Biology News

Protecting mainland Europe from an invasion of grey squirrels Thursday, June 5, 2014 - 20:53

The first genotyping of grey squirrels sampled from Italy and the UK shows a direct link between their genetic diversity and their ability to invade new environments.In this new study, published in Diversity and Distributions, an international team of scientists from Imperial College London and the Zoological Society of London compared 12 DNA markers from grey squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis) in Piedmont in Northern Italy with the same markers from squirrel populations in Northern Ireland, Northumberland and East Anglia. 

Fishing Boats Are Powerful Seabird Magnets Monday, June 2, 2014 - 11:00

It's no surprise that seabirds are attracted to fishing boats, and especially to the abundance of discards that find their way back into the ocean. But researchers reporting in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on June 2 now find that those boats influence bird behavior over much longer distances than scientists had expected.

 

Sperm cells are extremely efficient at swimming against a current Tuesday, May 27, 2014 - 10:16

Like salmon traveling upstream to spawn, sperm cells are extremely efficient at swimming against the current, according to research to be published this week. The discovery, to be published in the journal eLife by researchers at MIT and Cambridge University, may help us to understand how some sperm travel such long distances, through difficult terrain, to reach and fertilize an egg.

 

Capillary Device Significantly Improves Manufacture of Quality Liposomes Tuesday, May 20, 2014 - 21:46

Liposomes are spheres made of a double layer of phospholipids, the fat complexes that are the building blocks for animal cell membranes. They resemble simples cells with the "guts" removed. Widespread application of manufactured liposomes as artificial drug carriers has been hindered by a number of limiting factors such as inconsistency in size, structural instability and high production costs.

 

Study Finds Crowding Has Big Effects on Biomolecules Tuesday, May 20, 2014 - 21:25

Crowding has notoriously negative effects at large size scales, blamed for everything from human disease and depression to community resource shortages. But relatively little is known about the influence of crowding at the cellular level. A new JILA study shows that a crowded environment has dramatic effects on individual biomolecules.

 

NIST Chip Produces and Detects Specialized Gas for Biomedical Analysis Tuesday, May 20, 2014 - 13:25

A chip-scale device that both produces and detects a specialized gas used in biomedical analysis and medical imaging has been built and demonstrated at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Described in Nature Communications, the new microfluidic chip produces polarized (or magnetized) xenon gas and then detect seven the faintest magnetic signals from the gas.

 

Stem Cells As A Future Source for Eco-friendly Meat Tuesday, May 20, 2014 - 09:21

The scientific progress that has made it possible to dream of a future in which faulty organs could be regrown from stem cells also holds potential as an ethical and greener source for meat. So say scientists who suggest in the Cell Press journal Trends in Biotechnology that every town or village could one day have its very own small-scale, cultured meat factory.