Hamsters take cues from decreasing day length to prepare for the long winter

Analysis of the first fully-sequenced genome of the Siberian hamster shows how these small, seasonal breeders adapt their bodies and energy usage to survive the winter. The research, published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, also includes transcriptome analysis of gene expression in the brain during both summer and winter conditions, … Read more Hamsters take cues from decreasing day length to prepare for the long winter

Dogs mirror owner’s stress

Researchers at Linköping University have examined how stress levels in dogs are influenced by lifestyle factors and by the people that the dogs live with. Previous work has shown that individuals of the same species can mirror each others’ emotional states. There is, for example, a correlation between long-term stress in children and in their … Read more Dogs mirror owner’s stress

Predator introduction disrupts lizard coexistence

Introducing predatory lizards to a set of small Caribbean islands causes resident lizard populations to change their behaviour, which alters the way lizards co-exist and leads to population extinctions. The study, reported in Nature, suggests that this effect could apply to predator-introduction scenarios on islands and lakes worldwide. Humans have accelerated the rate at which predators … Read more Predator introduction disrupts lizard coexistence

Pain free, thanks to evolution

African mole-rats are insensitive to many different kinds of pain. As an international research team led by the MDC’s Gary Lewin reports in Science, this characteristic has even allowed mole-rats to populate new habitats. Thanks to a genetic change, the highveld mole-rat is able to live alongside venomous ants with painful stings that other mole-rats avoid. … Read more Pain free, thanks to evolution

Mutation makes bulldogs and Norwich terriers more susceptible to breathing problems

The discovery of a new mutation associated with breathing difficulties in popular dog breeds suggests that shortened skulls causing flat faces is not the only factor that contributes to the condition, but that swelling around the airways from edema may also play a role. Jeffrey Schoenebeck of the University of Edinburgh and colleagues report these … Read more Mutation makes bulldogs and Norwich terriers more susceptible to breathing problems