Biology articlesModern brains have an ancient core
Hormones control growth, metabolism, reproduction and many other important biological processes. In humans, and all other vertebrates, the chemical signals are produced by specialised brain centres such as the hypothalamus and secreted into the blood stream that distributes them around the body. Researchers from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory [EMBL] now reveal that the hypothalamus and its hormones are not purely vertebrate inventions, but have their evolutionary roots in marine, worm-like ancestors.
Chickens also orient themselves by the earth's magnetic field
40 years ago, Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Wiltschko was the first to prove that migrating robins use the Earth's magnetic field to direct themselves during migration. Their magnetic sensor showed them the course of the field lines of the Earth's magnetic field.
Scientists may not be very religious, but science may not be to blame
Did God make scientists? Most of them don't think so. The first systematic analysis in decades to examine the religious beliefs and practices of elite academics in the sciences supports the notion that science professors at top universities are less religious than the general population, but attributes this to a number of variables that have little to do with their study of science.
Team sheds light on cells' career path
As a fertilized egg develops into a full-grown adult, mammalian cells adopt careers as different cell types, from liver cells to neurons. One of the most fundamental mysteries in biomedicine is how cells make such different career decisions despite having exactly the same DNA.
Genes hold secret to wheat's success, researchers say
The success of wheat as a food crop can be traced through thousands of years of genetic changes that occurred as wheat was domesticated for human use, write UC Davis plant scientists Jorge Dubcovsky and Jan Dvorak in the cover article of the current issue of the journal Science.
Wolves of alaska became extinct 12,000 years ago
The ancient gray wolves of Alaska became extinct some 12,000 years ago, and the wolves in Alaska today are not their descendents but a different subspecies, an international team of scientists reports in the July 3 print edition of the journal Current Biology.
How plants learned to respond to changing environments
A team of John Innes centre scientists lead by Professor Nick Harberd have discovered how plants evolved the ability to adapt to changes in climate and environment.
Internal clock, external light regulate plant growth
Most plants and animals show changes in activity over a 24-hour cycle. Now, for the first time, researchers have shown how a plant combines signals from its internal clock with those from the environment to show a daily rhythm of growth.
Killer cells may actually be picky eaters
Biology textbooks are blunt--neutrophils are mindless killers. These white blood cells patrol the body and guard against infection by identifying and destroying any bacteria or fungi that cross their path. But new evidence, which may lead to better drugs to fight deadly pathogens, indicates that neutrophils might actually distinguish among their targets.
Anemone genome gives new view of multi-celled ancestors
The first analysis of the genome of the sea anemone shows it to be nearly as complex as the human genome, and researchers say it provides major insights into the common ancestor of not only humans and sea anemones, but of nearly all multi-celled animals.
Researchers use adult stem cells to create soft tissue
A Columbia University research team aims to create soft tissue from patients' own bone marrow to perform facial or breast reconstruction.
The origin of human bipedalism
While no one has an authoritative answer, anthropologists have long theorized that early humans began walking on two legs as a way to reduce locomotor energy costs.
Scientists peer into stem cells in live brain
Columbia University Medical Center scientists report they have observed the detailed sub-cellular behavior of neuronal precursor cells in living rat brain tissue.
Steroids, not songs, spur growth of brain regions in sparrows
Neuroscientists are attempting to understand if structural changes in the brain are related to sensory experience or the performance of learned behavior, and now University of Washington researchers have found evidence that one species of songbird apparently has something in common with a few baseball sluggers. Both rely on steroids, birds to increase the size of song production areas of their brain and some players, apparently, to knock a fastball out of the park.
Killing only a few animals won't do any harm -- or will it?
Using advanced mathematical modeling, researchers from Sweden and The Netherlands show in an article in the August issue of the American Naturalist that this statement is sometimes true. Sometimes though, killing even a few individuals can have dramatic consequences, causing populations to fluctuate wildly.
Zebrafish research points way to answers about human development
Zebrafish cost about a dollar at the pet store. They grow from eggs to hunting their own food in three days. Adults can lay up to 500 eggs at once… and you have more in common with them than you think.
Rare example of darwinism seen in action
A research team, including UC Riverside biologists, has found experimental evidence that supports a controversial theory of genetic conflict in the reproduction of those animals that support their developing offspring through a placenta.
Orangutans' communication resembles a game of 'charades'
When orangutans use gestures to get their point across, they rely on the same basic strategy that people follow in playing the game of charades. Captive orangutans intentionally modify or repeat hand or other signals selectively based on the success or failure of their first attempt, according to a August 2nd study in Current Biology, a publication of Cell Press.
Secret life of elephant seals not secret anymore!
Miniature oceanographic sensors attached to southern elephant seals have provided scientists with an unprecedented peek into the secret lives of seals.
Handsome by chance
Chance, not natural selection, best explains why the modern human skull looks so different from that of its Neanderthal relative, according to a new study led by Tim Weaver, assistant professor of anthropology at UC Davis.