Household levels of mold following Hurricane KatrinaIn a study assessing flood clean-up procedures in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina, a team of researchers led by scientists at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, report that household levels of mold and bacterial endotoxins in three single-family homes were so considerable that they equaled or surpassed those in waste- water therapy plants, cotton mills, and agricultural environments. The study is the first........Go to the Biology-blog (Added on 9/22/2006 4:47:55 PM)
New Link In The Evolution Of ImmunityScientists from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine have discovered a unique evolutionary link between the immune systems of fish and mammals in the form of a primitive version of B cells, white blood cells of the immune system. Their studies link the evolution of the adaptive immune system in mammals, where B cells produce antibodies to fight infection, to the more primitive innate immunity in fish, where they........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 9/21/2006 4:52:23 AM)
Obesity Crisis in Insects?Ever seen a fat insect? Probably not. Dr. Spencer Behmer may have the answer why, and that could have implications for what is billed as the current human obesity epidemic.
Behmer, an entomologist with the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station, and several other scientists conducted a series of experiments to find out whether caterpillars could adapt to extreme changes in their nutritional environment.
By manipulating the nutritional........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 9/20/2006 10:07:51 PM)
Invasive Sea Squirts Persist On Georges BankFor the fourth consecutive year, federal and university scientists have surveyed two areas on Georges Bank where an invasive colonial sea squirt continues to thrive on the gravel bottom. The colonies are denser than in 2005 over the 88 square-mile area observed. But researchers found no colonies in nearby Canadian waters, indicating they have not spread eastward. The Georges Bank squirts are a species of the genus Didemnum.
"The area of........Go to the Biology-blog (Added on 9/20/2006 9:57:23 PM)
Accelerated Evolution In The IslandThe notion of islands as natural test beds of evolution is nearly as old as the theory itself. The restricted scale, isolation, and sharp boundaries of islands create unique selective pressures, often to dramatic effect. Following what's known as the "island rule," small animals evolve into outsize versions of their continental counterparts while large animals shrink.
Giant tortoises and iguanas still inhabit the Galápagos and a few other........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 9/19/2006 9:19:25 PM)
Bird Moms Manipulate Birth Order To Protect SonsProtecting her kids from peril is the job of every good mom.
When marauding mites turn up in a house finch's nest, she shelters her sons from the blood-suckers by laying male eggs later than those containing their sturdier sisters, as per new research.
Making sure the vulnerable baby boys are exposed to mites for a shorter period allows both the sons and the daughters to survive long enough to leave the nest.
"Sons are more sensitive........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 9/18/2006 10:31:08 PM)
Fish That Can WalkThere are many more species to be discovered under the sea. Researchers examining the undersea fauna off Indonesia's Papua province said Monday they had discovered dozens of new species, including a shark that walks on its fins and a shrimp that looks like a praying mantis.
"It's one of the most stunningly beautiful landscapes and seascapes on the planet," said Mark Erdmann, a senior adviser of Conservation International who led two surveys........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 9/18/2006 6:36:57 PM)
Watching Seeds In 3DEmbryonic photosynthesis leads to the production of seed-internal oxygen that is important for seed development and quality. In order to visualise seed-internal structures that could serve for oxygen storage conventional microscopic methods could not be used because they require the seed to be cut thus leading to air escape. By using holotomography at the ESRF, researchers could get the full picture of an arabidopsis seed without any structural........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 9/15/2006 1:46:01 PM)
MIT Team Describes Unique Cloud ForestTrees that live in an odd desert forest in Oman have found an unusual way to water themselves by extracting moisture from low-lying clouds, MIT scientists report.
In an area that is characterized mostly by desert, the trees have preserved an ecological niche because they exploit a wispy-thin source of water that only occurs seasonally, said Elfatih A.B. Eltahir, professor of civil and environmental engineering, and former MIT graduate........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 9/14/2006 8:44:21 PM)
Senecio RowleyanusThe longest running plant sale at the garden occurs today and tomorrow: the 29th Annual Indoor Plant Sale. I had a grand time yesterday trying to photograph a few of the plants available, since I don't often get the opportunity to work with indoor plants.
