Sexual reproduction versus asexual reproductionLiving organisms have good reason for engaging in sexual, rather than asexual, reproduction as per Maurine Neiman, assistant professor of biology in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and researcher in the Roy J. Carver Center for Genomics.
In an article published in a recent issue of the journal Molecular Biology and Evolution, she and her colleagues, including John M. Logsdon Jr., associate professor of biology, examined the........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 1/22/2010 8:05:08 AM)
Pachira aquatica and Pachira glabraMore photographs today from Ian Crown of the Puerto Rican fruit farm, Panoramic Fruit. Thank you Ian
Also, before getting into today"s entry, welcome readers from the Winston-Salem Journal
These photographs weren"t all taken in the same place or time, and I believe them to be of two separate species. The first photograph, with the crimson-tipped stamens and yellowish-white strap-like petals is, I think, Pachira aquatica, known commonly........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 1/17/2010 11:40:55 PM)
Plant-pollinator relationshipFigs and the wasps that pollinate them present one of biologists' favorite examples of a beneficial relationship between two different species. In exchange for the pollination service provided by the wasp, the fig fruit provides room and board for the wasp's developing young. However, wasps do not always pollinate the fig. Fig trees "punish" these "cheaters" by dropping unpollinated fruit, killing the wasp's offspring inside, report scientists........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 1/15/2010 8:09:54 AM)
Tracking paw prints of selective breedingFrom the Dachshund's stubby legs to the Shar-Pei's wrinkly skin, breeding for certain characteristics has left its mark on the dog genome. Scientists have identified 155 regions on the canine genome that appear to have been influenced by selective breeding.
With more than 400 distinct breeds, dogs come in a wide range of shapes, sizes, fur-styles, and temperaments. The curly-haired toy poodle, small enough to sit in a teacup, barely looks or........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 1/14/2010 8:10:21 AM)
Tilapia feed on Fiji's native fishThe poster child for sustainable fish farmingthe tilapiais actually a problematic invasive species for the native fish of the islands of Fiji, as per a newly released study by the Wildlife Conservation Society and other groups.
Researchers suspect that tilapia introduced to the waterways of the Fiji Islands appears to be gobbling up the larvae and juvenile fish of several native species of goby, fish that live in both fresh and salt water........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 1/13/2010 8:16:49 AM)
Impacts of Climate and DevelopmentCalifornia butterflies are reeling from a one-two punch of climate change and land development, says an unprecedented analysis led by UC Davis butterfly expert Arthur Shapiro.
The new analysis, scheduled to be published online this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, gives insights on how a major and much-studied group of organisms is reacting to the Earth's warming climate.
"Butterflies are not only........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 1/12/2010 8:47:33 AM)
Can a drop of water cause sunburn or fire?To the gardening world it may have always been considered a fact, but science has never proved the widely held belief that watering your garden in the midday sun can lead to burnt plants. Now a study into sunlit water droplets, published in New Phytologist, provides an answer that not only reverberates across gardens and allotments, but may have implications for forest fires and human sunburn.
"The problem of light focusing by water droplets........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 1/11/2010 7:53:49 AM)
Preserving genetic diversity of riceRice is one of the most important crops worldwide, as it feeds over half of the world's population. Domesticated rice is an important supply of the world's rice. However, these strains are genetically static and cannot adapt to changing growing conditions. Traditional varieties, or landraces, of rice are genetically evolving and provide a pool of traits that can be tapped to improve crops worldwide.
Research from Barbara A. Schaal, Ph.D.,........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 1/5/2010 8:57:45 AM)
Nervous culprit found for Tassie devil facial tumor diseaseCells that protect nerves are the likely origin of the Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD) that has been devastating Australia's Tasmanian devil population, an international team of researchers has discovered.
Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD) is a transmissible cancer that affects only Tasmanian devils and was first reported in 1996. It is spread by biting and quickly kills the animals. The disease is characterised by large tumours, mostly........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 1/4/2010 8:12:29 AM)
New Acoustic Tools to Study Marine Mammalsand FishOver the past decade, scientists have developed a variety of reliable real-time and archival instruments to study sounds made or heard by marine mammals and fish. These new sensors are now being used in research, management, and conservation projects around the world, with some very important practical results. Among them is improved monitoring of endangered North Atlantic right whales in an effort to reduce ship strikes, a leading cause of........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 12/30/2009 8:09:52 AM)
An export business that protects ciliaA protein complex mutated in human disease removes excess signaling molecules to prevent them from damaging cilia, say scientists from UMass Medical School. The study would be reported in the December 28 issue of the Journal of Cell Biology (www.jcb.org).
