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EurekAlert! - Biology



The premier online source for science news since 1996. A service of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.



Last Build Date: Wed, 24 May 2017 00:12:01 EDT

Copyright: Copyright 2017 American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS); All rights reserved.
 



Dartmouth-led study finds heavier precipitation in the northeast began in 1996

Wed, 24 May 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(Dartmouth College) Over the past century, the Northeast has experienced an increase in the number of storms with extreme precipitation. A Dartmouth-led study finds that the increase in extreme Northeast storms occurred as an abrupt shift in 1996, particularly in the spring and fall, rather than as a steady change over several decades. The findings were published in an early online release of the American Meteorological Society's 'Journal of Hydrometeorology.'



A fresh look inside the protein nano-machines

Wed, 24 May 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(Université de Genève) Proteins perform vital functions, they digest food and fight infections. They are in fact nano-machines, each one of them designed to perform a specific task. But how did they evolve to match those needs, how did the genes encode the structure and function of proteins? Researchers from the University of Geneva, Switzerland, the Institute for Basic Science, Korea, and the Rockefeller University, United States, have conducted a study that tackles this yet unanswered question.



Lizards may be overwhelmed by fire ants and social stress combined

Tue, 23 May 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(Penn State) Lizards living in fire-ant-invaded areas are stressed. However, a team of biologists found that the lizards did not exhibit this stress as expected after extended fire ant exposure in socially stressful environments, leading to questions about stress overload.



Stingless bees have specialized guards to defend their colonies, study reveals

Tue, 23 May 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo) Several species of stingless bees have specialized guards or soldiers to defend their colonies from attacks by natural enemies. The differentiation of these guardian bees evolved in the last 25 million years and coincided with the appearance of parasitic 'robber' bees, which represent a major threat to many stingless bee species. These discoveries were made by a group of researchers in Brazil in collaboration with colleagues in Germany.



Blood test offers improved breast cancer detection tool to reduce use of breast biopsy

Tue, 23 May 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(Provista Diagnostics) A Clinical Breast Cancer study demonstrates Videssa Breast can inform better next steps after abnormal mammogram results and potentially reduce biopsies up to 67 percent.



Genetic mutation trade-offs lead to parallel evolution

Tue, 23 May 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(University of Illinois College of Engineering) Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have shown how evolutionary dynamics proceed when selection acts on two traits governed by a trade-off. The results move the life sciences a step closer to understanding the full complexity of evolution at the cellular level.



Recreational cocaine: Brain area involved in addiction activated earlier than thought

Tue, 23 May 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(McGill University) Even among non-dependent cocaine users, cues associated with consumption of the drug lead to dopamine release in an area of the brain thought to promote compulsive use, according to researchers at McGill University.



New chemical reaction developed at UCLA could eventually yield new fuels and medications

Tue, 23 May 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(University of California - Los Angeles) UCLA chemists have developed a new technique to convert carbon-hydrogen bonds into carbon-carbon bonds using catalysts made of silicon and boron, both abundant and inexpensive elements.



Keck School of Medicine of USC receives $2.2 million NIH grant for bone repair research

Tue, 23 May 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(University of Southern California - Health Sciences) The Keck School of Medicine of USC has received a $2.2 million NIH grant to fund research on healing difficult bone injuries.



Cryobank of biotechnological plant material has been opened in the Moscow State University

Tue, 23 May 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(Lomonosov Moscow State University) The cryodepository of plant cell cultures and meristems was opened in the M.V.Lomonosov Moscow State University Centre of Excellence in Biotechnology. The cryobank is designed for 50 000 samples to be stored in liquid nitrogen vapor at a temperature of -180C.



Biosynthetic secrets: How fungi make bioactive compounds

Tue, 23 May 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(Utah State University) Biological engineers at Utah State University have successfully decoded and reprogrammed the biosynthetic machinery that produces a variety of natural compounds found in fungi.



Better science faster

Tue, 23 May 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(University of California - Santa Barbara) Scientists at UCSB's NCEAS are transforming how complex marine data from the Ocean Health Index is synthesized, communicated and used for coastal management.



Study leads to breakthrough in better understanding acute myeloid leukemia

Tue, 23 May 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(University of Birmingham) A study led by the University of Birmingham has made a breakthrough in the understanding of how different genetic mutations cause acute myeloid leukemia.



