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Genomics tracks migration from lost empires to modern cities
(European Society of Human Genetics) New genomic tools are enabling researchers to overturn long-held beliefs about the origins of populations. Until recently, assumptions about origins were based on where people were buried, but this does not take into account the migrations that scientists now know took place thousands of years ago. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - May 28, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Why communication is vital -- even among plants and fungi
(University of Cambridge) A plant protein vital to chemical signalling between plants and fungi has been discovered, revealing more about the communication processes underlying symbiosis. Understanding this important relationship could have major consequences for developing more efficient and sustainable agricultural practices around the world. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - May 26, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

CCNY-UTEP partner to produce next generation Latino professors
(City College of New York) The City College of New York is partnering with the University of Texas at El Paso to educate the next generation of Hispanic professors in environmental sciences and engineering. Entitled 'Collaborative Research: The Hispanic AGEP Alliance for the Environmental Science and Engineering Professoriate,' the five-year project is funded by a $3.7 million grant from the National Science Foundation. It begins July 1, 2017. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - May 26, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Conch shells may inspire better helmets, body armor
(Massachusetts Institute of Technology) MIT engineers have uncovered the secret to the exceptional toughness of conch shells, and say the same principles can be used for body armor and helmets. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - May 26, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Marine species distribution shifts will continue under ocean warming
(NOAA Northeast Fisheries Science Center) Scientists using a high-resolution global climate model and historical observations of species distributions on the Northeast US Shelf have found that commercially important species will continue to shift their distribution as ocean waters warm two to three times faster than the global average through the end of this century. Projected increases in surface to bottom waters of 6.6 to 9 degrees F (3.7 to 5.0 degrees C) from current conditions are expected. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - May 26, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Scientists identify protein linked to chronic heart failure
(Rockefeller University Press) Researchers in Japan have identified a receptor protein on the surface of heart cells that promotes chronic heart failure. The study, 'Corticotropin releasing hormone receptor 2 exacerbates chronic cardiac dysfunction,' which will be published May 26 in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, suggests that inhibiting this protein could help treat a disease that affects more than 20 million people worldwide. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - May 26, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Dramatic shift in gut microbes and their metabolites seen after weight loss surgery
(Arizona State University) A new study compares the two most common surgical therapies for obesity, known as Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB), and laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding (LAGB). The results demonstrate that RYGB -- the more aggressive of the two surgeries -- produces profound changes in the composition of microbial communities in the gut, with the resulting gut flora distinct from both obese and normal weight patients, due to the dramatic reorganization of the gut caused by RYGB surgery, which increases microbial diversity. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - May 26, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Fungal enzymes team up to more efficiently break down cellulose
(DOE/Joint Genome Institute) Cost-effectively breaking down bioenergy crops into sugars that can then be converted into fuel is a barrier to commercially producing sustainable biofuels. Bioenergy researchers are looking to fungi for help; collectively, they can break down almost any substance on earth, including plant biomass. Enabled by US Department of Energy Office of Science User Facilities, a team reports for the first time that early lineages of fungi can form enzyme complexes capable of degrading plant biomass. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - May 26, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Darwin was right: Females prefer sex with good listeners
(University of Melbourne) Almost 150 years after Charles Darwin first proposed a little-known prediction from his theory of sexual selection, researchers have found that male moths with larger antennae are better at detecting female signals. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - May 26, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

New insights into the ancestors of all complex life
(University of Bristol) A team of scientists led by the University of Bristol has provided new insights into the origins of the Archaea, the group of simple cellular organisms that are the ancestors of all complex life. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - May 26, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Why communication is vital -- even among plants and funghi
(University of Cambridge) A plant protein vital to chemical signalling between plants and fungi has been discovered, revealing more about the communication processes underlying symbiosis. Understanding this important relationship could have major consequences for developing more efficient and sustainable agricultural practices around the world. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - May 26, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Knowledge gap on the origin of sex
(Lund University) There are significant gaps in our knowledge on the evolution of sex, according to a research review on sex chromosomes from Lund University in Sweden. Even after more than a century of study, researchers do not know enough about the evolution of sex chromosomes to understand how males and females emerge. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - May 26, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Changing climate could have devastating impact on forest carbon storage
(University of New Mexico) New research from a multi-university team of biologists shows what could be a startling drop in the amount of carbon stored in the Sierra Nevada mountains due to projected climate change and wildfire events. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - May 25, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

