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  • January 28, 2015
  • 11:55 PM
  • 4 views

Space and stochasticity in evolutionary games

by Artem Kaznatcheev in Evolutionary Games Group

Two of my goals for TheEGG this year are to expand the line up of contributors and to extend the blog into a publicly accessible venue for active debate about preliminary, in-progress, and published projects; a window into the everyday challenges and miracles of research. Toward the first goal, we have new contributions from Jill […]... Read more »

Durrett, R., & Levin, S. (1994) The Importance of Being Discrete (and Spatial). Theoretical Population Biology, 46(3), 363-394. DOI: 10.1006/tpbi.1994.1032  

  • January 28, 2015
  • 03:08 PM
  • 20 views

Everyday chemical exposure leads to early menopause

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Seems like everything is killing us these days. Well ladies, you have one more thing that is causing you problems. New research has shown that women whose bodies have high levels of chemicals found in plastics, personal-care products, common household items and the environment experience menopause two to four years earlier than women with lower levels of these chemicals.... Read more »

Grindler, N., Allsworth, J., Macones, G., Kannan, K., Roehl, K., & Cooper, A. (2015) Persistent Organic Pollutants and Early Menopause in U.S. Women. PLOS ONE, 10(1). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0116057  

  • January 28, 2015
  • 08:38 AM
  • 27 views

Video Tip of the Week: Helium plant pedigree software, because “Plants are weird.”

by Mary in OpenHelix

A lot of people find our blog by searching for “pedigree” tools. We’ve covered them in the past, and we’ve got some training on the Madeline 2.0 web tools that we like. We have groused about the fact that some pedigree tools do not accommodate same-sex families. Largely focused on human relationships, there are a […]... Read more »

Shaw Paul D, Jessie Kennedy, Iain Milne, & David F Marshall. (2014) Helium: visualization of large scale plant pedigrees. BMC Bioinformatics, 15(1), 259. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2105-15-259  

  • January 28, 2015
  • 08:00 AM
  • 26 views

Crawling To The Top

by Mark Lasbury in As Many Exceptions As Rules

Nematodes cause horrible diseases, but they way they reproduce is the most fascinating thing about them. Their sperm aren’t shaped like typical animal male gametes. They crawl instead of swimming, and they have a type of cytoskeleton not seen in any other cell type on Earth. Yet, the nematode is the most numerous type of animal on Earth.... Read more »

Smith HE. (2014) Nematode sperm motility. WormBook : the online review of C. elegans biology, 1-15. PMID: 24715710  

H. Ferris. (2009) The beer mat nematode, Panagrellus The beer mat nematode, Panagrellus redivivus: A study of the connectedness of scientific discovery . J. Nematode Morphol. Syst., 12(1), 19-25. info:/

McKnight, K., Hoang, H., Prasain, J., Brown, N., Vibbert, J., Hollister, K., Moore, R., Ragains, J., Reese, J., & Miller, M. (2014) Neurosensory Perception of Environmental Cues Modulates Sperm Motility Critical for Fertilization. Science, 344(6185), 754-757. DOI: 10.1126/science.1250598  

  • January 28, 2015
  • 07:48 AM
  • 28 views

Transcription caught on camera part 2: Fab-ulous Histones

by Gal Haimovich in Green Fluorescent Blog

In eukaryotes, the DNA is packages tightly in nucleosomes, which are composed primarily out of histone proteins. There are four major types of histones (1,2,3 & 4). Extensive work has been done on how histones facilitate and regulate transcription. It … Continue reading →... Read more »

Stasevich TJ, Hayashi-Takanaka Y, Sato Y, Maehara K, Ohkawa Y, Sakata-Sogawa K, Tokunaga M, Nagase T, Nozaki N, McNally JG.... (2014) Regulation of RNA polymerase II activation by histone acetylation in single living cells. Nature, 516(7530), 272-5. PMID: 25252976  

  • January 28, 2015
  • 06:22 AM
  • 22 views

Was Lucy A Riveter? News On Tool Use

by jeffrey daniels in United Academics

British researchers were looking at the trabecular bones of several Australopithecus africanus fossils, and comparing them to the known bone shapes of chimpanzees and humans. Their results seems to suggest that A africanus was at the very least making much use of stone tools, and there could even be a possibility that they were creating their own tools as well.... Read more »

