Biology News

Viruses Take Down Massive Algal Blooms, with Big Implications for Climate Thursday, August 21, 2014 - 12:00

Algae might seem easy to ignore, but they are the ultimate source of all organic matter that marine animals depend upon. Humans are increasingly dependent on algae, too, to suck up climate-warming carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and sink it to the bottom of the ocean. Now, by using a combination of satellite imagery and laboratory experiments, researchers have evidence showing that viruses infecting those algae are driving the life-and-death dynamics of the algae’s blooms, even when all else stays essentially the same, and this has important implications for our climate.

Compromise Needed On Roads through Sensitive Wild Areas Monday, August 18, 2014 - 14:01

Compromise solutions must be found when it comes to roads built through sensitive tropical and subtropical areas, say experts writing in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on August 18. While developing nations need to deploy adequate transportation infrastructure to develop mineral and energy resources, the researchers write, governments too often put development ahead of wildlife without thinking about the long-term consequences.

 

Coming Soon: Genetically Edited Fruit? Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - 14:19

Recent advances that allow the precise editing of genomes now raise the possibility that fruit and other crops might be genetically improved without the need to introduce foreign genes, according to researchers writing in the Cell Press publication Trends in Biotechnology on August 13th.

 

New evidence raises questions about when dinosaurs evolved in North America‏ Monday, August 11, 2014 - 16:39

The Jurassic and Cretaceous periods were the golden age of dinosaurs, during which the prehistoric giants roamed the Earth for nearly 135 million years. Paleontologists have unearthed numerous fossils from these periods, suggesting that dinosaurs were abundant throughout the world. But where and when dinosaurs first came into existence has been difficult to ascertain.

 

Blood Cells Are a New and Unexpected Source of Neurons in Crayfish Monday, August 11, 2014 - 11:00

Study demonstrates that the immune system can produce cells with stem cell properties that can create different types of cells such as neurons in the adult animal. Researchers have strived for years to determine how neurons are produced and integrated into the brain throughout adult life. In an intriguing twist, scientists reporting in the August 11 issue of the Cell Press journal Developmental Cell provide evidence that adult-born neurons are derived from a special type of circulating blood cell produced by the immune system.

 

Grizzly Research Offers Surprising Insights into Diabetes-Obesity Link Tuesday, August 5, 2014 - 11:00

While diabetes rates are on the rise and are having serious effects on millions of people’s health, researchers studying grizzly bears have now discovered a natural state of diabetes that serves a real biological purpose and is also reversible. The research reveals how natural biology, through evolutionary experimentation, can teach us new things about how animals naturally cope with conditions that would cause disease in humans.

Horses Communicate With Their Eyes and Mobile Ears Monday, August 4, 2014 - 12:00

Horses are sensitive to the facial expressions and attention of other horses, including the direction of the eyes and ears. The findings, reported in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on August 4, are a reminder for us humans to look beyond our own limitations and recognize that other species may communicate in ways that we can’t, the researchers say. After all, human ears aren’t mobile.

 

See-Through Organs and Bodies Will Accelerate Biomedical Discoveries Friday, August 1, 2014 - 09:21

The ability to see through organs and even the entire body to visualize long-range connections between cells as well as fine-grained cellular structures has been a long-time dream of biologists. A study published by Cell Press July 31st in the journal Cell has now made that dream a reality, revealing simple methods for making opaque organs, bodies, and human tissue biopsies transparent, while keeping the cellular structures and connections intact.