Fork-tailed Flycatchers, scientists just discovered, communicate with the sounds made when they flutter their feathers. And by analyzing recordings of the birds in flight, the researchers found that subspecies with different migration patterns have different "dialects" to their feather sounds, possibly helping contribute to them splitting into separate species.
Confuciusornis was a crow-like fossil bird that lived in the Cretaceous ~120 million years ago. It was one of the first birds to evolve a beak (Fig. 1). Early beak evolution remains understudied. Using an imaging technique called Laser-Stimulated Fluorescence, researchers at the University of Hong Kong (HKU) address this by revealing just how different the beak and jaw of Confuciusornis were compared to birds we see today.
New research overturns current scientific thinking on flu infection in pregnancy. The study published in PNAS helps explain why influenza can lead to life-threatening complications during pregnancy. The research also has implications for our understanding of how COVID-19 may be affecting the vascular system.
- In research with key ramifications for women of childbearing age, scientists show that embryos produced by vitamin E-deficient zebrafish have malformed brains and nervous systems.
Opposite-sex friendships can have non-romantic benefits. And not just for people, but for our primate cousins, too. A 35-year study of 542 baboons finds that males that have close female friends have higher rates of survival. Previous studies have assumed that males befriend females to protect their offspring, or to boost their chances of mating later on. But the new study points to an additional benefit: female friends may help them live a longer life.
A new study from the Tai Chimpanzee Project in Ivory Coast and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, shows that orphaned male chimpanzees are less competitive and have fewer offspring of their own than those who continue to live with their mothers. The remaining puzzle is, what is it that their mothers provide that keeps chimpanzees healthy and competitive?
Addressing concerns about gene drive releases in the wild, UC San Diego scientists and their colleagues have developed two new genetic systems that halt or eliminate gene drives after release. Created in fruit flies, the e-CHACRs and ERACRs are powerful gene drive control mechanisms that were meticulously developed and tested at the genetic and molecular levels.
For many livestock species, artificial insemination (AI) is standard. But it can be tricky to achieve success the first time, thanks to variability in ovulation timing across the herd. A new University of Illinois study identifies a naturally occurring sugar that slows the maturation of sperm in pigs, opening up the possibility of extending sperm storage time within the female reproductive tract and increasing the chances of successful fertilization through AI.
A team of international collaborators identifies a new cause of syndromic microcephaly caused by LMNB1 mutations that disrupt the nuclear envelope. The report is published in the October issue of the American Journal of Human Genetics.
Scientists have found that the "segmentation clock"--a genetic network that governs the body pattern formation of embryos--progresses more slowly in humans than in mice because the biochemical reactions are slower in human cells. The differences in the speeds of biochemical reactions may underlie differences between species in the tempo of development.