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Updated: 6 min 23 sec ago

How a deadly fungus evades the immune system

8 min 15 sec ago

New research from the University of Toronto has scientists re-thinking how a lethal fungus grows and kills immune cells. The study hints at a new approach to therapy for Candida albicans, one of the most common causes of bloodstream infections.

The 'intraterrestrials': New viruses discovered in ocean depths

8 min 16 sec ago

The scientists used the deep submergence vehicle Alvin to retrieve sea-floor samples. The intraterrestrials, they might be called. Strange creatures live in the deep sea, but few are odder than the viruses that inhabit deep ocean methane seeps and prey on single-celled microorganisms called archaea.

The shortest DNA sequences reveal insights into the world's tallest trees

Mon, 30/03/2015 - 21:24

Coast redwoods are famous for being the tallest trees in the world, but their height is not the only thing that sets them apart. Unlike most conifer trees, coast redwoods can reproduce by sprouting from cut stumps, fallen logs, and roots. Researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, are uncovering important information about patterns of coast redwood clones with a new DNA analysis method that could help forest management and preservation efforts.

Bitter chocolate: Illegal cocoa farms threaten Ivory Coast primates

Mon, 30/03/2015 - 21:24

Study co-author Gonedele Sere, on left, holds a cocoa plant found at an illegal farm in the Dassioko Forest Reserve in Ivory Coast. Researchers surveying for endangered primates in national parks and forest reserves of Ivory Coast found, to their surprise, that most of these protected areas had been turned into illegal cocoa farms, a new study reports.

Building block for memory and learning identified

Mon, 30/03/2015 - 21:24

Researchers have been fascinated for a long time by learning and memory formation, and many questions are still open. Bochum-based neuroscientists Prof Dr Denise Manahan-Vaughan and Dr Hardy Hagena have discovered a key building block for this complex process. A particular neurotransmitter receptor, namely the metabotropic glutamate receptor 5, is a switch for activating opposing forms of plasticity in the hippocampus, a brain region vital for memory forming. They reported in the current edition of "The Journal of Neuroscience".

Chikungunya virus may be coming to a city near you -- learn the facts

Fri, 27/03/2015 - 01:53

The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston's Scott Weaver, globally recognized for his expertise in mosquito-borne diseases, has been studying chikungunya for more than 15 years. The mosquito-borne chikungunya virus has been the subject of increasing attention as it spreads throughout South America, Central America, the Caribbean and Mexico. This painful and potentially debilitating disease is predicted to soon spread to the U.S.

New role uncovered for 'oldest' tumor suppressor gene

Fri, 27/03/2015 - 01:53

Scientists have revealed a brand new function for one of the first cancer genes ever discovered - the retinoblastoma gene - in a finding that could open up exciting new approaches to treatment.

HIV can spread early, evolve in patients' brains

Fri, 27/03/2015 - 01:53

This photo shows HIV, the AIDS virus (yellow), infecting a human immune cell. The AIDS virus can genetically evolve and independently replicate in patients' brains early in the illness process, researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health have discovered. An analysis of cerebral spinal fluid (CSF), a window into brain chemical activity, revealed that for a subset of patients HIV had started replicating within the brain within the first four months of infection. CSF in 30 percent of HIV-infected patients tracked showed at least transient signs of inflammation - suggesting an active infectious process - or viral replication within the first two years of infection. There was also evidence that the mutating virus can evolve a genome in the central nervous system that is distinct from that in the periphery.

Bats obey 'traffic rules' when trawling for food

Fri, 27/03/2015 - 01:53

Foraging bats obey their own set of 'traffic rules', chasing, turning and avoiding collisions at high speed according to new research publishing in PLOS Computational Biology.

New study shows bacteria can use magnetic particles to create a 'natural battery'

Fri, 27/03/2015 - 01:53

New research shows bacteria can use tiny magnetic particles to effectively create a 'natural battery.' According to work published in journal Science on 27 March, the bacteria can load electrons onto and discharge electrons from microscopic particles of magnetite. This discovery holds out the potential of using this mechanism to help clean up environmental pollution, and other bioengineering applications. The European Association of Geochemistry is highlighting this work as especially interesting.

Honey bees use multiple genetic pathways to fight infections

Fri, 27/03/2015 - 01:53

These are bees on a hive. Honey bees use different sets of genes, regulated by two distinct mechanisms, to fight off viruses, bacteria and gut parasites, according to researchers at Penn State and the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Control switch that modulates cell stress response may be key to multiple diseases

Thu, 26/03/2015 - 01:47

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have discovered a control switch for the unfolded protein response (UPR), a cellular stress relief mechanism drawing major scientific interest because of its role in cancer, diabetes, inflammatory disorders and several neural degenerative disorders, including Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), otherwise known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

Common bacteria on verge of becoming antibiotic-resistant superbugs

Thu, 26/03/2015 - 01:47

Bacteria that cause many hospital-associated infections are ready to quickly share genes that allow them to resist powerful antibiotics. The illustration, based on electron micrographs and created by the Centers... Antibiotic resistance is poised to spread globally among bacteria frequently implicated in respiratory and urinary infections in hospital settings, according to new research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

Lemur teeth help take a bite out of Madagascar's mysteries

Thu, 26/03/2015 - 01:47

This is a ring-tailed lemur (Lemur catta) indigenous only to Madagascar. UC's Brooke Crowley is researching lemurs' geographic mobility. Out of the mouths of lemurs come many answers to old mysteries about Madagascar's unique fauna. What were their origins, and how and why did they move around?

Scientists coax stem cells to form 3-D mini lungs

Wed, 25/03/2015 - 01:44

Scientists, led by the University of Michigan Medical School, coax stem cells to form mini lungs, 3-D structures that mimic human lungs and survived in the lab for 100 days. Scientists have coaxed stem cells to grow the first three-dimensional mini lungs.

Catch-release-repeat: Study reveals novel technique for handling molecules

Tue, 24/03/2015 - 00:55

Figure 1 shows hydrogel-aptamer capture and release. The hydrogel can be made sensitive to environmental variables. In the current study, changes in solution pH cause the hydrogel to either swell... Like vast international trading companies, biological systems pick up freight items (in the form of small molecules), transport them from place to place and release them at their proper destination. These ubiquitous processes are critical for activities ranging from photosynthesis to neuronal signaling.

Scientists use DNA sequencing to trace the spread of drug-resistant TB

Tue, 24/03/2015 - 00:55

Scientists have for the first time used DNA sequencing to trace the fatal spread of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis between patients in the UK.

Cytomegalovirus hijacks human enzyme for replication

Tue, 24/03/2015 - 00:55

This is an abstract representation of virus inducing enzyme to produce lipid envelope. More than 60 percent of the world's population is infected with a type of herpes virus called human cytomegalovirus. The virus replicates by commandeering the host cell's metabolism but the details of this maneuver are unclear.

Parasite turns shrimp into voracious cannibals

Thu, 19/03/2015 - 01:09

This image shows a Gammarus duebeni celticus pair. Parasites can play an important role in driving cannibalism, according to a new study.

Male fish dig pits and build sand castles at the bottom of Lake Malawi to attract females

Thu, 19/03/2015 - 01:09

New research shows that courtship rituals evolve very fast in cichlid fish in Lake Malawi. Whenever species evolve to feed at different depths, their courtship evolves as well. In the shallows where the light is good, males build sand castles to attract females. Males of deep-dwelling species dig less elaborate pits and compensate with longer swimming displays. The results are published in the open-access journal Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution.