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Measuring the success of East African protected areas

East Africa (Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda) contains 1,776 protected areas (including 186 "strict" protected areas) covering more than 27 percent of its terrestrial area. Researchers at UC Davis have now documented the extent to which this East African protected area network really protects wildlife and habitats. Credit: Jason Riggio, UC Davis East Africa…

Tunas, sharks and ships at sea

A Pacific bluefin tuna is released with an archival tag from the eastern Pacific Ocean off the F/V Shogun in the California Current. Credit: Stanford University/B. Block Maps that show where sharks and tunas roam in the eastern Pacific Ocean, and where fishing vessels travel in this vast expanse, could help ocean managers to identify…

Eating mushrooms may reduce the risk of cognitive decline

A six-year study, led by Assistant Professor Lei Feng (left) from the National University of Singapore, found that seniors who ate more than 300 grams of cooked mushrooms a week were half as likely to have mild cognitive impairment. Dr. Irwin Cheah (right) is a member of the research team. Credit: National University of Singapore…

Speedy ‘slingshot’ cell movement observed for the first time

Human fibroblast cells (pink) in the process of slingshotting themselves forward in a 3D scaffold designed to mimic the conditions of the body (blue). Fibroblasts are the most common cells found in connective tissue. Biomedical engineering researchers at the University of Michigan documented this “slingshot migration,” which is five times faster than any other previously…

New understanding of sophistication of microbial warfare

Montana State University researcher Blake Wiedenheft holds a model of a CRISPR bacterial immune defense molecule in his office in this 2017 file photo. Credit: MSU photo by Kelly Gorham It could be the plot of an espionage-filled, war-time thriller, or the blow-by-blow of sparring judo masters. But instead it's a true story of molecular…

Common beetle’s gut microbiome benefits forests, holds promise for bioenergy

Passalid beetles work together in family units to defend their log tunnel homes and care for their young into adulthood. New Berkeley Lab research has now shown that the beetle's distinct gut microbiome also helps its young survive. Credit: Javier Ceja-Navarro/Berkeley Lab Insects are critical contributors to ecosystem functioning, and like most living organisms their…

Winning the arms race: Analysis reveals key gene for bacterial infection

A. Random genetic drift induces synonymous and nonsynonymous mutations with equal probability. However, nonsynonymous mutations in essential regions are subjected to selective pressures. B. As a result of natural selection, synonymous substitutions are concentrated in important genes. Phylogenetic and molecular evolutionary analyses can detect significant accumulation of synonymous substitutions in codons of host proteins. Codon-based…

Mystery solved — biologists explain the genetic origins of the saffron...

Flower of the saffron crocus with three orange carpels. Credit: TUD/Sarah Breitenbach and FISH chromosome analysis With a price tag of up to 30,000 euro per kilogram, saffron is the most expensive spice in the world. Sometimes it even exceeds the price of gold. Its typical aroma is produced by the apocarotenoid Safranal. Saffron is…

Mechanism through which bacteria attack white blood cells

Researchers from Freiburg and Ulm discover mechanism through which bacteria attack white blood cells. Credit: Ella Levit-Zerdoun A research team led by Prof. Dr. Winfried Römer and Dr. Elias Hobeika from the University of Freiburg and the University Medical Center in Ulm has discovered a mechanism with which bacteria activate white blood cells and attack…

Chemical added to consumer products impairs response to antibiotic treatment

This is E. coli from the strain used in this study. The cell wall is shown in red and DNA is shown in blue. Credit: Petra Levin laboratory, Washington University in St. Louis Grocery store aisles are stocked with products that promise to kill bacteria. People snap up those items to protect themselves from the…

Transcription factor network gets to heart of wood formation

A composite showing the transcriptional regulatory network for wood formation and a scanning electron micrograph of a poplar stem cross-section. Credit: Illustration by Jack P. Wang and Ilona Peszlen. North Carolina State University researchers have uncovered how a complex network of transcription factors switch wood formation genes on and off. Understanding this transcriptional regulatory network…

Biologists experimentally trigger adaptive radiation

The changes in color are as light as the lightest species and as dark as the darkest species in the entire genus -- and this genus has been evolving for millions of years. Credit: Adapted from Bush et. al. 2019. Evo Letters When naturalist Charles Darwin stepped onto the Galapagos Islands in 1835, he encountered…

Put eggs all in one basket, or spread them around? Birds...

Princeton researchers found that greater anis, which normally nest communally in groups of two to three females, can become social parasites and start laying their eggs in the nests of other groups after their own nests are destroyed. Credit: Photo by Christina Riehl In the tropical jungle of Central America where predators abound, a species…

New mechanism used by bacteria to evade antibiotics

Magnesium ions bind to ribosomes and increase antibiotic resilience. Credit: Leticia Galera-Laporta, Universitat Pompeu Fabra As bacteria continue to demonstrate powerful resilience to antibiotic treatments -- posing a rising public health crisis involving a variety of infections -- scientists continue to seek a better understanding of bacterial defenses against antibiotics in an effort to develop…

Embryos’ signals take multiple paths

Green fluorescent tags in a colony of human endothelial stem cells show high activity as they organize themselves into a pattern 40 hours after the BMP4 signaling pathway is activated. Rice University biosciences carried out experiments on contained colonies of cells to learn new details about how they're triggered to differentiate in embryos. Credit: Warmflash…

Star Wars and Asterix characters amongst 103 beetles new to science...

One hundred and three newly discovered species of the genus Trigonopterus from Sulawesi. Credit: Alexander Riedel The Indonesian island of Sulawesi has been long known for its enigmatic fauna, including the deer-pig (babirusa) and the midget buffalo. However, small insects inhabiting the tropical forests have remained largely unexplored. Such is the case for the tiny…

Rethinking old-growth forests using lichens as an indicator of conservation value

Troy McMullin and Yolanda Wiersma document lichens in a forested area of Kejimkujik National Park in Nova Scotia. Credit: Donna Crossland Two Canadian biologists are proposing a better way to assess the conservation value of old-growth forests in North America -- using lichens, sensitive bioindicators of environmental change. Dr. Troy McMullin, lichenologist at the Canadian…

Global analysis of billions of Wikipedia searches reveals biodiversity secrets

The seasonal movements of species in the natural world, such as the migration of these Common Cranes, is reflected in people's internet activity finds a new study from researchers at the University of Oxford, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, and the University of Birmingham. These findings open up new possibilities for monitoring the movements of…

Drying without dying: How resurrection plants survive without water

Figure 1. Haberlea rhodopensis, a resurrection plant species, was used as a model system to study the underlying mechanisms of extreme desiccation tolerance. Credit: Kobe University A small group of plants known as "resurrection plants" can survive months or even years without water. The research team of Kobe University's Graduate School of Agricultural Science, led…

Researchers uncover new structures at plant-fungal interface

The interface between plant roots and their symbiotic fungi are full of membrane tubules both in the fungus (yellow) and between the plant cell membrane and the fungal cell wall (green). The fungal cell membrane is red, and the plant cell membrane is gray. Credit: Jotham Austin II and R. Howard Berg For hundreds of…

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