Atomic-level motion may drive bacteria’s ability to evade immune system defenses

A study has found evidence that extremely small changes in how atoms move in bacterial proteins can play a big role in how these microorganisms function and evolve traits, such as antibiotic resistance. …

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Plant’s parent genes cooperate in shaping their child

Plant biologists discovered for the first time how factors arising from the mother and father in flowering plants cooperate to develop the shape of their child. Until now, it has been unknown whether paternal factors cooperate or conflict with each other to bring about zygote asymmetry. The outcome of this discovery is expected to shed light on the exact mechanism of plant body shape formation and possibly lead to the generation of new hybrid plants. …

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How Venus flytrap triggers digestion

The Venus flytrap digests its prey using enzymes produced by special glands. For the first time, a research team has measured and meticulously analyzed the glands’ activity. …

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Newborns get infection protection, not just digestion, from gut bacteria, new study in mice shows

Hundreds of thousands of babies worldwide die every year from infections that ravage their digestive systems. New research in mice offers evidence that the difference in survival may come from certain bacteria in their guts, called Clostridia, which appear to provide key protection against infection, in addition to helping digest food.

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Naked mole-rats ‘turn into plants’ when oxygen is low

Deprived of oxygen, naked mole-rats can survive by metabolizing fructose just as plants do — a finding that could lead to treatments for heart attacks and strokes. …

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Environmental ‘memories’ passed on for 14 generations

The impact of environmental change can be passed on in the genes of tiny nematode worms for at least 14 generations — the most that has ever been seen in animals — scientists have discovered.

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Genetic evidence points to nocturnal early mammals

New genetic evidence suggesting that early mammals had good night-time vision adds to fossil and behavioral studies indicating that early mammals were nocturnal. …

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Bergamotene in tobacco plants: Alluring and lethal for manduca sexta moths

Scientists describe a gene in Nicotiana attenuata which enables the plant to solve the dilemma that arises when a pollinator is also an herbivore. NaTPS38 regulates the production of (E)-alpha-bergamotene. At night, the tobacco flowers produce this volatile which is attractive to tobacco hawkmoths, during the day, the tobacco leaves emit the compound to lure predatory bugs to feed on the moths’ larvae. …

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