Country diary: metamorphosis in a museum tower
Oxford University Museum:For 70 years, researchers have been watching ‘particularly hideous’ young swifts turn into long-winged angelsThis glorious structure is a place rich in history. As we walked through the galleries our guide paused to show us the great oak door behind which Bishop Wilberforce confronted “Darwin’s bulldog”,Thomas Huxley, in their famous debate on evolution. We, however, were intent on a more modest fraction of the building ’s past. For it was here in 1947 that the ecologists Elizabeth and David Lack noticed how breeding swifts were vanishing into air vents in the ro...
Source: Guardian Unlimited Science - July 17, 2018 Category: Science Authors: Mark Cocker Tags: Birds Animal behaviour University of Oxford Science and nature books Wildlife Birdwatching UK news Environment Higher education Biology Research Animals Culture World news Source Type: news

Sunburn: Skin biologist invents £18.99 cream that reduces scars by 40 per cent
SCARS are unfortunately commonplace in society but trial results from a new cream on the market could see marks reduced significantly, Dr Ardeshir Bayat revealed. (Source: Daily Express - Health)
Source: Daily Express - Health - July 17, 2018 Category: Consumer Health News Source Type: news

Research on British teeth unlocks potential for new insights into ancient diets
(University of York) Goofy, yellow and crooked: British smiles have sometimes had a less-than-flattering international image, but a new study has put tartar from our infamously bad teeth to good use.Researchers analysing the teeth of Britons from the Iron Age to the modern day have unlocked the potential for using proteins in tooth tartar to reveal what our ancestors ate. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - July 17, 2018 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Studies of all PIH proteins in zebrafish reveal distinct roles in axonemal dynein assembly
(Japan Science and Technology Agency) A research team led by Masahide Kikkawa, a professor of the University of Tokyo, established zebrafish mutants of all four PIH-protein genes and solved the structures of axonemal dyneins in mutant spermatozoa by cryo-electron tomography. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - July 17, 2018 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Major study identifies new hay fever risk genes
(University of Copenhagen The Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences) In a large international study involving almost 900,000 participants, researchers from the University of Copenhagen and COPSAC have found new risk genes for hay fever. It is the largest genetic study so far on this type of allergy, which affects millions of people around the world. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - July 17, 2018 Category: Biology Source Type: news

New findings for 'gifted' Otago geneticist diagnosing rare genetic disorders
(University of Otago) Recent research undertaken by University of Otago Cure Kids Professor Paediatric Genetics, Stephen Robertson, highlights the world-leading discoveries he is making regarding rare genetic disorders affecting children and the opportunity genomic analysis is providing. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - July 17, 2018 Category: Biology Source Type: news

The depths of the ocean and gut flora unravel the mystery of microbial genes
(Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona)) Surprisingly, the functions of a huge number of microbial genes are still unknown. This knowledge gap can be thought of as " genomic dark matter " in microbes, and neither computational biology nor current lab techniques have been able address this gap.This challenge has now been tackled through an international collaboration between the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona) and two other interdisciplinary research centres, namely the IJS in Ljubljana (Slovenia) and RBI in Zagreb (Croatia). (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - July 17, 2018 Category: Biology Source Type: news

World's largest study on allergic rhinitis reveals new risk genes
(Helmholtz Zentrum M ü nchen - German Research Center for Environmental Health) An international team of scientists led by Helmholtz Zentrum M ü nchen and University of Copenhagen has presented the largest study so far on allergic rhinitis in the journal 'Nature Genetics'. The data of nearly 900,000 participants revealed loci in the human genome whose changes significantly increase the risk of disease. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - July 17, 2018 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Study demonstrates impact of temperature on mitochondrial DNA evolution
(Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) Graduate University) A new study by researchers at Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST), provides evidence towards selection in mtDNA due to variations in temperature. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - July 17, 2018 Category: Biology Source Type: news

