Biology

Biology News -- ScienceDaily Biology news and videos from research institutes around the world. Updated daily.

  • Plants sacrifice 'daughters' to survive chilly weather
    on June 23, 2017 at 12:50 pm

    Plants adopt different strategies to survive the changing temperatures of their natural environments. This is most evident in temperate regions where forest trees shed their leaves to conserve energy during the cold season. In a new study, a team of plant biologists found that some plants may selectively kill part of their roots to survive under cold weather conditions. […]

  • Protein mingling under blue light
    on June 23, 2017 at 12:50 pm

    One of the current challenges in biology is to understand rapidly-changing phenomena. Interestingly, only a small fraction of them is due to proteins acting in isolation, the majority of biological events are regulated by proteins acting together in clusters. Researchers have developed a new tool, called "CRY2clust", to trigger protein cluster formation in response to blue light. This new technique has a much faster response rate and higher sensitivity to light than existent methods. […]

  • How a single chemical bond balances cells between life and death
    on June 22, 2017 at 10:28 pm

    With SLAC's X-ray laser and synchrotron, scientists measured exactly how much energy goes into keeping a crucial chemical bond from triggering a cell's death spiral. […]

  • How eggs got their shapes
    on June 22, 2017 at 6:30 pm

    The evolution of the amniotic egg -- complete with membrane and shell -- was key to vertebrates leaving the oceans and colonizing the land and air but how bird eggs evolved into so many different shapes and sizes has long been a mystery. Now, an international team of scientists took a quantitative approach to that question and found that adaptations for flight may have been critical drivers of egg-shape variation in birds. […]

  • Previously unknown pine marten diversity discovered
    on June 22, 2017 at 6:30 pm

    The elusive American pine marten, a little-studied member of the weasel family, might be more diverse than originally thought, according to new research. […]

  • How do genes get new jobs? Wasp venom offers new insights
    on June 22, 2017 at 6:30 pm

    A new study describes how four closely related species of parasitic wasps change their venoms rapidly in order to adapt to new hosts, and proposes that co-option of single copy genes may be a common but relatively understudied mechanism of evolution for new gene functions, particularly under conditions of rapid evolutionary change. […]

  • A rising star: Researchers dissect the process by which blood vessels shrink, which could have...
    on June 22, 2017 at 6:30 pm

    It's a tiny marine invertebrate, no more than 3 millimeters in size. But closely related to humans, Botryllus schlosseri might hold the key to new treatments for cancer and a host of vascular diseases. […]

  • How bacterial organelles assemble
    on June 22, 2017 at 6:29 pm

    Scientists are providing the clearest view yet of an intact bacterial microcompartment, revealing at atomic-level resolution the structure and assembly of the organelle's protein shell. This work could benefit research in bioenergy and pathogenesis, and it could lead to new methods of bioengineering bacteria for beneficial purposes. […]

  • Switchable DNA mini-machines store information
    on June 22, 2017 at 6:29 pm

    Biomedical engineers have built simple machines out of DNA, consisting of arrays whose units switch reversibly between two different shapes. The arrays' inventors say they could be harnessed to make nanotech sensors or amplifiers. Potentially, they could be combined to form logic gates, the parts of a molecular computer. […]

  • UV-sensing protein in brain of marine annelid zooplankton
    on June 22, 2017 at 4:20 pm

    Larvae of a marine ragworm Platynereis dumerilii have been studied as a zooplankton model, and possess photoreceptor cells in the brain to regulate circadian swimming behavior. This study revealed that a photoreceptive protein in the brain photoreceptor cells is UV (ultra-violet) sensitive. Since avoidance of UV irradiation is a major cause of a large-scale daily movement of zooplankton, the UV sensor in the brain would be important for physiology and ecology of the zooplankton model. […]

  • Cells in fish's spinal discs repair themselves
    on June 22, 2017 at 4:20 pm

    A unique repair mechanism has been discovered in the developing backbone of zebrafish that could give insight into why spinal discs of longer-lived organisms like humans degenerate with age. The repair mechanism protects fluid-filled cells of the notochord, the precursor of the spine, from mechanical stress. Notochord cells eventually form the gelatinous center of intervertebral discs, the structures that often degenerate with age to cause back and neck pain. […]

  • Satellite data to map endangered monkey populations on Earth
    on June 22, 2017 at 4:19 pm

    Using a combination of satellite and ground data, a research team can map multiple indicators of monkey distribution, including human activity zones as inferred from roads and settlements, direct detections from mosquito-derived iDNA, animal sound recordings, plus detections of other species that are usually found when monkeys are present, such as other large vertebrates. […]

  • How pythons regenerate their organs and other secrets of the snake genome
    on June 22, 2017 at 4:19 pm

    Snakes exhibit incredible evolutionary adaptations, including the ability to rapidly regenerate their organs and produce venom. Scientists studied these adaptations using genetic sequencing and advanced computing. Supercomputers helped the team identify a number of genes associated with organ growth in Burmese pythons, study secondary contact in related rattlesnake species, and develop tools to recognize evolutionary changes caused by natural selection. […]

