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Snails and humans use same genes to tell right from left

Berkeley -- Biologists have tracked down genes that control the handedness of snail shells, and they turn out to be similar to the genes used by humans to set up the left and right sides of the body. The finding, reported online in advance of publication in Nature by University of California,...

Acid soils in Slovakia tell somber tale

Increasing levels of nitrogen deposition associated with industry and agriculture can drive soils toward a toxic level of acidification, reducing plant growth and polluting surface waters, according to a new study published online in Nature Geoscience . The study, conducted in the Tatra Mountai...

Neurons hard wired to tell left from right

It's well known that the left and right sides of the brain differ in many animal species and this is thought to influence cognitive performance and social behaviour. For instance, in humans, the left half of the brain is concerned with language processing whereas the right side is better at compre...

Fungi can tell us about the origin of sex chromosomes

Fungi do not have sexes, just so-called mating types. A new study being published today in the prestigious journal PLoS shows that there are great similarities between the parts of DNA that determine the sex of plants and animals and the parts of DNA that determine mating types in certain fungi. ...

Policing cells demand ID to tell friend from foe, say University of Pennsylvania cell engineers

University of Pennsylvania scientists studying macrophages, the biological cells that spring from white blood cells to eat and destroy foreign or dying cells, have discovered how these policemen differentiate between friend and foe. The paper appears as the cover article in the March 10 editio...

Evolution of the sexes: What a fungus can tell us

DURHAM, N.C. -- Fungi don't exactly come in boy and girl varieties, but they do have sex differences. In fact, a new finding from Duke University Medical Center shows that some of the earliest evolved forms of fungus contain clues to how the sexes evolved in higher animals, including that distant ...

Dead clams tell many tales

Inventories of living and dead organisms could serve as a relatively fast, simple and inexpensive preliminary means of assessing human impact on ecosystems. The University of Chicago's Susan Kidwell explains how measuring the degree of live-dead mismatch could be used as an ecological tool in the ...

How does your brain tell time?

"Time" is the most popular noun in the English language, yet how would we tell time if we didn’t have access to the plethora of watches, clocks and cell phones at our disposal? For decades, scientists have believed that the brain possesses an internal clock that allows it to keep trac...

Caterpillars tell us how bacteria cause disease

Caterpillars and other invertebrates are helping to provide a cheap, easy and safe way to identify the genes which help bacteria cause infections in humans. Researchers from the University of Bath have discovered a way to sort through large numbers of bacterial gene sequences by testing them in cat...

Psst! Coffee drinkers: Fruit flies have something to tell you about caffeine

In their hunt for genes and proteins that explain how animals discern bitter from sweet, a team of Johns Hopkins researchers began by testing whether mutant fruit flies prefer eating sugar over sugar laced with caffeine. Using a simple behavioral test, the researchers discovered that a single prot...

What animals can tell us about hemorrhage, organ transplants and aging

The stereotype of a scientist as a man in a white lab coat hunched over a microscope in a laboratory is far from real life. Consider the scientists who will meet at The American Physiological Society's conference, Comparative Physiology 2006: Integrating Diversity, taking place October 8-11 in Virg...

Plants tell caterpillars when it's safe to forage

The world is filled with cues that could influence the daily feeding patterns of an organism. Many plants, for example, respond to foraging damage by releasing specialized chemical signals - volatile organic compounds that evaporate in the air - that attract the forager's natural enemies. This stra...

What's nature worth? New computer models tell all

Breath in. The air is free. But we'd all agree it's not worthless. So, what's the price tag on benefits provided by nature? In 1997, the University of Vermont's Robert Costanza and his co-authors put the answer at $33 trillion per year in a now-famous paper in the journal Nature. In the decade f...

Embryos tell story of Earth's earliest animals

Much of what scientists learn about the evolution of Earth's first animals will have to be gleaned from spherical embryos fossilized under very specific conditions, according to a new study by Indiana University Bloomington and University of Bristol researchers in this week's Proceedings of the Nat...

Should doctors tell patients about expensive, unfunded drugs?

It is unethical and paternalistic for doctors to withhold information from patients about new drugs that are not yet publicly funded, say researchers in this week's BMJ. New drugs may be more effective than existing treatments, but many are very expensive and may not be available through publicl...

Bitter or sweet? The same taste bud can tell the difference

The tongue's ability to differentiate between sweet and bitter tastes may reside in the same taste bud cells, a new study reports. The study explains the discovery of a chemical messenger called neuropeptide Y (NPY) in taste bud cells. Though researchers have long known that NPY is active in the...

Can our genes tell the story of our divergence?

Since humans and chimpanzees forged separate evolutionary paths some 5 million to 6 million years ago, we shed our hirsute coat and heavy brow, mastered bipedal locomotion, and acquired a knack for abstract thought while our next of kin learned to use tools, and developed the skills to construct tr...

August 2009 Geology and GSA Today media highlights

...iversity of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599, USA. Pages 743-746. Sulfur isotope ratios (34S/32S) in marine limestones tell us a great deal about sulfur and oxygen cycles in the ocean at the time that those limestones were deposited. Sulfur isotopes in marine limestones are...

UC San Diego engineer provides insights to decades-old DNA squabble

...hing as large as a chromatin fiber containing tens of nucleosomes at molecular detail for periods of time longer than a few nanoseconds. That will not tell you much. You need to reduce the complexity of the system without sacrificing important details, which is exactly what we have done. We're trying to r...

Douglas-fir, geoducks make strange bedfellows in studying climate change

...he growth of organisms from the continental shelf to alpine forests. "The next step was to use the longest-lived organisms trees and the geoduck to tell us about climate prior to the start of instrumental records," Black pointed out. Sea surface temperatures affect climate on land and when there is ...

