New Chemical Reaction for DNA ProductionA team of scientists has discovered a new chemical reaction for producing one of the four nucleotides, or building blocks, needed to build DNA. The reaction includes an unusual first step, or mechanism, and unlike other known reactions that produce the DNA building block, uses an enzyme that speeds up, or catalyzes, the reaction without bonding to any of the compounds, or substrates, in the reaction.
The chemical reaction discovered by the........Go to the Biology-blog (Added on 4/20/2009 9:42:08 PM)
Museum specimens aid conservation effortsThere is a new tool for those developing conservation strategies for threatened species and landscapes: museum specimens. Richard Pearson and Christopher Raxworthy of the American Museum of Natural History dusted off many collections from Madagascar and used the location information linked to each species to test different ideas regarding the evolution of locally distributed endemism (unique species confined to small regions). The research........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 4/17/2009 5:22:47 AM)
What life may have been like for dinosaurs?During the last 540 million years, the earth's oxygen levels have fluctuated wildly. Knowing that the dinosaurs appeared around the time when oxygen levels were at their lowest at 12%, Tomasz Owerkowicz, Ruth Elsey and James Hicks wondered how these monsters coped at such low oxygen levels. But without a ready supply of dinosaurs to test their ideas on, Owerkowicz and Hicks turned to a modern relative: the alligator. 'We knew testing the........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 4/17/2009 5:17:57 AM)
Researcher names lichen after President ObamaA researcher at UC Riverside has discovered a new species of lichen a plant-like growth that looks like moss or a dry leaf and named it after President Barack Obama.
"I discovered the new species in 2007 while doing a survey for lichen diversity on Santa Rosa Island in California," said Kerry Knudsen, the lichen curator in the UCR Herbarium. "I named it Caloplaca obamae to show my appreciation for the president's support of science and........Go to the Biology-blog (Added on 4/16/2009 5:23:19 AM)
Human impacts on coral reefsResults of a newly released study shed light on how threats to the world's endangered coral reef ecosystems can be more effectively managed.
In the current issue of the journal Coral Reefs, authors Kimberly Selkoe and Benjamin Halpern, both of the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) at the University of California at Santa Barbara, explain how maps of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (NWHI)--a vast area stretching........Go to the Biology-blog (Added on 4/8/2009 5:17:52 AM)
Switch one dietary poison for anotherAs the U.S. Southwest grew warmer between 18,700 and 10,000 years ago, juniper trees vanished from what is now the Mojave Desert, robbing woodrats of their favorite food.
Now biologists have narrowed the hunt for detoxification genes that let the rodents eat the toxic creosote bushes that replaced junipers.
"It was either eat it or move out," says biologist Denise Dearing of the University of Utah, main author of a paper detailing the........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 4/8/2009 5:15:11 AM)
Male flower parts responsible for potent grapevine perfumeUniversity of British Columbia researchers have traced the fragrant scent of grapevine flowers to pollen grains stored in the anthers, contrary to common perception that petals alone produce perfume.
While studying grapes used to produce Cabernet Sauvignon from the Okanagan region of British Columbia, scientists from UBC's Wine Research Centre and Michael Smith Laboratories identified a gene that produces and regulates fragrance from the........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 4/6/2009 9:32:14 PM)
Tropical forest seed banksSeeds of some tree species in the Panamanian tropical forest can survive for more than 30 years before germinating.
That is 10 times longer than most field botanists had believed.
Using the Lab's Center for Accelerator Mass Spectrometry to measure the amount of carbon 14 in seeds of the trees Croton billbergianus (Euphorbiaceae), Trema micrantha (Celtidaceae) and Zanthoxylum ekmannii ( Rutaceae), Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 4/2/2009 5:07:14 AM)
Why a chimp is so strong?February's brutal chimpanzee attack, during which a pet chimp inflicted devastating injuries on a Connecticut woman, was a stark reminder that chimps are much stronger than humansas much as four-times stronger, some scientists believe. But what is it that makes our closest primate cousins so much stronger than we are? One possible explanation is that great apes simply have more powerful muscles. Indeed, biologists have uncovered differences in........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 3/31/2009 5:14:57 AM)
MRI for a GorillaTalk about house calls! The Wildlife Conservation Society thanks The Brain Tumor Foundation and its "Road To Early Detection" campaign for their assistance in performing a brain scan on a gorilla at the Bronx Zoo.
