Biology News

Syndicate content
Updated: 1 year 8 weeks ago

New way to harvest stem cells better for donors

Wed, 16/03/2016 - 00:34


A hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) is being mobilized from the bone marrow microenvironment into a blood vessel. Australian scientists have developed a new method for harvesting stem cells, which is less invasive and reduces side effects for donors.

When memories age

Wed, 16/03/2016 - 00:34

When we remember events which occurred recently, the hippocampus is activated. This area in the temporal lobe of the brain is a hub for learning and memory. But what happens, if we try to remember things that took place years or decades ago? Neuroscientists at the Ruhr-University Bochum and the Osaka University have been able to give some answers to this question. They reveal that the neural networks involved in retrieving very old memories are quite distinct from those used to remember recent events. The results of the study have now been published in the open source science journal eLIFE.

Sweet corn genes related to crowding stress identified

Wed, 16/03/2016 - 00:34

Plants grown in high-density or crowded populations often put more energy into growth and maintenance than reproduction. For example, flowering may be delayed as plants allocate resources to growing taller and escape competition for light. This sensitivity to crowding stress has been observed in some varieties of sweet corn, but other varieties show higher tolerance, producing high yields even in crowded conditions. A recent University of Illinois and USDA Agricultural Research Service study attempted to uncover the genetic mechanisms of crowding tolerance in sweet corn.

Scientists using crowdfunding to sequence the genome of Joshua tree

Tue, 15/03/2016 - 00:16


This image shows Yucca Brevifolia Tikaboo, June 2014. Scientists at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center have teamed up with researchers at Willamette University, a liberal arts college in Salem Oregon, to develop genetic tools that could save the Joshua tree from extinction. Together with scientists from The University of Georgia and the University of British Columbia, and with the support of several Mojave Desert conservation organizations, researchers are inviting members of the public to help get the project off the ground by making donations at the crowdfunding site Experiment.com. In the past two weeks, more than 100 backers have donated more than $4,000 to The Joshua Tree Genome Project. The project aims to raise $8,500 by March 24th.

Which neuron is more mature? Single cell transcriptome knows!

Tue, 15/03/2016 - 00:16


This is the cover of Protein & Cell. The human brain is extremely complex, containing billions of neurons forming trillions of synapses where thoughts, behavior and emotion arise. However, when an individual is performing a particular task, not many but only a few neural circuits are in action. The enormous cellular heterogeneity of the brain structure has made dissections of the molecular basis for neural circuitry function particularly challenging, because previous studies on genetic and epigenetic profiling using a block of brain tissues simply do not have the sufficient precision and accuracy to correspond to the activities of a few activated circuitries in the brain.

Paleontologists discover 250-million-year-old new species of reptile in Brazil

Fri, 11/03/2016 - 22:03

An international team of scientists, from three Brazilian universities and one UK university, have discovered a new fossil reptile that lived 250 million years ago in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, southernmost Brazil. The species has been identified from a mostly complete and well preserved fossil skull that the team has named Teyujagua paradoxa.

Maternal bacterial infections trigger abnormal proliferation of neurons in fetal brain

Wed, 09/03/2016 - 23:04

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital scientists have discovered how pieces of bacterial cell wall cross the placenta and enter developing neurons, altering fetal brain anatomy and cognitive functioning after birth. The study appears today in the scientific journal Cell Host & Microbe.

'Big data' drills down into metabolic details

Wed, 09/03/2016 - 23:04


The same metabolic pathway can produce different results in different bodily tissues. A Rice University algorithm is designed to find those differences. Rice University bioengineers have introduced a fast computational method to model tissue-specific metabolic pathways. Their algorithm may help researchers find new therapeutic targets for cancer and other diseases.

Spotted Gar genome links humans to vertebrate ancestry

Wed, 09/03/2016 - 23:04

Led by Drs John Postlethwait and Ingo Braasch from the Institute of Neuroscience, University of Oregon, US, in collaboration with the Broad Institute, the study of the Spotted Gar (Lepisosteus oculatus) genome reveals that it is small and manageable. Furthermore, it lacks much shuffling and duplication that occurred in the 'main' fish ancestral line; it conserved its genome.

Researchers build molecule that could significantly reduce brain damage in stroke victims

Wed, 09/03/2016 - 23:04


This graphic depicts a new inhibitor, 6S, locking up an enzyme (red) to block the production of hydrogen sulfide (yellow and white). Research teams separated by 14 hours and 9,000 miles have collaborated to advance prospective treatment for the world's second-leading cause of death.

