New research published in PLOS ONE this week demonstrates dramatic positive benefits for native trees following rat removal at Palmyra Atoll, a magnificent National Wildlife Refuge and natural research laboratory located about 1000 miles south of Hawaii. For five native tree species, including Pisonia grandis, fewer than 150 seedlings were counted in the presence of rats, and more than 7700 seedlings were counted five years after rats were removed.
Surprisingly, the functions of a huge number of microbial genes are still unknown. This knowledge gap can be thought of as "genomic dark matter" in microbes, and neither computational biology nor current lab techniques have been able address this gap. This challenge has now been tackled through an international collaboration between the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona) and two other interdisciplinary research centres, namely the IJS in Ljubljana (Slovenia) and RBI in Zagreb (Croatia).
Goofy, yellow and crooked: British smiles have sometimes had a less-than-flattering international image, but a new study has put tartar from our infamously bad teeth to good use. Researchers analysing the teeth of Britons from the Iron Age to the modern day have unlocked the potential for using proteins in tooth tartar to reveal what our ancestors ate.
In a new study, a team led by University of Utah biologists has discovered that different versions of a single gene, called NDP (Norrie Disease Protein), have unexpected links between color patterns in pigeons, and vision defects in humans. These gene variations were likely bred into pigeons by humans from a different pigeon species and are now evolutionarily advantageous in wild populations of feral pigeons living in urban environments.
How do scale patterns on fish provide understanding of the development of feathers, fur -- and even cancer? Biologists are investigating.
For some animals -- such as beetles, ants, toads, and primates -- short-term social isolation can be just as vital as social interaction to development and long-term evolution. In a review published July 17 in the journal Trends in Ecology & Evolution, two evolutionary biologists describe approaches for testing how an animal's isolation might impact natural selection and evolution. This framework can help design more effective breeding, reintroduction, and conservation strategies.
The bluegill on your dinner plate might have been more social than the rest of its group, according to a new study from the University of Illinois, and its removal from the lake could mean major changes for the remaining population.
Fossils come in many shapes and sizes, ranging from isolated fragments of bones and teeth to complete skeletons.
Rats take a fundamentally different approach toward solving a simple visual discrimination task than tree shrews, monkeys, and humans, according to a comparative study of the four mammal species published in eNeuro. The work could have important implications for the translation of research in animal models to humans.
Genetic research at has shed new light on how isolated populations of the same species evolve toward reproductive incompatibility and thus become separate species.