Petri SheepIn the winter of 2003, a large herd of bison in an Idaho feedlot was cut in half when a disease outbreak swept through, killing 825 animals.
Two years ago, 19 cattle, most owned by FFA students, died after being shown in Washington's Puyallup State Fair.
In both instances, Washington State University scientists determined the animals died of cancerous catarrhal fever because they had been kept near flocks of sheep, which routinely carry a........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 3/24/2010 10:27:08 AM)
Spider silk reveals a paradoxSince its development in China thousands of years ago, silk from silkworms, spiders and other insects has been used for high-end, luxury fabrics as well as for parachutes and medical sutures. Now, National Science Foundation-supported scientists are untangling some of its most closely guarded secrets, and explaining why silk is so super strong.
Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Center for Materials Science and........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 3/17/2010 8:17:51 PM)
How sea lilies got their get-up-and-goNature abounds with examples of evolutionary arms races. Certain marine snails, for example, evolved thick shells and spines to avoid be eaten, but crabs and fish foiled the snails by developing shell-crushing claws and jaws.
Common as such interactions appears to be, it's often difficult to trace their origins back in evolutionary time.
Now, a study by University of Michigan paleontologist Tomasz Baumiller and his colleagues finds that........Go to the Biology-blog (Added on 3/15/2010 7:57:16 PM)
Sequencing Hydra genomeUC Irvine scientists have played a leading role in the genome sequencing of Hydra, a freshwater polyp that has been a staple of biological research for 300 years.
In the March 14 online version of Nature, UCI biologists Robert Steele and Hans Bode, along with nine other UCI researchers and an international team of researchers, describe the genome sequence of an organism that continues to advance research on regeneration, stem cells and........Go to the Biology-blog (Added on 3/14/2010 8:13:54 PM)
600 million-year-old origins of visionBy studying the hydra, a member of an ancient group of sea creatures that is still flourishing, researchers at UC Santa Barbara have made a discovery in understanding the origins of human vision. The finding is published in this week's issue of the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, a British journal of biology.
Hydra are simple animals that, along with jellyfish, belong to the phylum cnidaria. Cnidarians first emerged 600 million years........Go to the Biology-blog (Added on 3/12/2010 7:31:03 AM)
Yellow fever strikes monkey populationsA group of Argentine scientists, including health experts from the Wildlife Conservation Society, have announced that yellow fever is the culprit in a 2007-2008 die-off of howler monkeys in northeastern Argentina, a finding that underscores the importance of paying attention to the health of wildlife and how the health of people and wild nature are so closely linked.
The paperappearing in a recent edition of the American Journal of........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 3/11/2010 11:06:16 PM)
Colchicum feinbruniaeThe Celebrate Research @ UBC series will continue tomorrow. At Lindsay"s suggestion when she authored this entry in January, today"s posting instead recognizes International Women"s Day. Lindsay writes
Thank you to cloudy of the UBC Botanical Garden Forums for submitting today"s photographs and accompanying link (original images | Botany Photo of the Day Submissions Forum)
The epithet feinbruniae on this autumn crocus or meadow saffron........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 3/10/2010 3:45:45 AM)
Snake venom charms science worldThe King Cobra continues to weave its charm with scientists identifying a protein in its venom with the potential for new drug discovery and to advance understanding of disease mechanisms.
The novel protein named haditoxin has been described in the prestigious Journal of Biological Chemistry (March 12, 2010).
The editorial board of the journal has selected this work as the "Paper of the Week" recognising it as being in the top one per........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 3/8/2010 9:09:15 AM)
Tree-dwelling mammals climb to the heights of longevityThe squirrels littering your lawn with acorns as they bound overhead will live to plague your yard longer than the ones that aerate it with their burrows, as per a University of Illinois study.
Researchers know from prior studies that flying birds and bats live longer than earthbound animals of the same size. Milena Shattuck and Scott Williams, doctoral candidates in anthropology, decided to take a closer look at the relationship between........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 2/25/2010 2:52:37 AM)
From Carnivorous Plants to the Medicine Cabinet?In the tropics, carnivorous plants trap unsuspecting prey in a cavity filled with liquid known as a "pitcher".
