existence has nevertheless managed to evolve into distinct species, says new research published today. The study challenges the assumption that sex is necessary for organisms to diversify and provides scientists with new insight into why species evolve in the first place.
Researchers reveal dwarf aquatic plants hidden ancestry
A team of UBC researchers has re-classified an ancient line of aquatic plants previously thought to be related to grasses and rushes. The discovery clarifies what may be one of the biggest misunderstandings in botanical history.
New evidence of human culture among primates
Fresh evidence that suggests monkeys can learn skills from each other, in the same manner as humans, has been uncovered by a University of Cambridge researcher.
Ewwwww! Ucla anthropologist studies evolution's disgusting side
Behind every wave of disgust that comes your way may be a biological imperative much greater than the urge to lose your lunch, according to a growing body of research by a UCLA anthropologist.
Spiders check weather before take-off
New research could explain why spiders flying on a strand of silk prefer cloudy days in spring or autumn for their travels. Results of the study could also lead to a non-chemical alternative to pesticides in crop management.
Mitochondrial genes move to the nucleus -- but it's not for the sex
Why mitochondrial genes ditch their cushy haploid environs to take up residence in a large and chaotic nucleus has long stumped evolutionary biologists, but Indiana University Bloomington scientists report in Science that they've uncovered an important clue in flowering plants.
Aging boosts chances that a family line will be long-lived
It is an inevitability of life -- you are born and you begin to age. Scientists have puzzled over just why organisms evolved aging as a strategy, and now there appears to be an answer. Allowing one individual to carry all the cellular damage inflicted over time, rather than dividing it between two organisms during reproduction, increases the chances that the individual's line will continue to reproduce for many generations to come, a new study indicates.
Carry on walking!
The next time you are struggling to carry your bags home from the supermarket just remember that this could, in fact, be the reason you are able to walk upright on two legs at all!
Hard as nails
Most people know that their nails always go soft and bendy when they immerse them in hot water for any length of time. Conversely when you cut your nails they dry up and become hard and brittle. But why is this?
Want to monitor climate change? P-p-p-pick up a penguin!
We are used to hearing about the effects of climate change in terms of unusual animal behaviour, such as altering patterns of fish and bird migration. However, scientists at the University of Birmingham are trying out an alternative bio-indicator – the king penguin – to investigate whether they can be used to monitor the effects of climate change.
Fascinating spider silk
Stronger than steel and more elastic than rubber: spider silk is unsurpassed in its expandability, resistance to tearing, and toughness. Spider silk would be an ideal material for a large variety of medical and technical applications, and researchers are thus interested in learning the spiders' secrets and imitating their technique.
Hst device draws cells close--but not too close--together
In a popular children's game, participants stand as close as possible without touching. But on a microscopic level, coaxing cells to be very, very close without actually touching one another has been among the most frustrating challenges for cell biologists.
First study reporting chimps using caves
Chimpanzees in Senegal apparently have much in common with our earliest human ancestors. A month after Iowa State University Assistant Professor of Anthropology Jill Pruetz reported chimpanzees at her Fongoli research site are using spear-shaped tools to hunt, her new study indicates those same chimps are also seeking shelter in caves to get out of the extreme African heat. The National Geographic Society-funded research is the first to document regular chimpanzee cave use.
Dinosaur extinction didn't cause the rise of present-day mammals
A new, complete 'tree of life' tracing the history of all 4,500 mammals on Earth shows that they did not diversify as a result of the death of the dinosaurs, says new research published in Nature.
How irish stoats survived the last great ice age
When did the animals and plants of modern day British Isles arrive? Most were wiped out during the last Ice Age and have taken millennia to re-colonise or were introduced by humans. But this is not always the case, as shown by research led by Professor Jeremy Searle, of the Department of Biology at the University of York.
Misclassified for centuries, medicinal leeches found to be three distinct species
Genetic research has revealed that commercially available medicinal leeches used around the world in biomedical research and postoperative care have been misclassified for centuries. Until now, the leeches were assumed to be the species Hirudo medicinalis, but new research reveals they are actually a closely related but genetically distinct species, Hirudo verbana.
Some caterpillers just don't want to grow up
For many years, ecologists from the Centre of Environment and Hydrology (CEH) have investigated the ecology of Maculinea rebeli, a Lycaenid butterfly whose caterpillars live as parasites inside colonies of Myrmica ants, where they feed on regurgitations from the nurse ants. One of the peculiar features of this species' ecology is that only about 25% of the caterpillars complete development within one year.
In young mice, gregariousness seems to reside in the genes
Beyond the lineage of primates, according to scientific gospel, social behavior is dictated primarily by competition for resources such as food, territory and reproduction.
Building the nuclear pore piece by piece
The nuclear pore complexes are the sole gatekeepers for the cell's nucleus — proteins, RNA, viruses, anything that passes between the nucleus and the rest of the cell has to use one of these giant protein assemblies. But exactly how each of the almost 2,000 pores that are embedded in the nuclear membrane control this transport has so far remained largely mysterious. It's a critical gap in our knowledge; because the nuclear pore is the only way in or out of the nucleus, the cell is in dire straits when the pore malfunctions, as in forms of leukemia where nuclear pore complex proteins are mutated.