Women have many options for oral contraceptives that are safe, effective and reversible, but despite decades of research, men have none. Now, scientists report a rat study that shows they finally have a good lead for a male birth control pill. It's based on ouabain, a plant extract that African warriors and hunters traditionally used as a heart-stopping poison on their arrows.
According to Charles Darwin the ability to adapt to new conditions is essential for survival of species. The capacity to cope with altered conditions is becoming increasingly important in the face of climate change. New evidence on salt water tolerance in spawning migrating pike from the Baltic Sea suggests that not being adapted to specific local environments may promote persistence in an uncertain, rapidly changing world.
A small group of fishes -- possibly the world's cleverest carnivorous grazers -- feeds on the scales of other fish in the tropics. Biologists are trying to understand these scale-feeding fish and how this odd diet influences their body evolution and behavior.
Strolling around or running to catch the train similarly requires us to move. However, the neuronal mechanisms in the brain that allow us to initiate and control these movements are different, a new study reveals. 'Start neurons' in the midbrain are essential to take the first step to initiate locomotion and control the speed, mice models show.
RNA was probably the first informational molecule. Now chemists have demonstrated that alternation of wet and dry conditions could have sufficed to drive the prebiotic synthesis of the RNA nucleosides found in all domains of life.
Some Antarctic fish living in the planet's coldest waters are able to cope with the stress of rising carbon dioxide levels the ocean. They can even tolerate slightly warmer waters. But they can't deal with both climate change stressors at the same time, according to a new study.
California sea lions have fully rebounded under the protection of the Marine Mammal Protection Act, with their population on the West Coast reaching carrying capacity in 2008 before unusually warm ocean conditions reduced their numbers, according to the first comprehensive population assessment of the species.
How did Borneo get its elephant? This could be just another of Rudyard Kipling's just so stories. The Bornean elephant is a subspecies of Asian Elephants that only exist in a small region of Borneo. Their presence on this southeastern Asian island has been a mystery. Scientists have discovered that elephants might have arrived on Borneo at a time of the last land bridge between the Sunda Islands in Southeast Asia.
A team of scientists has described a novel 'microtube'-based platform to study how tubular organs, such as the heart and the kidneys, form under the various topographical restrictions commonly experienced inside the body.
Two new frog species were discovered in the Amazon Basin. Both had been previously misidentified as another superficially identical species. One of them received a name translating to 'demon' or 'devil' in allusion to the horn-like projections visible on its eyelids. The second one was named in honor of famous American filmmaker Stanley Kubrick, because of his masterpiece A Clockwork Orange.
Amoebae, single-celled organisms common in soil, water and grade-school science classrooms, may play a key role in the survival and spread of deadly plague bacteria. New research shows that plague bacteria, Yersinia pestis, not only survive, but thrive and replicate once ingested by an amoeba. The discovery could help scientists understand why plague outbreaks can smolder, stay dormant for years, and re-emerge with a vengeance.
More than 10,000 people in the United States are living with memory loss and other persistent neurological problems that occur after West Nile virus infects the brain. Now, a new study in mice suggests that such ongoing neurological deficits may be due to unresolved inflammation that hinders the brain's ability to repair damaged neurons and grow new ones. When the inflammation was reduced by treatment with an arthritis drug, the animals' ability to learn and remember remained sharp after West Nile disease.
Using a unique technology called 'cell quake elastography,' scientists can now map to the millisecond the elasticity of components vibrating inside a cell. This discovery opens up a whole new field of research in mechanobiology, opening the door to many practical applications in medicine.