  • New insight into a central biological dogma on ion transport
    on June 22, 2017 at 2:40 pm

    New research results show how active transport of potassium can be achieved by a membrane protein complex that has roots in both ion pump and ion channel super-families. The results shed new light on what define channels and pumps. […]

  • 'Star dust' wasp is a new extinct species named after David Bowie's alter ego
    on June 22, 2017 at 2:40 pm

    During her study on fossil insects at China's Capitol Normal University, a student visited the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, USA, carrying two unidentified wasp specimens that were exceptionally well-preserved and 100 million years old. Close examination revealed that both were species new to science. Furthermore, one of them was found to belong to a genus of modern wasps. […]

  • Biologist develops new method to calculate populations of elusive species
    on June 22, 2017 at 12:33 pm

    An innovative new method of estimating the density of snake populations without employing the capture-mark-recapture technique has been created by a biologist. […]

  • Dogs to sniff out chemicals that identify human remains
    on June 22, 2017 at 12:28 pm

    New research to help improve accuracy of criminal investigations involves a partnership between humans and their canine coworkers. […]

  • Pathogen that causes sleeping sickness: Promising new target
    on June 22, 2017 at 12:27 pm

    The life-threatening African trypanosomiasis, also called sleeping sickness, is caused by protozoa of the species Trypanosoma brucei. A team of researchers has studied the pathogens and reported exciting news: The trypanosomes have a so far unknown enzyme which does not exist in humans and other vertebrates. This makes it a promising target for therapy. […]

  • Pollinator extinctions alter structure of ecological networks
    on June 21, 2017 at 11:00 pm

    The absence of a single dominant bumblebee species from an ecosystem disrupts foraging patterns among a broad range of remaining pollinators in the system -- from other bees to butterflies, beetles and more, field experiments show. […]

  • Algae: The final frontier
    on June 21, 2017 at 8:59 pm

    Algae dominate the oceans that cover nearly three-quarters of our planet, and produce half of the oxygen that we breathe. And yet fewer than 10 percent of the algae have been formally described in the scientific literature, as noted in a new review. […]

  • Fossil holds new insights into how fish evolved onto land
    on June 21, 2017 at 8:59 pm

    The fossil of an early snake-like animal -- called Lethiscus stocki -- has kept its evolutionary secrets for the last 340-million years. Now, an international team of researchers has revealed new insights into the ancient Scottish fossil that dramatically challenge our understanding of the early evolution of tetrapods, or four-limbed animals with backbones. […]

  • Reconstruction of ancient chromosomes offers insight into mammalian evolution
    on June 21, 2017 at 6:51 pm

    Researchers have gone back in time, at least virtually, computationally recreating the chromosomes of the first eutherian mammal, the long-extinct, shrewlike ancestor of all placental mammals. […]

  • How did bird babysitting co-ops evolve?
    on June 21, 2017 at 6:21 pm

    It's easy to make up a story to explain an evolved trait; proving that's what happened is much harder. Here scientists test ideas about cooperative breeding in birds and find a solution that resolves earlier disagreements. […]

  • New mechanism for genome regulation discovered
    on June 21, 2017 at 5:29 pm

    The mechanisms that separate mixtures of oil and water may also help the organization of a part of our DNA called heterochromatin, according to a new study. Researchers found that liquid-liquid phase separation helps heterochromatin organize large parts of the genome into specific regions of the nucleus. The work addresses a long-standing question about how DNA functions are organized in space and time, including how genes are silenced or expressed. […]

  • Zika: Studying the 'rebound virus'
    on June 21, 2017 at 4:54 pm

    Scientists are investigating how the Zika virus is able to find a safe harbor in an infected host's tissue and stage a rebound weeks after the virus was seemingly cleared by the immune system. […]

  • Understanding how pain is bugging you
    on June 21, 2017 at 4:05 pm

    Gut bacteria play a key role in regulating abdominal pain and its associated changes in the brain and spinal cord, at least in mice, report scientists. […]

  • Warming temperatures threaten sea turtles
    on June 21, 2017 at 3:39 pm

    Warmer temperatures associated with climate change may lead to higher numbers of female sea turtles and increased nest failure, suggests a new report. […]

  • Simple method measures how long bacteria can wait out antibiotics
    on June 21, 2017 at 2:32 pm

    A simple test that measures how long it takes to kill bacteria could help doctors treat strains that are on their way to becoming resistant to antibiotics. If implemented in hospitals' microbiology labs, the test could help guide treatment decisions, and could ultimately reduce the ever-growing risk of bacterial resistance. […]

  • Active 24/7 and doing great: New clues to circadian clocks
    on June 21, 2017 at 2:31 pm

    Circadian clocks control the day-night cycle of many living beings. But what do the pacemakers do in animals whose activities do not follow this pattern? Scientists have now looked into this question. […]

  • Clear view on stem cell development
    on June 21, 2017 at 2:31 pm

    Today, tracking the development of individual cells and spotting the associated factors under the microscope is nothing unusual. However, impairments like shadows or changes in the background complicate the interpretation of data. Now, researchers have developed a software that corrects images to make hitherto hidden development steps visible. […]