A professor discusses why the evolutionary Tree of Life approach to biodiversity education is best, to what extent the traditional taxonomy is still used and how to teach TOL using an active learning approach.
Through experimental and computational tests, new research expands on the theory of virus surface hydrophobicity. By being slightly water-repellent, the outer layers of proteins in virus capsids affect how it interacts with cells and the environment. Understanding this more can improve vaccine production and virus detection.
A special kind of small sulfur-rich proteins, the metallothioneins, have an extraordinarily large capability for binding heavy metals. An international team of scientists has now discovered that the marine common periwinkle, which is widely considered a delicacy, contains the largest version of the protein found yet, with one additional cadmium-binding domain and a one-third higher detoxification capacity. This feature may help the snail survive in heavy-metal-polluted environments.
Carbapenems are among the 'antibiotics of last resort' and can fight infections for which other drugs have long lost their effectiveness. However, even carbapenem-resistant pathogenic strains have emerged over the last decades.
Scientists have developed a new method that can be used to construct custom hybrid structures using DNA and proteins. The method opens new opportunities for fundamental research in cell biology and for applications in biotechnology and medicine.
Researchers have described the 3D structure of the genome in the extremely small bacteria Mycoplasma pneumoniae. They discovered previously unknown arrangements of DNA within this tiny bacteria, which are also found in larger cells. Their findings suggest that this type of organization is a universal feature of living cells.
For the first time biologists have made a full family tree of the world's spiders, giving us knowledge about venoms that can be useful in medicine. And we might be able to develop silk just as good as the spider's.
Scientists have studied the development of the amphibian and reptile fauna in Western Siberia during the past twelve million years. In their study, they demonstrate that the species diversity of both groups of animals was noticeably higher in the past than it is today. Among others, for the first time the researchers discovered an Asiatic representative of the extinct frog family Palaeobatrachidae as well as evidence of a giant salamander with a length of up to 1.80 meters.
Researchers face a fundamental challenge as they seek to scale up human tissue regeneration from small lab samples to full-size tissues and organs: how to establish a vascular system that delivers blood deep into the developing tissue. Researchers have now successfully turned to plants, culturing beating human heart cells on spinach leaves that were stripped of plant cells.
It's not every day someone gets to say, 'I've discovered a new species.' It's a claim that biologist Chris Funk can happily make. Funk and collaborators, who've spent years exploring the tropical climes of South America to study the region's dizzying biodiversity, have documented a new species of rainfrog they've named the Ecuadorian rainfrog (Pristimantis ecuadorensis).
Membrane fusion lies at the heart of many cell functions—from the secretion of antibodies to the release of neurotransmitters. For more than two decades, one view of the process by which membrane fusion occurs has been accepted as dogma; now recent studies indicate that fusion is more complex. These discoveries are being regarded by at least one leading cell biologist as “textbook changing” and could alter how we develop drugs that affect membrane fusion activities.
Scientists have succeeded in ‘filming’ inter-molecular chemical reactions – using the electron beam of a transmission electron microscope (TEM) as a stop-frame imaging tool. They have also discovered that the electron beam can be simultaneously tuned to stimulate specific chemical reactions by using it as a source of energy as well as an imaging tool.
The discovery of a new species of hard coral, found on Lord Howe Island, suggests that the fauna of this isolated location in the Tasman Sea off south eastern Australia is even more distinct than previously recognized. Even though the World Heritage-listed site has been long known for its biodiversity, the new species is the first coral known to live exclusively in the region.
A new species of terrestrial crab has been found to climb trees on the eastern coast of Hong Kong. Its squarish predominantly dark brown carapace and very long slender legs are what sets it apart from closely related species. The discovery of the tiny crustacean once again proves how little is known about the diversity of these crabs in Hong Kong.
Studies of wolf spiders found that courtship displays help preserve genetic isolation between closely related species. Another study found that the species Gladicosa bellamyi used multi-modal communication to entice females.
Researchers have used machine learning on the Stampede supercomputer to model the cellular control network that determines how tadpoles develop. Using that model, they reverse-engineered a drug intervention that created tadpoles with a form of mixed pigmentation never before seen in nature. They plan to use the method for cancer therapies and regenerative medicine.