Potential Zika virus vaccine

Preclinical research results in animal models demonstrate favorable outcomes in developing a vaccine against the mosquito-borne Zika virus.

Read More...

Comments Off on Potential Zika virus vaccine

Sugar or protein? How fruit fly brains control what they choose to eat

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.

Read More...

Comments Off on Sugar or protein? How fruit fly brains control what they choose to eat

Oldest evidence of life on land found in 3.48 billion-year-old Australian rocks

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.

Read More...

Comments Off on Oldest evidence of life on land found in 3.48 billion-year-old Australian rocks

Methane-munching microbes living in the deep biosphere for 400 million years: An analogue for extra-terrestrial life

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.

Read More...

Comments Off on Methane-munching microbes living in the deep biosphere for 400 million years: An analogue for extra-terrestrial life

Breast-feeding’s role in ‘seeding’ infant microbiome

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.

Read More...

Comments Off on Breast-feeding’s role in ‘seeding’ infant microbiome

Dual-channel biological function generator

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. …

Read More...

Comments Off on Dual-channel biological function generator

What silver fir aDNA can tell us about Neolithic forests

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.

Read More...

Comments Off on What silver fir aDNA can tell us about Neolithic forests

How photosynthetic cells deal with a lack of iron

Researchers discovered a small RNA molecule in cyanobacteria that affects metabolic acclimation.

Read More...

Comments Off on How photosynthetic cells deal with a lack of iron

How do fishes perceive their environment?

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.

Read More...

Comments Off on How do fishes perceive their environment?

Bacteria take a deadly risk to survive

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.

Read More...

Comments Off on Bacteria take a deadly risk to survive

For a green alga, spotted salamanders are stressful hosts

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.

Read More...

Comments Off on For a green alga, spotted salamanders are stressful hosts

Bioinspired agent kills drug-resistant bacteria

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.

Read More...

Comments Off on Bioinspired agent kills drug-resistant bacteria