Category Archives: News & Archives

Can Moths Explain Why Sloths Poo On the Ground?

Here’s a memorable encounter between David Attenborough and a three-toed sloth, as shown in Life of Mammals. Sloths normally spend their lives hanging from high branches, but this one ambles down to the ground at the 1:10 mark. “It wants to defecate,” says Attenborough, “and the only place it’s happy doing that, oddly enough, is down on…
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Biologists testing for virus in dead pilot whales

Biologists and researchers spent the entire day Friday trying to figure out what caused 25 pilot whales to beach themselves and die. We tracked down the two boaters who first spotted the whales along Kice Island. It was an unforgettable scene. "I had a hard time going to sleep last night. It was going through my mind,"…
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Exposure to Pesticides Results in Smaller Worker Bees

Exposure to a widely used pesticide causes worker bumblebees to grow less and then hatch out at a smaller size, according to a new study by Royal Holloway University of London. The research, published today in theJournal of Applied Ecology, reveals that prolonged exposure to a pyrethroid pesticide, which is used on flowering crops to…
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Why is bioinformatics important?

The greatest challenge facing the molecular biology community today is to make sense of the wealth of data that has been produced by the genome sequencing projects. Traditionally, molecular biology research was carried out entirely at the experimental laboratory bench but the huge increase in the scale of data being produced in this genomic era…
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UV Light Makes Mushrooms Rich in Vitamin D

The dog days of summer are a distant memory and so are the long bright sunny days. But for many people, sunlight is an essential source of vitamin D. The human body needs vitamin D to maintain bone health and helps regulate the immune system. The ultraviolet light in sunlight actually converts cholesterol in your…
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Water seems to flow freely on Mars

Dark streaks that hint at seasonally flowing water have been spotted near the equator of Mars1. The potentially habitable oases are enticing targets for research. But spacecraft will probably have to steer clear of them unless the craft are carefully sterilized — a costly safeguard against interplanetary contamination that may rule out the sites for…
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‘It’s Alive! It’s Alive!’ Maybe Right Here on Earth

Here in a laboratory perched on the edge of the continent, researchers are trying to construct Life As We Don’t Know It in a thimbleful of liquid. Generations of scientists, children and science fiction fans have grown up presuming that humanity’s first encounter with alien life will happen in a red sand dune on Mars,…
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Ask a science teacher: What makes ice float?

The simple answer is that ice is less dense than water. The question then becomes: Why is ice, which is water in solid form, lighter than water in its liquid form? Something must be happening to water when it freezes. One molecule of water has two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom, or H2O. The…
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