Origami of the cell

A cell biologist shows that blocking a critical enzyme helps to mitigate diseases associated with protein folding and lipid stress. …

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Discovery of new fossil from half billion years ago sheds light on life on Earth

A new species of fossil has been discovered that will shed light on early animal ecosystems. Investigators discovered the new species while conducting a survey of microfossils in mudstones from western Canada. To their surprise, the samples yielded miniscule loriciferans: a type of animal so small it has been considered ‘unfossilizable’. …

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Animal genetics: The bovine heritage of the yak

Though placid enough to be managed by humans, yaks are robust enough to survive at 4,000 meters altitude. Genomic analyses show that yak domestication began several millennia ago and was promoted by repeated crosses with cattle. …

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Model shows female beauty isn’t just sex appeal

Female beauty may have less to do with attracting the opposite sex than previously thought, at least in animals. Results of a mathematical modeling study suggest that romantic attention, by itself, is not enough to give attractive females an evolutionary edge over their plainer counterparts — even when their good looks help them snag superior mates. For females, the benefits of beauty likely go beyond their success in the mating market, the model shows. …

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Bag-like sea creature was humans’ oldest known ancestor

Researchers have identified traces of what they believe is the earliest known prehistoric ancestor of humans — a microscopic, bag-like sea creature, which lived about 540 million years ago. …

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Antibiotics can boost bacterial reproduction

The growth of bacteria can be stimulated by antibiotics, scientists have discovered. …

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Sharks show novel changes in their immune cancer-related genes

Research have been studying the genetics of great white and great hammerhead sharks, and their work brings us a few steps closer to understanding — from a genetic sense — why sharks exhibit some characteristics that are highly desirable by humans (specifically, rapid wound healing and possible higher resistance to cancers.) …

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Diverse natural fatty acids follow ‘Golden Mean’

Bioinformatics scientists have discovered that the number of theoretically possible fatty acids with the same chain length but different structures can be determined with the aid of the famous Fibonacci sequence. The number of possible fatty acids with increasing chain length rises at each step by a factor of approximately 1.618, and therefore agrees with what is called the ‘Golden Mean’. …

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