Biology News

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.

 

Selective Logging Takes Its Toll on Mammals, Amphibians Friday, August 1, 2014 - 09:12

The selective logging of trees in otherwise intact tropical forests can take a serious toll on the number of animal species living there. Mammals and amphibians are particularly sensitive to the effects of high-intensity logging, according to researchers in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on July 31 who conducted a meta-analysis of almost 50 previously published studies from around the world.

 

In High-Stakes Soccer, Goalkeepers Exhibit “Gambler’s Fallacy” Friday, August 1, 2014 - 09:06

When goalkeepers are pitted against multiple kickers in tense penalty shootouts, their attempts to dive for the ball show a predictable pattern that kickers would do well to exploit. After kickers repeatedly kick in one direction, goalkeepers become increasingly likely to dive in the opposite direction, according to an analysis of all 361 kicks from the 37 penalty shootouts that occurred in World Cup and UEFA Euro Cup matches over a 36-year period.

 

Urban Heat Boosts Some Pest Populations 200-Fold, Killing Red Maples Wednesday, July 23, 2014 - 13:12

New research from North Carolina State University shows that urban “heat islands” are slowly killing red maples in the southeastern United States. One factor is that researchers have found warmer temperatures increase the number of young produced by the gloomy scale insect – a significant tree pest – by 300 percent, which in turn leads to 200 times more adult gloomy scales on urban trees.

 

For Corals Adapting to Climate Change, It’s Survival of the Fattest—and Most Flexible Wednesday, July 9, 2014 - 05:36

The future health of the world’s coral reefs and the animals that depend on them relies in part on the ability of one tiny symbiotic sea creature to get fat—and to be flexible about the type of algae it cooperates with. In the first study of its kind, scientists at The Ohio State University discovered that corals—tiny reef-forming animals that live symbiotically with algae—are better able to recover from yearly bouts of heat stress, called “bleaching,” when they keep large energy reserves—mostly as fat—socked away in their cells.

 

Computer simulations show how two knots on a DNA strand can interchange their positions Thursday, July 3, 2014 - 15:46

Physicists of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) and the Graduate School of Excellence "Materials Science in Mainz" (MAINZ) have been able with the aid of computer simulations to confirm and explain a mechanism by which two knots on a DNA strand can interchange their positions