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Iguanas partner with the plants of the Galápagos Islands

The isolation of ocean islands like the Galápagos prevents the arrival of large mammals, which disperse the seeds of many plants by ingesting them. In the absence of mammals, this function is filled by birds, tortoises, lizards and iguanas. To date, no investigation had been carried out into the role iguanas play with at least ten species of plants.

Major urinary proteins do not allow kin recognition in male mice

The urine of house mice, unlike humans, contains large amounts of proteins, which are mainly major urinary proteins or MUPs. These proteins function to stabilize the release of volatile pheromones from urinary scent marks. MUP genes occur in a large cluster in mice, and there are 21 different MUP genes, whereas humans have only one MUP gene, which is no longer functional.

Five amazing ways plants have created new technologies

Scientists have come up with a strange new method for detecting explosives: using spinach. The plants are impregnated with fluorescent "bionic" nanotubes that emit infrared light. In the presence of specific chemicals, the light turns off and this can be used as a signal that explosives are present. The change in fluorescence can even be detected using a modified mobile phone.

New study shows plants can learn from experience

The first time I met the Australian evolutionary ecologist Monica Gagliano, she was wearing colourful paisley trousers and was giving an animated talk at a 2014 environmental humanities conference in Canberra.

Experiences leave behind epigenetic traces in our genetic material

An ideological dispute is taking place in biology. And it's about a big topic that's central to everything: heredity. In his epoch-making book On the Origin of Species of 1859, Darwin wrote of the reigning ignorance about how differences between individuals come about. Show More Summary

Molecular switches researched in detail

Seeing, smelling, tasting, regulation of blood pressure – molecular switches are involved in all of these processes. The mechanism with which these proteins are switched off has been analysed by a research team at Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB), headed by Prof Dr Klaus Gerwert and private lecturer Dr Carsten Kötting. Show More Summary

Gene "bookmarking" regulates the fate of stem cells

A protein that stays attached on chromosomes during cell division plays a critical role in determining the type of cell that stem cells can become. The discovery, made by EPFL scientists, has significant implications for stem cell biology and their use in medicine.

Unique strain of lactic acid bacteria in Buryat milk is found

Scientists from the Microbiology Department of the Faculty of Biology of the Lomonosov Moscow State University have discovered a new strain of lactic acid bacteria (LAB) that could be promising as a biopreservative for food and as a probiotic. The research results have been presented at the First Black Sea Association of Food Science and Technology Congress (December, 1-2).

Sizing Up Early Dinosaurs – Variation an Evolutionary Advantage?

For Coelophysis Variety Might Have Been the Spice of Life Scientists from Virginia Tech University have concluded that early dinosaurs had a wide variety of growth patterns, a trait that may have helped species survive extinction events ultimately assisting the Dinosauria to establish themselves as the dominant, large terrestrial fauna.  The study, published in the […]

'Crisis' for Mediterranean Sharks

Bycatch from overfishing has put at least 53 percent of Mediterranean shark species at risk of extinction -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

Take the time and effort to correct misinformation

Scientists should challenge online falsehoods and inaccuracies — and harness the collective power of the Internet to fight back, argues Phil Williamson. With the election of Donald Trump, his appointment of advisers who are on record as dismissing scientific evidence, and the emboldening of deniers on everything from climate change to vaccinations, the amount of […]

From the eMail Bag: CO2 in the air and oceans

We recently received an email from Jeffrey Middlebrook who asked about the dynamics of CO2 transport from the atmosphere to the oceans: …as atmospheric water vapor increases with CO2-driven atmospheric warming, there will be more CO2 capture by the increased water vapor (yielding more carbonic acid) which will transfer more CO2 to the oceans, thereby […]

INTERVIEW – Le prince Albert explique au Figaro les raisons de son engagement pour la protection des mers (in French)

Du mardi 6 au vendredi 9 décembre se tient à Monaco la réunion préparatoire du rapport spécial du Giec (Groupe d’experts intergouvernemental sur l’évolution du climat) sur les océans et la cryosphère. Un événement organisé avec le soutien du gouvernement princier de Monaco, signe de la très forte implication du prince Albert II sur ces […]

Fight over revolutionary genetic advance goes to court in US

A fierce legal battle over the patent for a revolutionary gene-editing technique played out Tuesday in a US court, with billions of dollars at stake.

Polar bear numbers to plunge a third as sea ice melts: study

Polar bear numbers could drop a third by mid-century, according to the first systematic assessment, released on Wednesday, of how dwindling Arctic sea ice affects the world's largest bear.

Captive elephants help save wild cousins on forest frontline

It was the middle of the night when the villagers sounded the alarm: a huge Sumatran elephant was raiding their rice fields, and they needed urgent help to drive it back to the forest.

New study identifies possible predictor for women's longevity

(The North American Menopause Society (NAMS)) Death and taxes have long been said to be the only two things guaranteed in life. Exactly when someone will die, in most instances, remains a mystery. A new study, however, identifies one possible predictor -- specifically, telomere length. Show More Summary

Can bird feeders do more harm than good?

Many bird lovers put out feeders full of seed for their feathered friends—but those feeders may also attract predators that eat eggs and nestlings. The researchers behind a new study in The Condor: Ornithological Applications tried to untangle these relationships through a four-year study of songbird nests, bird feeders, and predators in urban Central Ohio.

Migrating birds pile up along Great Lakes' shores

Birds prefer to migrate at night—so much so that if day breaks while they're over water, they'll turn back toward the nearest shore rather than pressing on. That's the key finding of a new study in The Auk: Ornithological Advances, which used weather radar to examine the behavior of birds crossing the Great Lakes.

Foraging differences let closely related seabirds coexist

How do seabirds share habitat when food is limited? In the case of frigatebirds, size differences drive them to seek different prey. A study in The Auk: Ornithological Advances uses new technology to explore how closely related Great...Show More Summary

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