Thursday, November 21, 2019
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Ketogenic diet helps tame flu virus

Influenza virus illustration (stock image). Credit: © Axel Kock / Adobe Stock A high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet like the Keto regimen has its fans, but influenza apparently isn't one of them. Mice fed a ketogenic diet were better able to combat the flu virus than mice fed food high in carbohydrates, according to a new Yale…

Extinct giant ape directly linked to the living orangutan

Modern-day orangutan (stock image). Credit: © Stéphane Bidouze / Adobe Stock By using ancient protein sequencing, researchers have retrieved genetic information from a 1.9 million year old extinct, giant primate that used to live in a subtropical area in southern China. The genetic information allows the researchers to uncover the evolutionary position of Gigantopithecus blacki,…

Experts unlock key to photosynthesis, a find that could help us...

Green leaf in sunlight (stock image). Credit: © Korn V. / Adobe Stock Scientists have solved the structure of one of the key components of photosynthesis, a discovery that could lead to photosynthesis being 'redesigned' to achieve higher yields and meet urgent food security needs. The study, led by the University of Sheffield and published…

Ancient Egyptians gathered birds from the wild for sacrifice and mummification

Ibis (stock image). Credit: © kajornyot / Adobe Stock In ancient Egypt, Sacred Ibises were collected from their natural habitats to be ritually sacrificed, according to a study released November 13, 2019 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Sally Wasef of Griffith University, Australia and colleagues. Egyptian catacombs are famously filled with the mummified…

New model for the way humans localize sounds

Man listening (stock image). Credit: © pathdoc / Adobe Stock One of the enduring puzzles of hearing loss is the decline in a person's ability to determine where a sound originates, a key survival faculty that allows animals -- from lizards to humans -- to pinpoint the location of danger, prey and group members. In…

Microbes harvest electrons: Novel process discovered

Bacteria illustration (stock image). Credit: © Kateryna_Kon / Adobe Stock Ever since scientists discovered that certain microbes can get their energy from electrical charges, researchers have wondered how they do it. Bacteria don't have mouths, so they need another way to bring their fuel into their bodies. New research from Washington University in St. Louis…

New data on the evolution of plants and origin of species

The history and evolution of plants can be traced back by about one billion years. Credit: Copyright Michele Hogan There are over 500,000 plant species in the world today. They all evolved from a common ancestor. How this leap in biodiversity happened is still unclear. In the upcoming issue of Nature, an international team of…

Gimme six! Researchers discover aye-aye’s extra finger

Aye-aye (stock image). Credit: © javarman / Adobe Stock The world's weirdest little primate has gotten even weirder, thanks to the discovery of a tiny extra digit. A study led by researchers from North Carolina State University has found that aye-ayes possess small "pseudothumbs" -- complete with their own fingerprints -- that may help them…

In a first, scientists pinpoint neural activity’s role in human longevity

Roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans (stock image). Credit: © heitipaves / Adobe Stock The brain's neural activity -- long implicated in disorders ranging from dementia to epilepsy -- also plays a role in human aging and life span, according to research led by scientists in the Blavatnik Institute at Harvard Medical School. The study, published Oct. 16…

CRISPRed fruit flies mimic monarch butterfly, and could make you vomit

Monarch butterfly (stock image). Credit: © leekris / Adobe Stock The fruit flies in Noah Whiteman's lab may be hazardous to your health. Whiteman and his University of California, Berkeley, colleagues have turned perfectly palatable fruit flies -- palatable, at least, to frogs and birds -- into potentially poisonous prey that may cause anything that…

Brave new world: Simple changes in intensity of weather events ‘could...

Palm trees in heavy weather (stock image). Credit: © behindlens / Adobe Stock Hurricane Dorian is the latest example of a frightening trend. Extreme weather events are becoming more frequent, more severe and more widespread as a consequence of climate change. New research from Washington University in St. Louis provides important new insights into how…

Molecular basis of vision revealed

Closeup of eye (stock image). Credit: © BillionPhotos.com / Adobe Stock Researchers have solved the three-dimensional structure of a protein complex involved in vertebrate vision at atomic resolution, a finding that has broad implications for our understanding of biological signaling processes and the design of over a third of the drugs on the market today.…

Fruit flies live longer with combination drug treatment

Fruit flies in laboratory (stock image). Credit: © Andrei / Adobe Stock A triple drug combination has been used to extend the lifespan of fruit flies by 48% in a new study led by UCL and the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing. The three drugs are all already in use as medical treatments:…

Fruit flies live longer with combination drug treatment

Fruit flies in laboratory (stock image). Credit: © Andrei / Adobe Stock A triple drug combination has been used to extend the lifespan of fruit flies by 48% in a new study led by UCL and the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing. The three drugs are all already in use as medical treatments:…

Genetically tailored instruction improves songbird learning

Finch (stock image). Credit: © Colette / Adobe Stock Some recent research suggests that educational achievement can be predicted based on differences in our genes. But does this really mean that genes set limits on an individual's academic potential? Or do these findings just reflect how standardized educational systems reward certain inborn learning styles and…

Controversial insecticides shown to threaten survival of wild birds

Sparrows in a field (stock image). Credit: © Ingo Bartussek / Adobe Stock New research at the University of Saskatchewan (USask) shows how the world's most widely used insecticides could be partly responsible for a dramatic decline in songbird populations. A study published in the journal Science on Sept. 13 is the first experiment to…

Why is Earth so biologically diverse? Mountains hold the answer

Mount Chimborazo volcano, Ecuador (stock image). Credit: © alanfalcony / Adobe Stock What determines global patterns of biodiversity has been a puzzle for scientists since the days of von Humboldt, Darwin, and Wallace. Yet, despite two centuries of research, this question remains unanswered. The global pattern of mountain biodiversity, and the extraordinarily high richness in…

Extinction of Icelandic walrus coincides with Norse settlement

Modern-day walrus (stock image). Credit: © Chris / Adobe Stock An international collaboration of scientists in Iceland, Denmark and the Netherlands has for the first time used ancient DNA analyses and C14-dating to demonstrate the past existence of a unique population of Icelandic walrus that went extinct shortly after Norse settlement some 1100 years ago.…

New UN high-seas treaty must close gaps in biodiversity governance

Fish market (stock image). Credit: © Andrey Bandurenko / Adobe Stock Thousands of marine species could be at risk if a new United Nations high-seas biodiversity treaty, now being negotiated in New York, does not include measures to address the management of all fish species in international waters, not just the commercial species, warns an…

First human ancestors breastfed for longer than contemporary relatives

Calcium element in periodic table (stock image). Credit: © Francesco Scatena / Adobe Stock By analysing the fossilised teeth of some of our most ancient ancestors, a team of scientists led by the universities of Bristol (UK) and Lyon (France) have discovered that the first humans significantly breastfed their infants for longer periods than their…

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