Skinner MM, Stephens NB, Tsegai ZJ, Foote AC, Nguyen NH, Gross T, Pahr DH, Hublin JJ, & Kivell TL. (2015) Human evolution. Human-like hand use in Australopithecus africanus. Science (New York, N.Y.), 347(6220), 395-9. PMID: 25613885  

  • January 28, 2015
  • 05:03 AM
  • 27 views

Urinary histidine as a marker of 'dioxin-induced' neurodevelopmental issues?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The paper by Muneko Nishijo and colleagues [1] (open-access) caught my eye recently and their continuing investigations into the potential effects of perinatal dioxin exposure on offspring neurodevelopmental outcomes. For a bit of background on this initiative based in Vietnam, I would refer readers to a previous post on this blog (see here).Your weakness is copper? Y-you're kidding right?In case you can't be bothered to follow that previous link, the idea was that exposure to TCDD [2,........ Read more »

  • January 27, 2015
  • 02:58 PM
  • 33 views

Scientific Sherlocks: The Case of the Imperial Pheasant

by Jente Ottenburghs in Evolutionary Stories

In 1923, Jean Delacour discovered a new species of Pheasant in Vietnam. But things were not as they seemed...... Read more »

  • January 27, 2015
  • 01:55 PM
  • 38 views

Your brain is hardening your arteries, but not on purpose!

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Your brain might just be killing you slowly. Atherosclerosis — or hardening and narrowing of the arteries — can be caused by fat buildup that causes plaque deposits, and is one of the main causes of cardiovascular disease. What does that have to do with the brain? Well new research has shown a link between how the brain regulates fat metabolism, which has the potential of stopping the development of this disease risk factor in obesity and diabetes.... Read more »

  • January 27, 2015
  • 10:27 AM
  • 26 views

Athletic Training Makes Lizards Better Runners

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish



Athletes don't normally need to be chased down the track to get their training mileage in. But a green anole lizard is not a normal athlete.

Scientists wanted to know whether it's possible to train a lizard at all. Human athletes and other mammals perform better with consistent exercise, but is this universal? Can a reptile increase its stamina? What about its sprint speed? So the scientists became lizard athletic trainers, which really means lizard harassers. Results were mixed.

The g... Read more »

  • January 27, 2015
  • 07:30 AM
  • 33 views

Star Date: Pretty Darn Soon

by Mark E. Lasbury in The 'Scope

Star Trek celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2016. In preparation for the celebrations, we’re checking in on how close we are to making Star Trek technology a reality. The replicator made food and recycled trash, and later was used to make parts for the Enterprise. A machine fabricated what they needed on the spot. We have that now on the space station! Do you know how 3-D printing works and how we print parts, food, and even living tissue? Here’s how.... Read more »

  • January 27, 2015
  • 04:33 AM
  • 32 views

Siblings, genetics and the autisms (plural)

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The paper by Ryan Yuen and colleagues [1] suggesting that most siblings with autism do not share the same genetic variations thought to contribute to the condition has garnered quite a few media headlines of late (see here and see here).Applying the concept of whole-genome sequencing whereby the complete genetic blueprint of a person is mapped to provide "the most comprehensive collection of an individual's genetic variation" [2], 340 genomes from 85 families with two children with a d........ Read more »

Yuen, R., Thiruvahindrapuram, B., Merico, D., Walker, S., Tammimies, K., Hoang, N., Chrysler, C., Nalpathamkalam, T., Pellecchia, G., Liu, Y.... (2015) Whole-genome sequencing of quartet families with autism spectrum disorder. Nature Medicine. DOI: 10.1038/nm.3792  

  • January 26, 2015
  • 05:36 PM
  • 52 views

You can’t unboil an egg? Well… now you can

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

There is a saying, “you can’t unboil an egg.” Usually this is just illustrating cause and effect; you can’t turn back time, or what’s done is done. Well now scientists have successfully unboiled an egg, so suck it thermodynamics. An international team of chemists have accomplished this feat – an innovation that could dramatically reduce costs for cancer treatments, food production and other segments of the $160 billion global biotechnology industry, according to the findings.... Read more »

Yuan, T., Ormonde, C., Kudlacek, S., Kunche, S., Smith, J., Brown, W., Pugliese, K., Olsen, T., Iftikhar, M., Raston, C.... (2015) Shear-Stress-Mediated Refolding of Proteins from Aggregates and Inclusion Bodies. ChemBioChem. DOI: 10.1002/cbic.201402427  

