Using human tissue in medical research throws up a number of different challenges. In our third 2012 NC3Rs 3Rs Prize post, Professor Gareth Sanger from Queen Mary, University of London, discusses how tissue removed from the stomach and intestine can actually help overcome some of these challenges. Is this a viable alternative to using animals for gastrointestinal research? Professor Sanger’s research suggests it could be.... Read more »
Broad, J., Mukherjee, S., Samadi, M., Martin, J., Dukes, G., & Sanger, G. (2012) Regional- and agonist-dependent facilitation of human neurogastrointestinal functions by motilin receptor agonists. British Journal of Pharmacology, 167(4), 763-774. DOI: 10.1111/j.1476-5381.2012.02009.x
It is official, the chytrid Fungi have reached all three of the extant amphibian orders.Chytrid fungi are the cause of global decimation in frogs and toads, as well as newts and salamanders. But, until now, the lesser known caecilians had managed to evade their mycelial grasp. That ends now!Goodbye Mr. Bond CaecilianA recent study released in the journal EcoHealth has found the first cases of chytridiomycosis in the legless amphibians. Unfortunately, EcoHealth is not a free journal so all I can ........ Read more »
Gower, D., Doherty-Bone, T., Loader, S., Wilkinson, M., Kouete, M., Tapley, B., Orton, F., Daniel, O., Wynne, F., Flach, E.... (2013) Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis Infection and Lethal Chytridiomycosis in Caecilian Amphibians (Gymnophiona). EcoHealth. DOI: 10.1007/s10393-013-0831-9
"Simple" is often a compliment in the human world, used to describe low-fuss dinners or closet solutions. When scientists use "simple" to describe an animal, they mean something more like, "That sac of goo has no business acting clever." An especially simple creature—a sea slug—recently demonstrated that despite its humble resources, it can learn from experience and form new hunting strategies. Smaller goo sacs, beware.
Despite its squishy stature, the sea slug Pleurobranchaea calif........ Read more »
Noboa, V., & Gillette, R. (2013) Selective prey avoidance learning in the predatory sea-slug Pleurobranchaea californica. Journal of Experimental Biology. DOI: 10.1242/jeb.079384
A few entries ago I uploaded a fragment from a study that discusses an intriguing experiment with three chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) which were trained to tap regularly on a piano keyboard...... Read more »
Hattori, Y., Tomonaga, M., & Matsuzawa, T. (2013) Spontaneous synchronized tapping to an auditory rhythm in a chimpanzee. Scientific Reports. DOI: 10.1038/srep01566
Hasegawa, A., Okanoya, K., Hasegawa, T., & Seki, Y. (2011) Rhythmic synchronization tapping to an audio–visual metronome in budgerigars. Scientific Reports. DOI: 10.1038/srep00120
Honing, H., Merchant, H., Háden, G., Prado, L., & Bartolo, R. (2012) Rhesus Monkeys (Macaca mulatta) Detect Rhythmic Groups in Music, but Not the Beat. PLoS ONE, 7(12). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0051369
The breakthrough technique that allowed scientists to obtain one-of-a-kind, colorful images of the myriad connections in the brain and nervous system is about to get a significant upgrade.... Read more »
Peter Reuell. (2013) ‘Brainbow,’ version 2.0. Harvard Gazette. info:/
Any given species of bird probably has a variety of different songs. Most bird studies track individual birds in their own habitats, and then make more or less one-by-one comparisons—a bird in a forest will sound different from the same species in a city. An international team has taken these studies one step further—by making a giant leap into space.... Read more »
Bacterial plasmids are nucleotide sequences floating in the cytoplasm of bacteria. These molecules replicate independently from the main chromosomal DNA and are not essential to the survival or replication of their host. Plasmids are thought to be part of the bacterial domain’s mobilome (for overview, see Siefert, 2009), a sort of genetic commonwealth which most, […]... Read more »
I told you so.I'm talking about the paper by Pu and colleagues* who meta-analysed the currently available literature looking at two SNPs in everyone's favourite Scrabble classic gene, MTHFR in relation to autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). Said gene controls production of methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) which fits very snugly into the whole one carbon metabolism cycle (see here).Love at first sight? @ Wikipedia Regular readers might know that I have a bi........ Read more »
Pu D, Shen Y, & Wu J. (2013) Association between MTHFR Gene Polymorphisms and the Risk of Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Meta-Analysis. Autism research : official journal of the International Society for Autism Research. PMID: 23653228
While speaking at TEDxMcGill 2009, Jan Florjanczyk — friend, quantum information researcher, and former schoolmate of mine — provided one of the clearest characterization of theoretical physics that I’ve had the please of hearing: Theoretical physics is about tweaking the knobs and dials and assumptions of the laws that govern the universe and then interpolating […]... Read more »
Gardner, A., & Conlon, J. (2013) Cosmological natural selection and the purpose of the universe. Complexity. DOI: 10.1002/cplx.21446
Prohibition and the “tobacco control endgame.”
Despite all our efforts in recent years to reduce the percentage of Americans who smoke cigarettes—currently about one in five—the idea of full-blown cigarette prohibition has not gained much traction. That may be changing, as prominent nicotine researchers and public police officials start thinking about what is widely referred to as the “tobacco control endgame.”
Considering the new regulatory powers given the FDA under the terms ........ Read more »
Proctor R. N. (2013) Why ban the sale of cigarettes? The case for abolition. Tobacco Control, 22(Supplement 1). DOI: 10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2012-050811
DNA analysis is unearthing the origins of the Minoans, who some 5,000 years ago established the first advanced Bronze Age civilization in present-day Crete. The findings suggest they arose from an ancestral Neolithic population that had arrived in the region about 4,000 years earlier.... Read more »
Stephanie Seiler. (2013) DNA analysis unearths origins of Minoans, the first major European civilization. The University of Washington. info:/
A short wrap-up of the Cell Symposium on Microbiome and Host Health in Lisbon, Portugal, May 12-14, 2013.... Read more »
Koren O, Knights D, Gonzalez A, Waldron L, Segata N, Knight R, Huttenhower C, & Ley RE. (2013) A guide to enterotypes across the human body: meta-analysis of microbial community structures in human microbiome datasets. PLoS computational biology, 9(1). PMID: 23326225
Ivanov II, & Honda K. (2012) Intestinal commensal microbes as immune modulators. Cell host , 12(4), 496-508. PMID: 23084918
Blaser M, Bork P, Fraser C, Knight R, & Wang J. (2013) The microbiome explored: recent insights and future challenges. Nature reviews. Microbiology, 11(3), 213-7. PMID: 23377500
Researchers have found that the immune system of the women declines more slowly than men and this could be one of the reasons for the longer life of women - at least in Japan.
Immunity & Ageing
Immune system is the system that recognizes and opposes disease. In the new study, researchers have reported that with the passage of time, men’s ability to oppose the disease decrease more rapidly as compared to women, resulting in increased w........ Read more »
Hirokawa, K., Utsuyama, M., Hayashi, Y., Kitagawa, M., Makinodan, T., & Fulop, T. (2013) Slower immune system ageing in women versus men in the Japanese population. Immunity , 10(1), 19. DOI: 10.1186/1742-4933-10-19
The newly-sequenced scarlet macaw genome will provide many important insights into avian and human biology, behaviours and genetics and will contribute to parrot conservation.... Read more »
Seabury Christopher M., Dowd Scot E., Seabury Paul M., Raudsepp Terje, Brightsmith Donald J., Liboriussen Poul, Halley Yvette, Fisher Colleen A., Owens Elaine, & Viswanathan Ganesh. (2013) A Multi-Platform Draft de novo Genome Assembly and Comparative Analysis for the Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao). PLoS ONE, 8(5). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0062415.s019
Oleksyk Taras K, Pombert Jean-Francois, Siu Daniel, Mazo-Vargas Anyimilehidi, Ramos Brian, Guiblet Wilfried, Afanador Yashira, Ruiz-Rodriguez Christina T, Nickerson Michael L, & Logue David M. (2012) A locally funded Puerto Rican parrot (Amazona vittata) genome sequencing project increases avian data and advances young researcher education. GigaScience, 1(1), 14. DOI: 10.1186/2047-217X-1-14
I am thrilled to announce that this month I am joining a new top-notch science blogging team at Scitable, Nature Education’s award-winning science education website! (But don’t worry, friends. I will continue to post here about animal physiology and behavior every Wednesday). Next week, Scitable will be launching eleven new blogs covering topics like neuroscience, genetics, oceanography, physics and more. I will be co-authoring an evolution blog called Accumulating Glitches together with Se........ Read more »
Johnson, J., Trubl, P., Blackmore, V., & Miles, L. (2011) Male black widows court well-fed females more than starved females: silken cues indicate sexual cannibalism risk. Animal Behaviour, 82(2), 383-390. DOI: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2011.05.018
