Planets and Animals

  • Walnuts may slow cognitive decline in at-risk elderly
    on January 28, 2020 at 1:09 pm

    Eating walnuts may help slow cognitive decline in at-risk groups of the elderly population, according to a study conducted by researchers in California and Spain.

  • Scientists short-circuit maturity in insects, opening new paths to disease prevention
    on January 28, 2020 at 1:09 pm

    New research shows, contrary to previous scientific belief, a hormone required for sexual maturity in insects cannot travel across the blood-brain barrier unless aided by a transporter protein. The finding may soon allow scientists to prevent disease-spreading mosquitoes from maturing, or to boost reproduction in beneficial bumblebees.

  • Finely tuned nervous systems allowed birds and mammals to adopt smoother strides
    on January 27, 2020 at 6:49 pm

    A study suggests that neuromuscular adaptations in mammals and birds may have allowed them to become more nimble than reptiles and amphibians.

  • Earth's most biodiverse ecosystems face a perfect storm
    on January 27, 2020 at 6:48 pm

    A combination of climate change, extreme weather and pressure from local human activity is causing a collapse in global biodiversity and ecosystems across the tropics, new research shows. The study mapped over 100 locations where tropical forests and coral reefs have been affected by climate extremes such as hurricanes, floods, heatwaves, droughts and fires.

  • Benefits of conservation efforts may not yet be fully visible
    on January 27, 2020 at 6:48 pm

    Last year, a UN report on global biodiversity warned one million species are at risk of extinction within decades, putting the world's natural life-support systems in jeopardy. But new work offers new hope that in some cases, conservation measures may not necessarily be failing, it is just too early to see the progress that is being made.

  • Cutting road transport pollution could help plants grow
    on January 27, 2020 at 6:48 pm

    Cutting emissions of particular gases could improve conditions for plants, allowing them to grow faster and capture more carbon, new research suggests.

  • Oceanographers predict increase in phytoplankton by 2100
    on January 27, 2020 at 6:48 pm

    A neural network-driven Earth system model has led oceanographers to a surprising conclusion: phytoplankton populations will grow in low-latitude waters by the end of the 21st century.

  • Algae shown to improve gastrointestinal health
    on January 27, 2020 at 6:48 pm

    A green, single-celled organism called Chlamydomonas reinhardtii has served as a model species for topics spanning algae-based biofuels to plant evolution. While algae have been used as dietary nutraceuticals that provide beneficial oils, vitamins, proteins, carbohydrates and antioxidants, the benefits of consuming C. reinhardtii were previously unexplored. Researchers have now completed the first study in humans demonstrating that C. reinhardtii helps improve human gastrointestinal problems related to irritable bowel syndrome, including diarrhea, gas and bloating.

  • Science at the interface: Bioinspired materials reveal useful properties
    on January 27, 2020 at 6:47 pm

    Researchers explore new materials with physical properties that can be custom-tailored to suit particular needs. The work is inspired by mechanisms in nature, where the complex three-dimensional structure of surrounding proteins influences the electrochemical properties of metals at their core.

  • With high fiber diets, more protein may mean more bloating
    on January 27, 2020 at 6:47 pm

    People who eat high fiber diets are more likely to experience bloating if their high fiber diet is protein-rich as compared to carbohydrate-rich, according to a study.

  • How cells sort and recycle their components
    on January 27, 2020 at 6:47 pm

    What can be reused and what can be disposed of? Cells also face this tricky task. Researchers have now discovered a cellular machine, called FERARI, that sorts out usable proteins for recycling.

  • Keto diet works best in small doses, mouse study finds
    on January 27, 2020 at 6:47 pm

    A ketogenic diet -- which provides 99 percent of calories from fat and only 1 percent from carbohydrates -- produces health benefits in the short term, but negative effects after about a week, researchers found in a study of mice.

  • Unanticipated response to estrogen at the single cell level
    on January 27, 2020 at 6:47 pm

    Researchers found that not only do individual mammalian cells in a population fail to respond synchronously to estrogen stimulation, neither do individual gene copies, known as alleles.

  • New portable tool analyzes microbes in the environment
    on January 27, 2020 at 12:52 pm

    Imagine a device that could swiftly analyze microbes in oceans and other aquatic environments, revealing the health of these organisms - too tiny to be seen by the naked eye - and their response to threats to their ecosystems. Researchers have created just such a tool, a portable device that could be used to assess microbes, screen for antibiotic-resistant bacteria and analyze algae that live in coral reefs.

  • 'Jumping genes' help stabilize DNA folding patterns
    on January 24, 2020 at 8:51 pm

    The DNA molecule inside the nucleus of any human cell is more than six feet long. To fit into such a small space, it must fold into precise loops that also govern how genes are turned on or off. New research indicates that 'jumping genes' play a surprising role in stabilizing the 3D folding patterns of the DNA molecule inside the cell's nucleus.

  • The skin of Earth is home to Pac-Man-like protists
    on January 24, 2020 at 8:50 pm

    The most common groups of soil protists behave exactly like Pac-Man: moving through the soil matrix, gobbling up bacteria according to a new article.

  • Assessing risk of chemicals to wildlife is huge challenge that requires new approach
    on January 24, 2020 at 5:55 pm

    Computer modelling and long-term ecological monitoring will be essential to assess the environmental risks of the rapidly growing number of chemicals across the world, according to a new review paper.

  • Dance of the honey bee reveals fondness for strawberries
    on January 24, 2020 at 5:45 pm

    Bees are pollinators of many plants, but their diversity and density is declining. A team investigated their foraging behavior in agricultural landscapes. They found that honey bees prefer strawberry fields, even if flowering next to oilseed rape fields. Only when oilseed rape was in full bloom were fewer honey bees in the strawberries. Wild bees, on the other hand, consistently chose the strawberry field.

  • Discovery sheds new light on how cells move
    on January 24, 2020 at 5:45 pm

    Through experiments, researchers found that the force each cell applies to the surface beneath it -- in other words, traction -- is the dominant physical factor that controls cell shape and motion as cells travel as a group.

  • Marburg virus found in Sierra Leone bats
    on January 24, 2020 at 12:39 pm

    Scientists have detected Marburg virus in fruit bats in Sierra Leone, marking the first time the deadly virus has been found in West Africa. Eleven Egyptian rousette fruit bats tested positive for active Marburg virus infection. The presence of Marburg virus, a close relative to Ebola virus that also causes hemorrhagic disease in people, was detected in advance of any reported cases of human illness in Sierra Leone.

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