The latest news and information in the world of Biology.
Take an onion. Slice it very thin. Thinner than paper thin: single-cell thin. Then dip a slice in a succession of chemical baths cooked up to stain DNA. The dyed strands should appear in radiant magenta – the fingerprints of life’s instructions as vivid as rose petals on a marital bed.
Satellites do an incredible job of mapping algal blooms, the green mats that spread over lakes and oceans during warm, nutrient-rich summers. But the hypnotic, swirling images from space can’t tell if toxins are lurking in a carpet of cyanobacteria, threatening the safety of water.
Hector DeLuca and colleagues at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, were testing the hypothesis that some wavelengths of ultraviolet light could reduce multiple sclerosis symptoms in mice. They used sunscreen on some mice to block the UV light, predicting the symptoms would return.
The European slug is average in every way: slimy, brownish, shorter than a credit card. But Arion subfuscus has a minor superpower: When it’s scared, it can glue itself to wet surfaces very well, and do so while remaining bendy.
There it was, sitting on the mantelpiece, staring at her with hollow eyes and a naked grin. She could not stop staring back. It looked distinctly like the fossilized skull of an extinct baboon. That was the sort of thing Josephine Salmons was likely to know.
Honey bees that consistently fail to respond to obvious social cues share something fundamental with autistic humans, researchers report in a new study. Genes most closely associated with autism spectrum disorders in humans are regulated differently in unresponsive honey bees than in their more responsive nest mates, the study found.
Researchers at Stanford University have discovered a possible biological indicator behind chronic fatigue syndrome, a disorder doctors have struggled to identify as psychological or biological, per STAT. The mechanism: The researchers found that people with chronic fatigue syndrome had levels of 17 kinds of cytokines in their blood that varied with the severity of the disease.
Although most species of plants on Earth have flowers, the evolutionary origin of flowers themselves are shrouded in mystery. Flowers are the sexual organs of more than 360,000 species of plants alive today, all derived from a single common ancestor in the distant past.
Christophe Lepetit/Hemis/Alamy The South Pacific islands have long drawn sailors and tourists seeking paradise on Earth, but biologists are now trying to make the region even more alluring. A biomedical lab in Tahiti has succeeded in nearly eradicating mosquitoes from a tiny nearby island, and researchers are gearing up to eliminate the pests from a larger island that is permanently inhabited by people.