Sorghum study illuminates relationship between humans, crops and the environment in domestication

Nature Plants Jianming Yu, Xianran Li et al. Iowa State University IowaStateU A new study that examines the genetics behind the bitter taste of some sorghum plants and one of Africa’s most reviled bird species illustrates how human genetics, crops and the environment influence one another in the process of plant domestication. The study untangles … Read more

Directed evolution and smart plants: Lehman College researcher reimagines the future of biology

Eleanore Wurtzel (Lehman College, City University of New York), Claudia Vickers  (CSIRO Synthetic Biology Future Science Platform; University of Queensland), Andrew Hanson  (University of Florida, Gainesville), Harvey Millar (University of Western Australia), Mark Cooper , Kai Voss-Fels  (University of Queensland), Pablo Nikel  (Technical University of Denmark), Tobias Erb (Max-Planck-Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology; LOEWE Center for Synthetic … Read more

Scientists solve structure enabling cyanobacteria to thrive in low light

Donald Bryant, Gaozhong Shen, Vasily Kurashov, John Golbeck (Penn State), Chris Gisriel (Yale University), Shangji Zhang, Dewight Williams, Petra Fromme (Arizona State University), Ming-Yang Ho (Penn State; National Taiwan University) Penn State Scientists have determined the structure of the protein complex that gives cyanobacteria their unique ability to convert weak, filtered sunlight into useable energy. … Read more

Realistic robots get under Galápagos lizards’ skin

Male lava lizards are sensitive to the timing of their opponents’ responses during contest displays, with quicker responses being perceived as more aggressive, a study in Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology suggests. To avoid injury from male-to-male contests, some animal species display behaviours such as color changes or sequences of movements that showcase body size and … Read more

Nanoimaging the intracellular space to aid drug development

Iridium-based metallodrugs

Iridium-based metallodrugs are emerging as novel tools to destroy cancer cells by disrupting their intracellular redox balance. Scientists at IMDEA Nanociencia and researchers at ALBA, ESRF and CNB-CSIC have joined efforts to image the anticancer agent at work in the cryopreserved intracellular nano-space. Chemotherapeutics are key players in the clinical setting to fight most types … Read more

Western University researchers begin work on COVID-19 vaccine


A multidisciplinary team of Western University researchers is beginning work on the development of a COVID-19 vaccine. They join the global effort to curb the spread of the virus which to-date has been confirmed in 225,000 cases worldwide, and has caused more than 9,000 deaths. The team is rapidly mobilizing its efforts to establish and … Read more

Lava flows tell 600-year story of biodiversity loss on tropical island

A natural experiment created by an active volcano gives new insight into the long-term negative impacts of human colonisation of tropical forest islands. The findings are published in the British Ecological Society journal, Journal of Ecology. Researchers from the University of Réunion island surveyed vegetation on more than 600 years of lava flows on the slopes … Read more

USU herpetologist reports surprising evolutionary shift in snakes

In the animal kingdom, survival essentially boils down to eat or be eaten. How organisms accomplish the former and avoid the latter reveals a clever array of defense mechanisms. Maybe you can outrun your prey. Perhaps you sport an undetectable disguise. Or maybe you develop a death-defying resistance to your prey’s heart-stopping defensive chemicals that … Read more

We must prioritise the protection of ecosystems

Prioritising and tracking the protection of countries’ ecosystems – from wetlands to reefs, forests and more – is critical to protecting Earth’s biodiversity. That’s the plea from The University of Queensland and the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Professor James Watson, as policy makers from 190 nations prepare to meet in Rome next week to develop the … Read more

Improving assessments of an endangered lion population in India

An alternative method for monitoring endangered lions in India could improve estimates of their abundance and help inform conservation policy and management decisions. Keshab Gogoi and colleagues at the Wildlife Institute of India present their findings in the open-access journal PLOS ONE on February 19, 2020. Conservation practices have enabled Asiatic lions to recover from a population … Read more