A new discovery in how heart muscles maintain their shape in fruit flies sheds light on the crucial relationship between cardiac function, metabolism, and longevity. Researchers have discovered that maintaining high levels of the protein vinculin confers health benefits to fruit flies. Their work shows that fruit flies bred to produce 50 percent more vinculin enjoyed better cardiovascular health and lived a third of their average life span longer.
A research team has found the first proof that Antarctica is not isolated from the rest of the Earth, with the discovery that foreign kelp had drifted 20,000 kilometers before surfing to the continent's icy shores.
For some animals -- such as beetles, ants, toads, and primates -- short-term social isolation can be just as vital as social interaction to development and long-term evolution. Evolutionary biologists describe approaches for testing how an animal's isolation might impact natural selection and evolution. This framework can help design more effective breeding, reintroduction, and conservation strategies.
New research on how cannabis use alters eating behavior could lead to treatments for appetite loss in chronic illness, according to experts. Using a new procedure to dose lab rats with cannabis vapor, the researchers found how the drug triggers hunger hormones. They also identified specific brain regions that shift to 'hungry' mode while under the influence.
A novel drug based on capsaicin, the compound that gives chili peppers their spicy burn, caused long term weight loss and improved metabolic health in mice eating a high fat diet. The drug, Metabocin, was designed to slowly release capsaicin throughout the day so it can exert its anti-obesity effect without producing inflammation or adverse side effects.
Biologists have discovered that different versions of a single gene, called NDP (Norrie Disease Protein), have unexpected links between color patterns in pigeons, and vision defects in humans. These gene variations were likely bred into pigeons by humans from a different pigeon species and are now evolutionarily advantageous in wild populations of feral pigeons living in urban environments.
Surprisingly, the functions of a huge number of microbial genes are still unknown. This knowledge gap can be thought of as ''genomic dark matter'' in microbes, and neither computational biology nor current lab techniques have been able address this gap. This challenge has now been tackled through an international collaboration between the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona) and two other interdisciplinary research centres, namely the IJS in Ljubljana (Slovenia) and RBI in Zagreb (Croatia).
Strawberries and tomatoes are among the most widely consumed fruits and vegetables worldwide. However, many people are allergic to them, especially if they have been diagnosed with birch pollen allergy. A team has investigated which strawberry or tomato varieties contain fewer allergens than others and to what extent cultivation or preparation methods are involved.
Researchers have created a vaccine that protects against malaria infection in mouse models, paving the way for the development of a human vaccine that works by targeting the specific protein that parasites use to evade the immune system.
Army ant (Eciton) soldiers are bigger but do not have larger brains than other workers within the same colony that fulfill more complex tasks, according to a new study. A collaborative team of researchers suggests that because the very specific and limited tasks soldiers fulfill place limited cognitive demands on them, investment in the development of brain tissue is also limited.
DNA analysis of fuzzy yellow bats in Kenya revealed at least two new species unknown to science. It's important because Africa's biodiversity is often under-studied and poorly understood, even though bats play a crucial role in agriculture and public health.
It was long thought that during an embryo's first cell division, one spindle is responsible for segregating the embryo's chromosomes into two cells. Scientists now show that there are actually two spindles, one for each set of parental chromosomes, meaning that the genetic information from each parent is kept apart throughout the first division.