Computer-generated genomes

All organisms on our planet store the molecular blueprint of life in a DNA code within their genome. The digital revolution in biology, driven by DNA sequencing, enables us to read the genomes of the myriads of microbes and multi-cellular organisms that populate our world. Today, the DNA sequences of over 200,000 microbial genomes are … Read more Computer-generated genomes

Research reverses the reproductive clock in mice

Researchers have lifted fertility rates in older female mice with small doses of a metabolic compound that reverses the ageing process in eggs, offering hope for some women struggling to conceive. The University of Queensland study found a non-invasive treatment could maintain or restore the quality and number of eggs and alleviate the biggest barrier … Read more Research reverses the reproductive clock in mice

Biodiversity offsetting is contentious – here’s an alternative

A new approach to compensate for the impact of development may be an effective alternative to biodiversity offsetting – and help nations achieve international biodiversity targets. University of Queensland scientists say target-based ecological compensation provides greater certainty and clarity, while ensuring the management of impacts from projects like new mines, roads or housing estates directly … Read more Biodiversity offsetting is contentious – here’s an alternative

‘Ghost’ of mysterious hominin found in West African genomes

Ancestors of modern West Africans interbred with a yet-undiscovered species of archaic human, similar to how ancient Europeans mated with Neanderthals, researchers report. Their work helps inform how archaic hominins added to the genetic variation of present-day Africans, which has been poorly understood, in part because of the sparse fossil record in Africa and the … Read more ‘Ghost’ of mysterious hominin found in West African genomes

Hidden away: An enigmatic mammalian brain area revealed in reptiles

The state of unified perception characteristic of a conscious state in humans appears to require widespread coordination of the forebrain and thus, the existence of a physical and anatomical substrate for this coordination. The mammalian claustrum, a thin sheet of brain tissue hidden beneath the inner layers of the neocortex, is widely interconnected with the … Read more Hidden away: An enigmatic mammalian brain area revealed in reptiles

Huge bacteria-eating viruses close gap between life and non-life

Scientists have discovered hundreds of unusually large, bacteria-killing viruses with capabilities normally associated with living organisms, blurring the line between living microbes and viral machines. These phages — short for bacteriophages, so-called because they “eat” bacteria — are of a size and complexity considered typical of life, carry numerous genes normally found in bacteria and … Read more Huge bacteria-eating viruses close gap between life and non-life

How plants in the cabbage family look inward when sulfur is scarce

New research from Kyushu University in Japan provides a better understanding of how chemicals thought to impart unique health benefits to plants in the cabbage family are broken down to promote growth in conditions lacking sufficient sulfur and could aid in the future development of broccoli and cabbage that are even healthier for you. Researchers … Read more How plants in the cabbage family look inward when sulfur is scarce

Ocean fish farming in tropics and sub-tropics most impacted by climate change: UBC study

In a study published in Global Change Biology, researchers at the University of British Columbia looked at how climate change could impact 85 species of fish and molluscs that are most commonly farmed in seawater. They found that certain species like Atlantic salmon, European seabass and cobia, while certain areas like the tropics and the Arctic, … Read more Ocean fish farming in tropics and sub-tropics most impacted by climate change: UBC study

Orb-weaver spiders’ yellow and black pattern helps them lure prey

Researchers from Australia, Singapore, Taiwan and the UK placed cardboard cut-out models of the golden orb-weaver, Nephila pilipes, onto real webs in the field. Testing different combinations of colours and patterns they discovered that both the yellow colour and the black and yellow mosaic pattern are essential for luring prey during the day. The webs of Nephila … Read more Orb-weaver spiders’ yellow and black pattern helps them lure prey

KAUST global research team first to observe inherited DNA expressions

King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, a graduate research university of science and technology in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, today announced new research demonstrating that corals pass patterns of DNA to their offspring. This ground-breaking research marks the first-time this process has been observed in animals within the field of biology. The research … Read more KAUST global research team first to observe inherited DNA expressions