Biology News

Lion numbers could improve with new sustainable hunting quotas Monday, December 16, 2013 - 14:00

Researchers have devised a simple and reliable way to set sustainable quotas for hunting lions, to help lion populations to grow, in a new study. Trophy hunting occurs in 9 of the 28 African countries that have wild populations of lions. Hunting is legal in these countries but quotas are set to restrict the numbers of lions that can be killed.

 

Mothers See Their Youngest as Shorter Than They Are Monday, December 16, 2013 - 12:20

Many parents say when their second child is born that their first child suddenly appears to have grown overnight. Now, researchers reporting in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on December 16 have an explanation: until the birth of the new child, those parents were subject to a ”baby illusion,” routinely misperceiving their youngest child as smaller (and younger) than he or she really was.

 

CRISPR system scales up in human cells Monday, December 16, 2013 - 10:37

For decades, researchers have sought a biological toolset capable of precisely and systematically turning off genes throughout the genomes of human cells. The CRISPR-Cas9 system – a recently discovered system with bacterial origins – has the potential to overcome many of the limitations of currently available gene-silencing techniques. Earlier this year, several research groups showed that it was possible to use CRISPR-Cas9 to turn off genes in mammalian cells.

 

‘Superbugs’ found breeding in sewage plants Monday, December 16, 2013 - 10:25

Tests at two wastewater treatment plants in northern China revealed antibiotic-resistant bacteria were not only escaping purification but also breeding and spreading their dangerous cargo.

 

Understanding Evolution of Single Enzyme Dihydrofolate Reductase from E.coli to Humans Monday, December 16, 2013 - 09:57

At the molecular level, evolution reshaped some of the enzymes that help complete chemical processes—such as converting food into energy—in humans and all other life forms. Now a University of Iowa researcher and his colleagues describe the evolution of various forms of the enzyme “dihydrofolate reductase” as it occurred from bacteria to humans. Their paper, “Preservation of Protein Dynamics in Dihydrofolate Reductase Evolution,” appears in the Dec. 13 issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

 

Rapid evolution of novel forms: Environmental change triggers inborn capacity for adaptation Friday, December 13, 2013 - 08:01

In the classical view of evolution, species experience spontaneous genetic mutations that produce various novel traits—some helpful, some detrimental. Nature then selects for those most beneficial, passing them along to subsequent generations.

 

Surprise- Duck-billed Dinosaurs Had Fleshy Cocks Comb Thursday, December 12, 2013 - 13:01

A rare, mummified specimen of the duck-billed dinosaur Edmontosauraus regalis described in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on December 12 shows for the first time that those dinosaurs' heads were adorned with a fleshy comb, most similar to the roosters' red crest.

 

Gut Bacteria Linked to Autism-related Behavior in Mice Thursday, December 5, 2013 - 07:50

Mice whose mothers suffered from infection or inflammation during pregnancy are at greater risk for developing behaviors similar to those seen in people with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Now, researchers reporting in the Cell Press journal Cell on December 5 have linked those neurodevelopmental symptoms in the mice to changes in the bacteria living in the animals' guts. What's more, when researchers treated those animals with bacteria found in the healthy gut, a number of behavioral abnormalities including anxiety-like behavior largely went away.