Biology

09/02/2014 - 13:16

A fortuitous collaboration at Rice University has led to the total synthesis of a recently discovered natural antibiotic.The laboratory recreation of a fungus-derived antibiotic, viridicatumtoxin B, may someday help bolster the fight against bacteria that evolve resistance to treatments in hospitals and clinics around the world.

 

09/02/2014 - 10:01

Researchers have engineered the harmless gut bacteria E.coli to generate renewable propane.The development is a step towards commercial production of a source of fuel that could one day provide an alternative to fossil fuels.

 

08/28/2014 - 13:00

Brazil could conserve its valuable Atlantic Forest by investing just 0.01 per cent of its annual GDP, according to a new study. The Atlantic Forest (Mata Atlântica) is one of the most important and threatened biodiversity hotspots in the world, containing the only living examples of nearly 10,000 species of plant and more bird species than all of Europe.

 

08/21/2014 - 12:00

Algae might seem easy to ignore, but they are the ultimate source of all organic matter that marine animals depend upon. Humans are increasingly dependent on algae, too, to suck up climate-warming carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and sink it to the bottom of the ocean. Now, by using a combination of satellite imagery and laboratory experiments, researchers have evidence showing that viruses infecting those algae are driving the life-and-death dynamics of the algae’s blooms, even when all else stays essentially the same, and this has important implications for our climate.

08/18/2014 - 14:01

Compromise solutions must be found when it comes to roads built through sensitive tropical and subtropical areas, say experts writing in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on August 18. While developing nations need to deploy adequate transportation infrastructure to develop mineral and energy resources, the researchers write, governments too often put development ahead of wildlife without thinking about the long-term consequences.

 

08/13/2014 - 14:19

Recent advances that allow the precise editing of genomes now raise the possibility that fruit and other crops might be genetically improved without the need to introduce foreign genes, according to researchers writing in the Cell Press publication Trends in Biotechnology on August 13th.