Biology articlesGenome scan shows polynesians have little genetic relationship to melanesians
The origins and current genetic relationships of Pacific Islanders have generated interest and controversy for many decades. Now, a new comprehensive genetic study of almost 1,000 individuals has revealed that Polynesians and Micronesians have almost no genetic relation to Melanesians, and that groups that live in the islands of Melanesia are remarkably diverse.
Study discovers secret of scottish sheep evolution
Researchers from the University of Sheffield, as part of an international team, have discovered the secret of why dark sheep on a remote Scottish Island are mysteriously declining, seemingly contradicting Darwin's evolutionary theory.
Lend me your ears and the world will sound very different
Recognising people, objects or animals by the sound they make is an important survival skill and something most of us take for granted. But very similar objects can physically make very dissimilar sounds and we are able to pick up subtle clues about the identity and source of the sound. Scientists funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) are working out how the human ear and the brain come together to help us understand our acoustic environment.
Researchers put the bite on mosquitoes
Few things sting like a mosquito's bite – especially if that bite carries a disease such as malaria, yellow fever, Dengue fever or West Nile virus. But if researchers from The University of Arizona have their way, one day mosquito bites may prove deadly to the mosquitoes as well.
Proton powered pooping
Muscles usually contract when a neurotransmitter molecule is released from nerve cells onto muscle cells. But University of Utah scientists discovered that bare subatomic protons can act like larger, more complex neurotransmitters, making gut muscles contract in tiny round worms so the worms can poop.
Iowa state university researcher's work on gender, temperature link in reptiles published in Nature
An Iowa State University researcher who spent four years in Australia studying reptiles is having his findings published in the journal Nature.
'Telepathic' genes recognize similarities in each other
Genes have the ability to recognise similarities in each other from a distance, without any proteins or other biological molecules aiding the process, according to new research published in the Journal of Physical Chemistry B. This discovery could explain how similar genes find each other and group together in order to perform key processes involved in the evolution of species.
Fruit cell wall proteins help fungus turn tomatoes from ripe to rotten
Using tomatoes as a research plant, scientists at the University of California, Davis, have discovered that two plant enzymes that occur in the plant's cell walls cooperate with each other to make ripe fruit more susceptible to a disease-causing fungus.
Evolutionary phenonmenon in mice may explain human infertility
Scientists at the University of Liverpool have found that field mice have evolved a unique way of ensuring faster fertilisation, a phenomenon which could explain some cases of infertility in humans.
Migrating birds detect latitude and longitude, but how remains a mystery
Eurasian reed warblers captured during their spring migrations and released after being flown 1,000 kilometers to the east can correct their travel routes and head for their original destinations, researchers report online on January 31st in Current Biology, a publication of Cell Press.
Gene variants may help to distribute the work of evolution between men and women
Scientists from deCODE genetics report the discovery of two common, single-letter variants in the sequence of the human genome (SNPs) that regulate one of the principle motors of evolution.
Great apes endangered by human viruses
The opening of gorillas and chimpanzees reserves for tourism is often portrayed as the key to conserving these endangered great apes. There are also however serious concerns that tourism may expose wild apes to infection by virulent human diseases.
Using dna, scientists hunt for the roots of the modern potato
More than 99 percent of all modern potato varieties planted today are the direct descendents of varieties that once grew in the lowlands of south-central Chile. How Chilean germplasm came to dominate the modern potato-which spread worldwide from Europe-has been the subject of a long, contentious debate among scientists.
In nature – and maybe the corner office – scientists find that generalists can thrive
The assignment of duties in a single cell, ocean life or even a small business does not have to be defined by a division of labor where every individual has a specific role, according to biologists at Ohio State University.
Scientists discover new species of giant elephant-shrew
Although there is unquestionably much left to be discovered about life on Earth, charismatic animals like mammals are usually well documented, and it is rare to find a new species today—especially from a group as intriguing as the elephant-shrews, monogamous mammals found only in Africa with a colorful history of misunderstood ancestry.
Key 'impact hunters' catalyze hunting among male chimpanzees
While hunting among chimpanzees is a group effort, key males, known as "impact hunters" are highly influential within the group. They are more likely to initiate a hunt, and hunts rarely occur in their absence, according to a new study. The findings, which appear in the current issue of Animal Behaviour, shed light on how and why some animals cooperate to hunt for food, and how individual variation among chimpanzees contributes to collective predation.
Bacterium sequenced makes rare form of chlorophyll
Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis and Arizona State University have sequenced the genome of a rare bacterium that harvests light energy by making an even rarer form of chlorophyll, chlorophyll d. Chlorophyll d absorbs "red edge," near infrared, long wave length light, invisible to the naked eye.
Mummy lice found in Peru may give new clues about human migration
Lice from 1,000-year-old mummies in Peru may unravel important clues about a different sort of passage: the migration patterns of America's earliest humans, a new University of Florida study suggests.
Cats' family tree rooted in fertile crescent, study confirms
The Fertile Crescent of the Middle East has long been identified as a "cradle of civilization" for humans. In a new genetic study, researchers at the University of California, Davis, have concluded that all ancestral roads for the modern day domestic cat also lead back to the same locale.
Researchers create mathematical model of fruit fly eyes
Many researchers have tried to create a mathematical model of how cells pack together to form tissue, but most models have many different complicated factors, and no model is universal.