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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…

This protein is how creatures sense cold

Fox in snow (stock image). Credit: © rtaylorimages / Adobe Stock Researchers have identified a receptor protein that can detect when winter is coming. The findings, scheduled for publication Aug. 29 in the journal Cell, reveal the first known cold-sensing protein to respond to extreme cold. "Clearly, nerves in the skin can sense cold. But…

How humans have shaped dogs’ brains

Puppies of various dog breeds (stock image). Credit: © Rawpixel.com / Adobe Stock Dog brain structure varies across breeds and is correlated with specific behaviors, according to new research published in JNeurosci. These findings show how, by selectively breeding for certain behaviors, humans have shaped the brains of their best friends. Over several hundred years,…

How microbes generate and use their energy to grow

Saccharomyces cerevisiae (baker's yeast) illustration (stock image). Credit: © Kateryna_Kon / Adobe Stock How do cells generate and use energy? This question might seem simple, but the answer is far from simple. Furthermore, knowing how microbial cell factories consume energy and how proteins are allocated to do so is crucial when working with industrial fermentations.…

Nano-thermometer takes temperature inside cells

Cells illustration (stock image). Credit: © rost9 / Adobe Stock How do you know a cell has a fever? Take its temperature. That's now possible thanks to research by Rice University scientists who used the light-emitting properties of particular molecules to create a fluorescent nano-thermometer. The Rice lab of chemist Angel Martí revealed the technique…

A novel technology for genome-editing a broad range of mutations in...

Gene editing concept (stock image). Credit: © vchalup / Adobe Stock The ability to edit genes in living organisms offers the opportunity to treat a plethora of inherited diseases. However, many types of gene-editing tools are unable to target critical areas of DNA, and creating such a technology has been difficult as living tissue contains…

Hear them roar: How humans and chickadees understand each other

Black-capped chickadee (stock image). Credit: © Riverwalker / Adobe Stock Is there something universal about the sounds we make that allows vocal learners -- like songbirds -- to figure out how we're feeling? Sounds like it, according to new research by University of Alberta scientists. The researchers examined the elements within vocalizations that indicate a…

Insects feel persistent pain after injury, evidence suggests

Fruit fly (stock image). Credit: © Tomasz / Adobe Stock Scientists have known insects experience something like pain since 2003, but new research published today from Associate Professor Greg Neely and colleagues at the University of Sydney proves for the first time that insects also experience chronic pain that lasts long after an initial injury…

Saving Beethoven: Preventing hereditary deafness

Lab mouse (stock image). Credit: © filin174 / Adobe Stock Scientists at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children's Hospital have used a novel gene-editing approach to salvage the hearing of mice with genetic hearing loss and succeeded in doing so without any apparent off-target effects as a result of the treatment. The animals -- known…

New antibiotics developed

Bacterial culture (stock image). Credit: © sinhyu / Adobe Stock Not only are they effective against Gram-positive and negative multi-resistant bacteria, they also appear not to trigger resistance when used to treat infection in mice. Such are the promises of the two new antibiotics created by Prof. Brice Felden and his team at the Inserm…

Coral reefs shifting away from equator

Coral reef (stock image). Credit: © drew / Adobe Stock Coral reefs are retreating from equatorial waters and establishing new reefs in more temperate regions, according to new research in the journal Marine Ecology Progress Series. The researchers found that the number of young corals on tropical reefs has declined by 85 percent -- and…

Researchers can finally modify plant mitochondrial DNA

Rice in field (stock image). Credit: © orijinal_x / Adobe Stock Researchers in Japan have edited plant mitochondrial DNA for the first time, which could lead to a more secure food supply. Nuclear DNA was first edited in the early 1970s, chloroplast DNA was first edited in 1988, and animal mitochondrial DNA was edited in…

‘Mystical’ psychedelic compound found in normal brains of rats

Colorful brain concept (stock image). Credit: © frittipix / Adobe Stock In the past few years, thrill-seekers from Hollywood, Silicon Valley and beyond have been travelling to South America to take part in so-called Ayahuasca retreats. Their goal: to partake in a brewed concoction made from a vine plant Banisteriopsis caapi, traditionally used by indigenous…

‘Mystical’ psychedelic compound found in normal brains of rats

Colorful brain concept (stock image). Credit: © frittipix / Adobe Stock In the past few years, thrill-seekers from Hollywood, Silicon Valley and beyond have been travelling to South America to take part in so-called Ayahuasca retreats. Their goal: to partake in a brewed concoction made from a vine plant Banisteriopsis caapi, traditionally used by indigenous…

Space station mold survives high doses of ionizing radiation

International Space Station illustration (stock image, elements furnished by NASA). Credit: © Sasa Kadrijevic / Adobe Stock The International Space Station, like all human habitats in space, has a nagging mold problem. Astronauts on the ISS spend hours every week cleaning the inside of the station's walls to prevent mold from becoming a health problem.…

Translating proteins into music, and back

Abstract musical notes (stock image). Credit: © flashmovie / Adobe Stock Want to create a brand new type of protein that might have useful properties? No problem. Just hum a few bars. In a surprising marriage of science and art, researchers at MIT have developed a system for converting the molecular structures of proteins, the…

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