New species of bus-sized fossil marine reptile unearthed in Russia
(University of Liege) A new species of a fossil pliosaur (large predatory marine reptile from the 'age of dinosaur') has been found in Russia and profoundly change how we understand the evolution of the group, says an international team of scientists. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - May 25, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Approach tested at FAU first to look at dolphin immune system
(Florida Atlantic University) For humans, there are hundreds of antibodies available on the market today to evaluate immune status in health and diseases. However, for the more than 42 known species of dolphins around the world, commercially available marine-specific antibodies do not exist. With the drastic increase in the number of unusual dolphin strandings and deaths along the southeastern coast of the US and elsewhere, finding specific antibodies to test, monitor and document their immune health is critical. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - May 25, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Nation's beekeepers lost 33 percent of bees in 2016-17
(University of Maryland) Beekeepers across the United States lost 33 percent of their honey bee colonies during the year spanning April 2016 to April 2017, according to the latest preliminary results of an annual nationwide survey. Rates of both winter loss and summer loss -- and consequently, total annual losses -- improved compared with last year. Winter losses were the lowest recorded since the survey began in 2006-07. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - May 25, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Targeted conservation could protect more of Earth's biodiversity
(Yale University) A new study finds that major gains in global biodiversity can be achieved if an additional 5 percent of land is set aside to protect key species.Scientists from Yale University and the University of Grenoble said such an effort could triple the protected range of those species and safeguard their functional diversity. The findings underscore the need to look beyond species numbers when developing conservation strategies, the researchers said. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - May 25, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

MIT researchers engineer shape-shifting food
(Massachusetts Institute of Technology) Researchers from MIT's Tangible Media Group have concocted something akin to edible origami, in the form of flat sheets of gelatin and starch that, when submerged in water, instantly sprout into three-dimensional structures, including common pasta shapes such as macaroni and rotini. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - May 25, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Solving the riddle of the snow globe
(American Friends of Tel Aviv University) A new Tel Aviv University study finds the sedimentation of asymmetric objects in liquid is very different from that of symmetrical objects like spheres. The research may have practical applications in improving water treatment and industrial processes. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - May 25, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

In fruit fly and human genetics, timing is everything
(University of North Carolina Health Care) Using fruit flies, UNC-Chapel Hill researchers discovered a cascade of molecular signals that program gene activity to drive the fly from one stage of maturation to the next, like a baby turning into an adult. Part of this programming involves alterations to the way DNA is packaged. Those alterations open certain regions of DNA to allow gene activity and close off other regions to prevent gene activity. These changes to DNA accessibility occur in sequence. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - May 25, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

New approach predicts threats to rainforests
(University of Oxford) A new study by scientists from the universities of Oxford, Montana, and the US Forest Service highlights novel approaches to tackling deforestation. The team focused their research on Borneo, an island that has lost a staggering 30 percent of its forest since the 1970s and is among the most biodiverse and threatened on the planet. The loss of Bornean forests threatens species such as the orangutan, Sumatran rhino, and the Sunda clouded leopard; as well as emitting significant amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - May 25, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds
(Cornell University) How water relates to and interacts with biological systems -- like DNA, the building block of all living things -- is of critical importance, and a Cornell University group has used a relatively new form of spectroscopy to observe a previously unknown characteristic of water. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - May 25, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

USDA invests $17.7 million in plant health and production workforce
(National Institute of Food and Agriculture) The US Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced 54 grants totaling more than $17.7 million for plant research that helps optimize crop production, mitigate disease, and increase yield. The funding is made possible through NIFA's Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) program, authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - May 25, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