The moment insects like flies, ants and beetles fall into a pitcher, the plant's enzymes are activated and begin dissolving their new meal, obtaining nutrients such as carbon and nitrogen which are difficult to extract from certain soils. Carnivorous plants also possess a highly developed set of compounds and secondary metabolites........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 2/18/2010 9:19:30 PM)
Sugar plays key role in cell divisionUsing an elaborate sleuthing system they developed to probe how cells manage their own division, Johns Hopkins researchers have discovered that common but hard-to-see sugar switches are partly in control.
Because these previously unrecognized sugar switches are so abundant and potential targets of manipulation by drugs, the discovery of their role has implications for new therapys for many diseases, including cancer, the researchers say.
........Go to the Biology-blog (Added on 2/8/2010 8:08:05 AM)
Viagra enhances fetal growth in female sheepA joke among two Texas AgriLife Research researchers later turned into a fully-funded study found Viagra can aid fetal development in female sheep. Female sheep (ewes) are an agriculturally important species, which can serve as an excellent animal model for studying the physiology of human pregnancy, the scientists said.
Viagra (sildenafil citrate), which is used to treat male erectile dysfunction, enhanced blood flow in pregnant female........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 2/4/2010 8:22:54 AM)
Ancient crocodile likely food source for TitanoboaA 60-million-year-old relative of crocodiles described this week by University of Florida scientists in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology was likely a food source for Titanoboa, the largest snake the world has ever known.
Working with researchers from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama, paleontologists from the Florida Museum of Natural History on the UF campus found fossils of the new species of ancient crocodile in........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 2/3/2010 7:41:39 AM)
Bees recognize human facesGoing about their day-to-day business, bees have no need to be able to recognise human faces. Yet in 2005, when Adrian Dyer from Monash University trained the fascinating insects to associate pictures of human faces with tasty sugar snacks, they seemed to be able to do just that. But Martin Giurfa from the Universit de Toulouse, France, suspected that that the bees weren't learning to recognise people. 'Because the insects were rewarded with a........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 1/29/2010 8:07:48 AM)
Figs and fig waspsFigs and fig wasps have evolved to help each other out: Fig wasps lay their eggs inside the fruit where the wasp larvae can safely develop, and in return, the wasps pollinate the figs.
But what happens when a wasp lays its eggs but fails to pollinate the fig?
The trees get even by dropping those figs to the ground, killing the baby wasps inside, reports a Cornell University and Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute study reported in the........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 1/28/2010 8:06:53 AM)
Environmental threats to blue crabsThe Atlantic blue crab, Callinectes sapidus, long prized as a savory meal at a summer party or seafood restaurant, is a multi-million dollar source of income for those who harvest, process and market the crustacean along the U.S. Atlantic and Gulf coasts. Unfortunately, the blue crab population has been declining in recent years under the assault of viruses, bacteria and man-made contaminants. The signs of the attack often are subtle, so........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 1/27/2010 8:14:15 AM)
Risky business for toads under threat from fungusMidwife toads that live in the mountains are highly likely to die from a serious fungal infection, called chytridiomycosis, whereas their infected relatives in the lowlands are not, as per new research published recently in Ecology Letters
The authors of the study, from Imperial College London, the Zoological Society of London and the BiodivERsA project RACE, say their findings suggest conservationists appears to be able to limit the impact........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 1/25/2010 12:04:05 AM)
Just another day in the woodsHard for me to believe that we went 17 days into the new year — the new decade! — without going to Roundrock. Circumstances got in the way, but yesterday I decided I wasn’t going to delay my return to the woods any longer, so we jumped into the truck (pups included) and drove through the thick, thick fog to our forest
Except for the road in (and then out) we had a wonderful time. The ground is frozen except on the surface.........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 1/24/2010 11:36:09 PM)
Parasite of the DayMy colleague at the American Museum of Natural History, Susan Perkins, has started an ambitious new blog. She will be introducing a new parasite to the world each day in Parasite of the Day. Unfortunately, perhaps, for the hosts of the world, Susan has plenty of subject matter and should be busy for quite some time. A recent paper in PNAS (Dobson et al. 2008) states that although they "estimate that there are between 75,000 and 300,000 helminth........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 1/24/2010 11:35:50 PM)
Withstanding invasionAn international research team has studied the distribution of plant species in mountainous environments. The study shows that mountain plant communities are not especially resistant to invasion by exotic species. The researchers also warn that these appears to become more aggressive as global warming gets a grip.