The on-site procedureperformed by dozens of wildlife veterinarians, zookeepers, and medical personnel from several institutionswas made possible by the Bobby Murcer Mobile MRI Unit, a 48-foot-long MRI facility on wheels that........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 3/26/2009 9:44:13 PM)
Alternatives to pine bark and peatmoss identified for commercial, home gardensPine bark and peatmoss are the two most common substrates used for horticultural crop production in the southeastern United States, but both media can present challenges to growers. Reduced forestry production and increased use of pine bark as fuel and landscape mulch has made the medium less available, while the price of peatmoss is rising due to transportation costs and growing environmental concerns over the mining of peat bogs in Canada and........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 3/25/2009 9:39:43 PM)
What influeces floral purchaseScientific studies of "consumption value" explore the reasons consumers choose particular products and provide marketers with ways to analyze consumer behavior and influence purchasing. Studying the value of consumption is believed to have diagnostic value in the analysis of consumer choice behavior and, therefore, is helpful in improving the efficiency of the market. To enhance efficiency and promotion, it is essential for marketers to know........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 3/25/2009 9:37:50 PM)
First Look at How Bats LandPeople have always been fascinated by bats, but the scope of that interest generally is limited to how bats fly and their bizarre habit of sleeping upside down. Until now, no one had studied how bats arrive at their daytime perches.
A Brown University-led research team is the first to document the landing approaches of three species of bats - two that live in caves and one that roosts in trees. What they found was surprising: Not all bats........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 3/22/2009 9:57:48 PM)
'Delicious' new grape debutsScientists at the University of Florida have introduced 'Delicious', a new muscadine grape cultivar. 'Delicious' ripens early, produces high yields, and is disease-resistant. The black fruit features exceptional taste and texture with an edible skin, making it well-suited for fresh fruit consumption and the potential for wine production. The name 'Delicious' was selected based on the comments of vineyard visitors who sampled the fruit.
As........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 3/22/2009 9:52:42 PM)
Garden pea may help fight high blood pressureScientists in Canada are reporting that proteins found in a common garden pea show promise as a natural food additive or new dietary supplement for fighting hypertension and chronic kidney disease (CKD). Those potentially life-threatening conditions affect millions of people worldwide.
The study, which will be presented here today at the American Chemical Society's 237th National Meeting, is the first reporting that a natural food product........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 3/22/2009 9:43:09 PM)
Synthetic Biology Can Help Extend Anti-Malaria Drug EffectivenessIn addition to providing a simple and much less expensive means of making artemisinin, the most powerful anti-malaria drug in use today, synthetic biology can also help to extend the effectiveness of this drug. Fermenting artemisinin via engineered microbes, such as yeast, can be done at far lower costs than extracting the drug from Artemsisia annua, the sweet wormwood tree, making microbial-based artemisinin a much cheaper but equally........Go to the Biology-blog (Added on 3/6/2009 9:26:52 PM)
Desert ants smell their way homeHumans lost in the desert are well known for going around in circles, prompting researchers to ask how desert creatures find their way around without landmarks for guidance. Now research published in BioMed Central's open access journal Frontiers in Zoology shows that Desert Ants input both local smells and visual cues into their navigation systems to guide them home.
Until now scientists thought that the Desert Ant Cataglyphis fortis, which........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 2/27/2009 6:30:21 AM)
Software to analyze tomato color and qualityWhen it comes to fresh vegetables and fruits, color is one of the best indicators of quality. Along with texture, size, and flavor, color plays an important role in the business of horticultural crop production and marketing.
In tomatoes, for example, color and color uniformity contribute directly to quality and marketability. The presence of yellow shoulder disorder, or YSD, a ripening disorder that results in blotchy discoloration under........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 2/27/2009 6:02:14 AM)
Crafty Australian crayfish cheatNestled just off the east coast of Australia, picturesque North Stradbroke Island is a haven for local wildlife. Yet some of the inhabitants of the island's creeks and swamps are far from peaceful. Slender crayfish are aggressive territorial creatures, explains ecologist Robbie Wilson of the University of Queensland, Australia. When two crayfish catch sight of one another, they size each other up in a ritualistic display, which can quickly........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 2/27/2009 5:58:14 AM)
Antioxidants in Midwestern black raspberriesBlack raspberries have been studied for decades by researchers and medical scientists interested in the fruits' apparent ability to limit the onset or severity of degenerative diseases, including cancer.
