Current Biologists News and Events

Current Biologists News and Events, Biologists News Articles.
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Tropical paper wasps babysit for neighbours
Wasps provide crucial support to their extended families by babysitting at neighbouring nests, according to new research by a team of biologists from the universities of Bristol, Exeter and UCL published today [15 February] in Nature Ecology and Evolution. (2021-02-15)

When push comes to shove, what counts as a fight?
Biologists often study animal sociality by collecting observations about behavioral interactions. These interactions can be things like severe or minor fights, cooperative food sharing or grooming. But to analyze animal behavior, researchers need to make decisions about how to categorize and code these interactions. That gets tricky. (2021-01-26)

Remarkable new species of snake found hidden in a biodiversity collection
A graduate research assistant at the University of Kansas was intrigued by an overlooked snake in the collections of the KU Biodiversity Institute. It turned out it's both a new genus, and a new species, published today in the journal Copeia. (2020-12-23)

A powerful computational tool for efficient analysis of cell division 4D image data
A joint research team co-led by City University of Hong Kong (CityU) has developed a novel computational tool that can reconstruct and visualise three-dimensional (3D) shapes and temporal changes of cells, speeding up the analysing process from hundreds of hours by hand to a few hours by the computer. Revolutionising the way biologists analyse image data, this tool can advance further studies in developmental and cell biology, such as the growth of cancer cells. (2020-12-22)

Hibiscus reduces the toxicity of ammonia for rainbow trout, say RUDN University biologists
A team of biologists from RUDN University developed a hibiscus-based dietary supplement for trout that makes the fish less sensitive to ammonia pollution and more stress-resistant. (2020-12-07)

Biologists from RUDN University discovered the secret of flaxseed oil with long shelf life
Biologists from RUDN University working together with their colleagues from the Institute of Molecular Biology of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Flax studied the genes that determine the fatty acid composition in flaxseed oil and identified polymorphisms in six of them. The team also found out what gene variations could extend the shelf life of flaxseed oil. This data can be used to improve the genetic selection of new flax breeds. (2020-12-04)

Researchers reveal switch used in plant defense against animal attack
UC San Diego researchers have identified the first key biological switch that sounds an alarm in plants when plant-eating animals attack. The mechanism will help unlock a trove of new strategies for improved plant health, from countering crop pest damage to engineering more robust global food webs. (2020-11-24)

Birds of a feather do flock together
Researchers explain how different species of the finch-like capuchino seedeaters quickly acquired distinct patterns of coloration over an evolutionary time scale. New gene patterns emerged from selective sweeps, a genetic process during which a naturally occurring variation becomes advantageous. (2020-11-17)

Goby fins have fingertip touch sensitivity
Primates are renowned for their delicate sense of touch, but now a series of experiments by scientists from The University of Chicago, USA, published in Journal of Experimental Biology reveal that the fins of round gobies are as touch sensitive as primate fingertips. (2020-11-03)

Sea turtle nesting season winding down in Florida, some numbers are up and it's unexpected
Florida's sea turtle nesting surveying comes to a close on Halloween and like everything else in 2020, the season was a bit weird. The number of green sea turtle nests on central and southern Brevard County, Florida beaches monitored by University of Central biologists were way up during a year they should have been down based on nearly 40 years of historical data. (2020-10-28)

How to figure out what you don't know
Sometimes, what seems like a good way to explain the world--a model--turns out to be wrong. CSHL machine learning researchers developed a way to find the best answers to complicated questions, rather than answers that only appear to be right when tested in a few ways. (2020-10-26)

Plants communicate at a molecular level
Working together with researchers from the University of Tübingen, the University of Tromsø, the UC Davis and the Sainsbury Laboratory in Norwich, biologists from Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have discovered how tomato plants identify Cuscuta as a parasite. The plant has a protein in its cell walls that is identified as 'foreign' by a receptor in the tomato. (2020-10-20)

Novel Drosophila-based disease model to study human intellectual disability syndrome
The researchers from the TalTech molecular neurobiology laboratory headed by professor Tõnis Timmusk used the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster to develop a novel disease model for Pitt-Hopkins syndrome (PTHS). Their study was reported in the July issue of Disease Models and Mechanisms. (2020-09-29)

Intelligent software tackles plant cell jigsaw puzzle
German researchers, including scientists from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg (EMBL), developed a machine learning-based algorithm to study the morphogenesis of plants at a cellular level. So far it was impossible to solve this evolving and changing puzzle. (2020-08-31)

