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Tropical ants in Europe

Tropical ants in Europe

  An ant preserved in amber and its modern counterpart «Imagine I could send an ecologist to Europe back tens of millions of years ago. Then, ask them to look at the ants and to tell me where they think they have landed… They would say Southeast Asia», explains Prof. Evan Economo of the Okinawa […]

Broad-spectrum antimicrobials—considering ‘holobiont’ welfare

Broad-spectrum antimicrobials—considering ‘holobiont’ welfare

Distribution of the common bacterial phyla in each of the different body sites. Credit: Wikimedia Commons The discovery of antibiotics (also referred to as antimicrobials) is perhaps the most revolutionary outcome in the medical sciences during the twentieth century, and has allowed medical practitioners to treat a wide range of bacterial infections; and therefore, antimicrobials […]

Researchers massively edit the genome of pigs to turn them into perfect human organ donors

Researchers massively edit the genome of pigs to turn them into perfect human organ donors

CRISPR gene editing of the pig genome. Credit: Editors-in-Chief Franco J. DeMayo and Thomas Spencer, Biology of Reproduction (Phys.org)—One benefit of the closeness between pigs and humans is the potential to be organ donors. There are however, just a few nagging uncertainties that still stand in the way. The big one, the possibility of porcine […]

In the sex lives of male worms in the lab, one gene makes a big difference

In the sex lives of male worms in the lab, one gene makes a big difference

The worm C. elegans For tiny nematode worms of the species Caenorhabditis elegans—one of the workhorses of modern biology—males are rare and all but irrelevant in nature. That’s because the vast majority of C. elegans individuals are self-fertilizing hermaphrodites. In the laboratory environment, males of the species do turn up with some regularity, and now […]

Adult sex ratio linked to gender chromosomes

Adult sex ratio linked to gender chromosomes

The green lizard (Lacerta viridis, Laurenti 1768) have ZW genetic sex determination systems, whereas many other reptiles exhibit XY sex determination. Credit: Andras Liker (Phys.org)—A team of researchers with members from institutions in Hungary, the U.S. and the U.K. has found a link between the adult sex ratio (ASR) and gender chromosome differences. In their […]

Working group seeks better cell type classification

Working group seeks better cell type classification

  Traditionally, cells have been categorized based on location within an organism, structure, function, or even developmental history. But recent advances suggest there might be better and more uniform approaches to cell classification and understanding of cell types. «Ultimately what determines the function of each cell or each cell type are the genes that are […]

Plant biosensor could help African farmers fight parasitic ‘witchweed’

Plant biosensor could help African farmers fight parasitic ‘witchweed’

A 3-D rendering of one of the receptors used by Striga to detect the germination hormones of other plants. By introducing this receptor into another, more easily grown plant, U of T researchers have created a plant biosensor that can be used to look for chemicals that could confuse Striga and prevent it from damaging […]

How small is the smallest? New record of the tiniest free-living insect provides precision

How small is the smallest? New record of the tiniest free-living insect provides precision

  The smallest known free-living insect, Scydosella musawasensis. Credit: Dr. Alexey Polilov The long-lasting search and debate around the size and identity of the World’s smallest free-living insect seems to have now been ended with the precise measurement and second record of the featherwing beetle species. Described back in 1999 based on only several specimens […]

Unexpected connections: Calcium refill mechanisms in nerve cells affects gene expression

Unexpected connections: Calcium refill mechanisms in nerve cells affects gene expression

  These are dopaminergic neuron clusters (green) of the flight circuit requiring Store-operated Ca2+ Entry (SOCE) in the protocerebrum of an adult Drosophila brain. The brain neuropil is marked by anti-bruchpilot immunostaining (magenta). Credit: Trayambak Pathak Calcium is not just required for strong bones — it is an essential requirement for muscle and nerve cells […]

Gene editing: Research spurs debate over promise vs. ethics

Gene editing: Research spurs debate over promise vs. ethics

  In this photo provided by UC Berkeley Public Affairs, taken June 20, 2014 Jennifer Doudna, right, and her lab manager, Kai Hong, work in her laboratory in Berkeley, Calif. The hottest tool in biology has scientists using words like revolutionary as they describe the long-term potential: wiping out certain mosquitoes that carry malaria, treating […]

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