L.A. lawns lose lots of water: 70 billion gallons a year
(University of Utah) In summer 2010, Los Angeles was losing about 100 gallons of water per person per day to the atmosphere through the evaporation and plant uptake of lawns and trees. Lawns accounted for 70 percent of the water loss, while trees accounted for 30 percent, according to a University of Utah study published in Water Resources Research. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - May 24, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Where you grow what you grow
(American Society of Agronomy) A new study looks at how three varieties of camelina perform when grown in two different regions within the Great Plains. The end goal is to find the camelina variety that performs best in each location or environment -- beyond the genetics involved. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - May 24, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Study shows need for increased protection of world's national animal symbols
(University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine& Atmospheric Science) The snowy-feathered head and distinctive brown body of the bald eagle is a proud national symbol of the United States, adorning the country's currency and passports. The lion, known as 'King of the Beasts,' represents national strength and identity in several African countries. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - May 24, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

How do blind cavefish find their way? The answer could be in their bones.
(University of Cincinnati) Blind cavefish typically have skulls that bend slightly to the left. A study by UC suggests this orientation might help them find food as they navigate in a perpetual counter-clockwise direction around a cave. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - May 24, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

University of Montana student earns NASA Earth and Space science fellowship
(The University of Montana) University of Montana doctoral candidate Eric Palm recently was selected for the prestigious NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowship. He is the only Montana University System student to receive the competitive funding this year. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - May 24, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Secret weapon of smart bacteria tracked to 'sweet tooth'
(Texas A&M AgriLife Communications) Researchers have figured out how a once-defeated bacterium has re-emerged to infect cotton in a battle that could sour much of the Texas and US crop.And it boils down to this: A smart bacteria with a sweet tooth. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - May 24, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Water is surprisingly ordered on the nanoscale
(Ecole Polytechnique F é d é rale de Lausanne) Researchers from EPFL have shown that the surface of minuscule water drops with a 100 nm size is surprisingly ordered. At room temperature, the surface water molecules of these droplets have much stronger interactions than a normal water surface. The structural difference corresponds to a difference in temperature of -50 ° C, which may shed new light on a variety of atmospheric, biological and even geological processes. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - May 24, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Special delivery: Macromolecules via spider's 'bite'
(Kyoto University) Scientists re-engineer spider venom for more effective delivery of antibodies into cells. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - May 24, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

LA lawns lose lots of water: 70B gallons a year
(University of Utah) In summer 2010, Los Angeles was losing about 100 gallons of water per person per day to the atmosphere through the evaporation and plant uptake of lawns and trees. Lawns accounted for 70 percent of the water loss, while trees accounted for 30 percent, according to a University of Utah study published in Water Resources Research. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - May 24, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Neutrons provide the first nanoscale look at a living cell membrane
(DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory) A research team from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory has performed the first-ever direct nanoscale examination of a living cell membrane. In doing so, it also resolved a long-standing debate by identifying tiny groupings of lipid molecules that are likely key to the cell's functioning. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - May 24, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

What bone proteomics could reveal about the dead
(American Chemical Society) Studying bones has helped scientists reconstruct what dinosaurs and other extinct creatures looked like. Taking this further, scientists recently started identifying proteins from bones to glean more information about remains. But one team has found that the reliability of this approach can depend on which bone is analyzed. Additionally, they report in ACS' Journal of Proteome Research a forensic use for bone proteomics: potentially determining from bone proteins how old someone was when they died. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - May 24, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Fossil beetles suggest that LA climate has been relatively stable for 50,000 years
(American Museum of Natural History) Research based on more than 180 fossil insects preserved in the La Brea Tar Pits of Los Angeles indicate that the climate in what is now southern California has been relatively stable over the past 50,000 years. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - May 24, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Learning about nutrition from 'food porn' and online quizzes
(Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences) Harvard and Columbia researchers designed an online experiment to test how people learn about nutrition in the context of a social, online quiz. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - May 24, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Are wolverines in the Arctic in the climate change crosshairs?
(Wildlife Conservation Society) Will reductions in Arctic snow cover make tundra-dwelling wolverines more vulnerable to climate change than previously thought? That's a question scientists hope an innovative method described in a new study co-authored by WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society) will help answer. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - May 24, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

TSRI scientists find simple copper complex shuts down botulinum neurotoxin poisoning
(Scripps Research Institute) Clostridium botulinum is the bacterium that causes the neurointoxication, which produces one of the most potent toxins on earth and is classified as a potential bioterrorism threat. While no cure exists -- and botulism treatment options are limited -- a serendipitous discovery by scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) may provide a new therapy that can stop the neurotoxin even in its more severe, advanced stages of action. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - May 24, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