Iron-mediated cancer cell activity: A new regulation mechanism
CNRS researchers at the Institut Curie have recently shown that cancer cells use a membrane protein that has been known for several decades to internalise iron. Published in Nature Chemistry (August 3rd, 2020), this work shows that the absorbed iron allows cancer cells to acquire metastatic properties. (2020-08-03)

Extraordinary regeneration of neurons in zebrafish
Biologists from the University of Bayreuth have discovered a uniquely rapid form of regeneration in injured neurons and their function in the central nervous system of zebrafish. They studies the Mauthner cells, which are solely responsible for the escape behaviour of the fish, and previously regarded as incapable of regeneration. However, their ability to regenerate crucially depends on the location of the injury. (2020-07-10)

Revealing winners & losers in projected future climates
New research reveals how winners & losers from climate change can be identified based on their ability to adapt to rising future temperatures. In the first study of its kind published in PNAS, Flinders University evolutionary biologists have shown that resilience or vulnerability to future climates is influenced by the thermal conditions of the climatic regions where species evolved. (2020-07-09)

Double take: New study analyzes global, multiple-tailed lizards
Curtin research into abnormal regeneration events in lizards has led to the first published scientific review on the prevalence of lizards that have re-generated not just one, but two, or even up to six, tails. (2020-07-06)

Hormone systems can still be adapted in adulthood
Behavioural biologists at Münster University have now been able to demonstrate for the first time that male guinea pigs are still able to adapt their hormone systems to changes in their social environment in adulthood. The study has been published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B. (2020-06-16)

FloChiP, a new tool optimizing gene-regulation studies
EPFL scientists have developed FloChip, a new microfluidic take on the widely used chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) technique. By automating and cutting the cost of ChIP and sequential-ChIP, FloChIP has the potential to become a widely used tool for the study of chromatin biology and gene regulation. (2020-06-01)

New biosensor visualizes stress in living plant cells in real time
Plant biologists have developed a new nanosensor that monitors foundational mechanisms related to stress and drought. The new biosensor allows researchers to analyze changes in real time as they happen involving kinases, enzymes that catalyze key biological activities in proteins. Certain kinases are essential since they are known to be activated in response to drought conditions, triggering the protective closure of small pores on leaf surfaces known as stoma. (2020-06-01)

Nanodevices show how cells change with time, by tracking from the inside
For the first time, scientists have introduced minuscule tracking devices directly into the interior of mammalian cells, giving an unprecedented peek into the processes that govern the beginning of development. (2020-05-26)

MetaviralSPAdes -- New assembler for virus genomes
There was no specialized viral metagenome assembler until recently. But the joint team of Russian and US researchers from Saint-Petersburg State University and University of California at San Diego just released the metaviralSPAdes assembler (published in journal Bioinformatics on May 16) that turns the analysis of the metavirome sequencing results into an easy task. (2020-05-25)

Scientists take first census of Arctic freshwater molluscs in 130 years
Based on previously released data and their own investigations, researchers at the St Petersburg University Laboratory of Macroecology and Biogeography of Invertebrates have assessed the diversity of freshwater molluscs in the Circumpolar region of the World. (2020-05-25)

Scientists find out which of the metazoans has the smallest known genome
Researchers at St Petersburg University have deciphered the Intoshia variabili gene, the smallest representative of the parasite from the Orthonectida group. At present, its genome is proved to be smallest among all metazoans and includes only 5,120 genes. Phylogenetic relationships of Orthonectida have remained controversial for a long time. According to recent data from St Petersburg University scientists, these parasites are close to Annelida. (2020-05-20)

Faster breeding sea urchins: A comeback animal model for developmental biology
University of Tsukuba researchers identified a species of sea urchin with a relatively short breeding cycle of six months. They used CRISPR technology to remove a gene that provides pigment. Male albino sea urchins survived. Crossing these with wild-type sea urchins and then breeding the offspring yielded second-generation albino mutants that matured to adulthood. (2020-05-19)

COVID-19 disease map: LCSB researchers coordinate international effort
In the fight against the current pandemic, researchers of the Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine (LCSB) at the University of Luxembourg are coordinating an international collaboration to build a COVID-19 Disease Map: a comprehensive repository incorporating all current knowledge on the virus-host interaction mechanisms. This online tool will support research and improve our understanding of the disease. (2020-05-13)