The fruit of a number of popular berries, including blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, elderberries, grapes, and plums, are known to have strong antioxidant capacity, mainly as a result of high levels of anthocyaninschemicals that give........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 2/26/2009 11:10:27 PM)
Unusual Antarctic Microbes Lived in Extreme ConditionsAn unmapped reservoir of briny liquid chemically similar to sea water, but buried under an inland Antarctic glacier, appears to support unusual microbial life in a place where cold, darkness and lack of oxygen would previously have led researchers to believe nothing could survive, as per newly published research.
After sampling and analyzing the outflow from below the Taylor Glacier, an outlet glacier of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet in the........Go to the Biology-blog (Added on 4/20/2009 9:37:09 PM)
Antioxidant benefits of tart cherriesEating just one and a half servings of tart cherries could significantly boost antioxidant activity in the body, according to new University of Michigan research reported at the 2009 Experimental Biology meeting in New Orleans.1 In the study, healthy adults who ate a cup and a half of frozen cherries had increased levels of antioxidants, specifically five different anthocyanins the natural antioxidants that give cherries their red color.
........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 4/20/2009 5:15:30 AM)
Size and suitability as a mateA new study by scientists at the University of Alaska Fairbanks offers evidence that in one breed of northern seabird, the size of males' feather crests appears to be more than simple ornamentation.
Their study, published this month in of the Journal of Comparative Physiology B, shows that crest size appears to be a physical indicator of a male crested auklet's quality as a mate.
Researchers have long noted that female auklets prefer........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 4/17/2009 5:20:55 AM)
Red pandas and sweet toothPHILADELPHIA (April 15, 2009) -- Scientists from the Monell Center report that the red panda is the first non-primate mammal to display a liking for the artificial sweetener aspartame. This unexpected affinity for an artificial sweetener may reflect structural variation in the red panda's sweet taste receptor.
The findings may shed light on how taste preferences and diet choice are shaped by molecular differences in taste receptors.
"The........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 4/16/2009 5:26:43 AM)
Studying migration of threatened whale sharksWhale sharks -- giants of the fish world that strike terror only among tiny creatures like the plankton and krill they eat -- are imperiled by over-fishing of the species in parts of its ocean range.
That threat is underscored in a newly released study from geneticists led by Jennifer Schmidt, University of Illinois at Chicago associate professor of biological sciences, reported online April 7 in the journal PLoS One
Schmidt and her........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 4/8/2009 5:24:32 AM)
The fragility of the world's coral reserveA newly released study by scientists from UC Santa Barbara's National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) sheds light on how threats to the world's endangered coral reef ecosystems can be more effectively managed.
In a recent issue of the journal Coral Reefs, main authors Kimberly A. Selkoe and Benjamin S. Halpern, both of NCEAS, explain how their maps of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (NWHI) a vast area stretching over........Go to the Biology-blog (Added on 4/6/2009 9:48:03 PM)
Sexy or Repulsive?Butterflies seem able to both attract mates and ward off predators using different sides of their wings, as per new research by Yale University biologists.
Trying to find the balance between these two crucial behaviors is one of nature's oldest dilemmas, as per Jeffrey Oliver, a postdoctoral associate in Yale's Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and main author on the study, which appears online today in the journal Proceedings........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 4/2/2009 5:21:50 AM)
The mysterious Green Glow of the SeaA number of longtime sailors have been mesmerized by the dazzling displays of green light often seen below the ocean surface in tropical seas. Now scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego have uncovered key clues about the bioluminescent worms that produce the green glow and the biological mechanisms behind their light production.
Marine fireworms use bioluminescence to attract suitors in an undersea mating ritual.........Go to the Biology-blog (Added on 4/2/2009 5:18:36 AM)
Magnetic nano-'shepherds' organize cellsThe power of magnetism may address a major problem facing bioengineers as they try to create new tissue -- getting human cells to not only form structures, but to stimulate the growth of blood vessels to nourish that growth.
