Recent Posts by Pangaea Biosciences

Mowing for monarchs

You might think that mowing fields wouldn't benefit monarch butterfly populations. New research from Michigan State University, however, shows that disturbances like mowing -- at key times -- might help boost the iconic butterfly's numbers. The results are published in the current issue of Biological Conservation, and they show that strategic grassland management benefits monarchs in…
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Pathogens may have facilitated the evolution of warm-blooded animals

Six hundred million years ago, fever appeared in animals as a response to infections: the higher body temperatures optimized their immune systems. At the time, virtually all animal species were cold-blooded. They had to sit in warm patches of habitat for extended periods of time to achieve fever-range body temperatures. For Michael Logan, a Tupper…
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New causes of autism found in ‘junk’ DNA

Leveraging artificial intelligence techniques, researchers have demonstrated that mutations in so-called 'junk' DNA can cause autism. The study, published May 27 in Nature Genetics, is the first to functionally link such mutations to the neurodevelopmental condition. The research was led by Olga Troyanskaya in collaboration with Robert Darnell. Troyanskaya is deputy director for genomics at the…
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Edible insects? Lab-grown meat? The real future food is lab-grown insect meat

Livestock farming is destroying our planet. It is a major cause of land and water degradation, biodiversity loss, acid rain, coral reef degeneration, deforestation -- and of course, climate change. Plant-based diets, insect farming, lab-grown meat and genetically modified animals have all been proposed as potential solutions. Which is best? All of these combined, say…
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CRISPR baby mutation significantly increases mortality

A genetic mutation that a Chinese scientist attempted to create in twin babies born last year, ostensibly to help them fend off HIV infection, is also associated with a 21% increase in mortality in later life, according to an analysis by University of California, Berkeley, scientists. The researchers scanned more than 400,000 genomes and associated…
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Bedbugs evolved more than 100 million years ago

Bedbugs -- some of the most unwanted human bed-mates -- have been parasitic companions with other species aside from humans for more than 100 million years, walking the earth at the same time as dinosaurs. Work by an international team of scientists, including the University of Sheffield, compared the DNA of dozens of bedbug species…
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Nearly a quarter of West Antarctic ice is now unstable

By combining 25 years of European Space Agency satellite altimeter measurements and a model of the regional climate, the UK Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling (CPOM) have tracked changes in snow and ice cover across the continent. A team of researchers, led by Professor Andy Shepherd from the University of Leeds, found that Antarctica's…
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Neanderthals and modern humans diverged at least 800,000 years ago, new research shows

Neanderthals and modern humans diverged at least 800,000 years ago, substantially earlier than indicated by most DNA-based estimates, according to new research by a UCL academic. The research, published in Science Advances, analysed dental evolutionary rates across different hominin species, focusing on early Neanderthals. It shows that the teeth of hominins from Sima de los Huesos,…
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Free-floating DNA to reveal the health of river and lake ecosystems

The mix of DNA floating in rivers and lakes will finally be used to monitor the state of aquatic ecosystems, after years of tests to show that the technique works. Conventionally, aquatic life is monitored by capturing organisms, either by using nets or scraping under boulders, for examination. These techniques are time-consuming, can harm species and require skilled ecologists. Monitoring fish typically involves using…
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Flu virus’ best friend: Low humidity

Yale researchers have pinpointed a key reason why people are more likely to get sick and even die from flu during winter months: low humidity. While experts know that cold temperatures and low humidity promote transmission of the flu virus, less is understood about the effect of decreased humidity on the immune system's defenses against…
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