Archive | Biology


Biologists hack cellular signaling to create eyes on-demand

By manipulating the natural bioelectrical communication signals that travel between cells, Tufts University scientists were able to trigger the growth of eyes on tadpoles outside of the head area. The ability to direct the growth of new organs at a particular location within a vertebrate organism could lead to significant breakthroughs in the science of […]

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Fish frequent flyers

A new Northern Arizona University study into how fish behave when stranded on land suggests that excursions onto dry land may be a much more frequent event than previously thought. The research, which has significant implications for the field of evolutionary biology, appears in JEZ A: Ecological Genetics and Physiology. The study began by looking […]

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Cool findings from yawning research

Traditionally associated with boredom, very little research has been done to uncover the biological function of yawning. Now, Princeton researchers propose that yawning is triggered by increases in brain temperature and its function is to cool the brain. Their study, published in Frontiers in Evolutionary Neuroscience, is the first to show that yawning frequency in […]

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See-through critters get biologists excited

A ground-breaking new chemical reagent developed at the RIKEN Brain Science Institute in Japan turns biological tissues transparent (normal and transparent mouse embryos are pictured), opening the door to experiments and biological investigations that haven’t been possible before. Experiments using fluorescence microscopy on samples treated with the reagent, published last month in Nature Neuroscience, have […]

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Analysis of biosynthesis in plants reveals a “perplexing disparity”

A fascinating new study appearing in theJournal of the American Chemical Societyreveals that during the evolution of certain natural plant chemicals, nature doesn’t settle for the “low-hanging fruit” but instead favors rarer, harder to synthesize compounds. The lead authors of the new study, Dr Paul �Máille at the John Innes Centre and Joseph P. Noel […]

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Inactive cells modified to generate and transmit electrical current

By genetically modifying normally “unexcitable” cells, Duke University bioengineers have turned them into cells capable of generating and passing electrical current; a breakthrough which could have broad implications in treating diseases of the nervous system or the heart. The transformation was achieved by introducing genes that result in the formation of ion channels on the […]

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Humans may be able to “see” magnetic fields

Humans are not considered to have an innate magnetic sense but new research published inNature Communications shows that a protein expressed in the human retina can sense magnetic fields when implanted into fruit flies (Drosophila). The intriguing discovery may lead to new breakthroughs in the field of human sensory biology. The lead researcher, University of […]

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Living cell turned into a laser

Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital have genetically engineered a single cell to express green fluorescent protein that can be used to amplify photons into pulses of laser light. Developed some 50 years ago, lasers have traditionally used synthetic materials such as crystals, dyes and purified gases to amplify photons as they bounce back and forth […]

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Aphrodisiac plants put under the microscope

The scientists who examined findings from recent research into the aphrodisiac properties of plants say that both ginseng and saffron appear to enhance sexual function, while there is evidence that other plants increase sexual desire. The meta-study of natural aphrodisiacs conducted by University of Guelph researchers will appear in the journal Food Research International. “Aphrodisiacs […]

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