Biology News

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.

 

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.