Defective cilia cause a range of diseases including Bardet-Biedl syndrome (BBS), a rare, multi-tissue disorder associated with mutations in 12 different proteins. Seven of these form a........Go to the Biology-blog (Added on 12/29/2009 8:54:11 AM)
Journey of two marine turtlesThe journeys of two marine turtles around the world's oceans will be available to view online this Christmas, thanks to a new research project launched by the University of Exeter.
Noelle and Darwinia are two adult female leatherback turtles that nest in Gabon, Western Central Africa. The research team has fitted each turtle with a small satellite tracking device, which enables the researchers to monitor their precise movements and observe........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 12/24/2009 7:23:36 AM)
Final moments of bee landing tacticsLanding is tricky: hit the ground too fast and you will crash and burn; too slow and you may stall and fall. Bees manage their approach by monitoring the speed of images moving across their eyes. By slowing so that the speed of the looming landing pad's image on the retina remains constant, bees manage to control their approach. But what happens in the final few moments before touch down? And how do bees adapt to landing on surfaces ranging........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 12/23/2009 7:52:27 AM)
Freezing The Common Fruit FlyUsing a microscope the size of a football field, scientists from The University of Western Ontario are studying why some insects can survive freezing, while others cannot.
Why is this important? Because the common fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) is one of the bugs that cannot survive freezing and the little creature just so happens to share much of the same genetic makeup as humans, therefore finding a way to freeze them for research........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 12/18/2009 7:01:14 PM)
Cells Move in Mysterious WaysOur cells are more like us than we may think. They're sensitive to their environment, poking and prodding deliberately at their surroundings with hand-like feelers and chemical signals as they decide whether and where to move. Such caution serves us well but has vexed engineers who seek to create synthetic tissue, heart valves, implants and other devices that the human body will accept.
To overcome that obstacle, researchers have sought to........Go to the Biology-blog (Added on 12/17/2009 8:01:33 AM)
Antagonistic genes control rice growthResearchers at the Carnegie Institution, with colleagues,* have observed that a plant steroid prompts two genes to battle each otherone suppresses the other to ensure that leaves grow normally in rice and the experimental plant Arabidopsis thaliana, a relative of mustard. The results, reported in the December 15, 2009, issue of The Plant Cell, have important implications for understanding how to manipulate crop growth and yield.
In plants,........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 12/15/2009 11:31:58 PM)
Disease-resistant plants enhance profitsNew varieties of plants marketed as "disease-resistant" or "insect-resistant" are becoming more accessible to consumers. Available through local garden centers and catalogues, these attractive ornamentals often come with guarantees that offer amateur gardeners the promise of lower maintenance or the need for fewer pesticides.
But how does this trend toward the increased use of disease- and insect-resistant plants impact the profits of........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 12/10/2009 10:35:40 PM)
Changing cell StateCells are not static. They can transform themselves over time - but change can have dangerous implications. Non-cancerous cells, for example, can suddenly change into malignant ones.
That's one reason why researchers are trying to figure out why and how cells can shed their old identity and take on a new one. If they can figure out how this happens, scientists appears to better understand why a number of different cells - such as stem cells........Go to the Biology-blog (Added on 12/10/2009 7:54:28 AM)
Population status of white marlinThe prized white marlin, sought by anglers in million dollar prize tournaments and captured incidentally in commercial fisheries, is among the most overfished marine species under international management and the subject of contentious debate on how to best achieve its recovery. Now a newly released study published recently in the journal Endangered Species Research casts uncertainty on the accuracy of current knowledge of white marlin biology........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 12/10/2009 7:39:17 AM)
The Pitch of Blue Whale Songs is DecliningThe sound level of songs blue whales sing across the vast expanses of the ocean to attract potential mates has been steadily creeping downward for the past few decades, and a scientist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego and colleagues believe the trend appears to be good news for the population of the endangered marine mammal.