A fresh look inside the protein nano-machines
(Universit é de Gen è ve) Proteins perform vital functions, they digest food and fight infections. They are in fact nano-machines, each one of them designed to perform a specific task. But how did they evolve to match those needs, how did the genes encode the structure and function of proteins? Researchers from the University of Geneva, Switzerland, the Institute for Basic Science, Korea, and the Rockefeller University, United States, have conducted a study that tackles this yet unanswered question. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - May 24, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Dartmouth-led study finds heavier precipitation in the northeast began in 1996
(Dartmouth College) Over the past century, the Northeast has experienced an increase in the number of storms with extreme precipitation. A Dartmouth-led study finds that the increase in extreme Northeast storms occurred as an abrupt shift in 1996, particularly in the spring and fall, rather than as a steady change over several decades. The findings were published in an early online release of the American Meteorological Society's 'Journal of Hydrometeorology.' (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - May 24, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Stem cells may significantly improve tendon healing by regulating inflammation
(Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology) New research published online in The FASEB Journal suggests that tendon stem may be able to significantly improve tendon healing by regulating inflammation, which contributes to scar-like tendon healing and chronic matrix degradation. This has implications for the treatment of acute tendon injuries and chronic tendon disease. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - May 23, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Discovery of a key regulatory gene in cardiac valve formation
(University of Basel) Researchers from the University of Basel in Switzerland have identified a key regulator gene for the formation of cardiac valves -- a process crucial to normal embryonic heart development. These results are published in the journal Cell Reports today. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - May 23, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Optimization of hemp-ground tire rubber/high density polyethylene composites
(Bentham Science Publishers) Recent interest in lignocellulosic fibers was devoted to improve the mechanical properties of polymers. But one of their main limitation is the poor compatibility and adhesion between these polar/hydrophilic fibers with most commercial resins being non-polar and hydrophobic. This problem has been partially solved using physical and chemical surface treatments, and/or the addition of a coupling agent (phase compatibilization). (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - May 23, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Tracking down the scent of recycled plastic
(University of Erlangen-Nuremberg) Recycling plastic has an important role in sustainable manufacturing. However, there are still barriers to using recycled plastic not only because of its material and processing properties but also because of its smell. A young researcher at Friedrich-Alexander Universit ä t Erlangen-N ü rnberg has now studied what causes recycled plastic to smell. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - May 23, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Making biological drugs with spider silk protein
(Karolinska Institutet) Researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have managed to synthesise lung surfactant, a drug used in the care of preterm babies, by mimicking the production of spider silk. Animal studies reveal it to be just as effective as the biological drugs currently in clinical use. The study is published in Nature Communications. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - May 23, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Cowbird moms choosy when selecting foster parents for their young
(University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) Despite their reputation as uncaring, absentee moms, cowbird mothers are capable of making sophisticated choices among potential nests in order to give their offspring a better chance of thriving, a new study shows. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - May 23, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Oyster farming to benefit from new genetic screening tool
(University of Edinburgh) Oyster farmers are set to benefit from a new genetic tool that will help to prevent disease outbreaks and improve yields. The technology -- developed by scientists at the University of Edinburgh's Roslin Institute -- will enable hatcheries to rapidly assess the genetic make-up of their oysters, so they can select animals with desirable characteristics from which to breed. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - May 23, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Biosynthetic secrets: How fungi make bioactive compounds
(Utah State University) Biological engineers at Utah State University have successfully decoded and reprogrammed the biosynthetic machinery that produces a variety of natural compounds found in fungi. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - May 23, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Genetic mutation trade-offs lead to parallel evolution
(University of Illinois College of Engineering) Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have shown how evolutionary dynamics proceed when selection acts on two traits governed by a trade-off. The results move the life sciences a step closer to understanding the full complexity of evolution at the cellular level. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - May 23, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Lizards may be overwhelmed by fire ants and social stress combined
(Penn State) Lizards living in fire-ant-invaded areas are stressed. However, a team of biologists found that the lizards did not exhibit this stress as expected after extended fire ant exposure in socially stressful environments, leading to questions about stress overload. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - May 23, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news