  • January 26, 2015
  • 04:32 PM
  • 52 views

The secret for a longer life? Kill your unfit cells

by Isabel Torres in Science in the clouds

If you had the choice, would you like to live until you’re 130 years old? New research in fruit flies shows that manipulating a single gene can extend their lifespan up to 60%, suggesting that living well into your hundreds might become a reality in the foreseeable future.Dying of old age is a strange thing. Why does our health decline just because we’re old? Although the answer might at first seem obvious or simple, it really isn’t. There are countless theories of ageing, a few popular ev........ Read more »

  • January 26, 2015
  • 01:26 PM
  • 49 views

The Bed Bug’s Piercing Penis (A Guest Post)

by Miss Behavior in The Scorpion and the Frog

By Rachael Pahl Sex is a dangerous, but necessary, part of life. Across the animal kingdom, there are a multitude of things that can go wrong. You could be injured in a fight by someone who wants to steal your mate, or maybe your partner eats you because you’re taking too long. Either way, nature must have a pretty good reason for the traumatizing effects of sex. A male bed bug traumatically inseminates a female. Image by Rickard Ignell at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciencespo........ Read more »

Morrow, E., & Arnqvist, G. (2003) Costly traumatic insemination and a female counter-adaptation in bed bugs. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 270(1531), 2377-2381. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2003.2514  

  • January 26, 2015
  • 04:44 AM
  • 53 views

What factors are linked to behavioural crises in autism?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The question posed in the title of this post was asked and [partly] answered by the paper by Vincent Guinchat and colleagues [1] based on the analysis of 58 adolescents diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and "hospitalized for severe challenging behaviors." Challenging behaviours, by the way, refers to a whole spectrum of presentations which doesn't just include aggressive or violent behaviours (see here). Indeed, I recently talked about irritability and autism (see here), whic........ Read more »

  • January 25, 2015
  • 09:19 PM
  • 55 views

Coding Responsibly Part I: Version Control

by Geoffrey Hannigan in Prophage

As a result of the growing number of resources allowing everyone to learn how to code, as well as numerous other awesome educational efforts, programming is steadily growing in popularity and accessibility...... Read more »

Perkel, J. (2011) Coding your way out of a problem. Nature Methods, 8(7), 541-543. DOI: 10.1038/nmeth.1631  

  • January 25, 2015
  • 05:17 PM
  • 47 views

Transferring primary symbionts: a missed link?

by Mauro Mandrioli in The aphid room

One of the most studied example of symbiotic interaction is related to aphids and their symbiont Buchnera aphidicola  that they host in specialized cells called bacteriocytes. Each aphid may host about 6 millions of Buchnera cells that are involved in the continuous overproduction of tryptophan and other amino acids. In addition to obligate symbionts, exemplified […]... Read more »

Moran NA, & Yun Y. (2015) Experimental replacement of an obligate insect symbiont. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 25561531  

  • January 25, 2015
  • 03:41 PM
  • 56 views

The unsolved mysteries of protein misfolding in common neurodegenerative diseases

by neurosci in Neuroscientifically Challenged

Throughout the 1970s, biochemist Stanley Prusiner was obsessed with trying to find the causative agent for a mysterious group of diseases. The diseases, which included kuru and Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease in humans and scrapie in sheep, were characterized by slowly-developing symptoms and neurodegeneration so severe it eventually caused the brain to take on the appearance of a sponge (due to myriad little holes that developed where grey matter was lost). By the time Prusiner began studying these........ Read more »

Brettschneider, J., Tredici, K., Lee, V., & Trojanowski, J. (2015) Spreading of pathology in neurodegenerative diseases: a focus on human studies. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 16(2), 109-120. DOI: 10.1038/nrn3887  

  • January 24, 2015
  • 01:39 PM
  • 82 views

Lucid dreaming: The similarities between dreaming and wakefulness

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

To control one’s dreams and to live out there what is impossible in real life — a truly tempting idea. Some people — so-called lucid dreamers — can do this. Researchers have discovered that the brain area which enables self-reflection is larger in lucid dreamers. Thus, lucid dreamers are possibly also more self-reflecting when they are awake.... Read more »

Filevich E, Dresler M, Brick TR, & Kühn S. (2015) Metacognitive mechanisms underlying lucid dreaming. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 35(3), 1082-8. PMID: 25609624  

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