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Scholars shed light on 'moving target' of drone regulation in the US
To help sort out the current 'adolescence' of drone laws, William Johnson, professor of geography and atmospheric science, and KU graduate student Dakota Burt recently published new research detailing myriad legal underpinnings of operating drones in the US. (2017-08-02)

Cockroach gardeners: Spreading plant seeds across the forest floor
Researchers in Japan have discovered that cockroaches can disperse seeds like birds and mammals. A variety of seed dispersing animals had been identified, including birds, monkeys, ants, and even slugs, but no cockroaches. This unexpected discovery was made during a study of the seed dispersal mechanism of Monotropastrum humile, a small herb that thrives in the same temperate forests of Japan that the Blattella nipponica cockroach inhabits. (2017-08-02)

Sleep or sex? How the fruit fly decides
Choosing between sex or sleep presents a behavioral quandary for many species, including the fruit fly. A multi-institution team has found that, in Drosophila at least, males and females deal with these competing imperatives in fundamentally different ways, they report July 28 in the journal Nature Communications. (2017-07-28)

What fly guts could reveal about our health
Two new studies reveal the gut bacteria composition of the common fruit fly has a significant effect on diet choice and reproductive success, and its influence can be carried down to the next generation -- with potential implications for human health. (2017-07-27)

How fear alone can cause animal extinction
Fear alone may contribute to the extinction of animal populations according to a recent study. When scientists exposed fruit flies to the scent of a praying mantis, a known predator, they found that the risk of extinction increased up to seven fold. The increased risk of extinction occurred because at small population sizes, as the flies spent more time being vigilant and less time eating, populations that declined could not quickly rebound. (2017-07-24)

Scientists discover combined sensory map for heat, humidity in fly brain
Northwestern University neuroscientists now can visualize how fruit flies sense and process humidity and temperature together through a 'sensory map' within their brains, according to new research. The findings could one day help researchers better understand how the human brain simultaneously processes humidity and temperature and might influence how humans control for mosquitoes in cities and prevent mosquito-borne diseases. (2017-07-20)

Study identifies new target to preserve nerve function
Scientists have identified an enzyme that plays a crucial role in the degeneration of axons, the threadlike portions of a nerve cell that transmit signals within the nervous system. Axon loss occurs in all neurodegenerative diseases, so this discovery could open new pathways to treating or preventing a wide array of brain diseases. (2017-07-14)

Study reveals interplay of an African bat, a parasite and a virus
A lack of evidence that bats are key reservoirs of human disease has not prevented their vilification or efforts to exterminate bat colonies where threats are presumed to lurk. 'The fact is that they provide important ecosystem services...and we want them around,' says Tony Goldberg, a University of Wisconsin-Madison epidemiologist and virus hunter. 'But bats are also increasingly acknowledged as hosts of medically significant viruses. I have mixed feelings about that.' (2017-07-13)

Mapping behavior in the fruit fly brain
One of the primary missions of neuroscience is to make connections between particular neurons in the brain and specific behaviors. Now a team of researchers has used computer-vision and machine-learning techniques in fruit flies to create behavior anatomy maps that will help us understand how specific brain circuits generate Drosophila aggression, wing extension, or grooming. The data are being published July 13 in the journal Cell as a resource for other investigators. (2017-07-13)

Artificial intelligence helps build brain atlas of fly behavior
Scientists at HHMI's Janelia Research Campus created comprehensive brain maps linking different groups of neurons to specific behaviors, using a machine-learning program that annotated more than 225 days of videos of flies -- a feat that would have taken humans some 3,800 years. (2017-07-13)

Cancer survivors get a taste for kefir after exercise
Kefir may be a beneficial post-exercise beverage for cancer survivors. It means that cancer survivors can enjoy the nutritional support that milk provides without the potential for significant stomach upset, report researchers in the Journal of Dairy Science®. (2017-07-12)

Citizen science brings monarch butterfly parasitoids to light
Thanks to citizen volunteers, scientists now know more than ever about the flies that attack monarch butterfly caterpillars. Since 1999, volunteers participating in the Monarch Larva Monitoring Project have collected and raised more than 20,000 monarch eggs and caterpillars, and they've recorded incidents of those specimens being parasitized by fly larvae. Findings from this long-running collaboration with researchers at the University of Minnesota are newly published in the Annals of the Entomological Society of America. (2017-07-10)

