Biology articlesResearchers break the animal kingdoms colour code
Research spearheaded by the University of York has used computer models to explain the evolution of the distinctive colouring of many species of wildlife.
Honeybees not fooled by cheating flowers
Flowers that want to cheat pollinators by not paying them for their services shouldn't try to lure them in using floral scents, scientists at Newcastle University have shown.
International science consortium publishes analysis of domestic cattle genome sequence
The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National Institutes of Health have announced that an international consortium of researchers has published the genome of domestic cattle, the first livestock mammal to have its genetic blueprint sequenced and analyzed. The landmark research will bolster efforts to produce better beef and dairy products and lead to a better understanding of the human genome.
A biological basis for the 8-hour workday?
The circadian clock coordinates physiological and behavioral processes on a 24-hour rhythm, allowing animals to anticipate changes in their environment and prepare accordingly. Scientists already know that some genes are controlled by the clock and are turned on only one time during each 24-hour cycle. Now, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies found that some genes are switched on once every 12 or 8 hours, indicating that shorter cycles of the circadian rhythm are also biologically encoded. Using a novel time-sampling approach in which the investigators looked at gene activity in the mouse liver every hour for 48 hours, they also found 10-fold more genes controlled by the 24-hour clock than previously reported.
When every photon counts
The eyes of nocturnal mammals contain particularly large numbers of the highly light-sensitive rods, the photoreceptor type used for night vision. This allows the detection of light levels millions of times lower than daylight. Researchers at the Ludwig Maximilians University Munich, the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research Frankfurt and the Cavendish Laboratory Cambridge have now shown that the nocturnal lifestyle and its visual challenges had a unique impact on rod nuclear organisation: The distributions of the densely packed inactive and the less densely packed active regions of DNA differ remarkably from those in other somatic cells of nearly all organisms from protozoans to multicellular animals, including the rods of diurnal mammals.
You will give birth in pain: neanderthals too
Researchers from the University of California at Davis (USA) and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig (Germany) present a virtual reconstruction of a female Neanderthal pelvis from Tabun (Israel). Although the size of Tabun's reconstructed birth canal shows that Neanderthal childbirth was about as difficult as in present-day humans, the shape indicates that Neanderthals retained a more primitive birth mechanism than modern humans. The virtual reconstruction of the pelvis from Tabun is going to be the first of its kind to be available for download on the internet for everyone interested in the evolution of humankind.
Unifying the animate and the inanimate designs of nature
Living beings and inanimate phenomena may have more in common than previously thought.
Native americans descended from a single ancestral group
For two decades, researchers have been using a growing volume of genetic data to debate whether ancestors of Native Americans emigrated to the New World in one wave or successive waves, or from one ancestral Asian population or a number of different populations.
Disappearing act of World's second largest fish explained
Researchers have discovered where basking sharks - the world's second largest fish - hide out for half of every year, according to a report published online on May 7th in Current Biology, a Cell Press publication. The discovery revises scientists' understanding of the iconic species and highlights just how little we still know about even the largest of marine animals, the researchers said.
'Gecko vision': key to the multifocal contact lens of the future?
Nocturnal geckos are among the very few living creatures able to see colors at night, and scientists' discovery of series of distinct concentric zones may lead to insight into better cameras and contact lenses.
RNA snippet helps make individuals remarkably alike
"No two people are alike." Yet when we consider the thousands of genes with frequent differences in genetic composition among different people, it is remarkable how much alike we are.
Discovering the genetic roots of Humanity
A Dartmouth Medical School researcher is part of the team that has determined that Africans are descended from 14 ancestral populations. The study is published in the April 30 edition of Science Express, the advance online publication of the journal Science.
Bacteria and fungi actively grow in frozen arctic tundra
In a new study published this spring, Colorado State University researchers from the Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory have shown that both bacteria and fungi not only survive, but actively grow in the frozen Arctic tundra - a finding that has significant implications for life on cold planets such as Mars, and for the response of Arctic soils to global climate change.
Researchers find way to cut cattle methane, threat to environment, by 25 percent
Beef farmers can breathe easier thanks to University of Alberta researchers who have developed a formula to reduce methane gas in cattle.
Equality of the sexes? Not always when it comes to biology
When it comes to immunity, men may not have been dealt an equal hand. The latest study by Dr. Maya Saleh, of the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre and McGill University, shows that women have a more powerful immune system than men. In fact, the production of estrogen by females could have a beneficial effect on the innate inflammatory response against bacterial pathogens. These surprising results were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Getting a grip: 'velcro'-like structure helps bees stick to flowers
When bees collect nectar, how do they hold onto the flower? Cambridge University scientists have shown that it is down to small cone-shaped cells on the petals that act like 'velcro' on the bees' feet.
Monkeys found to wonder what might have been
Monkeys playing a game similar to "Let's Make A Deal" have revealed that their brains register missed opportunities and learn from their mistakes.
Researchers gain genome-wide insights into patterns of the world's human population structures
Through sophisticated statistical analyses and advanced computer simulations, researchers are learning more about the genomic patterns of human population structure around the world.
Discovery in amber reveals ancient biology of termites
The analysis of a termite entombed for 100 million years in an ancient piece of amber has revealed the oldest example of "mutualism" ever discovered between an animal and microorganism, and also shows the unusual biology that helped make this one of the most successful, although frequently despised insect groups in the world.
New tissue scaffold regrows cartilage and bone
MIT engineers have built a new tissue scaffold that can stimulate bone and cartilage growth when transplanted into the knees and other joints.