Pope's encyclical boosted his credibility on climate change, especially among liberals

Tue, 23 May 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania) The Pope's 2015 encyclical on climate change did not directly influence people's beliefs about the seriousness of climate change or its effect on the poor, a study in Cognition has found. The papal message did, however, indirectly influence people's beliefs about climate change by raising the Pope's credibility on that issue, most strongly among liberals.



Oyster farming to benefit from new genetic screening tool

Tue, 23 May 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(University of Edinburgh) Oyster farmers are set to benefit from a new genetic tool that will help to prevent disease outbreaks and improve yields. The technology -- developed by scientists at the University of Edinburgh's Roslin Institute -- will enable hatcheries to rapidly assess the genetic make-up of their oysters, so they can select animals with desirable characteristics from which to breed.



Cowbird moms choosy when selecting foster parents for their young

Tue, 23 May 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) Despite their reputation as uncaring, absentee moms, cowbird mothers are capable of making sophisticated choices among potential nests in order to give their offspring a better chance of thriving, a new study shows.



Immunotherapy target suppresses pain to mask cancer

Tue, 23 May 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(Duke University) Duke University researchers found that a molecule called PD-L1, which is blocked by the immunotherapy drug nivolumab, acts not only on immune cells but also on the nerve cells that signal pain. That insight could lead to a simple test that measures subtle differences in pain sensitivity to gauge whether or not a cancer patient is responding to immunotherapy. This study also identifies PD-L1 as a previously unrecognized neuromodulator and pain inhibitor.



Declawing linked to aggression and other abnormal behaviors in cats

Tue, 23 May 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(SAGE) According to research published today in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery*, declawing increases the risk of long-term or persistent pain, manifesting as unwanted behaviors such as inappropriate elimination (soiling/urinating outside of the litter box) and aggression/biting.



UT study shows snakes, thought to be solitary eaters, coordinate hunts

Tue, 23 May 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(University of Tennessee at Knoxville) Snakes, although as social as birds and mammals, have long been thought to be solitary hunters and eaters. A new study from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, shows that some snakes coordinate their hunts to increase their chances of success.



Common artificial sweetener likely a safe, effective birth control and pesticide

Tue, 23 May 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(Drexel University) Erythritol, a non-nutritive sweetener found in products like Truvia, has proven effective in killing fly larvae and slowing down their egg production, making it a good candidate for human and pet-safe pesticide use.



Should you pee on a jellyfish sting? (video)

Tue, 23 May 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(American Chemical Society) We all know the evils that come from a run-in with a jellyfish's tentacles. But thankfully, we can resort to peeing on a sting to make the pain go away -- or can we? Filmed at San Francisco's Aquarium of the Bay, the latest Reactions episode explains the fearsome chemistry of jellyfish stings, and debunks this age-old beach myth: https://youtu.be/KDj2t4-bn1g.



Making biological drugs with spider silk protein

Tue, 23 May 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(Karolinska Institutet) Researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have managed to synthesise lung surfactant, a drug used in the care of preterm babies, by mimicking the production of spider silk. Animal studies reveal it to be just as effective as the biological drugs currently in clinical use. The study is published in Nature Communications.



Tracking down the scent of recycled plastic

Tue, 23 May 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(University of Erlangen-Nuremberg) Recycling plastic has an important role in sustainable manufacturing. However, there are still barriers to using recycled plastic not only because of its material and processing properties but also because of its smell. A young researcher at Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg has now studied what causes recycled plastic to smell.



Optimization of hemp-ground tire rubber/high density polyethylene composites

Tue, 23 May 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(Bentham Science Publishers) Recent interest in lignocellulosic fibers was devoted to improve the mechanical properties of polymers. But one of their main limitation is the poor compatibility and adhesion between these polar/hydrophilic fibers with most commercial resins being non-polar and hydrophobic. This problem has been partially solved using physical and chemical surface treatments, and/or the addition of a coupling agent (phase compatibilization).



A CLOUD of possibilities: Finding new therapies by combining drugs

Tue, 23 May 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(CeMM Research Center for Molecular Medicine of the Austrian Academy of Sciences) The CeMM Library of Unique Drugs (CLOUD) is the first condensed set of FDA-approved drugs representing all clinical compounds. Its potential was shown in a combinatorial high throughput screen at the CeMM chemical screening platform, published in Nature Chemical Biology: by testing all CLOUD compounds in combination with each other, a pair of hitherto unrelated drugs proved to be highly effective against multiple prostate cancer cell lines known for their resistance to therapy.