Mark McDonald of WhaleAcoustics in Bellvue, Colo., along with John Hildebrand of Scripps........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 12/9/2009 11:27:53 PM)
Zebrafish helps drug developmentBy combining the tools of medicinal chemistry and zebrafish biology, a team of Vanderbilt researchers has identified compounds that may offer therapeutic leads for bone-related diseases and cancer.
The findings, reported in ACS Chemical Biology, support using zebrafish as a novel platform for drug development.
In 2007, Charles Hong, M.D., Ph.D., and his colleagues described using fish embryos to screen for compounds that interfere with........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 1/22/2010 8:03:44 AM)
Green Sea Slug Is Part Animal, Part PlantIt"s easy being green for a sea slug that has stolen enough genes to become the first animal shown to make chlorophyll like a plant. Shaped like a leaf itself, the slug Elysia chlorotica already has a reputation for kidnapping the photosynthesizing organelles and some genes from algae.Now it turns out that the slug has acquired enough stolen goods to make an entire plant chemical-making pathway work inside an animal body. The slugs can........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 1/17/2010 11:43:25 PM)
Impact of eucalyptus plantations on the ecology of riversA team from the Department of Plant Biology and Ecology at the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU) are focusing their research on the study of the ecology of rivers. The person in charge is Mr Jesús Pozo. For more than twenty years this team has been trying to identify links between the ecology and functioning of rivers and the surrounding terrestrial environment because, when all is said and done, rivers are like the excretory apparatus........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 1/15/2010 8:04:09 AM)
Why leopards can't change their spotsThe leopard cannot change its spots, nor can the tiger change its stripes, but a new research report reported in the January 2009 issue of the journal GENETICS tells us something about how cats end up with their spots and stripes. It demonstrates for the first time that at least three different genes are involved in the emergence of stripes, spots, and other markings on domestic cats. Scientists have also determined the genomic location of two........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 1/14/2010 8:11:56 AM)
Sequencing of soybean genomeSoybean, one of the most important global sources of protein and oil, is now the first major crop legume species with a published complete draft genome sequence. This sequence, which essentially provides a parts list of the soybean genome, will help researchers use the plant's genes to improve its characteristics. The soybean sequencing study appears as the cover story of the January 13 edition of Nature
Value of the new soybean sequence
........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 1/14/2010 8:00:01 AM)
Cricket as an orchid pollinatorAn orchid researcher based on the island of Reunion in the Indian Ocean and collaborating with scientists at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (RBG Kew) has used motion sensitive night cameras to capture the first known occurrence of a cricket functioning as a pollinator of flowering plants. Not only is this the first time this behaviour has been documented in a member of the Orthoptera order of insects who are better known for eating plants but........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 1/12/2010 8:43:11 AM)
About salmon migrationA new acoustic telemetry system tracks the migration of juvenile salmon using one-tenth as a number of fish as comparable methods, suggests a paper reported in the January edition of the American Fisheries Society journal Fisheries The paper also explains how the system is best suited for deep, fast-moving rivers and can detect fish movement in more places than other tracking methods.
The Juvenile Salmon Acoustic Telemetry System (JSATS)........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 1/11/2010 8:05:56 AM)
From crickets to whalesResearchers who compare insect chirps with ape calls may look like they are mixing aphids and orangutans, but scientists have found common denominators in the calls of hundreds of species of insects, birds, fish, frogs, lizards and mammals that can be predicted with simple mathematical models.
Compiling data from nearly 500 species, researchers with the University of Florida and Oklahoma State University have found the calls of crickets,........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 1/6/2010 7:50:47 AM)
To a mosquito, matchmaking meansScientists have new insight into the sex lives of the much-maligned mosquitoes that are responsible for the vast majority of malaria deaths, as per a report published online on December 31st in Current Biology, a Cell Press publication. In finding a partner of the right species type, male and female mosquitoes depend on their ability to "sing" in perfect harmony. Those tones are produced and varied based on the frequency of their wing beats in........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 1/4/2010 8:10:03 AM)
Evolution caught red-handedMutations are the raw material of evolution. Charles Darwin already recognized that evolution depends on heritable differences between individuals: those who are better adapted to the environment have better chances to pass on their genes to the next generation. A species can only evolve if the genome changes through new mutations, with the best new variants surviving the sieve of selection. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 1/4/2010 8:07:47 AM)
Insight into evolution of great apesThe timing of molar emergence and its relation to growth and reproduction in apes is being reported by two scientists at Arizona State University's Institute of Human Origins in the Dec. 28 online early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
From the smallest South American monkeys to the largest African apes, the timing of molar development and eruption is closely attuned to many fundamental aspects of a........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 12/29/2009 8:17:58 AM)
Whiskers hold secrets of invasive minksDetails of the lifestyle of mink, which escaped from fur farms and now live wild in the UK, have been revealed through analysis of their whiskers. Research led by the University of Exeter reveals more about the diet of this invasive species and provides a clue to its whereabouts. There are now plans to use the findings to eradicate it from environments where it can be devastating to native species.
