BiologySimple blood test in the first trimester predicts fetal gender
A new research study published in the January 2012 edition of The FASEB Journal (http://www.fasebj.org) describes findings that could lead to a non-invasive test that would let expecting mothers know the sex of their baby as early as the first trimester. Specifically, researchers from South Korea discovered that various ratios of two enzymes (DYS14/GAPDH), which can be extracted from a pregnant mother's blood, indicate if the baby will be a boy or a girl. Such a test would be the first of its kind.
I know something you don't know - and I will tell you!
Many animals produce alarm calls to predators, and do this more often when kin or mates are present than other audience members. So far, however, there has been no evidence that they take the other group members' knowledge state into account.
Great apes make sophisticated decisions
Chimpanzees, orangutans, gorillas and bonobos make more sophisticated decisions than was previously thought. Great apes weigh their chances of success, based on what they know and the likelihood to succeed when guessing, according to a study of MPI researcher Daniel Haun, published on December 21 in the online journal PLoS ONE. The findings may provide insight into human decision-making as well.
Three new eczema genes discovered
Researchers from Children of the 90s at the University of Bristol, in collaboration with 22 other studies from across the world, have discovered three new genetic variants associated with the skin condition eczema, a chronic inflammatory disease that afflicts millions of patients around the world.
MU researchers identify key plant immune response in fight against bacteria
Researchers at the University of Missouri have found a key process in a plant's immune system response that may help future crops fight off dangerous diseases.
OHSU research produces the world's first primate chimeric offspring
Newly published research by scientists at Oregon Health & Science University provides significant new information about how early embryonic stem cells develop and take part in formation of the primate species. The research, which took place at OHSU's Oregon National Primate Research Center, has also resulted in the first successful birth of chimeric monkeys -- monkeys developed from stem cells taken from two separate embryos. The research was published in the online edition of the journal Cell and will be published in a future printed copy of the journal.
Study shows early primate had a transitional lemur-like grooming claw
Celebrities are channeling a distant relative with what Harper's Bazaar describes as the latest trend in nail fashion for 2012: claws. But this may not be the first time primates traded their nails for claws.
Predators hunt for a balanced diet
An international team of scientists from the Universities of Exeter and Oxford in the UK, University of Sydney (Australia), Aarhus University (Denmark) and Massey University (New Zealand) based their research on the ground beetle, Anchomenus dorsalis, a well-known garden insect that feasts on slugs, aphids, moths, beetle larvae and ants.
Tortoise species thought to be extinct still lives, genetic analysis reveals
Dozens of giant tortoises of a species believed extinct for 150 years may still be living at a remote location in the Galápagos Islands, a genetic analysis conducted by Yale University researchers reveals.
Back to the future: Supersoldier ants illuminate evolution
They look like characters that belong in the Marvel Comic The Hulk, whose body reacts to stress by expanding in size. With huge oblong heads and giant, vicious mandibles, these are supersoldiers of the hyperdiverse ant genus Pheidole. Normally, these supersoldiers occur naturally only in limited geographical regions. But now researchers, led by McGill biology professor Ehab Abouheif, have found ants that are biological anomalies with supersoldier-like characteristics in unexpected regions. And, more importantly, researchers have discovered they can induce supersoldiers in Pheidole ant species that never had them before.
To speed people pp, human leg muscle slows down
Other than Olympic race walkers, people generally find it more comfortable to run than walk when they start moving at around 2 meters per second - about 4.5 miles per hour.
Fruit flies watch the sky to stay on course
Insects, equipped with complex compound eyes, can maintain a constant heading in their travels, some of them for thousands of miles. New research demonstrates that fruit flies keep their bearings by using the polarization pattern of natural skylight, bolstering the belief that many, if not all, insects have that capability.
Receptor for tasting fat identified in humans
Why do we like fatty foods so much? We can blame our taste buds.
University of Minnesota biologists replicate key evolutionary step
More than 500 million years ago, single-celled organisms on the Earth's surface began forming multicellular clusters that ultimately became plants and animals. Just how that happened is a question that has eluded evolutionary biologists.
Focus on glaucoma origins continues path toward potential cure
Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness. Nearly 4 million Americans have the disorder, which affects 70 million worldwide. There is no cure and no early symptoms. Once vision is lost, it's permanent.
Study uncovers how DNA unfolds for transcription
The human genome contains some 3 billion base pairs that are tightly compacted into the nucleus of each cell. If a DNA strand were the thickness of a human hair, the entire human genome would be crammed into a space the size of a softball, but if it were unraveled and all the strands lined up, they would stretch from Ithaca, N.Y., to Boston.
Breeding better grasses for food and fuel
Researchers from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) Sustainable Bioenergy Centre (BSBEC) have discovered a family of genes that could help us breed grasses with improved properties for diet and bioenergy.
Helping your fellow rat: Rodents show empathy-driven behavior
The first evidence of empathy-driven helping behavior in rodents has been observed in laboratory rats that repeatedly free companions from a restraint, according to a new study by University of Chicago neuroscientists.
How the 'street pigeon' got its fancy on
Your standard street pigeon might seem like a bore, but pigeon fanciers well know that the species as a whole is quite the opposite. Pigeons come in all colors, shapes, and sizes. Some have feathers reaching up over their heads like a hood. Others have feathers all the way to the tips of their toes or fanned out on their tails like tiny turkeys. Still others have beaks almost too small to see.
Advantages of living in the dark: The multiple evolution events of 'blind' cavefish
The blind Mexican cavefish (Astyanax mexicanus) have not only lost their sight but have adapted to perpetual darkness by also losing their pigment (albinism) and having altered sleep patterns. New research published in BioMed Central's open access journal BMC Evolutionary Biology shows that the cavefish are an example of convergent evolution, with several populations repeatedly, and independently, losing their sight and pigmentation.