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Study of sea creatures suggests nervous system evolved independently multiple times

(Phys.org)—A team of researchers from Norway, Sweden and Denmark has found evidence that suggests the nervous system evolved independently in multiple creatures over time—not just once, as has been previously thought. In their paperShow More Summary

Bee-mimicking clearwing moth buzzes back to life after 130 years

An entomologist from the University of Gdansk in Poland has rediscovered a striking blue-and-white species of clearwing moth known only from a single faded and damaged museum specimen collected in 1887. The Oriental blue clearwing (Heterosphecia...Show More Summary

Australian lizards take toll on turtle eggs

Goannas have overtaken foxes as the number one predator of the endangered loggerhead turtle at its second largest Queensland nesting beach.

Science explains the colour of your Christmas

When we think of Christmas, what colour comes to mind? For most people, that colour is probably red. Even Santa himself is red. It's a colour reminiscent of family, good food, Santa and his gifts and festive holidays. The Christmas table is laid out with fresh crab, the vibrant red of holly berries and the delicate pinks and intense reds of Poinsettia on the table…

Cells sense and explore their environments

The process through which cells are able to sense their environment is regulated by force detection. This is the main conclusion of a study published in the journal Nature, led by the team of Pere Roca-Cusachs, lecturer from the Department of Biomedicine and main researcher at the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC).

New sorghum cultivars can produce thousands of gallons of ethanol

Sweet sorghum is not just for breakfast anymore. Although sorghum is a source for table syrup, scientists see a future in which we convert sorghum to biofuel, rather than relying on fossil fuel. That potential just grew as University of Florida researchers found three UF/IFAS-developed sorghum varieties could produce up to 1,000 gallons of ethanol per acre.

Listening in: Acoustic monitoring devices detect illegal hunting and logging

Populations of large cats such as jaguars and pumas are in global decline due to habitat loss and indiscriminate hunting of them and their prey by humans. Newly developed acoustic loggers are able to record sounds of shotguns and chainsaws, shedding light on the frequency and patterns of illegal exploitation.

BigH1—the key histone for male fertility

Researchers in the Chromatin Structure and Function Lab at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona) have identified the histone BigH1 as a key protein in stem cell differentiation to male sex cells. Histones are basic proteins that confer order and structure to DNA, and play an important role in gene regulation.

Bacterial control mechanism for adjusting to changing conditions

A fundamental prerequisite for life on earth is the ability of living organisms to adapt to changing environmental conditions. Physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and the University of California San Diego (UCSD) have...Show More Summary

Urban human activity revealed by phone use, how fish flock together, and epimutations hit same genes as mutations in cancer

Check out our highlights from the PLOS Computational Biology November issue:   Tracking urban human activity from mobile phone calling patterns For humans living in urban areas, modern daily life is very different from that of

PLOS Biology in the media – November

  Welcome to the first of a new series of blog posts discussing what has been hitting the press this month in PLOS Biology. During November we’ve been talking about conserving what we already have

DNA Testing Kits as Holiday Gifts Can Bring Surprises

Lately people have been sending me their direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic testing results for help with interpretation. Although companies like 23andMe and ancestry.com do a pretty decent job of explaining findings, people not familiar with genetics might be

Viewpoints in bioerosion research—are we really disagreeing? A reply to the comment by Silbiger and DeCarlo (2017)

A recent literature review by Schönberg et al. (2017) on bioerosion under ocean acidification and global change led to a detailed comment by Silbiger and DeCarlo (2017). We use the opportunity to reply to this comment, to correct misinterpreted data and to further stimulate the discussion in bioerosion science. We still believe that our paper […]

The evolution of phenotypic plasticity under global change

Marine ecosystems are currently in a state of flux, with ocean warming and acidification occurring at unprecedented rates. Phenotypic plasticity underpins acclimatory responses by shifting the mean phenotype in a population, which may buffer the negative effects of global change. Show More Summary

Looking at the World’s Oldest Eye

Insight into Evolution of the Compound Eye A team of international scientists including researchers from Cologne University, Estonia and the University of Edinburgh have been looking into the evolution of the first eyes by studying the remarkably well-preserved remains of an eye from a trilobite that lived in the sea more than half a billion

‘A different dimension of loss’: inside the great insect die-off

Scientists have identified 2 million species of living things. No one knows how many more are out there, and tens of thousands may be vanishing before we have even had a chance to encounter them. By Jacob Mikanowski The Earth is ridiculously, burstingly full of life. Show More Summary

An endorsement for Sean Casten in Illinois’ red-to-blue 6th Congressional district

Climate Hawks Vote has this press release: Climate Hawks Vote is pleased to announce its newest endorsement: Sean Casten in Illinois’ red-to-blue 6th Congressional district. Sean is running as a climate hawk scientist, cleantech entrepreneur,...Show More Summary

Robot that’s the width of a hair masters Pac-Man and cuts cheese

Tiny metal robots can plot their own route around a maze modelled on the iconic video game – and could be used in surgery one day

Effortless thinking: We’re all suckers for a celebrity

What makes Her Maj majestic? Or gives someone the X factor? The answer lies in our nomadic past, and it is leading us badly astray today

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