DNA-ROM: New grant aims for memory chips based on DNA
(University of California - Davis) A new grant awarded to UC Davis, the University of Washington and Emory University aims to fuse biology and electrical engineering and to build new types of electronic memory based on DNA. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - July 17, 2018 Category: Biology Source Type: news

New NSF awards support the creation of bio-based semiconductors
(National Science Foundation) To address a worldwide need for data storage that far outstrips today's capabilities, the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC) are investing $12 million in new research through the Semiconductor Synthetic Biology for Information Processing and Storage Technologies (SemiSynBio) program. The goal is to create storage systems that integrate synthetic biology with semiconductor technology. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - July 17, 2018 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Newly discovered shark species honors female pioneer
(Florida Institute of Technology) The 'Shark Lady,' Mote Marine Lab founder Eugenie Clark, has received the ultimate ichthyologist honor: having a new species of shark, Squalus clarkae, named after her. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - July 17, 2018 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Study shows 5,000 percent increase in native trees on rat-free Palmyra Atoll
(Island Conservation) New research published in PLOS ONE this week demonstrates dramatic positive benefits for native trees following rat removal at Palmyra Atoll, a magnificent National Wildlife Refuge and natural research laboratory located about 1000 miles south of Hawaii. For five native tree species, including Pisonia grandis, fewer than 150 seedlings were counted in the presence of rats, and more than 7700 seedlings were counted five years after rats were removed. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - July 17, 2018 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Sap-sucking bugs manipulate their host plants' metabolism for their own benefit
(eLife) Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology, Germany, have shown for the first time that free-living, sap-sucking bugs can manipulate the metabolism of their host plants to create stable, nutritious feeding sites. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - July 17, 2018 Category: Biology Source Type: news

2018 ESA Regional Policy Award recognizes Representative Walter J. Leger III
(Ecological Society of America) Ecological Society of America will present its 11th annual Regional Policy Award to Representative Walter J. Leger III, speaker pro tempore of the Louisiana House of Representatives, during the Society's Annual Meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana. The award recognizes an elected or appointed local policymaker who has an outstanding record of informing policy decisions with ecological science. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - July 17, 2018 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Study: Protein found to be key component in irregularly excited brain cells
(University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) In a new study in mice, researchers have identified a key protein involved in the irregular brain cell activity seen in autism spectrum disorders and epilepsy. The protein, p53, is well-known in cancer biology as a tumor suppressor. (Source: EurekAlert! - Medicine and Health)
Source: EurekAlert! - Medicine and Health - July 17, 2018 Category: International Medicine & Public Health Source Type: news

Variations of a single gene drive diverse pigeon feather patterns
(University of Utah) In a new study, a team led by University of Utah biologists has discovered that different versions of a single gene, called NDP (Norrie Disease Protein), have unexpected links between color patterns in pigeons, and vision defects in humans. These gene variations were likely bred into pigeons by humans from a different pigeon species and are now evolutionarily advantageous in wild populations of feral pigeons living in urban environments. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - July 17, 2018 Category: Biology Source Type: news

The ancient armor of fish -- scales -- provide clues to hair, feather development
(University of Virginia) How do scale patterns on fish provide understanding of the development of feathers, fur -- and even cancer? Biologists are investigating. (Source: EurekAlert! - Medicine and Health)
Source: EurekAlert! - Medicine and Health - July 17, 2018 Category: International Medicine & Public Health Source Type: news

Unique BIR domain sets determine inhibitor of apoptosis protein-driven cell death and NOD2 complex signal specificity
The mammalian IAPs, X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis protein (XIAP) and cellular inhibitor of apoptosis protein 1 and 2 (cIAP1 and cIAP2), play pivotal roles in innate immune signaling and inflammatory homeostasis, often working in parallel or in conjunction at a signaling complex. IAPs direct both nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain-containing 2 (NOD2) signaling complexes and cell death mechanisms to appropriately regulate inflammation. Although it is known that XIAP is critical for NOD2 signaling and that the loss of cIAP1 and cIAP2 blunts NOD2 activity, it is unclear whether these three highly related proteins can ...
Source: Signal Transduction Knowledge Environment - July 17, 2018 Category: Science Authors: Chirieleison, S. M., Rathkey, J. K., Abbott, D. W. Tags: STKE Research Articles Source Type: news