Birds take flight with help from Sonic hedgehog
Flight feathers are amazing evolutionary innovations that allowed birds to conquer the sky. A study led by Matthew Towers (University of Sheffield) and Marian Ros (University of Cantabria) and published in Development now reveals that flight feather identity is established thanks to Sonic hedgehog -- a signalling molecule well-known for giving the digits of the limb their different identities. These findings suggest the pre-existing digit identity mechanism was co-opted during the evolution of flight feathers. (2020-05-06)

Unveiling the structure of SARS-CoV-2
While the novel coronavirus has ground much of daily life to a halt, researchers around the world are working overtime to find solutions. Since January, structural biologists have been busy modeling the virus' vital proteins, which could lead to therapeutic breakthroughs. Now, these scientists' efforts are detailed in a feature article in Chemical & Engineering News, the weekly newsmagazine of the American Chemical Society. (2020-05-06)

Predators help prey adapt to an uncertain future
What effect does extinction of species have on the evolution of surviving species? Evolutionary biologists have investigated this question by conducting a field experiment with a leaf galling fly and its predatory enemies. They found that losing its natural enemies could make it more difficult for the prey to adapt to future environments. (2020-05-04)

New study reveals life's earliest evolution was more complicated than previously suspected
New research from Tokyo Tech and the Max Planck Institute suggests understanding early life may be trickier than previously thought. Their analyses confirm other work which suggested that only a limited understanding of the lifestyle of the most ancient cells can be derived from DNA comparison. While it is clear that we don't know what the first organisms metabolized or where they lived, their work provides insight into how quickly they may have evolved billions of years ago. (2020-04-22)

Clemson scientist explores the colorful intricacies of pollen
A collaborative study by Clemson scientist Matthew Koski suggests that pollen color can evolve independently from flower traits, and that plant species maintain both light and dark pollen because each offers distinct survival advantages. (2020-04-16)

Building a better color vision test for animals
University of Cincinnati biologists modified simple electronics to create a color vision test for fiddler crabs and other animals. (2020-03-19)

UC San Diego synthetic biologists redesign the way bacteria 'talk' to each other
Bioengineers at the University of California San Diego have redesigned how harmless E. coli bacteria ''talk'' to each other. The new genetic circuit could become a useful new tool for synthetic biologists who, as a field, are looking for ways to better control the bacteria they engineer to perform all sorts of tasks, including drug delivery, bioproduction of valuable compounds, and environmental sensing. This work is published in the March 4, 2020 issue of the journal Nature Communications. (2020-03-04)

Powerful mantis shrimp pull punches in air for self-preservation
Mantis shrimps are able to fire off high power punches in water at the speed of a bullet, but it now turns out that they are nowhere near as fast in air, only striking with blows that are a tenth of the power at just 18km/h. The crustaceans probably pull their air punches to protect themselves from damage in the thinner medium, which does not dissipate energy was well as water. (2020-02-25)

Global warming and extinction risk
How can fossils predict the consequences of climate change? A German research team from Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU), the Museum of Natural History Berlin and the Alfred Wegener Institute compared data from fossil and marine organisms living today to predict which groups of animals are most at risk from climate change. They published their results in the journal Nature Climate Change*. (2020-02-10)

Updated shark tagging atlas provides more than 50 years of tagging and recapture data
A citizen science program more than 50 years old has shed new light on the movements and distribution patterns of 35 species of Atlantic sharks. The updated database revealed new information on some of the least known species, and uncovered a few surprises about where sharks go and how long they live. (2020-01-31)

Biophysicists find 'extra' component in molecular motor
Researchers discovered an additional component in ATP synthase, a molecular machine that produces the energy-conserving compound. They obtained a first-ever high-resolution structure of the C ring from spinach chloroplasts. As the 3D computer model of it was taking shape, the biophysicists spotted additional circle-shaped elements inside the C ring. While the discovery is interesting in and of itself, researchers have yet to determine why the C ring hosts quinones and how they get there. (2020-01-29)

Can chickpea genes save mustard seeds from blight disease?
During visits to fields in Assam, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, India, plant biologists Muthappa Senthil-Kumar and Urooj Fatima found mustard plants infested with Alternaria blight disease. They also noticed that an adjacent field of chickpeas were completely uninfected. (2020-01-29)

Parrots collaborate with invisible partners
New study shows that peach-fronted conures have a surprisingly advanced talent for collaboration when it comes to finding food. This is important knowledge for biologists working with conservation of wild bird populations. (2020-01-20)

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