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Biology News

Essential Science: Sequencing Rudolph’s Genome

A seasonal science column this week: Chinese scientists have successfully sequenced and analyzed the genome of Rangifer tarandus (reindeer), which is the only domesticated species in the deer family Cervidae.

Building smarter computers based on biology

To develop truly ‘smart’ computers, researchers have been looking to biological systems for inspiration. A particular focus is within the way the human rain retains and processes information.

Catch a whiff of this: scientists decode durian DNA

Paris - Once described by a detractor as smelling of "turpentine and onions, garnished with a gym sock", southeast Asia's durian fruit leaves no-one unmoved -- you either adore or abhor it.

'Extinct' giant tortoise to be bred in captivity

Quito - A species of Galapagos giant tortoise thought to have been made extinct 150 years ago will be bred in captivity, officials said, after DNA studies showed specimens discovered in the last decade shared similar genetic makeup.

The secret life of dodos, revealed

Paris - Has any animal suffered greater ignominy than the ill-fated dodo?"A strange and grotesque specimen of bird... bearing a ridiculous bent bill," was the verdict of early 17th century Dutch admiral and explorer Wybrand van Warwijck.

Naturalist David Attenborough earns his wings

Paris - David Attenborough finally earned his wings Wednesday after scientists named a 100-million-year-old damselfly after the veteran British broadcaster and naturalist.

Essential Science: First genome-wide cancer map produced

An interesting new map shows over 760 genetic dependencies across multiple cancers. The map suggests new opportunities for developing innovative cancer treatments for scientists and start-up biotech.

Is there a biological explanation for schizophrenia?

Unusual research suggests there may be a biological basis to certain forms of schizophrenia. Here researchers injected cells from schizophrenia patients into mice to observe the results.

DNA as a data storage medium: Progress and challenges

Advances are being made with storing digitized data on DNA (both natural and synthetic). This is set to become huge in terms of a 'permanent' data storage solution.

Read how 3D printing can save your life

Developments with 3D printing technology continue to advance and the technology is making strong inroads into the medical and biotechnology sectors. We take a look at three recent innovations.

Darwin's 'strangest animal ever' finds a family

Paris - Charles Darwin, Mr. Evolution himself, didn't know what to make of the fossils he saw in Patagonia so he sent them to his friend, the renowned paleontologist Richard Owen. Owen was stumped too. Little wonder.

Essential Science: Methylene Blue as an anti-aging treatment

Aging is inevitable for living organisms and part of the course of life. With modern medicine life expectancy can be extended and there are various ‘tricks’ to give the appearance of not aging. But is true slowing down of aging possible?

Optical tweezers designed to control cell behavior

A pair of optical tweezers has been developed, designed to control the behavior of cells for scientific study. Using the technology, cells can be microscopically altered in relation to position, orientation, and shape.

3D printed ovaries produce mice pups

Many biologists see 3D printing as a suitable technology for producing human tissues and organs, creating life-saving and health-enhancing biological constructs. In a breakthrough, a science groups have produced fully-working mice ovaries.

Nanoscience of the invisible butterfly revealed

Fribourg - The Mexican butterfly is able to make itself invisible to predators. Biologists have known that this has something to do with wing color, but the precise mechanism has always been uncertain.

The secret of glow-in-the-dark mushrooms

Moscow - There are mushrooms that appear magical, due to their ability to glow-in-the-dark rather than hallucinogenic properties. The American Association for the Advancement of Science has got to the bottom of how this process works.

Fossils point to life on Earth 4 billion years ago

Paris - The oldest fossils ever found are "direct evidence" of life on Earth 3.8 to 4.3 billion years ago when our planet was still in its infancy, researchers reported Wednesday.

Research group are the first to see DNA 'blink'

Scientists from Northwestern University have developed a new imaging technology that is the first to see DNA “blink,” or fluoresce. This is key to understanding the mechanism at play in relation to different diseases.

3D printer set to print human skin

An innovative 3D bioprinter is being prepared to produce human skin, designed for medical research purposes (such as the testing out of new drugs). This skin may also be adequate for transplanting to patients.

Harry Potter inspires naming of new crab species

A new species of crab has been named after characters from the Harry Potter franchise. In addition part of the name of the crustacean references a famous biologist.

How stress on the brain triggers heart attacks

Scientists have confirmed the link between stress, a region of the brain and heart attacks. The research shows why stress can sometimes lead to a heart attack.

Population of chimpanzees fashion drinking sticks

A population of chimpanzees in the Ivory Coast have been observed fashioning tools to use as drinking sticks. The findings provide further evidence about different subcultures within chimpanzee populations.

Urbanization makes its mark on evolution

Washington - Urbanization, that is human development in the form of towns and cities, is affecting evolution, according to a new scientific study. The researchers say this has implications for sustainability and human well-being.

Some viruses have evolved to affect men more greatly than women

London - Is man-flu real? New evidence suggests that some viruses cause weaker symptoms in women than in men. The reason is evolutionary, based on helping the virus to spread between hosts.

Fight over revolutionary genetic advance goes to court in US

Alexandria - 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.

Genetics reveals my some people have 'wild hair'

Berlin - Struggling with unmanageable hair? Struggling with hair that won't style or comb? The various states of uncomfortable hair have been attributed, in new scientific research, to genetics.

Humanity decimating planetary wildlife

Paris - Nearly three-fifths of all animals with a backbone -- fish, birds, amphibians, reptiles and mammals -- have been wiped out since 1970 by human appetites and activity, according to a grim study released Thursday.

Belgium establishes a global brain bank

Antwerp - A brain bank, a grisly sounding collection of brains and tissues, has been established in Belgium, with parts of the collection being shipped from the U.K. The idea is to provide tissue and medical records to researchers all over the world.

New device for growing replacement lungs

The idea of developing artificial lungs for organ donation remains a goal for the medical establishment, given that a high proportion of people die due to the scarcity of available lungs. A new technique brings this closer.

Essential Science: New types of microbial life in the oceans

The seas and oceans of the world make up the majority of the surface and less is known about life in the oceans compared with the surface of the moon. New research has revealed the mysteries of oceanic microbial life.
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Fungi growing in axenic culture (ascomycetes)
Fungi growing in axenic culture (ascomycetes)
Photo by: Dr. David Midgley Cultures: Dr. David Midgley University of Sydney, Australia
Bees swarm and attack in large numbers  some are more aggressive than others.
Bees swarm and attack in large numbers, some are more aggressive than others.
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