It may not be traditionally what you think of as flu season, but lately there’s been a great deal of talk about some viruses that are concerning public health officials and infectious disease specialists. You might have heard of the H7N9 situation in China, and the NCoV virus in France that made headlines. But researchers [...]... Read more »
Squires, R., Noronha, J., Hunt, V., García-Sastre, A., Macken, C., Baumgarth, N., Suarez, D., Pickett, B., Zhang, Y., Larsen, C.... (2012) Influenza Research Database: an integrated bioinformatics resource for influenza research and surveillance. Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses, 6(6), 404-416. DOI: 10.1111/j.1750-2659.2011.00331.x
Pickett, B., Sadat, E., Zhang, Y., Noronha, J., Squires, R., Hunt, V., Liu, M., Kumar, S., Zaremba, S., Gu, Z.... (2011) ViPR: an open bioinformatics database and analysis resource for virology research. Nucleic Acids Research, 40(D1). DOI: 10.1093/nar/gkr859
Heavy metal poisoning is a major health concern across the world. Heavy metal ions frequently leak into the environment from industrial waste causing multiple health problems in humans, animals, and other organisms. While there is no universally accepted definition of … Continue reading →... Read more »
Bertin G., & Averbeck D. (2006) Cadmium: cellular effects, modifications of biomolecules, modulation of DNA repair and genotoxic consequences (a review). Biochimie, 88(11), 1549-1559. DOI: 10.1016/j.biochi.2006.10.001
Schwager Stephan, Lumjiaktase Putthapoom, Stöckli Martina, Weisskopf Laure, & Eberl Leo. (2012) The genetic basis of cadmium resistance of . Environmental Microbiology Reports, 4(5), 562-568. DOI: 10.1111/j.1758-2229.2012.00372.x
LEE JENNIFER G., ROBERTS SAMANTHA B., & MOREL FRANÇOIS M. M. (1995) Cadmium: A nutrient for the marine diatom Thalassiosira weissflogii. Limnology and Oceanography, 40(6), 1056-1063. DOI: 10.4319/lo.19188.8.131.526
Biodiversity loss is a serious problem. The loss of a single species may have ramifications for every other species. Who knew that a species of fungus would save us from millions of bacterial infection deaths. To drive home the point of diversity, efforts are being made to predict the number of species present on Earth. In the early 1900’s, estimates ranged from 100,000 to 500,000, but 2011 estimates put the number at more like 11.3 million. Bacteria alone could raise this number to 1 bill........ Read more »
Mora, C., Tittensor, D., Adl, S., Simpson, A., & Worm, B. (2011) How Many Species Are There on Earth and in the Ocean?. PLoS Biology, 9(8). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1001127
ADL, S., SIMPSON, A., FARMER, M., ANDERSEN, R., ANDERSON, O., BARTA, J., BOWSER, S., BRUGEROLLE, G., FENSOME, R., FREDERICQ, S.... (2005) The New Higher Level Classification of Eukaryotes with Emphasis on the Taxonomy of Protists. The Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology, 52(5), 399-451. DOI: 10.1111/j.1550-7408.2005.00053.x
Having too much body fat makes arteries become stiff after middle age, a new study has revealed.
In young people, blood vessels appear to be able to compensate for the effects of obesity. But after middle age, this adaptability is lost, and arteries become progressively stiffer as body fat rises – potentially increasing the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease.... Read more »
Sam Wong. (2013) Body fat hardens arteries after middle age. Imperial College of London. info:/
When cells suffer too much DNA damage, they are usually forced to undergo programmed cell death, or apoptosis. However, cancer cells often ignore these signals, flourishing even after chemotherapy drugs have ravaged their DNA.
A new finding from MIT researchers may offer a way to overcome that resistance: The team has identified a key protein involved in an alternative death pathway known as programmed necrosis. Drugs that mimic the effects of this protein could push cancer cells that are res........ Read more »
Anne Trafton. (2013) Study IDs key protein for cell death. MIT News Office. info:/
Do you write about peer-reviewed research in your blog? Use ResearchBlogging.org to make it easy for your readers — and others from around the world — to find your serious posts about academic research.
If you don't have a blog, you can still use our site to learn about fascinating developments in cutting-edge research from around the world.
Research Blogging is powered by SMG Technology.
To learn more, visit seedmediagroup.com.