Can AI stop ALS, Parkinson's? This startup has 32 million new reasons to try
DFJ, a WuXi AppTech venture fund and others are sold on the San Francisco startup's work at the intersection of biology, chemistry and computer science. (Source: bizjournals.com Health Care:Pharmaceuticals headlines)
Source: bizjournals.com Health Care:Pharmaceuticals headlines - July 16, 2018 Category: Pharmaceuticals Authors: Ron Leuty Source Type: news

Sunburn: Skin biologist invents £18.99 cream that reduces scars by 40%
SCARS are unfortunately commonplace in society but trial results from a new cream on the market could see marks reduced significantly, Dr Ardeshir Bayat revealed. (Source: Daily Express - Health)
Source: Daily Express - Health - July 16, 2018 Category: Consumer Health News Source Type: news

Skin biologist invents £18.99 cream that reduces scars by 40% AND helps soothe sunburn
SCARS are unfortunately commonplace in society but trial results from a new cream on the market could see marks reduced significantly, Dr Ardeshir Bayat revealed. (Source: Daily Express - Health)
Source: Daily Express - Health - July 16, 2018 Category: Consumer Health News Source Type: news

Researchers engineer bacteria to create fertilizer out of thin air
(Washington University in St. Louis) A team at Washington University in St. Louis has created a bacteria that uses photosynthesis to create oxygen during the day, and at night, uses nitrogen to create chlorophyll for photosynthesis. This development could lead to plants that do the same, eliminating the use of some -- or possibly all -- man-made fertilizer, which has a high environmental cost. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - July 16, 2018 Category: Biology Source Type: news

In borophene, boundaries are no barrier
(Rice University) Defects are often observed when making borophene, the single-atom form of boron, but unlike in other two-dimensional materials, these mismatched lattices can assemble into ordered structures that preserve the material's metallic nature and electronic properties. Labs at Rice and Northwestern universities made the first detailed analysis of borophene defects. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - July 16, 2018 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Lehigh University researchers to study Ebola method of host cell invasion
(Lehigh University) A principal difficulty in designing therapies against viruses lies in the fact that attempts to stop them from entering a cell are also likely to affect normal physiological processes. If studied carefully, it may be possible to design therapies that can block specific virus entry while leaving normal cellular processes intact. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - July 16, 2018 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Heritable genome editing: Action needed to secure responsible way forward
(Nuffield Council on Bioethics) An independent inquiry by the Nuffield Council on Bioethics has concluded that editing the DNA of a human embryo, sperm, or egg to influence the characteristics of a future person ('heritable genome editing') could be morally permissible. If that is to happen, a number of measures would need to be put in place first to ensure that genome editing proceeds in ways that are ethically acceptable. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - July 16, 2018 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Electric car batteries souped-up with fluorinated electrolytes for longer-range driving
(University of Maryland) Researchers at the University of Maryland (UMD), the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL), and Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) have figured out how to increase a rechargeable battery's capacity by using aggressive electrodes and then stabilizing these potentially dangerous electrode materials with a highly-fluorinated electrolyte. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - July 16, 2018 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Study: Indigenous peoples own or manage at least one quarter of world's land surface
(Wildlife Conservation Society) Indigenous Peoples have ownership, use and management rights over at least a quarter of the world's land surface according to a new study published this week in the journal Nature Sustainability. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - July 16, 2018 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Startup innovates by developing IoT technology for forestry sector
(Funda ç ã o de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de S ã o Paulo) Treevia, a internationally-awarded Brazilian firm, replaces costly manual collection operations for a wearable device that uses electronic sensors to monitor tree growth, quality and health in real time. The system also employs big data to generate reports in order to increase forest management efficiency. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - July 16, 2018 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Getting to know the microbes that drive climate change
(Ohio State University) A new understanding of the microbes and viruses in the thawing permafrost in Sweden may help scientists better predict the pace of climate change. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - July 16, 2018 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Researchers find hidden signals in RNAs that regulate protein synthesis
(Case Western Reserve University) Scientists have long known that RNA encodes instructions to make proteins. The building blocks that comprise RNA--A, U, C, and Gs--form a blueprint for the protein-making machinery in cells. In a new study published in Nature, scientists describe how the protein-making machinery identifies alternative initiation sites from which to start protein synthesis. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - July 16, 2018 Category: Biology Source Type: news

