Biology News

New model combines multiple genomic data Tuesday, April 8, 2014 - 10:30

Data about DNA differences, gene expression, or methylation can each tell epidemiologists something about the link between genomics and disease. A new statistical model that can integrate all those sources provides a markedly improved analysis, according to two new papers.

Prion disease transmission and neurodegeneration: lessons from bank voles Thursday, April 3, 2014 - 16:00

Inter-species transmission of prions is fortunately a generally inefficient process, although devastating when it occurs. An exception to this is the case of a rodent called the bank vole which is universally susceptible to prion transmission from multiple other species. This tendency was exploited in a paper from researchers in the University of California to help gain information on prevention of prion transmission. The paper is published on 3rd April in the journal PLoS Pathogens.


Hummingbirds 22-Million-Year-Old History of Remarkable Change Is Far from Complete Wednesday, April 2, 2014 - 21:54

The first comprehensive map of hummingbirds' 22-million-year-old family tree—reconstructed based on careful analysis of 284 of the world's 338 known species—tells a story of rapid and ongoing diversification. The decade-long study reported in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on April 3 also helps to explain how today's hummingbirds came to live where they do.


New Study Casts Doubt on Heart Regeneration in Mammals Wednesday, April 2, 2014 - 21:48

The mammalian heart has generally been considered to lack the ability to repair itself after injury, but a 2011 study in newborn mice challenged this view, providing evidence for complete regeneration after resection of 10% of the apex, the lowest part of the heart. In a study published by Cell Press in Stem Cell Reports on April 3, 2014, researchers attempted to replicate these recent findings but failed to uncover any evidence of complete heart regeneration in newborn mice that underwent apex resection.


FANTOM5 project: Researchers create atlas over gene usage in all human cell types Friday, March 28, 2014 - 11:32

In the large-scale international FANTOM5 project, researchers from around the world have created an atlas that shows which different genes that are used in virtually all cell types that humans are composed of. Five research groups from three different departments at Karolinska Institutet  have participated in the work, which was presented today with coordinated publications in several scientific journals, including Nature and Blood.


New insights into genetic history of cattle teach us about human history Thursday, March 27, 2014 - 16:00

A study on genetics of cattle breeds has shed new light on the genetic history of domesticated cattle which in turn can teach us about human history. Previously geneticists thought that almost 10,000 years ago, Africans domesticated cattle that were native to Africa. However, the results of the new study from the University of Missouri has revealed that in fact these ancient cattle had their origins in an area known as ‘The Fertile Crescent’ in the Middle East. This suggests that these ancient African farmers migrated south to Africa, bringing cattle with them. The study is published in PLoS Genetics on 27th March.


Big Brown Bat Males Call 'Dibs' on Food Thursday, March 27, 2014 - 14:57

As big brown bats wake up from their winter slumber and start zooming around in pursuit of insects to eat, how do they coordinate their activities in the dark of night? For one thing, according to researchers who report their findings on March 27 in the Cell Press journal Current Biology, males do it by telling other males to back off. In so doing, those vocal males—each with their own distinctive calls—increase their chances of a meal.


Harvested microalgae get a nano-upgrade Tuesday, March 25, 2014 - 08:26

The harvesting of microalgae in commercial applications has been intensely studied across various science and engineering disciplines, as these bio-friendly organisms offer a range of improvements for and have significant potential in the production of food supplements, environmental remediation, biofuel production, animal feed production and wastewater treatment. The Laboratory at the Chinese Academy of Sciences led an experimental investigation to improve the conventional microalgae harvesting technique. The improvement was chosen in order to increase the harvesting efficiency of the microalgae.