Category Archives: News & Archives

Found: Rare beetle collected by Darwin 180 years ago

A brightly colored beetlecollected by Charles Darwin more than 180 years ago has been identified as a new species after hiding in museum storage for decades. The discovery of Darwinilus sedarisi whose scientific epithet honors both Charles Darwin and the writer David Sedaris was announced Wednesday (Feb. 12) to coincide with the 205th anniversary of Darwin's birthday. The South…
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Scientists identify gene linking brain structure to intelligence

For the first time, scientists at King's College London have identified a gene linking the thickness of the grey matter in the brain to intelligence. The study is published today in Molecular Psychiatry and may help scientists understand biological mechanisms behind some forms of intellectual impairment. The researchers looked at the cerebral cortex, the outermost layer of…
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Novel genes determine division of labor in insect societies

Novel or highly modified genes play a major role in the development of the different castes within ant colonies. Evolutionary biologists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) came to this conclusion in a recent gene expression study. Dr. Barbara Feldmeyer and her colleagues at the JGU Institute of Zoology studied the question how the different…
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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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