How to build efficient organic solar cells
(Link ö ping University) Twenty-five researchers from seven research institutes have put their heads together to draw up rules for designing high-efficiency organic solar cells. The research is led by Feng Gao, associate professor at Linkoping University, Sweden. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - July 16, 2018 Category: Biology Source Type: news

How our cells build different antennae to sense the world around us
This study, now published in Nature Cell Biology, will help physicians better understand diseases called ciliopathies (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - July 16, 2018 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Missing bones and our understanding of ancient biodiversity
(University of Bristol) Fossils come in many shapes and sizes, ranging from isolated fragments of bones and teeth to complete skeletons. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - July 16, 2018 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Particulate matter increases drought vulnerability of trees
(University of Bonn) Particulate matter deposits on leaves increase plant transpiration and the risk of plants suffering from drought. Particulate matter could thus be contributing more strongly to tree mortality and forest decline than previously assumed. This is suggested by results from a greenhouse study led by the university of Bonn, in which tree seedlings grown in almost particulate matter free air or in unfiltered air were compared. The results are now being published in " Environmental Research Letters " . (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - July 16, 2018 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Faster photons could enable total data security
(University of Sheffield) Researchers at the University of Sheffield have solved a key puzzle in quantum physics that could help to make data transfer totally secure. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - July 16, 2018 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Using 'shade balls' in reservoirs may use up more water than they save
(Imperial College London) Preventing reservoir evaporation during droughts with floating balls may not help conserve water overall, due to the water needed to make the balls. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - July 16, 2018 Category: Biology Source Type: news

New tool to calculate 'nitrogen footprint' offers guide to pollution reduction
(University of Melbourne) University of Melbourne researchers have helped create the first tool to calculate the 'nitrogen footprint' of an organisation. The tool will provide a guide to sustainability and pollution reduction for daily activities such as food consumption, travel and energy use. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - July 16, 2018 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Genome damage from CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing higher than thought
(Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute) Scientists at the Wellcome Sanger Institute have discovered that CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing can cause greater genetic damage in cells than was previously thought. This has safety implications for future gene therapies using CRISPR/Cas9 as the unexpected damage could lead to dangerous changes in some cells.The study in Nature Biotechnology revealed that standard DNA tests miss finding this genetic damage, and that caution and specific testing will be required for any potential gene therapies. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - July 16, 2018 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Australia has a new venomous snake -- And it may already be threatened
(University of Queensland) The ink has not yet dried on a scientific paper describing a new species of snake, yet the reptile may already be in danger of extinction due to mining.A team of biologists led by The University of Queensland's Associate Professor Bryan Fry discovered a new species of bandy-bandy snake at Weipa on the west coast of the Cape York Peninsula. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - July 16, 2018 Category: Biology Source Type: news

'Buzz' Offers An Adoration For Bees Amid Continued Die-Offs
The severity of the enormous reduction in bee numbers over the past decade is at the heart of a new book by conservation biologist Thor Hanson, whose appreciation for the pollinators shines through.(Image credit: Samantha Clark/NPR) (Source: NPR Health and Science)
Source: NPR Health and Science - July 15, 2018 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Barbara J. King Source Type: news