A native of southwestern Africa, "string of beads" grows in arid habitats. The succulent beads are actually the leaves, modified for living through extended periods of drought. Dr. T.........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 9/14/2006 7:06:18 PM)
Mechanisms of Sudden Oak DeathBy comparing the complete genome sequences of two plant-killing pathogens and related organisms, scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute (DOE JGI), in collaboration with the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute (VBI) and others, have uncovered crucial aspects of the disease-causing mechanisms of "Sudden Oak Death" (SOD) and soybean root rot disease. The research, the result of a four-year, $4 million........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 9/14/2006 6:15:36 PM)
Warming might affect polar bear populationSome travel agencies touting Arctic tours have been revving up their recent promotions to tourists about the increased likelihood they will spot polar bears in this region where several populations of polar bears live. According to scientists from NASA and the Canadian Wildlife Service, these increased Arctic polar bear sightings are probably related to retreating sea ice triggered by climate warming and not due to population increases as some........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 9/14/2006 4:31:46 AM)
Arctic Sea Ice Diminishing RapidlyThe Arctic Ocean's perennial sea ice, which survives the summer melt season and remains year-round, shrank abruptly by 14 percent between 2004 and 2005, as per a newly published study. Scientists observed that the loss of perennial ice in the East Arctic Ocean, above Europe and Asia, neared 50 percent during that time as some of the ice moved to the West Arctic Ocean, above North America.
The overall decrease in winter Arctic perennial sea........Go to the Biology-blog (Added on 9/13/2006 9:52:56 PM)
Expedition to polar researchWhat better way to engage students in science than to apply lessons learned from fieldwork? This is the philosophy of Alaska teachers participating in the Arctic Expedition for K-12 Teachers, a program organized by the International Arctic Research Center (IARC) at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and a handful of international agencies.
For 33 days teachers from Alaska, Canada, France, Germany, Russia, Sweden and England will take........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 9/13/2006 9:14:48 PM)
Plastic Replicas Of Real CellsCall them genuine fakes. Brown University biomedical engineer Diane Hoffman-Kim and her research team have made plastic replicas of real cells through a novel two-part molding process. The copies looked so authentic, Hoffman-Kim couldn't tell if they were real or rubber at first.
"When I saw the images from the microscope, I said, 'OK, I can't tell the difference,'" Hoffman-Kim said. "It was pretty amazing - and just what we wanted".
A........Go to the Biology-blog (Added on 9/13/2006 4:50:41 AM)
Sheep Need Virus for ReproductionA team of researchers from Texas A&M University and The University of Glasgow Veterinary School in Scotland has discovered that naturally occurring endogenous retroviruses are mandatory for pregnancy in sheep.
In particular, a class of endogenous retroviruses, known as endogenous retroviruses correlation to Jaagsiekte sheep retrovirus or enJSRVs, are critical during the early phase of pregnancy when the placenta begins to develop.
........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 9/11/2006 8:15:28 PM)
Gene Silencing In PlantsBiologists at Washington University in St. Louis have made an important breakthrough in understanding a pathway plant cells take to silence unwanted or extra genes using short bits of RNA. Basically, they have made it possible to see where, and how, the events in the pathway unfold within the cell, and seeing is believing, as the old saying goes.
Craig Pikaard, Ph.D., Washington University professor of biology in Arts & Sciences and his........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 9/9/2006 9:45:06 AM)
Peacock The beautiful birdThe Green Peafowl breeds from Myanmar east to Java. The IUCN lists the Green Peafowl as vulnerable to extinction due to hunting and a reduction in extent and quality of habitat. The two Pavo species will hybridize in captivity although their ranges in the wild are non-overlapping.
Some taxonomists believe that the endangered Green Peafowl is actually a complex of five distinct species although they are currently treated as one species with........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 9/7/2006 7:47:05 PM)
fruit flies mirrors climate changeFast-warming climate appears to be triggering genetic changes in a species of fruit fly that is native to Europe and was introduced into North and South America about 25 years ago.
"This is a clear signal on three different continents that climate change is occurring, and that genetic change is going along with it," said Raymond Huey, a University of Washington biology professor who is co-author of a paper describing the findings, published........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 9/6/2006 5:00:34 AM)
Golden Age Of Dinosaur DiscoveryThe golden age of dinosaur discovery is yet upon us, according to Peter Dodson at the University of Pennsylvania. In a forthcoming issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Dodson revises his groundbreaking 1990 census on the diversity of discoverable dinosaurs upward by 50%, offering a brighter outlook about the number of dinosaurs waiting to be found. His findings also add evidence that dinosaur populations were stable,........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 9/5/2006 5:10:55 AM)
Watching The Fruit Fly Chromosomes In ActionScientists are enthusiastically watching the chromosomes of the fruit fly in action over the specialized microscope. These fruit fly larvae, warmed in a toasty lab chamber, are giving clues to the gene expression and chromosome interactions. Researchers from Cornell researchers take these actions very seriously.
