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  • May 19, 2017
  • 08:00 AM

Friday Fellow: Common Stinkhorn

by Piter Boll in Earthling Nature

by Piter Kehoma Boll Today things are getting sort of pornographic again. Some time ago I introduced a plant whose flowers resemble a woman’s vulva, the asian pigeonwing, and now is time to look at something of the other sex. … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • May 3, 2017
  • 06:30 PM

Gimme Your Lunch Money!: Feeding Behaviors in Hummingbirds

by Melissa Chernick in Science Storiented

Ubatuba, São Paulo, Brazil; 9 October 2014 © Almir Cândido de AlmeidaI just put out my hummingbird feeder this season. It didn’t take those little guys long to find it either. Now I’ve got their cute little bodies whizzing about all over the place. They need Yackety Sax to play as their soundtrack. But it got me to thinking about hummingbirds and to looking through recent papers for a good study. I came across one in Zoologia about the feeding behavior of hummingbirds in artificial f........ Read more »

  • April 28, 2017
  • 08:00 AM

Friday Fellow: Hooker’s Lips

by Piter Boll in Earthling Nature

by Piter Kehoma Boll We are always fascinated by plants that have some peculiar shape that resemble something else. And certainly one of them is the species I’m introducing today, Psychotria elata, also known as hooker’s lips or hot lips. Found … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • April 4, 2017
  • 07:00 PM

New rice fights off drought

by adam phillips in It Ain't Magic

Researchers have created drought resistant transgenic rice using a gene from a small Eurasian flowering plant.... Read more »

  • March 31, 2017
  • 08:00 AM

Friday Fellow: Mexican Giant Horsetail

by Piter Boll in Earthling Nature

by Piter Kehoma Boll If you are walking through the forest of Central America, you may end up finding something that at first you could think is a group of bamboos, plants growing as a cylindrical segmented stem that can … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • March 7, 2017
  • 05:23 AM

Herbal medicines 'for' ADHD systematically reviewed

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The paper by Dennis Anheyer and colleagues [1] (open-access available here) is offered up for your reading consumption today, and the results of a review of the available published science - "Only randomized controlled trails (RCT)" (authors' spelling mistake not mine) - looking at the use of herbal medicines for the treatment/management of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).OK I know some people read the term 'herbal medicine' and automatically think 'woo'. If I instead use th........ Read more »

  • March 1, 2017
  • 09:00 AM

Transient Imprinting of Genes in the Human Placenta

by Marta Sanchez Delgado in EpiBeat

When the fertilization occurs, the maternal and paternal pronuclei have thousands of opposite methylated regions. Most of this germline methylation are resolved during the postfertilization epigenetic reprogramming by active mechanism for the sperm-derived methylated regions and depending on DNA replication for the oocyte-derived ones. There is a subset of regions that are known to avoid this demethylation: the imprinted differentially methylated regions (DMRs). The imprinted DMRs are in general........ Read more »

Sanchez-Delgado M, Court F, Vidal E, Medrano J, Monteagudo-Sánchez A, Martin-Trujillo A, Tayama C, Iglesias-Platas I, Kondova I, Bontrop R.... (2016) Human Oocyte-Derived Methylation Differences Persist in the Placenta Revealing Widespread Transient Imprinting. PLoS genetics, 12(11). PMID: 27835649  

Smallwood SA, & Kelsey G. (2012) De novo DNA methylation: a germ cell perspective. Trends in genetics : TIG, 28(1), 33-42. PMID: 22019337  

Smith ZD, Chan MM, Humm KC, Karnik R, Mekhoubad S, Regev A, Eggan K, & Meissner A. (2014) DNA methylation dynamics of the human preimplantation embryo. Nature, 511(7511), 611-5. PMID: 25079558  

Barbaux S, Gascoin-Lachambre G, Buffat C, Monnier P, Mondon F, Tonanny MB, Pinard A, Auer J, Bessières B, Barlier A.... (2012) A genome-wide approach reveals novel imprinted genes expressed in the human placenta. Epigenetics, 7(9), 1079-90. PMID: 22894909  

Hanna CW, Peñaherrera MS, Saadeh H, Andrews S, McFadden DE, Kelsey G, & Robinson WP. (2016) Pervasive polymorphic imprinted methylation in the human placenta. Genome research, 26(6), 756-67. PMID: 26769960  

