Biology articlesScientists find quantum mechanics at work in photosynthesis
A team of University of Toronto chemists have made a major contribution to the emerging field of quantum biology, observing quantum mechanics at work in photosynthesis in marine algae.
Moss helps chart the conquest of land by plants
Recent work at Washington University in St. Louis sheds light on one of the most important events in earth-history, the conquest of land by plants 480 million years ago.
Ancient remains put teeth into barker hypothesis
Ancient human teeth are telling secrets that may relate to modern-day health: Some stressful events that occurred early in development are linked to shorter life spans.
How the butterflies got their spots
How two butterfly species have evolved exactly the same striking wing colour and pattern has intrigued biologists since Darwin's day. Now, scientists at Cambridge have found "hotspots" in the butterflies' genes that they believe will explain one of the most extraordinary examples of mimicry in the natural world.
Brown biologist solves mystery of tropical grasses' origin
Around 30 to 40 million years ago, grasses on Earth underwent an epic evolutionary upheaval. An assemblage capitalized on falling levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide by engineering an internal mechanism to concentrate the dwindling CO2 supply that, like a fuel-injection system in a car, could more efficiently convert sunlight and nutrients into energy.
Study finds surprising new branches on arthropod family tree
Any way you look at it -- by sheer weight, species diversity or population -- the hard-shelled, joint-legged creepy crawlies called arthropods dominate planet Earth. Because of their success and importance, scientists have been trying for decades to figure out the family relationships that link lobsters to millipedes and cockroaches to tarantulas and find which might have come first.
Mother bats expert at saving energy
In order to regulate their body temperature as efficiently as possible, wild female bats switch between two strategies depending on both the ambient temperature and their reproductive status. During pregnancy and lactation, they profit energetically from clustering when temperatures drop. Once they have finished lactating, they use torpor to a greater extent, to slow their metabolic rate and drop their body temperature right down so that they expend as little energy as possible.
UF researchers find genes that tune flower fragrances
Shakespeare famously wrote, "That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." With all due respect to the Bard, University of Florida researchers may have to disagree: no matter what you call a flower, its scent can be changed.
Leaf veins inspire a new model for distribution networks
A straight line may be the shortest path from A to B, but it's not always the most reliable or efficient way to go. In fact, depending on what's traveling where, the best route may run in circles, according to a new model that bucks decades of theorizing on the subject.
How algae mastered quantum physics
Simple single-celled algae use highly sophisticated quantum physics to harvest and convert solar energy for their survival, a new study suggests.
Gene discovery to increase biomass needed for green fuel
Manchester scientists have identified the genes that make plants grow fatter and plan to use their research to increase plant biomass in trees and other species - thus helping meet the need for renewable resources.
Human genome breakthrough
In a major breakthrough, scientists have dramatically expanded the volume of genetic information available to medical researchers about complex human diseases and their potential treatments.
The cost of being on your toes
Humans, other great apes and bears are among the few animals that step first on the heel when walking, and then roll onto the ball of the foot and toes. Now, a University of Utah study shows the advantage: Compared with heel-first walking, it takes 53 percent more energy to walk on the balls of your feet, and 83 percent more energy to walk on your toes.
Chickens 'one-up' humans in ability to see color
Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have peered deep into the eye of the chicken and found a masterpiece of biological design.
Protein study shows evolutionary link between plants, humans
Inserting a human protein important in cancer development was able to revive dying plants, showing an evolutionary link between plants and humans and possibly making it easier to study the protein's function in cancer development, a Purdue University study has shown.
Pitt-led study debunks millennia-old claims of systematic infant sacrifice in ancient Carthage
A study led by University of Pittsburgh researchers could finally lay to rest the millennia-old conjecture that the ancient empire of Carthage regularly sacrificed its youngest citizens. An examination of the remains of Carthaginian children revealed that most infants perished prenatally or very shortly after birth and were unlikely to have lived long enough to be sacrificed, according to a Feb. 17 report in PLoS ONE.
Small dogs originated in the Middle East
A genetic study has found that small domestic dogs probably originated in the Middle East more than 12,000 years ago. Researchers writing in the open access journal BMC Biology traced the evolutionary history of the IGF1 gene, finding that the version of the gene that is a major determinant of small size probably originated as a result of the domestication of the Middle Eastern gray wolf.
You're born a copy but die an original
The older we get, the more different we become. This is the conclusion of a study that followed people from their 70th to their 90th year of life.
Magical thinking about islands is an illusion
Long before TV's campy Fantasy Island, the isolation of island communities has touched an exotic and magical core in us. Darwin's fascination with the Galapagos island chain and the evolution of its plant and animal life is just one example.
Plant 'breathing' mechanism discovered
A tiny, little-understood plant pore has enormous implications for weather forecasting, climate change, agriculture, hydrology, and more. A study by scientists at the Carnegie Institution's Department of Global Ecology, with colleagues from the Research Center Jülich in Germany, has now overturned the conventional belief about how these important structures called stomata regulate water vapor loss from the leaf-a process called transpiration. They found that radiation is the driving force of physical processes deep within the leaf.