They are using multiphoton fluorescence microscopy, which is a technique pioneered at Cornell University by physicist Watt W.........Go to the Biology-blog (Added on 9/22/2006 4:51:02 PM)
Hidden Messages From Squid SkinIn the animal world, squid are masters of disguise. Pigmented skin cells enable them to camouflage themselves-almost instantaneously-from predators. Squid also produce polarized skin patterns by regulating the iridescence of their skin, possibly creating a "hidden communication channel" visible only to animals that are sensitive to polarized light.
In research published recently in the journal Biology Letters, MBL (Marine Biological........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 9/21/2006 4:58:22 AM)
Corn And Soy Plastics To Be Made Into Hog FeedersRichard Larock sorted through a pile of neatly labeled baggies filled with the plastics he makes from corn, soybean and other bio-based oils.
Larock, a University Professor of chemistry at Iowa State University, found the thin, square piece he was looking for and smacked it against his hand. This one is made from soybean oil reinforced with glass fibers, he said. And it's the kind of tough bioplastic he and his industrial collaborators will........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 9/20/2006 10:03:16 PM)
Champion Lost in the Fog EuthanizedLost in the Fog, last year's Eclipse Award-winning sprinter, was euthanized Sept. 17, three weeks after doctors found three malignant tumors in his spleen and along his back.
The charismatic champion with the crooked blaze began his career with 10 consecutive victories, a streak that was broken when he finished unplaced in the 2005 TVG Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) at Belmont Park.
"We accomplished what we wanted to do," said trainer Greg........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 9/20/2006 8:55:14 PM)
Mystery Disease Killing Lions in IndiaZookeepers are mournfully watching the results of the program, which began in the late 1980s at the Chhatbir Zoo and was ended in 2002 after a number of of the nearly 80 crossbred lions were struck by a mysterious disease associated with inbreeding and a weakened gene pool, said Kuldip Kumar, Punjab state's conservator of forests and wildlife.
Wildlife officials had originally hoped the hybrid cats could be introduced into the wild in an........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 9/20/2006 8:20:33 PM)
Massive Protected Areas For AnimalsThe Minister of Forestry Economy of the Republic of Congo announced recently plans to create two new protected areas that together could be larger than Yellowstone National Park, spanning nearly one million hectares (3,800 square miles). Instead of bison and elk, these new protected areas contain elephants, chimpanzees, hippos, crocodiles, and some of the highest densities of gorillas on earth. The announcement was made by Minister Henri Djombo........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 9/18/2006 10:25:09 PM)
Demoting Southeast Asia's Forest OxIt was one of the most famous discoveries of the 20th century. Shrouded in mystery since its recognition as a new species in 1937, the kouprey -- an ox with dramatic, curving horns -- has been an icon of Southeast Asian conservation. Feared extinct, it's been the object of perilous expeditions to the region's jungles by adventurers, researchers and journalists.
Now, in a paper published by the Journal of Zoology (London), Northwestern........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 9/17/2006 10:30:48 PM)
Best Look Ever At Water-Life ConnectionNo one has ever seen exactly how water molecules interact with proteins - even though water is the essential element for life. that is, not until now.
Scientists led by Ohio State University physicist Dongping Zhong revealed these interactions for the first time, and report the results in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Proteins are complex molecules that form the main support structure for plant........Go to the Biology-blog (Added on 9/15/2006 2:04:53 PM)
Rodent's Bizarre Traits Deepen Mystery Of GeneticsA shadowy rodent has potential to shed light on human genetics and the mysteries of evolution.
Purdue University research has shown that the vole, a mouselike rodent, is not only the fastest evolving mammal, but also harbors many puzzling genetic traits that challenge current scientific understanding.
"Nobody has posters of voles on their wall," said J. Andrew DeWoody, associate professor of genetics in the Department of Forestry and........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 9/14/2006 7:32:34 PM)
Cotinus coggygria 'Royal Purple''Royal Purple' smokebush is a popular landscape shrub with much to recommend it: autumn foliage colour, drought-tolerant when established and a smoky-appearing inflorescence, to name a few. Part of my reason for enjoying it is that it is in one of my favourite plant families, the Anacardiaceae, and is therefore correlation to mango, cashew and poison ivy (a plant I admire, but from a distance).
