In its attempt to fight a serious bacterial infection, caused by listeria, for example, the immune system can become so over-activated that the resulting inflammatory response and its consequences can quickly lead to death. Scientists have now demonstrated in an animal model that such an excessive response by the immune system can be modulated by targeted manipulation of the sugar metabolism to produce an immune response that efficiently eliminates the pathogens without causing any harmful secondary reactions.
Given the possible security vulnerabilities related to developments in synthetic biology -- a field that uses technologies to modify or create organisms or biological components -- a new report proposes a framework to identify and prioritize potential areas of concern associated with the field.
A longstanding obstacle to the market for bovine embryos is about to be removed. Researchers have described a hitherto unknown mechanism of lipid accumulation in oocytes that limits the success of in vitro production of bovine embryos.
Scientists studying microbes from some of the saltiest lakes in Antarctica have discovered a new way the microbes can share DNA that could help them grow and survive. The research, based on 18 months of water sampling in remote Antarctic locations, could throw light on the evolutionary history of viruses. The team discovered some of the microbes contained small molecules of DNA called plasmids.
For the first time, researchers are using proteomics to examine proteins and peptides in saliva in order to accurately detect exposure to Zika virus. With 70 countries and territories reporting evidence of mosquito-borne Zika virus transmission, there is an increased need for a rapid and effective test for the virus. This study offers a new, quicker and more cost-effective way to test for the virus.
A new tree species, endemic to the floristically rich high Hawaiian island Kaua'i, is already assessed as Critically Endangered according to IUCN criteria. First collected and documented as early as 1988, the new species, Melicope stonei, has been officially described and named in a new article.
With more than two dozen companies in Pennsylvania manufacturing potato chips, it is no wonder that researchers have developed a novel approach to more efficiently convert potato waste into ethanol. This process may lead to reduced production costs for biofuel in the future and add extra value for chip makers.
Decades of research has shown that apes, in spite of their proverbial aping abilities, are rather poor imitators, especially when compared to human children. Current theories hold that apes are worse imitators because they lack this social and communicative side of imitation. A new study has instead targeted the interactive side of imitation directly, and finds that the divide between humans and chimpanzees is less clear cut.
As conditions warm, fish and wildlife living at the southern edge of their species' ranges are most at risk, according to researchers who led a major collaborative study of how wood frogs are being affected by climate change.
Nectar, the high-energy 'honey' produced by flowers, might be a brilliant distraction technique to help protect a flower's reproductive parts, according to new research. Rather than merely providing a 'come-on' to bees and other insects to attract them to pollinate the flower, nectar could be playing a much more subtle and entrancing role.
A new article reveals the opportunities for portable, real-time DNA sequencing in plant identification and naming. Using a handheld DNA sequencing device they conducted the first genomic plant sequencing in the field at a fraction of the speed of traditional methods, offering exciting possibilities to conservationists and scientists the world over.
Licorice roots have a flavorful history, having been used in ancient Egyptian teas and in traditional Chinese medicines, all the way to today as a flavoring agent and candy. And some women now take licorice extracts as supplements to treat menopausal symptoms. But scientists caution that licorice could pose a health risk by interacting with medications.
Whether to perform surgery on a fetus is a heart-wrenching decision. This type of surgery involves penetrating the delicate amniotic sac, increasing health risks to the fetus. Now researchers report the development of a glue, inspired by the tenacious grip of mussels on slippery rocks, that could one day help save the lives of the youngest patients.
Fish fraud, the misrepresentation of cheaper fish as more expensive ones, is a rampant problem worldwide. Now scientists report that they are making strides toward the development of a protein database capable of definitively identifying fish species. This information could help nab imposters of salmon, tuna and other popular fish before they reach people's plates.
Brazilian free-tailed bats are expert flyers, capable of migrating hundreds of miles and regularly traveling more than 30 miles a night. But they pull up short at a narrow ocean channel that cuts across the Bahamas, dividing bat populations that last shared an ancestor hundreds of thousands of years ago.