  • February 24, 2017
  • 07:18 PM

Symbiote Separation: Coral Bleaching and Climate Change

by Melissa Chernick in Science Storiented

It’s been a while since I’ve broken down some studies for you, so I took on a big one.I’m sure you’ve heard of coral bleaching. What is it? Why does it happen? Why does it matter? To start off, you need to know a little bit more about the individuals that make up a head (fan, whip, etc.): the polyp. Coral polyps look like tiny plants but are actually tiny animals (less than ½ an inch in diameter). They produce calcium carbonate to create a protective shell or skeleton that, when thousan........ Read more »

  • January 25, 2017
  • 09:10 AM

A poo transplant for [some] autism?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I've talked about 'fecal microbial transplants' a.k.a the poo(p) transplant before on this blog (see here). That previous entry was about the more typical (and potentially life-saving) use of a poo transplant - where stool from one person is extracted, 'repackaged' and transferred to another person - albeit with caveats in terms of possible long-term side-effects. Now it appears that poo transplants are being investigated with something rather more central to the typical cont........ Read more »

  • January 13, 2017
  • 06:00 AM

Friday Fellow: Branching Vase Sponge

by Piter Boll in Earthling Nature

by Piter Kehoma Boll A fascinating group of animals that has not yet joined the Friday Fellows are the sponges. Different from all other animals, sponges have a unique body structure that behaves more like a plant or fungus. They … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • December 30, 2016
  • 06:00 AM

Friday Fellow: Peacock Spikemoss

by Piter Boll in Earthling Nature

by Piter Kehoma Boll This is the last Friday Fellow of the year and I decided to choose a beautiful and little known plant, the peacock spikemoss, more commonly known as Willdenow’s spikemoss or peacock fern, and scientifically known as Selaginella … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • December 12, 2016
  • 04:16 PM

Bacteria Help Pitcher Plants Trap Prey

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish

Pity the insect that tumbles into a pitcher plant's trap. The slippery walls and waiting pool of water ensure it won't clamber back out. There's nothing left to do but wait to be digested.

The California pitcher plant (Darlingtonia californica) is also called the cobra lily for its curled-over shape that hides its exit from its victims. Unlike other pitcher plants, it doesn't fill its trap from above with rainwater but from below, drawing water up with its roots. But like others, it seems... Read more »

  • December 2, 2016
  • 07:18 AM

Friday Fellow: Indian shot

by Piter Boll in Earthling Nature

by Piter Kehoma Boll Today’s Friday Fellow may not seem to be such an astonishing plant, but it has its peculiarities, some of them quite interesting. Commonly known as Indian shot, African arrowroot, purple arrowroot, and many other names, it … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • November 30, 2016
  • 08:00 AM

A Better Model System for Ovarian Cancer: Patient-derived tumor xenografts (PDXs) are suitable for epigenetic methylome-based cancer research

by Tushar Tomar in EpiBeat

Ovarian cancer is the most lethal gynecologic malignancy. After epigenomic analysis of patient tumors, aberrant DNA methylation patterns are universally observed in the most abundant histological subtype of ovarian cancer, high-grade serous ovarian cancer (HGSOC). These epigenetic modifications like DNA methylation are known to frequently affect gene regulation involved in cancer-related processes. Since epigenetic alterations are reversible in nature, these changes have emerged as attractive ta........ Read more »

Alkema NG, Wisman GB, van der Zee AG, van Vugt MA, & de Jong S. (2016) Studying platinum sensitivity and resistance in high-grade serous ovarian cancer: Different models for different questions. Drug resistance updates : reviews and commentaries in antimicrobial and anticancer chemotherapy, 55-69. PMID: 26830315  

Hidalgo M, Amant F, Biankin AV, Budinská E, Byrne AT, Caldas C, Clarke RB, de Jong S, Jonkers J, Mælandsmo GM.... (2014) Patient-derived xenograft models: an emerging platform for translational cancer research. Cancer discovery, 4(9), 998-1013. PMID: 25185190  

  • November 12, 2016
  • 06:53 PM

Neutralizing and non-neutralizing antibodies: Zika Virus and antibody dependent enhancement of infection

by thelonevirologist in Virology Tidbits

the infection of both mice and non-human primates with various ZIKV strains including the original ZIKV MR766 strain as well as strains from Asia (ZIKV FSS13025), Oceania (ZIKV H/PF/2013) and the Americas (ZIKV Paraiba 2015) as well as the infection of human placenta explants (ZIKV MR766 and ZIKV Nica-1/-2 2016) suggest that ZIKV can cross the placenta probably by infecting maternal cytotrophoblast cells (CTB) and maternal decidual fibroblast cells combined with placental injury due to the relea........ Read more »