In local news, there is a lecture tonight (link........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 9/14/2006 7:09:48 PM)
Multi-Dimensional Human Embryocollaboration funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) to produce and make available over the internet a three-dimensional image reference of the Human Embryo based on magnetic resonance imaging.
The collection of images is intended to serve students, researchers, clinicians, and the general public interested in studying and teaching human development.........Go to the Biology-blog (Added on 9/14/2006 6:38:17 PM)
The First Tree Genome is PublishedWood from a common tree may one day factor prominently in meeting transportation fuel needs, as per researchers whose research on the fast-growing poplar tree is featured on the cover of tomorrow's edition of the journal Science.
The article, highlighting the analysis of the first complete DNA sequence of a tree, the black cottonwood or Populus trichocarpa, lays the groundwork that may lead to the development of trees as an ideal "feedstock"........Go to the Biology-blog (Added on 9/14/2006 6:10:50 PM)
The Machinery Of Cellular Protein FactoriesProteins of all sizes and shapes do most of the work in living cells, and the DNA sequences in genes spell out the instructions for making those proteins. The crucial job of reading the genetic instructions and synthesizing the specified proteins is carried out by ribosomes, tiny protein factories humming away inside the cells of all living things.
Harry Noller, the Sinsheimer Professor of Molecular Biology at the University of California,........Go to the Biology-blog (Added on 9/13/2006 9:17:07 PM)
Greener Path To Iron ProductionMIT engineers have demonstrated an eco-friendly way to make iron that eliminates the greenhouse gases commonly linked to its production.
The American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) announced recently that the team, led by Donald R. Sadoway of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, has shown the technical viability of producing iron by molten oxide electrolysis (MOE).
"What sets molten oxide electrolysis apart from other........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 9/13/2006 5:14:16 AM)
Do green markets actually lead to improvements in environmental quality?Goods and services with environmental benefits are a growing part of a number of sectors of the economy, and a timely new paper from the current issue of the Journal of Political Economy analyzes how our willingness to pay more for environmentally friendly products actually influences environmental quality and social welfare. Surprisingly, the study finds that under certain reasonable conditions, green markets can actually discourage private........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 9/13/2006 5:10:42 AM)
Python Eating Pregnant SheepLittle bloating after a big meal is an occupational hazard for pythons. But this unfortunate creature found itself unable to slink away and sleep it off.
In fact, after swallowing a pregnant sheep, it couldn't move at all.
Firemen in the Malaysian village of Kampung Jabor, about 190km east of Kuala Lumpur, easily caught it after it was spotted on a road.
Conservationists were yesterday still deciding whether to keep the 90kg snake in a........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 9/9/2006 5:36:24 PM)
Scientists Take A Global View Of The EpigenomeA collaboration between scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and the University of California at Los Angeles captured the genome-wide DNA methylation pattern of the plant Arabidopsis thaliana - the "laboratory rat" of the plant world - in one big sweep.
"In a single experiment we recapitulated 20 years worth of anecdotal findings and then some," says senior author Joseph Ecker, Ph.D., a professor in the Salk Institute's........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 9/9/2006 12:08:28 PM)
Reconstructing Primeval CognitionHow did our evolutionary ancestors make sense of their world? What strategies did they use, for example, to find food? Fossils do not preserve thoughts, so we have so far been unable to glean any insights into the cognitive structure of our ancestors. However, in a study recently published in Current Biology (September 5, 2006), scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics and their colleagues at the Max Planck Institute for........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 9/7/2006 5:02:04 AM)
Tiny Shock Absorbers Help BacteriaBacteria have hair-like protrusions with a sticky protein on the tip that lets them cling to surfaces. The coiled, bungee cord-like structure of the protrusions helps the bacteria hang on tightly, even under rough fluid flow inside the body, scientists report in the journal PLoS Biology.
A group of scientists at the University of Washington in Seattle and ETH Zurich in Switzerland have been studying how the bacterium E. coli attaches to........Go to the Biology-blog (Added on 9/6/2006 5:04:29 AM)
Biological Switch from Spinach MoleculeNanoresearchers have transformed a molecule of chlorophyll-a from spinach into a complex biological switch that has possible future applications for green energy, technology and medicine.
The study offers the first detailed image of chloropyhll-a - the main ingredient in the photosynthesis process - and shows how researchers can use new technology to manipulate the configuration of the spinach molecule in four different arrangements, report........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 9/5/2006 10:11:15 PM)