Emerging infectious diseases comprise a substantial fraction of important human infections, with potentially devastating global health and economic impacts. A 2008 paper in Nature described the emergence of no fewer than 335 infectious diseases in the global human population between 1940 and 2004. In the veterinary field, just as in the medical field, advanced molecular techniques and sophisticated computer-based algorithms for genetic sequence assembly and analysis have revolutionized infectious disease research.
Researchers have discovered that the human mutation rate is significantly slower than for our closest primate relatives. The new knowledge may be important for estimates of when the common ancestor for humans and chimpanzees lived -- and for conservation of large primates in the wild.
Prions can infect both humans and animals, causing Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) in humans, mad cow disease in cattle, and chronic wasting disease in elk and deer. The infectious, misfolded protein particles often go undetected as they destroy brain tissue, causing memory loss, mobility issues, and ultimately death. Preclinical detection of prions has proven difficult, but new research suggests skin samples hold early signs of prion disease that precede neurologic symptoms.
The study is the first to track the timing of 12 geographically distinct breeding populations of tree swallows across the continent. Researchers measured how long birds spent at breeding grounds to raise their young, when they began migration and stopped to refuel, and when they arrived at wintering grounds. Understanding when birds move between breeding and wintering sites, and how different populations move, can help identify the greatest threats to survival.
So-called bifacial stem cells are responsible for one of the most critical growth processes on Earth -- the formation of wood. By alternately developing into wood and bast cells, these stem cells are thus starting points for forming wood as well as generating plant bast fibers. A team of researchers were recently able to demonstrate this phenomenon using new experimental tools.
Sepsis is a life-threatening condition that develops in response to infection. One of its major complications is cardiovascular dysfunction. Now, scientists show that a novel synthetic compound derived from flaxseed can reverse this and improve heart function in mice with sepsis.
Having ancestors who were frequently exposed to stressors can improve one's own immune response to stressors, according to researchers. The results suggest that family history should be considered to predict or understand the health implications of stress.
Paleontologists have discovered the first detailed fossil of a hagfish, the slimy, eel-like carrion feeders of the ocean. The 100-million-year-old fossil helps answer questions about when these ancient, jawless fish branched off the evolutionary tree from the lineage that gave rise to modern-day jawed vertebrates, including bony fish and humans.
Study shows there is no difference in pollination success between part-night lighting and full darkness, highlighting the ecological benefit of switching off our street lights even for short periods in the night.
Fecal transplants could be used to treat intestinal disorders like inflammatory bowel disease -- and perhaps even help prevent Alzheimer's and cancer -- if we can unlock the secrets of the gut-rejuvenating 'super donor,' say researchers.
New research on the United States' most economically important agricultural plant -- corn -- has revealed a different internal structure of the plant than previously thought, which can help optimize how corn is converted into ethanol.
Cells must keep their shape and proportions to successfully reproduce through cell division, scientists have found. The research reveals a fundamental biological basis for scaling, where cells maintain their proportions as they grow or shrink. This principle is seen throughout life, from single cells through to complex organisms, but its biological origins have remained a mystery.
A new study challenges long-held theories of why a common virus -- cytomegalovirus, or CMV -- can reactivate and become a life-threatening infection in people with a compromised immune system, including blood cancer patients undergoing bone marrow transplantation.
Waves of undulating cilia drive several processes essential to life. They clear debris and mucus from the respiratory tract, move spinal fluid through the brain and transport embryos from the ovaries to the uterus for implantation. According to a new study in mice, however, cilia perform somewhat differently in the male reproductive tract.
Researchers used knockout mouse models created by gene editing to reveal that the miRNA miR-146b, like miR-146a, is involved in the development of cancers, with them having similar but not identical effects. The knockout mice should help in the fight against cancers involving miRNA dysregulation.