Preclinical research results in animal models demonstrate favorable outcomes in developing a vaccine against the mosquito-borne Zika virus.
Using fruit flies, researchers say they have identified a specific and very small set of brain cells — dubbed dopamine wedge neurons — responsible for driving the insects’ food preferences toward what they need, rather than what they like.
Fossils discovered in ancient hot spring deposits in the Pilbara have pushed back by 580 million years the earliest known evidence for microbial life on land.
It is becoming more and more appreciated that a major part of the biologic activity is not going on at the ground surface, but is hidden underneath the soil down to depths of several kilometres in an environment coined the “deep biosphere”. Studies of life-forms in this energy-poor system have implications for the origin of life on our planet and for how life may have evolved on other planets, where hostile conditions may have inhibited colonization of the surface environment. The knowledge about ancient life in this environment deep under our feet is extremely scarce.
Study finds that 30 percent of the beneficial bacteria in a baby’s intestinal tract come directly from mother’s milk, and an additional 10 percent comes from skin on the mother’s breast.
Bioengineers who specialize in creating tools for synthetic biology have unveiled the latest version of their ‘biofunction generator and bioscilloscope,’ an optogenetic platform that uses light to activate and study two biological circuits at a time. …
A new technique makes it possible to cost-effectively analyse genetic material from fossil plant and animal remains. Researchers have used this technique to examine the DNA of silver fir needles found in lake sediment in Ticino. They found clues as to how forests reacted to the emergence of agriculture.
Fish perceive changes in water currents caused by prey, conspecifics and predators using their lateral line. The tiny sensors of this organ also allow them to navigate reliably. However, with increasing current velocities, the background signal also increases. Scientists have now created a realistic, three-dimensional model of a fish for the first time and have simulated the precise current conditions. The virtual calculations show that particular anatomical adaptations minimize background noise.
Bacteria need mutations — changes in their DNA code — to survive under difficult circumstances. When necessary, they can even mutate at different speeds. The findings open up various new avenues for research, ranging from more efficient biofuel production methods to a better treatment for bacterial infections and cancer.
New research shows how two drastically different organisms — a green alga and the spotted salamander — get along as cellular roommates. Scientists found that this symbiosis, the only known example that includes a vertebrate species, puts stress on algal cells, changing the way they make energy, but does not seem to negatively impact salamander cells.
Microbial resistance to antibiotics and biocides is increasing, and our ability to effectively treat bacterial infections and contamination is under threat. Researchers have developed an antimicrobial treatment that can rapidly kill drug-resistant bacteria. These iodo-thiocyanate complexes caused rapid bacterial death in the tested strains, which included an antibiotic-resistant strain. They could kill both free-floating bacteria and those in biofilms, suggesting that they could be used for decontamination in a variety of situations.