Decades of research has shown that apes, in spite of their proverbial aping abilities, are rather poor imitators, especially when compared to human children. Current theories hold that apes are worse imitators because they lack this social and communicative side of imitation. A new study from Lund University, published in the journal Primates, has instead targeted the interactive side of imitation directly, and finds that the divide between humans and chimpanzees is less clear cut.
UNSW Sydney scientists studying microbes from some of the saltiest lakes in Antarctica have discovered a new way the microbes can share DNA that could help them grow and survive. The research, based on 18 months of water sampling in remote Antarctic locations, could throw light on the evolutionary history of viruses. The team discovered some of the microbes contained small molecules of DNA called plasmids.
Tremendous amounts of soot, lofted into the air from global wildfires following a massive asteroid strike 66 million years ago, would have plunged Earth into darkness for nearly two years, new research finds. This would have shut down photosynthesis, drastically cooled the planet, and contributed to the mass extinction that marked the end of the age of dinosaurs.
Inspired by Star Trek, biologists are enabling new experiments in virtual reality.
Elucidating how body parts in their earliest recognizable form are assembled in tetrapods during development is essential for understanding the nature of morphological evolution. Nagoya University researchers found in eight tetrapod species that the position of the sacral vertebrae and the hindlimbs is determined by the initiation timing of Gdf11 gene expression. This will contribute to a forthcoming model explaining the coupling of spine and hindlimb positioning - a major step in fully understanding tetrapod evolution.
Every tissue has its own pattern of active alleles, a large-scale study led by an international team of scientists at the CeMM Research Center for Molecular Medicine of the Austrian Academy of Sciences has found. Researchers of the former group of Denise Barlow were able to show that the differential allele activity is regulated by tissue-specific, regulatory DNA elements known as enhancers - a process that could also be involved in many diseases.
Having conducted a survey of the earthworms in the Western Ghats mountains, India, a team of four scientists discovered two species new to science. Both belong to a primitive family. They are described in the open access journal ZooKeys.
The discovery of a new Scandinavian longhorn beetle subspecies triggered a discussion on the vague classification rank. As a result, a newly proposed subspecies definition has been published along with the description of the taxon in the open access journal ZooKeys. To the authors, before being determined as a subspecies, a population needs to be deemed a potentially incipient new species, diagnosed by a minimum of one heritable trait and, at least, partially isolated geographically.
NPGL, a recently discovered protein involved in brain signalling, has been found to increase fat storage by the body -- even when on a low-calorie diet. In addition, NPGL was shown to increase appetite in response to high caloric food intake, suggesting that perhaps we shouldn't feel so guilty about gorging on junk food from time to time.
A female fruit fly must balance her energy usage between making eggs now and storing nutrients for later. This balance affects the pheromones that she produces and impacts whether male fruit flies find her attractive, report Tatyana Fedina of the University of Michigan and colleagues, Aug. 17, 2017 in PLOS Genetics.