Tag Archives: Biomedical

Across the animal kingdom there is a strong trend for females to be more caring parents

Using mathematical models, the researchers found that if the only initial difference between the sexes is the size of the sex cells they make (sperm by males and eggs by females), evolution does not favor females becoming more attentive parents. “Although an egg is a much larger parental investment than a tiny sperm, there is […]

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CRISPR’s hopeful monsters: gene-editing storms evo-devo labs

A model and fossil of Tiktaalik roseae, a transitional fossil that illustrates how fish began to develop limbs. Most summers since 1893, young developmental and evolutionary biologists have flocked to Woods Hole, Massachusetts, to master the tricks of their trade. At the world-famous Marine Biological Laboratory there, students in its annual embryology course dissect sea […]

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US endangered-species recovery surges to record high

The Santa Cruz Island Fox is one of three subspecies of fox removed from the Endangered Species Act list this month. More species protected by the US Endangered Species Act (ESA) have recovered during President Barack Obama’s administration than under all other presidents combined, the US Department of Interior announced on 11 August. And 2016 […]

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* Black bear links real objects to computer images

American black bears may be able to recognize things they know in real life, such as pieces of food or humans, when looking at a photograph of the same thing. This is one of the findings of a study led by Zoe Johnson-Ulrich and Jennifer Vonk of Oakland University in the US, which involved a […]

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Study shows a new role for B-complex vitamins in promoting stem cell proliferation

The study, published July 11 in Developmental Cell, shows for the first time that an adult stem cell population is controlled by an external factor arising from outside the animal–bacterial folate. In this case, that animal was a small roundworm model organism known as Caenorhabditis elegans.  “Our study shows that germ stem cells in Caenorhabditis […]

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* Infectious shellfish cancers may jump across species

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Transmissible cancers have been found in shellfish, including cockles (Cerastoderma edule) collected in Galicia, Spain. Some clams, mussels and other bivalve molluscs carry infectious cancer cells that can leap between individuals — and that may even have jumped between species. The discovery, reported on 22 June in Nature, means that transmissible tumours have now been […]

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* How prions kill neurons: New culture system shows early toxicity to dendritic spines

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Prion diseases are fatal and incurable neurodegenerative conditions of humans and animals. Yet, how prions kill nerve cells (or neurons) remains unclear. A study published on May 26, 2016 in PLOS Pathogens describes a system in which to study the early assault by prions on brain cells of the infected host. Some of the earliest […]

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Seeking to rewind mammalian extinction: The effort to save the northern white rhino

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In December 2015 an international group of scientists convened in Austria to discuss the imminent extinction of the northern white rhinoceros and the possibility of bringing the species back from brink of extinction. The discussions of this historic meeting appear in the international Journal Zoo Biology. The publication of this work is designed as part […]

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* Why vultures matter, and what we lose if they’re gone

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Researchers highlight ecosystem, human impacts of vulture declines. Cartoon characters in parched deserts often wish them to disappear, since circling vultures are a stereotypical harbinger of death. But, joking aside, vultures in some parts of the world are in danger of disappearing. And according to a new report from University of Utah biologists, such a […]

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Study finds vast diversity among viruses that infect bacteria

Viruses that infect bacteria are among the most abundant life forms on Earth. Our oceans and soils, and potentially even our own bodies, would be overrun with bacteria were it not for bacteria-eating viruses–called bacteriophages–that keep the microbial balance in check. Now, a new study suggests that bacteriophages made of RNA — a close chemical […]

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Redefining part of 300 year-old classification system for grouping members of the animal kingdom

An international team of biologists has identified the molecular signature of the animal kingdom, providing genetic evidence for an animal classification that has been used for nearly 300 years. Their research, published this week in the journal Nature, offers a historic dataset for the field, serving developmental biologists, evolutionary biologists, and computational biologists alike. The […]

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Bees ‘dumb down’ after ingesting tiny doses of the pesticide chlorpyrifos

Honeybees suffer severe learning and memory deficits after ingesting very small doses of the pesticide chlorpyrifos, potentially threatening their success and survival, new research from New Zealand’s University of Otago suggests. In their study, researchers from the Departments of Zoology and Chemistry collected bees from 51 hives across 17 locations in the province of Otago […]

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New role for motor neurons discovered

A new study presented in the journal Nature could change the view of the role of motor neurons. Motor neurons, which extend from the spinal cord to muscles and other organs, have always been considered passive recipients of signals from interneuronal circuits. Now, however, researchers from Sweden´s Karolinska Institutet have demonstrated a new, direct signalling […]

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Sexuality, not extra chromosomes, benefits animal, biologists find

Most animals, including humans, have two copies of their genome — the full set of instructions needed to make every cell, tissue, and organ in the body. But some animals carry more than two complete sets of the genome, referred to as polyploidy. Biologists have long wondered whether these extra chromosomes help or hinder those […]

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The power of touch: Sex-changing snails switch sooner when together