Reported in the Journal of Applied Ecology,........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 12/24/2009 7:26:17 AM)
Microscopic Flower Petal RidgesMicroscopic ridges contouring the surface of flower petals might play a role in flashing that come-hither look pollinating insects can't resist. Michigan State University researchers and his colleagues now have figured out how those form.
The result could help scientists learn to enhance plants' pollination success and even could lead to high-grip nanomaterials and "green chemical" feedstocks.
"Surprisingly, our work on plant surface........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 12/23/2009 8:01:56 AM)
How the daisy got its spots?Dark spots on flower petals are common across a number of angiosperm plant families and occur on flowers such as some lilies, orchids, and daisies. Much research has been done on the physiological and behavioral mechanisms for how these spots attract pollinators. But have you ever wondered what these spots are composed of, how they develop, or how they only appear on some but not all of the ray florets? .
Dr. Meredith Thomas from the........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 12/18/2009 6:24:21 PM)
World's rarest gorilla ready for its close-upThe world's rarestand most camera shygreat ape has finally been captured on professional video on a forested mountain in Cameroon, as per the Wildlife Conservation Society and Gera number of's NDR Naturfilm.
With the assistance of the Wildlife Conservation Society's Cameroon Program, a film crew from the Hamburg-based NDR Naturfilm managed to video the elusive Cross River gorilla earlier this year in a stand of montane trees after weeks of........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 12/17/2009 8:11:34 AM)
Ornamental eliminates pollutants from stormwater runoffRapid population growth and urbanization have raised concerns over stormwater runoff contamination. Studies on watersheds indicate that excess nutrients, specifically nitratenitrogen and soluble reactive phosphorus are found in stormwater runoff in a number of new urban areas. These pollutants degrade water quality and have an impact on the downstream ecosystem by contributing to the growth and decomposition of oxygen-depleting microorganisms.
........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 12/10/2009 10:58:42 PM)
Killer catfish?Name all the venomous animals you can think of and you probably come up with snakes, spiders, bees, wasps and perhaps poisonous frogs. But catfish?
A newly released study by University of Michigan graduate student Jeremy Wright finds that at least 1,250 and possibly more than 1,600 species of catfish appears to be venomous-far more than previously believed. The research is described in a paper published online Dec. 4 in the open access........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 12/10/2009 10:33:22 PM)
Tropical birds waited for land crossingDespite their ability to fly, tropical birds waited until the formation of the land bridge between North and South America to move northward, as per a University of British Columbia study published this week in theProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition.
"While a number of North American birds simply flew across the marine barriers that once separated the continents, tropical birds, particularly those in Amazon forest........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 12/10/2009 7:49:06 AM)
More than the originEventhough Charles Darwin is most well-known for his book On the Origin of Species, in which he described the process of natural selection, he greatly contributed to a number of specific fields within biology. As the bicentennial anniversary of Darwin's birth comes to a close, the recent issue of the American Journal of Botany presents two papers exploring botanical history before the time of Darwin, Darwin's contributions to botany, and what........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 12/9/2009 11:37:36 PM)
Rhino poaching surges in Asia, AfricaRhino poaching worldwide is on the rise, as per a new report by TRAFFIC and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
The trade is being driven by Asian demand for horns and is made worse by increasingly sophisticated poachers, who now are using veterinary drugs, poison, cross bows and high caliber weapons to kill rhinos, the report states.
Since 2006 the majority (95 percent) of the poaching in Africa has occurred in........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 12/2/2009 8:19:48 AM)