Biology News

Protein imbalances doom hybrids Tuesday, November 19, 2013 - 11:29

Why do crosses between closely related species fail to produce fertile hybrids? A new study shows that differences in the levels - not necessarily the sequences - of certain key proteins are crucial in mediating reproductive isolation.


Mutations of Immune System Found in Breast Cancers Monday, November 18, 2013 - 13:51

Mutations in the genes that defend the body against cancer-related viruses and other infections may play a larger role in breast cancer than previously thought, according to a study at the University of Illinois at Chicago.


Protein coding 'junk genes' may be linked to cancer Monday, November 18, 2013 - 13:10

By using a new analysis method, researchers at Karolinska Institutet and Science for Life Laboratory (SciLifeLab) in Sweden have found close to one hundred novel human gene regions that code for proteins. A number of these regions are so-called pseudogenes, which may be linked to cancer. The expectation is now that this recently developed protein analysis method, published in the scientific journal Nature Methods, will open up a whole new field of research.


Protein interplay in muscle tied to life span Friday, November 15, 2013 - 17:23

Brown University biologists have uncovered a complicated chain of molecular events that leads from insulin to protein degradation in muscles and significantly diminished life span in fruit flies. The new study in PLoS Genetics, which may have broad implications across species, identifies the fly version of the mammalian protein activin as the central culprit in the process.


Anthrax Toxin Can Lurk for Days in Cells as a Lingering Threat Thursday, November 14, 2013 - 11:00

The deadly toxin produced by anthrax bacteria can hide out in human cells for days, invisible both to our immune systems and to the cellular machinery responsible for destroying proteins. The findings reported in the Cell Press journal Cell Reports on November 14th explain why antibiotics aren't always enough to cure anthrax infections.


Researchers find a way to boost lithium-air battery performance, with the help of modified viruses Wednesday, November 13, 2013 - 12:13

Lithium-air batteries have become a hot research area in recent years: They hold the promise of drastically increasing power per battery weight, which could lead, for example, to electric cars with a much greater driving range. But bringing that promise to reality has faced a number of challenges, including the need to develop better, more durable materials for the batteries’ electrodes and improving the number of charging-discharging cycles the batteries can withstand.


Stepparents are not always evil Wednesday, November 13, 2013 - 12:03

Contrary to common belief, parents do not generally treat their stepchildren less favourably than their own. Until now, many researchers believed in the so-called “Cinderella effect.” It states that it is biologically inevitable that parents care less for stepchildren because they do not spread their genes. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock, Germany, have discovered an important exception. If there is a reasonable chance of increasing wealth in the parents’ environment then no difference is made between one’s own children and stepchildren. Thus, parental care depends on more than just the biological relationship.


Un-junking Junk DNA Tuesday, November 12, 2013 - 17:54

A study led by researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine shines a new light on molecular tools our cells use to govern regulated gene expression. The study will be published online in advance of print November 10 in the journal Nature Structural and Molecular Biology.