Panyasrivanit M, Greenwood MP, Murphy D, Isidoro C, Auewarakul P, & Smith DR. (2011) Induced autophagy reduces virus output in dengue infected monocytic cells. Virology, 418(1), 74-84. PMID: 21813150  

Dejnirattisai W, Supasa P, Wongwiwat W, Rouvinski A, Barba-Spaeth G, Duangchinda T, Sakuntabhai A, Cao-Lormeau VM, Malasit P, Rey FA.... (2016) Dengue virus sero-cross-reactivity drives antibody-dependent enhancement of infection with zika virus. Nature immunology, 17(9), 1102-8. PMID: 27339099  

Sapparapu G, Fernandez E, Kose N, Cao B, Fox JM, Bombardi RG, Zhao H, Nelson CA, Bryan AL, Barnes T.... (2016) Neutralizing human antibodies prevent Zika virus replication and fetal disease in mice. Nature. PMID: 27819683  

Savidis G, Perreira JM, Portmann JM, Meraner P, Guo Z, Green S, & Brass AL. (2016) The IFITMs Inhibit Zika Virus Replication. Cell reports, 15(11), 2323-30. PMID: 27268505  

  • November 10, 2016
  • 05:09 PM

Am I An Unethical Pseudonym?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

I've blogged about my fair share of scientific papers over the years, but this is a new one: a paper about me.

Writing in Science and Engineering Ethics, author Jaime A. Teixeira da Silva discusses the question of Are Pseudonyms Ethical in (Science) Publishing? Neuroskeptic as a Case Study

Teixeira da Silva, a plant scientist and frequent poster on PubPeer amongst other forums, opens with the following:
There is a prominent blogger called Neuroskeptic who has a web-site and even a... Read more »

  • November 1, 2016
  • 12:00 PM

Giant pumpkins and other massive fruits

by Alice Breda in la-Plumeria

In the form of a creepy Jack-o’-lantern frightening kids who seek for treats, or of a creamy soup in a cold fall night, pumpkins are the most distinctive fruits we find on the market stands in this season. But this fruit, in its larger variants, is also at the center of a special type of competition that takes place every year. A group of fierce farmers equipped with large scales and the heaviest products of their fields meet up to determine who among them was able to grow the largest pump........ Read more »

  • October 24, 2016
  • 08:02 AM

Empathy, need for cognition, getting it right and hair  transplants

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

It is yet another installment of things you want to know for voir dire, your personal appearance and choices, and how our country rates on caring for others. Sit back, educate yourself, and return to the fray with tidbits that will heighten your reputation among your co-workers for useful and inspirational pieces of information. “Need […]

Related posts:
Empathy: Paving the road to preferential treatment with good intentions
Men: Exude confidence, masculinity, authority, and power!
........ Read more »

  • October 4, 2016
  • 06:36 PM

Revising the meaning of 'prion'

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

A team of scientists are redefining what it means to be a prion--a type of protein that can pass heritable traits from cell to cell by its structure instead of by DNA. Although prions are infamous for causing Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, fatal familial insomnia, and bovine spongiform encephalopathy, commonly known as mad cow's disease, the present study indicates that prions identified in yeast, and possibly in plants, and other organisms may be beneficial.

... Read more »

Chakrabortee, S., Byers, J., Jones, S., Garcia, D., Bhullar, B., Chang, A., She, R., Lee, L., Fremin, B., Lindquist, S.... (2016) Intrinsically Disordered Proteins Drive Emergence and Inheritance of Biological Traits. Cell. DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2016.09.017  

  • September 27, 2016
  • 09:32 AM

Do you really see plants? Humans and their plant blindness

by Alice Breda in la-Plumeria

What do you see in the picture? An elephant, right?
Some will say that they see an African elephant, or perhaps an elephant in the savannah protecting from the sun in the shade of a tree. But who sees an elephant and a majestic flowering baobab surrounded by savannah shrubs in a dry grass meadow?
If your answer is the latter, congratulations, you are a quite unique case. If in the picture you just see “an elephant” then you are just like most of the people around you.

This pheno........ Read more »

Wandersee, J., & Schussler, E. (1999) Preventing Plant Blindness. The American Biology Teacher, 61(2), 82-86. DOI: 10.2307/4450624  

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