Synthetic biology has created microbes that produce drugs, flavors, aromas and fuels. Now scientists have used the same tricks, with the help of CRISPR-Cas9, to get yeast to produce the flavor of hops. They added genes from mint and basil and used the yeast to brew a beer that tasters said had notes of 'fruit-loops' and 'orange blossom,' with no off flavors. The yeast helps brewers avoid expensive, highly variable and water-guzzling hops.
Blackbirds live longer in cities than in forests. But their telomeres, the repetitive stretches of DNA at the ends of the chromosomes, show that these city birds have a much poorer health status than their rural cousins.
The face of American forests is changing, due to climate change-induced shifts in rainfall and temperature that are causing shifts in the abundance of numerous tree species, according to a new article. The result means some forests in the eastern U.S. are already starting to look different, but more important, it means the ability of those forests to soak up carbon is being altered as well, which could in turn bring about further climate change.
A review article highlights opportunities and challenges in using amino acid transporters as drug targets. The article provides an overview of methods used to identify new inhibitors for amino acid transporters and outlines cell and organ function where these can be used to modulate, prevent or to treat diseases.
New research explains how the 'wiggling and jiggling' of the atoms in enzymes -- the proteins that make biological reactions happen -- is 'choreographed' to make them work at a particular temperature. Enzyme catalysis is essential to life, and this research sheds light on how enzymes have evolved and adapted, enabling organisms to evolve to live at different temperatures.
Mexican cavefish have insulin resistance, a hallmark of many human metabolic disorders and a precursor to type 2 diabetes that can lead to an overworked pancreas, excess fat storage and chronically elevated blood sugar. Despite dysregulated blood sugar, the fish don't suffer the same health consequences people do. Study offers a fresh opportunity to understand how animals thrive with traits that sicken humans and could point the way to new interventions for disease.
One of the most fascinating topics in ecology is the exploration of interactions between plants, specifically in long-lived organisms, such as trees. In this context, it is generally assumed that tree-tree interactions are dominated by competition for resources such as light, water or nutrients.
Researchers have identified a key enzyme for the synthesis of glycoconjugates (sugars linked to other molecules) in Plasmodium falciparum and other intracellular parasites belonging to the large phylum Apicomplexa. The study indicates that this enzyme could represent a selective therapeutic target against this broad group of parasites.
Species that live in symbiosis with others, which often occur in the most delicately balanced and threatened marine ecosystems such as coral reefs, are the slowest to recover their diversity if damaged, according to a team of scientists.
Yeasts are tiny fungi -- but they play key roles in producing everything from beer and cheese to industrial chemicals and biofuels. And now scientists are proposing a new approach that could help these industries find new yeasts for use in their manufacturing processes.
Hummingbirds' specialization and vulnerability are often predicted based on their physical traits. Scientists now found that this is not the case for hummingbirds on the Caribbean islands. Instead, the bird's environment is the determining factor.
Understanding the factors that affect a bird species' nesting success can be crucial for planning effective conservation efforts. However, many studies of nesting birds last only a few years -- and that means they can miss the effects of long-term variation and rare events. A new study demonstrates this with nearly four decades of data from Song Sparrows in British Columbia.
It's likely not the first thing you think of when you see elephant or cow dung, but this material turns out to be an excellent source of cellulose for paper manufacturing. Upcycling manure into paper products could be a cheap and environmentally sound method to get rid of this pervasive agricultural waste.
Ras proteins are molecular switches that decide if and when cells divide inside our bodies. An impairment of their function may result in the formation of a tumor. The process of switching the proteins on and off has now been observed in detail.
A compound in beets that gives the vegetable its distinctive red color could help slow the accumulation of misfolded proteins in the brain, a process associated with Alzheimer's disease. Scientists say this could lead to the development of drugs that could alleviate some of the long-term effects of the disease, the world's leading cause of dementia.