UNH researchers extend N.H. growing season for strawberries
Researchers with the New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station at the University of New Hampshire have succeeded in quadrupling the length of the Granite State's strawberry growing season as part of a multi-year research project that aims to benefit both growers and consumers. (2017-07-10)

More than half of China cancer deaths attributable to potentially modifiable risk factors
More than half of all cancer deaths in men in 2013 in China and more than a third of those in women were attributable to a group of potentially modifiable risk factors. (2017-07-06)

Defensive bacterial symbionts of fruit flies attack ribosomes of parasitic wasps
Bacteria of the Spiroplasma genus produce toxic, ribosome-inactivating proteins (RIPs) that appear to protect their symbiotic host flies against parasitic wasps, according to new research published in PLOS Pathogens. (2017-07-06)

QUT develops golden bananas high in pro-vitamin A
QUT has produced Ugandan bananas high in pro-vitamin A. Cooking bananas are the staple food in rural Uganda Worldwide 650 000 - 750 000 children die from vitamin A deficiency. Ugandan farmers will be growing pro-vitamin A rich bananas in 2021. A humanitarian project backed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. (2017-07-06)

The Drosophila fly brings to light the role of morphogens in limb growth
Scientists at IRB Barcelona clarify the function of the genes that drive wing development in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. Published in the journal eLife, this study unveils that the Dpp morphogen is necessary for wing growth but that its gradient does not govern this process. Understanding the development of limbs in Drosophila paves the way to research into congenital defects in vertebrates. (2017-07-05)

A twist in the tail: Flying fish give clues to 'tandem wing' airplane design
Ribbon halfbeak are a species of fish with the ability to fly above the sea surface -- but unlike true 'flying fish', they lack the necessary hind wing fins. So how do they fly? Dr. Yoshinobu Inada from Tokai University, Japan says, 'Investigating the design of ribbon halfbeak could provide useful information for the optimal design of tandem wing airplanes.' (2017-07-04)

Muscles can 'ask' for the energy they need
Muscles require energy to perform all of the movements that we do in a day, and now, for the first time, researchers at the Texas A&M College of Medicine have shown how muscles 'request' more energy from fat storage tissues in fruit fly models. They also discovered that this circuit is dependent on circadian rhythms, which could have implications for obesity in humans. Their findings published today in the journal Current Biology. (2017-07-03)

Variation at a central metabolic gene influences male fruit fly lifespan
The overexpression of an important gene that regulates energy metabolism can cause a severe shortening of lifespan in male fruit flies but has only a small negative effect on lifespans of female fruit flies, according to new research from North Carolina State University. (2017-06-29)

New gene editing technique could drive out mosquito-borne disease
Scientists at UC Berkeley and UC Riverside have demonstrated a way to edit the genome of disease-carrying mosquitoes that brings us closer to suppressing them on a continental scale. (2017-06-27)

Drones that drive
Being able to both walk and take flight is typical in nature many birds, insects, and other animals can do both. If we could program robots with similar versatility, it would open up many possibilities: Imagine machines that could fly into construction areas or disaster zones that aren't near roads and then squeeze through tight spaces on the ground to transport objects or rescue people. (2017-06-26)

Why social isolation can bring a greater risk of illness
Social isolation in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, leads to sleep loss, which in turn leads to cellular stress and the activation of a defense mechanism called the unfolded protein response. (2017-06-26)

Patient-inspired research uncovers new link to rare disorder
Peroxisomal biogenesis disorder, which has been linked only to lipid metabolism, is also associated with sugar metabolism. (2017-06-22)

Active 24/7 and doing great
Circadian clocks control the day-night cycle of many living beings. But what do the pacemakers do in animals whose activities do not follow this pattern? Scientists from the University of Würzburg have now looked into this question. (2017-06-21)

Is it sometimes ok to cheat?
When both partners benefit from a relationship -- husband and wife or pollinator and flower -- the relationship is known as a mutualism. Sometimes partners do not deliver their side of the bargain while still reaping the rewards. Research done at the Smithsonian in Panama published shows that unless unfaithful partners are severely punished by the other member of the relationship cheaters may become more common. (2017-06-19)

Gut bacteria might one day help slow down aging process
Slowing down the aging process might be possible one day with supplements derived from gut bacteria. (2017-06-15)

