Biology News

Plague demographics in driving evolution of the immune systems of both Europeans and Rroma Wednesday, March 5, 2014 - 10:54

The medical history of Europe has been punctuated by epidemics including plague, smallpox and influenza. This has driven evolution of elements of the immune system from Europeans and Rroma (Gypsies) - populations of different genetic ancestry but living in the same areas- to converge. Plague is a major factor that has shaped these converged immune system elements of both modern Europeans and Rroma. These are the findings of a paper in the current issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences from a team of researchers from Spain, Romania, the Netherlands and India.


Quantifying Folded and Misfolded Protein Levels in Cells Wednesday, March 5, 2014 - 07:26

Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have invented small-molecule folding probes that enable them to quantify functional, normally folded and disease-associated misfolded conformations (shapes) of a protein-of-interest in cells under different conditions.


Yeast model reveals Alzheimer’s drug candidate and its mechanism of action Tuesday, March 4, 2014 - 18:30

Using a yeast model of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), Whitehead Institute researchers have identified a drug that reduces levels of the toxic protein fragment amyloid-β (Aβ) and prevents at least some of the cellular damage caused when Ab accumulates in the brains of AD patients.


Mouse Brain Atlas Maps Neural Networks to Reveal How Brain Regions Interact Thursday, February 27, 2014 - 10:11

Different brain regions must communicate with each other to control complex thoughts and behaviors, but relatively little is known about how these areas organize into broad neuronal networks. In a study published by Cell Press February 27th in the journal Cell, researchers developed a mouse whole-brain atlas that reveals hundreds of neuronal pathways in a brain structure called the cerebral cortex. The online, open access, interactive image database, called the Mouse Connectome Project, provides an invaluable resource for researchers interested in studying the anatomy and function of cortical networks throughout the brain.


Supplement Added to a Standard Diet Improves Health and Prolongs Life in Mice Thursday, February 27, 2014 - 09:53

Activating a protein called sirtuin 1 extends lifespan, delays the onset of age-related metabolic diseases, and improves general health in mice. The findings, which appear online February 27 in the Cell Press journal Cell Reports, point to a potentially promising strategy for improving health and longevity.


Male Goat Essence Really Turns the Females On Monday, February 24, 2014 - 20:30

Anyone who has ever spent time around goats knows they have a certain smell. By carefully analyzing eau de male goat, researchers reporting in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on February 27 have now identified a novel, citrus-scented ingredient that speaks directly to the females. It acts on female goats' brains to turn their reproductive systems on.


Researchers find that going with the flow makes bacteria stick Monday, February 24, 2014 - 14:55

In a surprising new finding, researchers have discovered that bacterial movement is impeded in flowing water, enhancing the likelihood that the microbes will attach to surfaces. The new work could have implications for the study of marine ecosystems, and for our understanding of how infections take hold in medical devices.


Dental calculus: a ‘microbial Pompeii’ for preservation of the human oral microbiome Monday, February 24, 2014 - 05:37

Dental calculus, more commonly known as dental plaque, acts as a ‘microbial Pompeii’, preserving microbes and particles of food over millennia. This is according to Professor Matthew Collins, of the University of York, a member of an international team of researchers who have published a Nature Genetics study on ancient oral microbiome ecology and function.