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Preview: Biology News Net - Biology

Biology News Net - Biology

Your source for Bioinformatics and Biotechology News! Biology Current Events on Stem cell research, Gene Synthesis, Microarray and Microfluidics research, Retrovirology, Gene therapy... by a Bioinformatics PhD student working on AIDS.

Last Build Date: Mon, 05 Sep 2016 18:38:04 -0500

Copyright: Copyright 2017

Brain circuit that drives sleep-wake states, sleep-preparation behavior is identified

Mon, 05 Sep 2016 18:38:04 -0500

Stanford University School of Medicine scientists have identified a brain circuit that's indispensable to the sleep-wake cycle. This same circuit is also a key component of the reward system, an archipelago of interconnected brain clusters crucial to promoting behavior necessary for animals, including humans, to survive and reproduce.

New species of pterosaur discovered in Patagonia

Tue, 30 Aug 2016 17:36:48 -0500

This is a paleoartist's reconstruction of a ptesosaur.
Scientists today announced the discovery of a new species of pterosaur from the Patagonia region of South America. The cranial remains were in an excellent state of preservation and belonged to a new species of pterosaur from the Early Jurassic. The researchers have named this new species 'Allkauren koi' from the native Tehuelche word 'all' for 'brain', and 'karuen' for 'ancient'.

Study finds shark fins & meat contain high levels of neurotoxins linked to Alzheimer's disease

Mon, 29 Aug 2016 18:12:50 -0500

Cyanobacterial neurotoxin β-N-methylamino-L-alanine (BMAA) and Mercury are detected in sharks from the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
In a new study, University of Miami (UM) scientists found high concentrations of toxins linked to neurodegenerative diseases in the fins and muscles of 10 species of sharks. The research team suggests that restricting consumption of sharks can have positive health benefits for consumers and for shark conservation, since several of the sharks analyzed in the study are threatened with extinction due to overfishing.

Beetles pollinated orchids millions of year ago, fossil evidence shows

Mon, 22 Aug 2016 18:24:08 -0500

This is a fossil ptilodactyline beetle found in amber from Mexico. The black arrow points to pollinia attached to the beetle's mouthparts.
When most people hear the word "pollinator," they think of bees and butterflies. However, certain beetles are known to pollinate plants as well, and new fossil evidence indicates that they were doing so 20 million years ago.

In the ocean, clever camouflage beats super sight

Mon, 22 Aug 2016 18:24:07 -0500

Squinting won't help you spot the fish in this photo. These snub-nosed darts blend seamlessly into their watery surroundings with help from their silvery reflective skin.
In a matchup of animal superpowers, a clever form of camouflage might beat super sight -- at least in the ocean.

Unearthed: The cannibal sharks of a forgotten age

Thu, 11 Aug 2016 18:30:37 -0500

Image of a thin-section through an Orthacanthus coprolite with a black box indicating the tooth of an Orthacanthus.
Scientists have discovered macabre fossil evidence suggesting that 300 million-year-old sharks ate their own young, as fossil poop of adult Orthacanthus sharks contained the tiny teeth of juveniles. These fearsome marine predators used protected coastal lagoons to rear their babies, but it seems they also resorted to cannibalising them when other food sources became scarce.

Tracing the evolution of bird reproduction

Wed, 10 Aug 2016 17:54:32 -0500

Birds' reproductive strategies have gone through a series of stages, from dinosaurs to today.
What really did come first--the chicken or the egg? Birds' reproductive biology is dramatically different from that of any other living vertebrates, and ornithologists and paleontologists have long wondered how and when the unique features of bird reproduction originated. A new Review in The Auk: Ornithological Advances examines answers from three sources--modern birds, fossils of primitive birds, and fossils of the dinosaurs from which birds are descended--to shed new light on the subject.

Tiger sharks can be marine 'hyenas' too

Mon, 08 Aug 2016 17:16:51 -0500

Tiger shark eating a turtle,
Tiger sharks are known as impressive predators that hunt and consume almost anything from birds to sea turtles. But when the opportunity presents itself, these sharks easily convert into the role of marine scavengers. This behavior was reported¹ in Springer's journal Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology by a team of American, Australian and British researchers led by Neil Hammerschlag of the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science in the US. They re-evaluated satellite tracking data collected from tiger sharks and green turtles off the Great Barrier Reef's Raine Island, which is home to the world's largest concentration of nesting green turtles.

Discovery: Mantis shrimp use UV color spots, chemical cues to size up opponents

Wed, 03 Aug 2016 16:41:36 -0500

A mantis shrimp displaying its meral spots, visible as two purple dots.
Mantis shrimp, often brightly colored and fiercely aggressive sea creatures with outsized strength, use the ultraviolet reflectance of their color spots as well as chemical signals to assess the likelihood of victory in combat, according to research led by a Tufts University doctoral candidate. The findings, published today in Royal Society Open Science, mark the first time that researchers have demonstrated that mantis shrimp (Neogonodactylus oerstedii) use both color and chemical cues when fighting over resources.

First evidence of sleep in flight

Wed, 03 Aug 2016 16:41:35 -0500

Frigatebirds reaches a wingspan of over two metres. They are excellent gliders and can cover several hundred kilometers a day.
For the first time, researchers have discovered that birds can sleep in flight. Together with an international team of colleagues, Niels Rattenborg from the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Seewiesen measured the brain activity of frigatebirds and found that they sleep in flight with either one cerebral hemisphere at a time or both hemispheres simultaneously. Despite being able to engage in all types of sleep in flight, the birds slept less than an hour a day, a mere fraction of the time spent sleeping on land. How frigatebirds are able to perform adaptively on such little sleep remains a mystery.