Biology News

ExRNA: Decoding Messages Between Cells Friday, January 10, 2014 - 13:07

RNA has long been known to perform yeoman’s duty on the intracellular assembly line, following genetic instructions to help guide protein production. But it turns out that RNA is not merely an essential and reliable, if unexciting, workhorse. Scientists have discovered a type of RNA that ventures beyond the cell, travels through the bloodstream and could play a vital role in facilitating communication with other cells.

 

New clues to how bacteria evade antibiotics Thursday, January 9, 2014 - 14:00

Scientists have made an important advance in understanding how a subset of bacterial cells escape being killed by many antibiotics. Cells become "persisters" by entering a state in which they stop replicating and are able to tolerate antibiotics. Unlike antibiotic resistance, which arises because of genetic mutations and is passed on to later generations, this tolerant phase is only temporary, but it may contribute to the later development of resistance.

 

Scientists Discover Extracellular Vesicles Produced by Ocean Microbes Thursday, January 9, 2014 - 13:00

Marine cyanobacteria — tiny ocean plants that produce oxygen and make organic carbon using sunlight and CO2 — are primary engines of Earth’s biogeochemical and nutrient cycles. They nourish other organisms through the provision of oxygen and with their own body mass, which forms the base of the ocean food chain.

 

A powerful technique to further understanding of RNA Thursday, January 9, 2014 - 11:35

In a paper published by the Journal of the American Chemical Society, Qi Zhang, an assistant professor of biochemistry and biophysics and member of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, and his team have revealed his newest weapon – a powerful technique to visualize the shape and motion of RNA at the atomic level using nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR).

 

Study of rodent family tree puts brakes on commonly held understanding of evolution Tuesday, January 7, 2014 - 11:58

Rodents can tell us a lot about the way species evolve after they move into new areas, according to a new and exceptionally broad study conducted in part by Florida State University biological science Professor Scott J. Steppan.

 

Intimate yeast: Mating and meiosis Monday, January 6, 2014 - 12:33

Mating and meiosis – the specialized cell division that reduces the number of chromosomes in a cell – are related, but in most yeasts they are regulated separately. Not so in Candida lusitaniae, where the two programs work in unison, according to a new study in Nature. Comparison with other species suggests that this fusion may support C. lusitaniae’s “haploid lifestyle” of maintaining only one set of chromosomes in each cell.

 

Roses Are Red - Why Some Petunias Are Blue Thursday, January 2, 2014 - 11:00

Researchers have uncovered the secret recipe to making some petunias such a rare shade of blue. The findings may help to explain and manipulate the color of other ornamental flowers, not to mention the taste of fruits and wine, say researchers who report their findings in the Cell Press journal Cell Reports on January 2nd. From the flowers' point of view, the findings also have important implications, since blue petals instead of red might spell disaster when it comes to attracting pollinators.

 

Neandertal genome project reaches its goal Thursday, December 19, 2013 - 08:15

An international research team led by Kay Prüfer and Svante Pääbo of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, has determined a high-quality genome sequence of a Neandertal woman. The genome allows detailed insights into the relationships and population history of the Neandertals and other extinct hominin groups. The results reveal that gene flow among such groups was common but generally of low magnitude. It also provides a definitive list of the DNA sequence changes that distinguish modern humans from our nearest extinct relatives.