'Shifting Sands' highlights past, present and future of Maryland coastal bays ecosystem

...land Center for Environmental Science. "Through their unique approach of weaving together the region's scientific exploration and history, the authors tell give a holistic view of the Coastal Bays." The 396-page book is divided into 15 chapters detailing introductions to the six subwatersheds (Assawoma...

University of Toronto helps to 'barcode' the world's plants

...ance of the seven leading candidate gene regions against three criteria: ease of obtaining DNA sequences; quality of the DNA sequences; and ability to tell species apart based on a sample of 550 species of land plants", says Barrett. "Based on this global analysis we recommended that matK and rbcL two ch...

Cancer's distinctive pattern of gene expression could aid early screening and prevention

...faster, evade immune surveillance, that sort of thing," Dr. Robertson says. "There are also many genes that they also want to turn off, like ones that tell a cell to differenitate. For a cell to become cancerous, those kinds of things have to happen. Cells that don't divide are not going to become cancer....

Music is the engine of new U-M lab-on-a-chip device

...ssor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering. "You'd really like to see something the size of an iPhone that you could sneeze onto and it would tell you if you have the flu. What hasn't been developed for such a small system is the pneumatics---the mechanisms for moving chemicals and samples around...

New windows opened on cell-to-cell interactions

...lly had a poor idea of what's going on. Knowing the genome and what proteins are there is crucially important, but that information in itself does not tell you anything about the answer to the question." ...

Iowa State University researchers develop process for 'surgical' genetic changes

... process. "In the random process, regulators would say, 'You really don't know what you're doing,'" said Townsend. "With this new technology, we can tell them, 'The genome looks like this, this is exactly the change we want to make.' "That's the power of this technology. It makes it (genetic engineeri...

Chasing tiny vehicles

...s and the efficiency of their transport and uptake by cancer cells. So far, only the appearance or absence of the desired therapeutic effect would tell whether an approach was even promising or not. "It's like a black box," Bruchle says. "You put something in at one end, then wait and see if anything...

Study explains potential failure of oral contraceptives with obese women

...n studied in women of normal weight, the researchers noted in their study. At present, Cherala said, there is no readily available test that would tell a woman how long it would take for her to reach an effective concentration level of a particular contraceptive, and this does vary with the individual...

UA pharmacy research shows prescribers miss potentially dangerous drug pairs

...t health professional programs are not doing enough to teach students about potential drug-drug interactions. Consequently, patients should be sure to tell their pharmacist of all the medications they are taking. ...

Mystery E. coli genes essential for survival of many species

... E. coli . Professor Palmer continued: "We've done experiments that show these genes affect how E. coli cells respond to different messages that tell them when to divide. If they do the same thing in humans then any problems with these genes could easily lead to developmental abnormalities or cancer...

UH team analyzes Hurricane Ike's effects on waterways, fish contamination

...to these extreme events, like hurricanes." She notes, however, that industrial partners have been critically important to her team's work. "I'll tell you, industry in this area has come a long way. They really realize that they live in a community, ought to give back to the community and ought to wo...

A bird's eye view of art

... shows that like humans, pigeons can be trained to tell the difference between 'good' and 'bad' paintings....om aesthetically unappealing art. Secondly, we can tell the difference between 'good' or beautiful paintin...the picture did not affect the pigeons' ability to tell the difference between paintings. In the second...

Researchers see evidence of memory in the songbird brain

...s a recorded song but only if the song is new to the bird. A third profile then emerges 24 hours later, after the song has become familiar. "I can tell you whether the bird has heard a particular song before or not just by looking at the molecular assay," Clayton said. In the study, each bird was k...

Trio of signals converge to induce liver and pancreas cell development in the embryo

...er proteins assemble to continue the gene activation process. The Science paper addresses how chemical signals from neighboring cells in the embryo tell early progenitor cells to activate genes encoding the regulatory proteins. The regulatory proteins, in turn, guide the cells to become a liver cell or...

In the warming West, climate most significant factor in fanning wildfires' flames

...luence of climate leading up to a fire season depends on whether the ecosystem is more forested or more like a woodland or shrubland. "These data tell us that the effectiveness of fuel reductions in reducing area burned may vary in different parts of the country," said David L. Peterson, a research b...

CWRU receives $5 million from Ohio Third Frontier Commission

...n Alsberg (CWRU) and Orthopediatrics of Warsaw, IN will use microspheres tuned to release a specific amount of drug over a prolonged period of time to tell the patient's cells to create cartilage. Bruce Trapp (CC) and Vertex Pharmaceuticals of Cambridge, MA have identified a cell in the adult human ...

Stem cell surprise for tissue regeneration

... after birth. What makes the muscle stem cells different after three weeks? The scientist believe that these two embryonic muscle stem cell genes also tell the stem cells to become quiet as the organism matures. After that time is reached, they "hand over" their jobs to a different set of genes. The resea...

CSHL scientists harness logic of 'Sudoku' math puzzle to vastly enhance genome-sequencing capability

...que tags. After the sample mix had been sequenced, scientists could use the barcode tags on the resulting sequences as identification markers and thus tell which sequence belonged to which sample. "But this approach is very limiting," explains Yaniv Erlich, a graduate student in the Hannon laboratory ...

Researchers to reveal aging's origins on global stage

...d to an increase in vulnerability to age-associated disease," he said. "Therefore, the study, and even the resolution of age-associated diseases, will tell us little about the fundamental processes of aging." Hayflick's discoveries described in his book, "How and Why We Age" have been reinforced by s...

Sands of Gobi Desert yield new species of nut-cracking dinosaur

... Plants or meat: That's about all that fossils ever tell paleontologists about a dinosaur's diet. But the skull characteristics of a new species of parrot-beaked dinosaur and its associated gizzard stones in...
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