What Playful Animals Can Teach Us About The Biology Of Fun

Play and fun, though seemingly purposeless, are fundamental aspects of the human experience. It wouldn't be a stretch to say that we're wired for play. But why? By definition, play is an activity without purpose or aim -- but it does have important implications for learning and development. We can look to the animal kingdom to see how fundamental play is to human nature, and to understand why we might have evolved to seek out and enjoy fun. In a new special issue of the journal Current Biology, scientists share insights on fun and play in various animal species in order to shed light on the importance of amusement in our everyday lives. "The brain activity associated with ‘having fun’ presumably leads in some way to activation of reward centers in the brain... This would give a proximate explanation for why we pursue fun, but why has this reward-relationship evolved in the first place?" Geoffrey North, editor of Current Biology, writes in an editorial. "What evolutionary advantage is there to engaging in the kind of activities we associate with fun? As usual with an evolutionary question it is helpful to take a broad look at what appear to be similar behaviors in other species -- in particular, to consider fun in other animals, and what functions it might have that could contribute to their evolutionary fitness." As North insists, fun can be an important area of inquiry in biology, "touching on important issues of how we learn to int...
Source: Science - The Huffington Post - Category: Science Source Type: news

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Publication date: Available online 30 May 2020Source: Comparative Immunology, Microbiology and Infectious DiseasesAuthor(s): Ahmad Erfanmanesh, Arash Ghalyanchilangeroudi, Donya Nikaein, Hossein Hosseini, Tahereh Mohajerfar
Source: Comparative Immunology, Microbiology and Infectious Diseases - Category: Infectious Diseases Source Type: research
Authors: Zaretsky A Abstract Public experimental embryology opens a relationship between an embryo and an amateur transgenic designer. Artists produce real-world effects by forcing hereditary aesthetics on developing bodies. This lab was meant to aid in public understanding of the relationship between transgenics and aesthetics. How do we to take an active and hands-on tactical stance on the role of hereditary designer and how does this help in public analysis of the bioethics of genetic engineering. Through naming and funeral rites, we assign the embryos an uncertain amount of clout or cultural worth. This lab is ...
Source: Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology - Category: Research Tags: Adv Exp Med Biol Source Type: research
This study shows that the magnitude of the host transcriptional response can differ markedly from related parasites with different virulence, and it enables a better understanding of the molecular interactions taking place between hosts and parasites. PMID: 32469658 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
Source: The American Naturalist - Category: Biology Authors: Tags: Am Nat Source Type: research
One scientist says Cummings affair ‘not a recipe for public trust’ at key stage of lockdownCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageThe government is facing increasing pressure from its scientific advisers over the decision to ease England ’s lockdown, with one warning that the Dominic Cummings affair has eroded trust in its authority.Prof Robert West, a member of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Behaviours (SPI-B) that advises the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), emphasised on Saturday that about 8,000 infections, and 400 deaths, are still happening eac...
Source: Guardian Unlimited Science - Category: Science Authors: Tags: Coronavirus outbreak Politics UK news Science Boris Johnson Source Type: news
Cross-subtype neutralizing single domain antibodies against influenza present new opportunities for immunoprophylaxis and pandemic preparedness. Their simple modular structure and single open reading frame format are highly amenable to gene therapy-mediated delivery. We have previously described R1a-B6, an alpaca-derived single domain antibody (nanobody), that is capable of potent cross-subtype neutralization in vitro of H1N1, H5N1, H2N2, and H9N2 influenza viruses, through binding to a highly conserved epitope in the influenza hemagglutinin stem region. To evaluate the potential of R1a-B6 for immunoprophylaxis, we have re...
Source: Frontiers in Immunology - Category: Allergy & Immunology Source Type: research
μ NS is a 70   kDa major nonstructural protein of avian reoviruses, which cause significant economic losses in the poultry industry. They replicate inside viral factories in host cells, and the μ NS protein has been suggested to be the minimal viral factor required for factory formation. Thus, determining the structure of μ NS is of great importance for understanding its role in viral infection. In the study presented here, a fragment consisting of residues 448 – 605 of μ NS was expressed as an EGFP fusion protein in Sf9 insect cells. EGFP- μ NS(448 – 605) crystallization in Sf9 cells was monit...
Source: Acta Crystallographica Section F - Category: Biochemistry Authors: Tags: μ NS avian reovirus in vivo crystallization high-viscosity jets serial crystallography X-ray free-electron lasers methods communications Source Type: research
Seo Ducks show notably higher resistance to highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses as compared to chickens. Here, we studied the age-dependent susceptibility in ducks to the infections caused by highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses. We intranasally infected ducks aged 1, 2, 4, and 8 weeks with highly pathogenic H5N6 avian influenza viruses isolated in South Korea in 2016. All the 1-and 2-week-old ducks died after infection, 20% of 3-week-old ducks died, and from the ducks aged 4 and 8 weeks, all of them survived. We performed microarray analysis and quantitative real-time PCR using total RNA isolated from the l...
Source: Viruses - Category: Virology Authors: Tags: Article Source Type: research
ammad Munir In the last 5 years, frequent outbreaks of infectious bronchitis virus (IBV) are observed in both broiler and layer chicken flocks in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) in spite of extensive usage of vaccines. The IBV is a widespread avian coronavirus affecting both vaccinated and unvaccinated chicken flocks and is attributed to significant economic losses, around the globe. In the present study, 58 (n = 58) samples were collected from four different commercial poultry flocks from 8 KSA districts during 2019. A total of nine positive isolates (9/58; 15.5%), based on real-time reverse transcriptase PCR target...
Source: Genes - Category: Genetics & Stem Cells Authors: Tags: Article Source Type: research
Two avian influenza A/H3N6 viruses were isolated from a wild bird in Poyang Lake, Jiangxi, China, in 2014. These Jiangxi H3N6 viruses are novel reassortants with genes most likely derived from Eurasian ‐originated H3Ny (N3, N6, N8), H5N6 viruses, and H9N2 viruses. We highlight the importance of routine surveillance in wild birds for a better early warning system of emerging reassortants with pandemic potential and consequently to avert the threat to public health. AbstractTwo novel reassortant avian influenza A (H3N6) viruses were isolated from swan goose in Poyang Lake, Jiangxi Province, China, in 2014. Phylogenetic ana...
Source: MicrobiologyOpen - Category: Microbiology Authors: Tags: ORIGINAL ARTICLE Source Type: research
Nai-Huei Wu Pigs play an important role in the interspecies transmission of influenza A viruses (IAV). The porcine airway epithelium contains binding sites for both swine/human IAV (α2,6-linked sialic acids) and avian IAV (α2,3-linked sialic acids) and therefore is suited for adaptation of viruses from other species as suggested by the “mixing vessel theory”. Here, we applied well-differentiated swine airway epithelial cells to find out whether efficient infection by avian IAV requires prior adaption. Furthermore, we analyzed the influence of the sialic acid-binding activity an...
Source: Viruses - Category: Virology Authors: Tags: Article Source Type: research
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