Designer proteins fold DNA: Biophysicists construct complex hybrid structures using DNA and proteins

Scientists have developed a new method that can be used to construct custom hybrid structures using DNA and proteins. The method opens new opportunities for fundamental research in cell biology and for applications in biotechnology and medicine. …

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Scientists reveal hidden structures in bacterial DNA

Researchers have described the 3D structure of the genome in the extremely small bacteria Mycoplasma pneumoniae. They discovered previously unknown arrangements of DNA within this tiny bacteria, which are also found in larger cells. Their findings suggest that this type of organization is a universal feature of living cells. …

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Ravens: Non-breeders live in highly dynamic social groups

Ravens have impressive cognitive skills when interacting with conspecifics — comparable to many primates, whose social intelligence has been related to their life in groups. An international collaboration of researchers could uncover for the first time the group dynamics of non-breeding ravens. The results help to understand the evolution of intelligence in this species. …

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Giant salamanders, geckos and olms: Vanishing species diversity in Siberia

Scientists have studied the development of the amphibian and reptile fauna in Western Siberia during the past twelve million years. In their study, they demonstrate that the species diversity of both groups of animals was noticeably higher in the past than it is today. Among others, for the first time the researchers discovered an Asiatic representative of the extinct frog family Palaeobatrachidae as well as evidence of a giant salamander with a length of up to 1.80 meters. …

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Male hormone plays key role in ovarian development

The male “androgen” hormone is an important element in the ovarian development of female chicken embryos, more so than in the development of male testes, scientists have discovered. …

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Biologists find surprising variability in courtship behaviors of wolf spiders

Studies of wolf spiders found that courtship displays help preserve genetic isolation between closely related species. Another study found that the species Gladicosa bellamyi used multi-modal communication to entice females. …

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‘Spectacular-looking’ endangered frog species discovered in Ecuador’s cloud forests

It’s not every day someone gets to say, ‘I’ve discovered a new species.’ It’s a claim that biologist Chris Funk can happily make. Funk and collaborators, who’ve spent years exploring the tropical climes of South America to study the region’s dizzying biodiversity, have documented a new species of rainfrog they’ve named the Ecuadorian rainfrog (Pristimantis ecuadorensis). …

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New study shakes the roots of the dinosaur family tree

More than a century of theory about the evolutionary history of dinosaurs has been turned on its head following the publication of new research. The work suggests that the family groupings need to be rearranged, redefined and renamed and also that dinosaurs may have originated in the northern hemisphere rather than the southern, as current thinking goes. …

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