Category Archives: News & Archives

What sets primates apart from other mammals?

University of Otago researchers have discovered information about a gene that sets primates -- great apes and humans -- apart from other mammals, through the study of a rare developmental brain disorder. Dr Adam O'Neill carried out the research as part of his PhD at the University of Otago, under the supervision of Professor Stephen…
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Early Thanksgiving Counts Show a Critically Low Monarch Population in California

The California overwintering population has been reduced to less than 0.5% of its historical size, and has declined by 86% compared to 2017. Each year, during a three-week period around Thanksgiving, scores of volunteers fan out through coastal California to find and count overwintering monarch butterflies as part of the Western Monarch Thanksgiving Count. The results…
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Oxygen could have been available to life as early as 3.5 billion years ago

Microbes could have performed oxygen-producing photosynthesis at least one billion years earlier in the history of the Earth than previously thought. The finding could change ideas of how and when complex life evolved on Earth, and how likely it is that it could evolve on other planets. Oxygen in the Earth's atmosphere is necessary for…
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First risk genes for ADHD found

A major international collaboration headed by researchers from the Danish iPSYCH project, the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, Massachusetts General Hospital, SUNY Upstate Medical University, and the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium has for the first time identified genetic variants which increase the risk of ADHD. The new findings provide a completely new insight into the…
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Embryological study of the skull reveals dinosaur-bird connection

Birds are the surviving descendants of predatory dinosaurs. However, since the likes of Tyrannosaurus and Velociraptor, some parts of their anatomy have become radically transformed. The skull, for instance, is now toothless, and accommodates much larger eyes and brain. Skulls are like 3-D puzzles made of smaller bones: As the eye socket and brain case…
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Bioreactor device helps frogs regenerate their legs

A team of scientists designed a device that can induce partial hindlimb regeneration in adult aquatic African clawed frogs (Xenopus laevis) by "kick-starting" tissue repair at the amputation site. Their findings, appearing November 6 in the journal Cell Reports, introduce a new model for testing "electroceuticals," or cell-stimulating therapies. "At best, adult frogs normally grow back…
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Ambitious Project to Sequence Genomes of 1.5 Million Species Kicks Off

Last week, a global consortium of scientists officially launched the Earth BioGenome Project. As Kate Kelland at Reuters reports, the backers are calling the extensive initiative the next “moonshot for biology.” Projected to cost $4.7 billion, it aims to sequence the DNA of the 1.5 million known species of eukaryotic, or complex species of life on Earth. Having…
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How do babies laugh? Like chimps!

Few things can delight an adult more easily than the uninhibited, effervescent laughter of a baby. Yet baby laughter, a new study shows, differs from adult laughter in a key way: Babies laugh as they both exhale and inhale, in a manner that is remarkably similar to nonhuman primates. The research will be described by…
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