Drug-resistant genes spread through environment, not meat products

Tue, 08/03/2016 - 22:44

In the first study to use new methods to track antibiotic resistance through the process of intensively farming and slaughtering cattle, scientists have discovered a "startling" lack of resistance genes in meat.

Scientists find brain cells that know which end is up

Tue, 08/03/2016 - 22:44

People are intuitive physicists, knowing from birth how objects under the influence of gravity are likely to fall, topple or roll. In a new study, scientists have found the brain cells apparently responsible for this innate wisdom.

How cancer cells fuel their growth

Tue, 08/03/2016 - 00:37

Cancer cells are notorious for their ability to divide uncontrollably and generate hordes of new tumor cells. Most of the fuel consumed by these rapidly proliferating cells is glucose, a type of sugar.

The brain's gardeners: Immune cells 'prune' connections between neurons

Tue, 08/03/2016 - 00:37

A new study out today in the journal Nature Communications shows that cells normally associated with protecting the brain from infection and injury also play an important role in rewiring the connections between nerve cells. While this discovery sheds new light on the mechanics of neuroplasticity, it could also help explain diseases like autism spectrum disorders, schizophrenia, and dementia, which may arise when this process breaks down and connections between brain cells are not formed or removed correctly.

MSU discovers a new kind of stem cell

Fri, 04/03/2016 - 00:13

Scientists at Michigan State University have discovered a new kind of stem cell, one that could lead to advances in regenerative medicine as well as offer new ways to study birth defects and other reproductive problems.

Some bacterial CRISPRs can snip RNA, too

Thu, 03/03/2016 - 00:15


This is an illustration of how the CRISPR/Cas system works, courtesy of Devaki Bhaya, Michelle Davison, and Rodolphe Barrangou. You've probably seen news stories about the highly lauded, much-discussed genome editing system CRISPR/Cas9. But did you know the system was actually derived from bacteria, which use it to fight off foreign invaders such as viruses? It allows many bacteria to snip and store segments of DNA from an invading virus, which they can then use to "remember" and destroy DNA from similar invaders if they are encountered again. Recent work from a team of researchers including Carnegie's Devaki Bhaya demonstrates that some bacteria also use the CRISPR/Cas system to snip and recognize segments of RNA, not just DNA. It was published by Science.

Researchers enhance CRISPR gene editing technology

Thu, 03/03/2016 - 00:15


Haoquan Wu, Ph.D., left, and Ying Dang, Ph.D., right, have improved the gene editing technology CRISPR and enhanced its ability to target and knockout genes. Scientists have developed a process that improves the efficiency of CRISPR, an up-and-coming technology used to edit DNA.

Discovery of a gene associated with a set of poorly understood rare diseases

Thu, 03/03/2016 - 00:15


GEMC1 is required for the generation of multiciliated cells. Images of mouse tracheas. The genomic sequencing of hundreds of patients with diverse types of ciliopathies has revealed that "in many cases the gene responsible is not known", says Travis Stracker, head of the Genomic Instability and Cancer Lab at the IRB Barcelona. "So many people do not have a molecular diagnosis," stresses the researcher. "Our work seeks to contribute to bridging this knowledge gap".

Fossil find reveals just how big carnivorous dinosaur may have grown

Tue, 01/03/2016 - 00:43


Here is an artist's drawing of the abelisaur. An unidentified fossilised bone in a museum has revealed the size of a fearsome abelisaur and may have solved a hundred-year old puzzle.

Helmholtz researchers identify genetic switch regulating satiety and body weight

Tue, 01/03/2016 - 00:43


HDAC5 (red) is a key factor in neurons for the control of food intake, astrocytes are stained in green. Why do we get fat and why is it so difficult for so many people to keep off excess weight? Researchers in the Reseach Unit Neurobiology of Diabetes led by Dr. Paul Pfluger and at the Institute for Diabetes and Obesity led by Prof. Dr. Matthias Tschöp have now identified a new component in the complex fine-tuning of body weight and food intake. They found that the enzyme histone deacetylase 5 (HDAC5) has a significant influence on the effect of the hormone leptin*. This hormone plays a crucial role in triggering satiety and thus on how the body adapts to a changing food environment.