Biology News

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.


Microplastics Make Marine Worms Sick Wednesday, December 4, 2013 - 08:06

Tiny bits of plastic trash could spell big trouble for marine life, starting with the worms, say a team of researchers from Plymouth University and the University of Exeter who report their evidence in a pair of studies in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on December 2. Those marine worms play a key ecological role as an important source of food for other animals.


Bacteria grow faster if they feed each other Monday, December 2, 2013 - 15:03

The scientists worked with bacteria that were deficient in the production of a certain amino acid and therefore depended on a partner to provide the missing nutrient. Bacterial strains that complemented each other’s need by providing the required amino acid showed a fitness increase of about 20% relative to a non-deficient strain without partner. This result helps to explain why cooperation is such a widespread model of success in nature.


Kids whose bond with mother was disrupted early in life show changes in brain Monday, December 2, 2013 - 13:45

Children who experience profound neglect have been found to be more prone to a behavior known as "indiscriminate friendliness," characterized by an inappropriate willingness to approach adults, including strangers.


Cryptic New Species of Wild Cat Identified in Brazil Friday, November 29, 2013 - 07:45

Researchers reporting in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on November 27 have identified a cryptic new species of wild cat living in Brazil. The discovery is a reminder of just how little scientists still know about the natural world, even when it comes to such charismatic creatures. The findings also have important conservation implications for the cats, the researchers say.


Eliminate malaria by targeting enzyme in mosquito-borne parasite Wednesday, November 27, 2013 - 14:45

Using advanced methodologies that pit drug compounds against specific types of malaria parasite cells, an international team of scientists, including researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation, have identified a potential new weapon and approach for attacking the parasites that cause malaria.


Gene mutation can cause excessive alcohol drinking Wednesday, November 27, 2013 - 12:49

 UK researchers have discovered a gene that regulates alcohol consumption and, when faulty, can cause excessive drinking in mice. The study found that normal mice drink little or no alcohol when offered a free choice between a bottle of water and a bottle of diluted alcohol.


Using microRNA Fit to a T (cell) Monday, November 25, 2013 - 18:04

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have successfully targeted T lymphocytes – which play a central role in the body’s immune response – with another type of white blood cell engineered to synthesize and deliver bits of non-coding RNA or microRNA (miRNA).