Planets and Animals

  • In Earth's largest extinction, land animal die-offs began long before marine extinction
    on March 27, 2020 at 8:17 pm

    Because of poor dates for land fossils laid down before and after the mass extinction at the end of the Permian, paleontologists assumed that the terrestrial extinctions from Gondwana occurred at the same time as the better-documented marine extinctions. But a new study provides more precise dates for South African fossils and points to a long, perhaps 400,000-year period of extinction on land before the rapid marine extinction 252 million years ago.

  • Copper boosts pig growth, and now we know why
    on March 27, 2020 at 6:15 pm

    Pigs have better feed conversion rates with copper in their diets, but until now, scientists didn't fully understand why. Existing research from the University of Illinois shows copper doesn't change fat and energy absorption from the diet. Instead, according to new research, the element seems to enhance pigs' ability to utilize fat after absorption, resulting in increased energy utilization of the entire diet.

  • Standardizing COVID-19 data analysis to aid international research efforts
    on March 27, 2020 at 4:23 pm

    Researchers have launched a new database to advance the international research efforts studying COVID-19. The publicly-available, free-to-use resource can be used by researchers from around the world to study how different variations of the virus grow, mutate and make proteins.

  • COVID-19 linked to cardiac injury, worse outcomes for patients with heart conditions
    on March 27, 2020 at 3:37 pm

    COVID-19 can have fatal consequences for people with underlying cardiovascular disease and cause cardiac injury even in patients without underlying heart conditions, according to a new review.

  • Scientists predict the size of plastics animals can eat
    on March 27, 2020 at 3:37 pm

    A team of scientists has, for the first time, developed a way of predicting the size of plastics different animals are likely to ingest.

  • Animals keep viruses in the sea in balance
    on March 27, 2020 at 3:36 pm

    A variety of sea animals can take up virus particles while filtering seawater for oxygen and food. Sponges are particularly efficient.

  • Forgotten tale of phage therapy history revealed
    on March 27, 2020 at 3:36 pm

    In the current situation when the fear of virus infections in the public is common, it is good to remember that some viruses can be extremely beneficial for humankind, even save lives. Such viruses, phages, infect bacteria. Recent research shed some light on the phage therapy history. It revealed that Brazil was a strong user and developer of phage therapy in 1920-40's.

  • Biophysics: Lifting the lid on beta-barrels
    on March 27, 2020 at 2:41 pm

    The interaction between biotin and streptavidin is a well-established experimental tool in bionanotechnology. Physicists have now shown that the mechanical stability of the complex is dependent on the precise geometry of the interface.

  • Some COVID-19 patients still have coronavirus after symptoms disappear
    on March 27, 2020 at 1:12 pm

    Researchers found that half of the patients they treated for mild COVID-19 infection still had coronavirus for up to eight days after symptoms disappeared.

  • Completely new antibiotic resistance gene has spread unnoticed to several pathogens
    on March 27, 2020 at 1:12 pm

    Aminoglycoside antibiotics are critically important for treating several types of infections with multi-resistant bacteria. A completely new resistance gene, which is likely to counteract the newest aminoglycoside-drug plazomycin, was recently discovered.

  • Scientists identify microbe that could help degrade polyurethane-based plastics
    on March 27, 2020 at 12:14 pm

    One of the most widely used oil-based plastics, polyurethane, is particularly hard to recycle or destroy safely. It also releases toxic chemicals into landfills. However, some microorganisms are capable of metabolizing these compounds and degrading the plastic waste in the process. Scientists have identified one such bacterium that could be used to help break down polyurethane-based plastics for future bio-recycling.

  • How to identify factors affecting COVID-19 transmission
    on March 26, 2020 at 8:07 pm

    Professors describe potential transmission pathways of COVID-19 and their implications.

  • Mechanisms to prevent Crohn's disease unveiled
    on March 26, 2020 at 6:44 pm

    In a series of four studies published today, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) researchers describe the identification of predictive tools and a new understanding of environmental factors that trigger IBD.

  • Coral tells own tale about El Niño's past
    on March 26, 2020 at 6:44 pm

    Scientists use data from ancient coral to build a record of temperatures in the tropical Pacific Ocean over the last millennium. The data question previous links between volcanic eruptions and El Niño events.

  • Neanderthals ate mussels, fish, and seals too
    on March 26, 2020 at 6:44 pm

    Over 80,000 years ago, Neanderthals fed themselves on mussels, fish and other marine life. The first evidence has been found by an international team in the cave of Figueira Brava in Portugal. The excavated layers date from 86,000 to 106,000 years ago, the period when Neanderthals settled in Europe. Sourcing food from the sea at that time had only been attributed to anatomically modern humans in Africa.

  • What can be learned from the microbes on a turtle's shell?
    on March 26, 2020 at 6:44 pm

    Researchers have found that a unique type of algae, usually only seen on the shells of turtles, affects the surrounding microbial communities. It is hoped that these findings can be applied to support the conservation of turtles. Previous research has shown that a diverse microbiome can protect animals against infections.

  • Researchers document seasonal migration in deep-sea
    on March 26, 2020 at 6:44 pm

    For the first time, researchers have documented seasonal migrations of fishes across the deep seafloor, revealing an important insight that will further scientific understanding of the nature of our planet.

  • Guppies help their brothers when it comes to the opposite sex
    on March 26, 2020 at 6:44 pm

    Researchers found that male Trinidadian guppies observe a form of nepotism when it comes to pursuing the opposite sex. These tiny tropical fish often help their brothers in the mating process by darting in front of other males to block access to a female.

  • Microbiome may hold key to identifying HPV-infected women at risk for pre-cancer
    on March 26, 2020 at 6:44 pm

    Gardnerella bacteria in the cervicovaginal microbiome may serve as a biomarker to identify women infected with human papillomavirus (HPV) who are at risk for progression to precancer, according to a new study.

  • The genetic quest to understand COVID-19
    on March 26, 2020 at 6:43 pm

    The novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 that causes COVID-19 is now likely to become the fifth endemic coronavirus in humans. Scientists are working to decipher its genome to help us stop other coronaviruses entering the human population.

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