Scientists reveal mechanism behind mosquito-borne-disease 'blocker' used to fight viruses
A new study from Indiana University may explain how a bacterium called Wolbachia prevents mosquitoes from transmitting deadly diseases such as dengue fever, West Nile virus and Zika. (2017-06-15)

Elegant switch controls translation in transition from egg to embryo
The transition from an egg to a developing embryo is one of life's most remarkable transformations. Now Whitehead Institute researchers have used fruit flies to decipher how one aspect -- control of the translation of messenger RNAs (mRNAs) into proteins -- shifts as the egg becomes an the embryo. This type of switch could tell scientists more about how human cells work and embryos develop. (2017-06-14)

Molecule may help maintain brain's synaptic balance
Many neurological diseases are malfunctions of synapses, or the points of contact between neurons that allow senses and other information to pass from finger to brain. When excitatory and inhibitory balance is off, the brain becomes unable to process information normally, leading to conditions like epilepsy. Now researchers at Jefferson have discovered a molecule that may play a role in helping maintain the balance. The results were published in the journal eLife. (2017-06-13)

Lianas stifle tree fruit and seed production in tropical forests
Vines compete intensely with trees. Their numbers are on the rise in many tropical forests around the world. A new study at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama shows that lianas prevent canopy trees from producing fruit, with potentially far-reaching consequences for rainforest animals. (2017-06-11)

Monkey see, monkey do, depending on age, experience and efficiency
Wild capuchin monkeys readily learn skills from each other -- but that social learning is driven home by the payoff of learning a useful new skill. (2017-06-07)

Biology professor uses microphones to track pollinating bees in new study
Webster University Biology Professor Nicole Miller-Struttman led a team of researchers that used microphones and iPad Minis to accurately track pollinating bees in three Colorado fields. A computer algorithm also detected when the bees were pollinating. (2017-06-07)

Dining hall intervention helped college students choose healthier options
As most college students' diets are low in fruits and vegetables and high in calories, sugar, fat, and sodium, researchers from the University of Toronto and Memorial University of Newfoundland created a cross-sectional study to examine whether messaging encouraging fruit, vegetable, and water intake could influence the habits of university students. (2017-06-07)

Aggressive flies: A powerful new model for neuropsychiatric disorders
A new Drosophila model to study the role of schizophrenia-associated gene PRODH in behavioral disorders reveals that precise regulation of proline metabolism in the lateral neurons ventral region of the brain is crucial for maintaining normal behavior patterns. (2017-06-07)

Impact of protective bacteria linked to infection route, study finds
The benefits of protective bacteria -- which safeguard organisms from further disease without causing harm -- depend on how subsequent infections enter the body, a study of fruit flies has shown. (2017-06-06)

Food policies have potential to lower US cardiovascular disease rates
Food policies, such as fruit and vegetable subsidies, taxes on sugar sweetened drinks, and mass media campaigns to change dietary habits, could avert hundreds of thousands of deaths from cardiovascular disease (CVD) in the United States, researchers project in a study published in PLOS Medicine by Jonathan Pearson-Stuttard from the University of Liverpool, UK and Imperial College London, UK, and colleagues at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, US. (2017-06-06)

Food policies could lower US cardiovascular disease rates
New research conducted by the University of Liverpool and partners shows that food policies, such as fruit and vegetable subsidies, taxes on sugar sweetened drinks, and mass media campaigns to change dietary habits, could avert hundreds of thousands of deaths from cardiovascular disease (CVD) in the United States. (2017-06-06)

What the hair of a fly tells us about cancer
Cells divide into two identical cells that then divide in turn, meaning that any tissue can grow exponentially. But the moment comes when some of them have to develop into specialized cells. On the back of a fly, for example, a cell must know that when it splits, it will give birth to two different cells: a hair and a neuron. How do these asymmetric divisions function? Researchers at UNIGE tried to understand these mechanisms. (2017-06-06)

'Hail Mary' mechanism can rescue cells with severely damaged chromosomes
Safeguards for maintaining the integrity of chromosomes during cell growth and division can fail, and a cell may find itself trying to divide into two daughter cells with a loose chromosomal fragment drifting away from a broken chromosome. Researchers at UC Santa Cruz are studying a remarkable mechanism that carries broken chromosomes through the process of cell division so that they can be repaired and function normally in the daughter cells. (2017-06-05)

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