A multidisciplinary team of researchers from Duke University, Case Western Reserve University and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst created an environment where magnetic particles suspended within a specialized........Go to the Biology-blog (Added on 3/31/2009 2:48:44 PM)
Why those fishes went extinct 65 million years agoLarge size and a fast bite spelled doom for bony fishes during the last mass extinction 65 million years ago, according to a new study to be published March 31, 2009, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Today, those same features characterize large predatory bony fishes, such as tuna and billfishes, that are currently in decline and at risk of extinction themselves, said Matt Friedman, author of the study and a graduate........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 3/26/2009 9:40:48 PM)
Who influences purchases of native plants?Native plants are a growing niche market in the southeastern United States. Scientists have documented recent trends toward increased interest in native plants by landscape architects, wholesale and retail nursery owners, and home gardeners. But landscape professionals and amateur gardeners purchase native plants for distinctly different reasons. Statistics reveal that landscape architects most often select native species because they are........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 3/25/2009 9:45:41 PM)
Vipers shape lizards' tail-shedding abilitiesUniversity of Michigan ecologists and their colleagues have answered a question that has puzzled biologists for more than a century: What is the main factor that determines a lizard's ability to shed its tail when predators attack?
The answer, in a word: Venom.
Tail-shedding, known to researchers as caudal autotomy, is a common anti-predator defense among lizards. When attacked, a number of lizards jettison the wriggling appendage and........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 3/25/2009 9:26:47 PM)
Small investments to battle soybean pest paying off bigThe small amount of money put toward fighting the tiny, yet destructive soybean aphid will pay big dividends in the coming years, said a Michigan State University economist, thanks to a research and outreach system developed during the last 50 years.
State and federal governments have spent $17 million on soybean aphid research and education since 2003, MSU agricultural, food and resource economics professor Scott Swinton said. The net........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 3/24/2009 6:21:53 AM)
Flight of the bumble beeInsects such as honeybees and bumble bees are predictable in the way they move among flowers, typically moving directly from one flower to an adjacent cluster of flowers in the same row of plants. The bees' flight paths have a direct affect on their ability to hunt for pollen and generate "gene flow", fertilization and seed production that results when pollen moves from one plant to another. The study of gene flow has experienced more attention........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 3/22/2009 9:50:48 PM)
Low-cost DNA sequencingA ghostly property of matter, called quantum tunneling, may aid the quest for accurate, low-cost genomic sequencing, as per a new paper in Nature Nanotechnology Letters by Stuart Lindsay and his collaborators at the Biodesign Institute of Arizona State University. Tunneling implies that a particle, say an electron, can cross a barrier, when, as per classical physics, it does not have enough energy to do so.
Unraveling the DNA sequences of........Go to the Biology-blog (Added on 3/22/2009 9:41:09 PM)
Historical Increase in Corn YieldOne of the most significant developments in agricultural growth in modern times has been the continuous and substantial increase in corn yield over the past 80 years in the U.S. Corn Belt.
This extraordinary yield advance has been linked to both breeding of improved hybrids and the ability to grow them at increased density. In a newly released study, reported in the January-recent issue of Crop Science, scientists have investigated the........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 3/16/2009 8:21:08 PM)
The blind mole rat and the fight against cancerIf someone ever calls you a "dirty rat," consider it a compliment. A new discovery published online in the FASEB Journal (http://www.fasebj.org) shows that cellular mechanisms used by the blind mole rat to survive the very low oxygen environment of its subterranean niche are the same as those that tumors use to thrive deep in our tissues. The net effect of this discovery is two-fold: first the blind mole rat can serve a "living tumor" in cancer........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 3/5/2009 6:09:33 AM)
Georgia goes bananasBananas, known most often as a healthy, convenient food, are also popular ornamental plants in the southern United States. Banana plants are highly prized by a number of as one of the most beautiful ornamentals used for creating a subtropical ambiance in gardens and pool environments.
A research study reported in the American Society for Horticultural Science journal HortTechnology detailed a study of 33 commercial banana cultivars grown........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 2/27/2009 6:07:58 AM)
US shiitake market mushroomingShiitake mushrooms are the third most popular mushroom species in the U.S. In addition to taste, shiitake have a multitude of health benefits. Low in calories, glucose and sodium, shiitake are high in potassium, phosphorus, copper, and zinc.
Beyond those positive nutritional factors, shiitake also contain elements that lower blood cholesterol and improve the immune system. It's no wonder that demand is increasing for these nutritional........Go to the Biology-blog (Added on 2/26/2009 11:16:40 PM)
Consumer Preferences For StrawberriesFresh strawberries. Just the mention of this iconic spring and early summer fruit can elicit mouthwatering memories of shortcake, fruity drinks and sweet desserts. Scientists interested in learning more about this evocative fruit have determined that "sensory quality" of strawberries, a strong influence on consumer preferences, is the result of a complex balance of sweetness, aroma, texture, and appearance.
The goals of a recent study by a........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 2/26/2009 11:14:08 PM)