Biology articlesNanoscale DNA sequencing could spur revolution in personal health care
In experiments with potentially broad health care implications, a research team led by a University of Washington physicist has devised a method that works at a very small scale to sequence DNA quickly and relatively inexpensively.
Scientists closer to finding what causes the birth of a fat cell
Just what causes the birth of a human fat cell is a mystery, but scientists using mathematics to tackle the question have come up with a few predictions about the proteins that influence this process.
Mother of all humans lived 200,000 years ago
The most robust statistical examination to date of our species' genetic links to "mitochondrial Eve" -- the maternal ancestor of all living humans -- confirms that she lived about 200,000 years ago. The Rice University study was based on a side-by-side comparison of 10 human genetic models that each aim to determine when Eve lived using a very different set of assumptions about the way humans migrated, expanded and spread across Earth.
Evolution may have pushed humans toward greater risk for type-1 diabetes
Gene variants associated with an increased risk for type-1 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis may confer previously unknown benefits to their human carriers, say researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine. As a result, the human race may have been evolving in the recent past to be more susceptible, rather than less, to some complex diseases, they conclude.
UT Southwestern researchers find key step in body's ability to make red blood cells
Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have uncovered a key step in the creation of new red blood cells in an animal study.
What the locals ate 10,000 years ago
If you had a dinner invitation in Utah's Escalante Valley almost 10,000 years ago, you would have come just in time to try a new menu item: mush cooked from the flour of milled sage brush seeds.
Whale sharks may produce many litters from one mating, paternity test shows
How do female whale sharks meet their perfect mates and go on to produce offspring? While little is known about the reproductive behavior of these ocean-roaming giants, a newly published analysis led by University of Illinois at Chicago biologist Jennifer Schmidt reveals new details about the mating habits of this elusive, difficult-to-study fish.
Tiny, new, pea-sized frog is old World's smallest
The smallest frog in the Old World (Asia, Africa and Europe) and one of the world's tiniest was discovered inside and around pitcher plants in the heath forests of the Southeast Asian island of Borneo. The pea-sized amphibian is a species of microhylid, which, as the name suggests, is composed of miniature frogs under 15 millimeters.
Fruit flies use horizontal landmarks for altitude control
Flies follow horizontal edges to regulate altitude, says a team of researchers from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). This finding contradicts a previous model, which posited that insects adjust their height by visually measuring the motion beneath them as they fly.
Less is more for a hungry bat
Every night a battle between bats and their insect prey rages above our heads as bats call and listen for the echoes of their dinner. Many moths have developed a special anti-bat defence; unlike us, they can hear the ultrasonic calls of bats and avoid an attack with evasive flight.
Cement, the glue that holds oyster families together
Oyster reefs are on the decline, with over-harvesting and pollution reducing some stocks as much as 98 percent over the last two centuries.
Genetic structure of first animal to show evolutionary response to climate change determined
Scientists at the University of Oregon have determined the fine-scale genetic structure of the first animal to show an evolutionary response to rapid climate change.
Free as a bird?
It may seem like birds have the freedom to fly wherever they like, but researchers at the University of Missouri have shown that what's on the ground has a great effect on where a bird flies. This information could be used by foresters and urban planners to improve bird habitats that would help maintain strong bird populations.
Scientists discover key to Christmas Islands red crab migration
One of the most spectacular migrations on Earth is that of the Christmas Island red crab (Gecarcoidea natalis). Acknowledged as one of the wonders of the natural world, every year millions of the crabs simultaneously embark on a five-kilometre breeding migration. Now, scientists have discovered the key to their remarkable athletic feat.
Body clock drugs could ease psychiatric disorders and jet lag
University of Manchester researchers have successfully used a drug to reset and restart the natural 24-hour body clock of mice in the lab. The ability to do this in a mammal opens up the possibility of dealing with a range of human difficulties, including some psychiatric disorders, jet lag and the health impacts of shift work.
Ant colonies shed light on metabolism
Ants are usually regarded as the unwanted guests at a picnic. But a recent study of California seed harvester ants (Pogonomyrmex californicus) examining their metabolic rate in relation to colony size may lead to a better appreciation for the social, six-legged insects, whose colonies researchers say provide a theoretical framework for understanding cellular networks.
Worms point to a link between cellular glue and cancer growth
Scientists have discovered that a protein that helps make cells sticks together also keeps them from dividing excessively, a hallmark of cancer progression. The discovery could lead to new ways to control cancer.
Moonstruck primates: owl monkeys need moonlight as much as a biological clock for nocturnal activity
An international collaboration led by a University of Pennsylvania anthropologist has shown that environmental factors, like temperature and light, play as much of a role in the activity of traditionally nocturnal monkeys as the circadian rhythm that regulates periods of sleep and wakefulness.
Why the biological clock? Penn study says aging reduces centromere cohesion, disrupts reproduction
University of Pennsylvania biologists studying human reproduction have identified what is likely the major contributing factor to the maternal age-associated increase in aneuploidy, the term for an abnormal number of chromosomes during reproductive cell division.
Experts question claim that Alexander the Great's half-brother is buried at Vergina
Claims that a tomb at Vergina, Greece, the ancient burial place of the Macedonian royal family in the fourth century BC, contains the body of King Philip III Arrhidaios, half-brother of Alexander the Great, and not Philip II, Alexander's father, are called into question by researchers from the Universities of Bristol, Manchester and Oxford.