Many animals change sex at some point in their lives, often after reaching a certain size. Snails called slipper limpets begin life as males, and become female as they grow. A new Smithsonian study shows that when two males are kept together and can touch one another, the larger one changes to female sooner, and […]

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DNA repair enzyme identified as a potential brain cancer drug target

Rapidly dividing cells rely on an enzyme called Dicer to help them repair the DNA damage that occurs as they make mistakes in copying their genetic material over and over for new cells. UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center researchers have built on the discovery of Dicer’s role in fixing DNA damage to uncover a new […]

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China’s bold push into genetically customized animals

New kinds of dogs, goats, monkeys and pigs are being made quickly, though scientists voice worries about ethics. China’s western Shaanxi Province is known for rugged windswept terrain and its coal and wool, but not necessarily its science. Yet at the Shaanxi Provincial Engineering and Technology Research Center for Shaanbei Cashmere Goats, scientists have just […]

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* ‘Gene drive’ mosquitoes engineered to fight malaria

The Anopheles stephensi mosquito can spread the malaria parasite to humans. Mutant mosquitoes engineered to resist the parasite that causes malaria could wipe out the disease in some regions — for good. Humans contract malaria from mosquitoes that are infected by parasites from the genus Plasmodium. Previous work had shown that mosquitoes could be engineered […]

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Preventing dental implant infections

One million dental implants are inserted every year in Germany, and often they need to be replaced due to issues such as tissue infections caused by bacteria. In the future, these infections will be prevented thanks to a new plasma implant coating that kills pathogens using silver ions. Bacterial infection of a dental implant is […]

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* Climate change threatens survival of common lizards

While there is no doubt that climate change is affecting many organisms, some species might be more sensitive than others. Reptiles, whose body temperature depends directly on environmental temperature, may be particularly vulnerable. Scientists have now shown experimentally that lizards cope very poorly with the climate predicted for the year 2100. In a new study, […]

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Medication dose needed for general anesthesia varies widely: Some patients may require less anesthesia

The amount of anesthetic required for general anesthesia during surgery varies widely from patient to patient and some may be able to receive a lower dose than typically administered, suggests a study being presented at the ANESTHESIOLOGY® 2015 annual meeting. “Providing general anesthesia is a delicate balance, ensuring the patient receives enough, but not more […]

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Mapping the genes that increase lifespan

Following an exhaustive, ten-year effort, scientists at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging and the University of Washington have identified 238 genes that, when removed, increase the replicative lifespan of S. cerevisiae yeast cells. This is the first time 189 of these genes have been linked to aging. These results provide new genomic targets […]

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King crabs threaten Antarctic ecosystem due to warming ocean

King crabs may soon become high-level predators in Antarctic marine ecosystems where they haven’t played a role in tens of millions of years, according to a new study led by Florida Institute of Technology. “No Barrier to Emergence of Bathyal King Crabs on the Antarctic Shelf,” published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy […]

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* Dramatic rise seen in antibiotic use

Antibiotic use is growing steadily worldwide, driven mainly by rising demand in low- and middle-income countries, according to a report released on 17 September. The research presents the clearest picture yet of how and where the drugs are used, and the prevalence of different types of antibiotic resistance. The Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics and […]

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* Global burden of leptospirosis is greater than thought, and growing

The global burden of a tropical disease known as leptospirosis is far greater than previously estimated, resulting in more than 1 million new infections and nearly 59,000 deaths annually, a new international study led by the Yale School of Public Health has found. Professor Albert Ko, M.D., and colleagues conducted a systematic review of published […]

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The mending tissue: Cellular instructions for tissue repair

The epithelial tissue, or the epithelium, is one of four major types of tissue that lines the surfaces of all organs and hollow spaces in our body. The epithelium protects the organs from damage and maintains the body in a state of balance by allowing a selective in-and-out passage of substances. Proper function of the […]

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* Researchers discover surprisingly wide variation across species in genetic systems that influence aging

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A new study focusing on insulin signaling uncovered surprising genetic diversity across reptiles, birds and mammals. Scientists previously assumed the process remained much the same throughout the animal kingdom, but the new research shows that the genetic pathways in reptiles evolved to include protein forms not observed in mammals. A new Iowa State University study […]

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*Injured spinal cord: Regeneration possible with epothilone?

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Damage to the spinal cord rarely heals because the injured nerve cells fail to regenerate. The regrowth of their long nerve fibers is hindered by scar tissue and molecular processes inside the nerves. An international team of researchers led by DZNE scientists in Bonn now reports in Science that help might be on the way […]

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* UK funders demand strong statistics for animal studies

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Experiments that use only a small number of animals are common, but might not give meaningful results. Replace, refine, reduce: the 3 Rs of ethical animal research are widely accepted around the world. But now the message from UK funding agencies is that some experiments use too few animals, a problem that leads to wastage […]

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Fruit fly studies shed light on adaptability of nerve cells

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An international team of researchers at German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) and Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) have revealed in a collaborative study — published today in NEURON, that neurons in the eye change on the molecular level when they are exposed to prolonged light. The researchers could identify that a feedback signalling […]

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