Venkatraman Ramakrishnan: ‘Britain’s reputation has been hurt’
The Nobel prize-winning biologist and president of the Royal Society on how Brexit might affect the sciencesBrexit hasn ’t happened yet buthow is the process affecting science?There are two answers to this. One is that we ’ve heard anecdotal evidence that people are leaving or not wanting to come here. But we don’t have any statistical evidence of a brain drain. I would add that it has had a negative impact on the mood. For a long time people outside Britain saw this attractive, outward-facing country – a great place to work. That reputation has been hurt.How many countries could somebody come to re...
Source: Guardian Unlimited Science - July 15, 2018 Category: Science Authors: Ian Tucker Tags: Royal Society Science Brexit UK news European Union Politics Source Type: news

Intelligent birds
Certain species of bird have surprised researchers recently with their ability to fashion tools and solve complex problemsA discovery byDr Sarah Jelbert of Jesus College, Cambridge, has led to the refinement of our understanding of crow intelligence. On the south-west Pacific island of New Caledonia, a crow called Emma has stunned researchers byoperating a vending machine they constructed for it, remembering the size of a token needed to release a treat. The ongoing investigation into the intelligence of the species follows the discovery that it works material into fishing hook-style tools to extract larvae from holes in d...
Source: Guardian Unlimited Science - July 15, 2018 Category: Science Authors: Brigid Harrison-Draper Tags: Neuroscience Biology Birds Animals Source Type: news

Researchers discover natural product that could lead to new class of commercial herbicide
A garden can be a competitive environment. Plants and unseen microorganisms in the soil all need precious space to grow. And to gain that space, a microbe might produce and use chemicals that kill its plant competitors. But the microbe also needs immunity from its own poisons.By looking for that protective shield in microorganisms, specifically the genes that can make it, a team of UCLA engineers and scientists discovered a new and potentially highly effective type of weed killer. This finding could lead to the first new class of commercial herbicides in more than 30 years, an important outcome as weeds continue to develop...
Source: UCLA Newsroom: Health Sciences - July 13, 2018 Category: Universities & Medical Training Source Type: news

Better methods improve measurements of recreational water quality
(American Society for Microbiology) The concentration of enterococci, bacteria that thrive in feces, has long been the federal standard for determining water quality. Researchers have now shown that the greatest influences on that concentration are the quantity of mammalian feces in the water, and the numbers of enterococci that glom onto floating particulate matter. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - July 13, 2018 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Tree shrew tolerance for spicy foods unlocked by researchers
(Chinese Academy of Sciences Headquarters) Researchers accidentally observed tree shrews directly and actively consuming chili peppers, despite the deep geographic isolation between the animal and the food. To understand this tolerance for spicy food, they performed genomic and functional analyses on the tree shrew and its TRPV1. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - July 13, 2018 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Study finds 84 highly endangered Amur leopards remain in China and Russia
(Wildlife Conservation Society) Scientists estimate there are only 84 remaining highly endangered Amur leopards (Panthera pardus orientalis) remaining in the wild across its current range along the southernmost border of Primorskii Province in Russia and Jilin Province of China. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - July 13, 2018 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Growing a dinosaur's dinner
(University of Leeds) Scientists have measured the nutritional value of herbivore dinosaurs' diet by growing their food in atmospheric conditions similar to those found roughly 150 million years ago. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - July 13, 2018 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Researchers discover natural product that could lead to new class of commercial herbicide
(UCLA Samueli School of Engineering) A team of UCLA engineers and scientists discovered a new and potentially highly effective type of weed killer. This finding could lead to the first new class of commercial herbicides in more than 30 years, an important outcome as weeds continue to develop resistance to current herbicide regimens. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - July 13, 2018 Category: Biology Source Type: news

The secret sulfate code that lets the bad Tau in
(American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology) Researchers at the UT Southwestern Medical Center have uncovered details of how cells invite inside corrupted proteins that can turn normal proteins corrupt, leading to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. Understanding the molecular details of how these proteins spread from cell to cell could lead to therapies to halt disease progression. (Source: EurekAlert! - Medicine and Health)
Source: EurekAlert! - Medicine and Health - July 13, 2018 Category: International Medicine & Public Health Source Type: news