In 2005, researchers from various science centres in Spain, Gera number of, Switzerland, Australia, the United States and Chile........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 1/22/2010 8:17:13 AM)
Mexican Cave ScorpionsBlind scorpions that live in the stygian depths of caves are throwing light on a long-held assumption, showing that specialized adaptations aren't always an evolutionary dead-end. Looking at the phylogenetic relationships among species of the scorpion family Typhlochactidae, endemic to Mexico, Associate Curator Lorenzo Prendini and his colleagues observed that species currently living closer to the surface (under stones and in leaf litter)........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 3/19/2010 10:50:50 AM)
Dogs likely originated in the Middle EastDogs likely originated in the Middle East, not Asia or Europe, as per a new genetic analysis by an international team of researchers led by UCLA biologists. The research, funded by the National Science Foundation and the Searle Scholars Program, appears March 17 in the advance online edition of the journal Nature.
"Dogs seem to share more genetic similarity with Middle Eastern gray wolves than with any other wolf population worldwide," said........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 3/19/2010 10:48:26 AM)
3-D cell cultureThe film "Avatar" isn't the only 3-D blockbuster making a splash this winter. A team of researchers from Houston's Texas Medical Center this week unveiled a new technique for growing 3-D cell cultures, a technological leap from the flat petri dish that could save millions of dollars in drug-testing costs. The research is reported in Nature Nanotechnology
The 3-D technique is easy enough for most labs to set up immediately. It uses magnetic........Go to the Biology-blog (Added on 3/15/2010 8:06:50 PM)
Opium poppy's biggest secretScientists at the University of Calgary have discovered the unique genes that allow the opium poppy to make codeine and morphine, thus opening doors to alternate methods of producing these effective painkillers either by manufacturing them in a lab or controlling the production of these compounds in the plant.
"The enzymes encoded by these two genes have eluded plant biochemists for a half-century," says Peter Facchini, professor in the........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 3/14/2010 8:17:56 PM)
Why female moths are big and beautiful?In most animal species, males and females show obvious differences in body size. But how can this be, given that both sexes share the same genes governing their growth? University of Arizona entomologists studied this conundrum in moths and found clues that had been overlooked by prior efforts to explain this mystery of nature.
Take a look around in the animal world and you will find that, in most organisms, individuals of one sex are larger........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 3/12/2010 7:41:33 AM)
Myths about Amazon rain forestsA new NASA-funded study has concluded that Amazon rain forests were remarkably unaffected in the face of once-in-a-century drought in 2005, neither dying nor thriving, contrary to a previously published report and claims by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
"We found no big differences in the greenness level of these forests between drought and non-drought years, which suggests that these forests appears to be more tolerant of........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 3/12/2010 7:27:09 AM)
Hidden habits and movements of insect pestsFor a high-resolution image of the Asota caricae moth referenced in the article, visit http://bit.ly/aB4PEb. The moth has a two-inch wingspan and a 2,500 mile distribution. Image is courtesy of Lauren Helgen, Smithsonian Institution. For a copy of the research paper, contact Jeff Falk at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contacts: Peggy Rinard, College of Biological Sciences, email@example.com, (612) 624-0774.
Jeff Falk, University News Service,........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 3/10/2010 8:20:26 AM)
Musk Ox Population Decline Due to Climateteam of researchers has discovered that the drastic decline in Arctic musk ox populations that began roughly 12,000 years ago was due to a warming climate rather than to human hunting. "This is the first study to use ancient musk ox DNA collected from across the animal's former geographic range to test for human impacts on musk ox populations," said Beth Shapiro, the Shaffer Career Development assistant professor of biology at Penn State........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 3/9/2010 8:30:58 AM)
Forage Plant Fights Parasitescommon pasture plant could help foraging ruminants ward off damaging gastrointestinal nematodes that can cause illness and death, Agricultural Research Service (ARS) researchers report.
