Category: Biology

  • Recycling… Identity issues…

    Recycling… Identity issues…

    The secret to a long life? For worms, a cellular recycling protein is key. Scientists at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute have shown that worms live longer lives if they produce excess levels of a protein, p62, which recognizes toxic cell proteins that are tagged for destruction. The discovery, published in Nature Communications, could […]

  • Evolution. Dark DNA.

    Evolution. Dark DNA.

    Scientists long assumed that new genes appear when evolution tinkers with old ones. There are studies suggesting that genes do not always evolve from existing ones, as biologists long supposed. Instead, some are fashioned from desolate stretches of the genome that do not code for any functional molecules. For example in the fish genomes, there […]

  • Touching the untouched.

    Touching the untouched.

    Jellyfish are about 95% water, which makes them very difficult to study because most of the underwater tools available to marine biologists are clunky, heavy, and often shred jellyfish and other delicate creatures to pieces. A new ultra-soft gripper uses fettuccini-like ‘fingers’ inflated with water to gently grasp jellyfish and release them without harm, allowing […]

  • Listening to music. Humans. Apes.

    Listening to music. Humans. Apes.

    In the eternal search for understanding what makes us human, scientists found that our brains are more sensitive to pitch, the harmonic sounds we hear when listening to music, than our evolutionary relative the macaque monkey. The study, funded in part by the National Institutes of Health, highlights the promise of Sound Health, a joint […]

  • Asteroids. Death. Opportunities.

    Asteroids. Death. Opportunities.

    When the asteroid hit, dinosaurs weren’t the only ones that suffered. Clouds of ash blocked the sun and cooled the planet’s temperature, devastating plant life. But fungi, which decompose dead stuff, did well. So what happened to the lichens, which are made of a plant and fungus living together as one organism? “We thought that […]