Animal scientist Joan Burke at the ARS Dale Bumpers Small Farms Research Center in Booneville, Ark., along with colleagues at several universities, has patented formulations of Sericea lespedeza, usually referred to as Chinese bush clover. The plant was........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 2/18/2010 10:00:05 PM)
Big Cats in Serious Trouble Around the WorldAs a number of Asian countries prepare to celebrate Year of the Tiger beginning February 14, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) reports that tigers are in crisis around the world, including here in the United States, where more tigers are kept in captivity than are alive in the wild throughout Asia. As few as 3,200 tigers exist in the wild in Asia where they are threatened by poaching, habitat loss, illegal trafficking and the conversion of forests for........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 2/11/2010 8:17:44 AM)
Genome sequence for advancementA global initiative that includes key researchers from Oregon State University has successfully sequenced the genome of the wild grass Brachypodium distachyon, which will serve as a model to speed research on improved varieties of wheat, oats and barley, as well as switchgrass, a crop of major interest for biofuel production.
The advance was announced recently in the journal Nature.
The primary international repository for the........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 2/11/2010 8:13:16 AM)
Egyptian fruit bat finds a targetNew research conducted at the University of Maryland's bat lab shows Egyptian fruit bats find a target by NOT aiming their guiding sonar directly at it. Instead, they alternately point the sound beam to either side of the target. The new findings by scientists from Maryland and the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel suggest that this strategy optimizes the bats' ability to pinpoint the location of a target, but also makes it harder for........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 2/5/2010 8:02:46 AM)
New light on our earliest fossil ancestryDecaying corpses are commonly the domain of forensic scientists, but palaeontologists have discovered that studying rotting fish sheds new light on our earliest ancestry.
The researchers, from the Department of Geology at the University of Leicester, devised a new method for extracting information from 500 million year old fossils -they studied the way fish decompose to gain a clearer picture of how our ancient fish-like ancestors would have........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 2/1/2010 7:54:21 AM)
Guilt by associationResearchers have created a new computational model that can be used to predict gene function of uncharacterized plant genes with unprecedented speed and accuracy. The network, dubbed AraNet, has over 19,600 genes associated to each other by over 1 million links and can increase the discovery rate of new genes affiliated with a given trait tenfold. It is a huge boost to fundamental plant biology and agricultural research.
Despite immense........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 2/1/2010 7:43:45 AM)
Deadly fish virus now found in all Great LakesA deadly fish virus that was first discovered in the Northeast in 2005 has been found for the first time in fish from Lake Superior, report Cornell researchers. That means that the virus has now been documented in all of the Great Lakes.
The viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus (VHSV), which causes fatal anemia and hemorrhaging in a number of fish species, poses no threat to humans, said Paul Bowser, professor of aquatic animal medicine at........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 1/28/2010 8:02:37 AM)
The Low Calorie Pet FoodsDog and cat owners buying weight-control diets for their overweight pets are faced with a confusing two hundred percent variation in calorie density, recommended intake, and wide range cost of low-calorie pet foods, as per a research studyby the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University.
The study, published this month in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, examined nearly 100 commercially available........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 1/27/2010 8:19:59 AM)
Bat researchers no longer flying blindScientists at The University of Western Ontario (Western) led an international and multi-disciplinary study that sheds new light on the way that bats echolocate. With echolocation, animals emit sounds and then listen to the reflected echoes of those sounds to form images of their surroundings in their brains.
The team used state-of-the-art micro-computed tomography systems at the Robarts Research Institute in London, Ontario to collect........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 1/25/2010 8:04:14 AM)
Guaiacum sanctumToday"s photograph is shared by Peter Buchwald (original image | Creative Commons License). Lindsay continues with January"s thematic series on conservation of rare plants as part of the International Year of Biodiversity. Lindsay writes
Commonly known as lignum vitae ("wood of life") or holywood, Guaiacum sanctum is native to the Florida Keys of the southeast USA, Central America and the Caribbean. It is the national flower of the Jamaica.........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 1/24/2010 11:35:59 PM)
Andrew Zuckerman's BirdTurning his camera to the world of birds, Andrew Zuckerman has created a new body of work showcasing more than 200 stunning photographs of nearly 75 different species.(via Neatorama)........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 1/24/2010 11:06:10 PM)
An overview of safe and effective colonic treatmentsThe colon is an important part of our internal organ system. It does the critical work of absorbing water and nutrients as well as eliminating waste matter. Regular adults can carry anywhere between 5 to 45 pounds of waste in their colon. This waste matter should be removed so that normal bowel processes can continue unhindered. If for any reason the colon is unable to eliminate waste matter then it can lead to a number of medical complications........Go to the Biology-blog (Added on 1/24/2010 10:12:42 AM)