Post List

Biology posts

(Modify Search »)

  • February 6, 2016
  • 09:52 AM
  • 9 views

Do songbirds perceive melody different from humans?

by Henkjan Honing in Music Matters

Last week a fascinating study appeared in PNAS on melody cognition in sparrows (Sturnus vulgaris). It provides an alternative interpretation to the widespread believe that songbirds have a strong bias to rely on absolute pitch (AP) for the recognition of melodies (e.g. Hulse et al., 1992).... Read more »

Hulse, S., Takeuchi, A., & Braaten, R. (1992) Perceptual Invariances in the Comparative Psychology of Music. Music Perception: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 10(2), 151-184. DOI: 10.2307/40285605  

Bregman, M., Patel, A., & Gentner, T. (2016) Songbirds use spectral shape, not pitch, for sound pattern recognition. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 201515380. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1515380113  

  • February 6, 2016
  • 03:27 AM
  • 29 views

Sleep as a target of antibiotic use in chronic fatigue syndrome?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"The primary finding from the study was evidence of an improvement in several objective sleep parameters in participants in whom the increased colonization of lactic acid producing organisms was resolved after antibiotic treatment."Those were the words written by Melinda Jackson and colleagues [1] (open-access) who, during an open-label trial, looked at whether administration of an antibiotic (erythromycin 400 mg) over the course of 6 days might have some important effects on elements of sleep i........ Read more »

  • February 5, 2016
  • 03:27 PM
  • 36 views

Man-made underwater sound may have wider ecosystem effects

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Underwater sound linked to human activity could alter the behaviour of seabed creatures that play a vital role in marine ecosystems, according to new research from the University of Southampton. The study found that exposure to sounds that resemble shipping traffic and offshore construction activities results in behavioural responses in certain invertebrate species that live in the marine sediment.

... Read more »

  • February 5, 2016
  • 03:00 PM
  • 27 views

Four Legs Good, Two Legs Better for Hurdling Obstacles

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish



Although lizards mostly scurry on all fours, certain species can run on two legs when the mood strikes. What's the benefit to this human-like running style? For one thing, it seems to let lizards get over obstacles without slowing down. They just have to make sure not to tip over.

Georgia Southern University biologist Lance McBrayer and graduate student Seth Parker studied running in a handsome little reptile called Sceloporus woodi, or the Florida scrub lizard. McBrayer says there's been... Read more »

  • February 5, 2016
  • 12:34 PM
  • 8 views

Abnormalities in later cognitive stages of beat processing?

by Henkjan Honing in Music Matters

Beat deafness, a recently documented form of congenital amusia, provides a unique window into functional specialization of neural circuitry for the processing of musical stimuli: Beat-deaf individuals exhibit deficits that are specific to the detection of a regular beat in music and the ability to move along with a beat.... Read more »

Phillips-Silver, J., Toiviainen, P., Gosselin, N., Piché, O., Nozaradan, S., Palmer, C., & Peretz, I. (2011) Born to dance but beat deaf: A new form of congenital amusia. Neuropsychologia. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2011.02.002  

  • February 5, 2016
  • 03:01 AM
  • 43 views

Vitamin D supplementation and 'clinical improvement' in autism?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Vitamin D deficiency might contribute to the aetiology of ASD [autism spectrum disorder]. Supplementation of vitamin D3, which is a safe and cost-effective form of treatment, may significantly improve the outcome of some children with ASD, especially younger children."More big words have appeared from a research group who seem to be particularly interested in how vitamin D (the sunshine vitamin/hormone) might have some important links to at least some cases of autism. The findings thi........ Read more »

Feng J, Shan L, Du L, Wang B, Li H, Wang W, Wang T, Dong H, Yue X, Xu Z.... (2016) Clinical improvement following vitamin D3 supplementation in Autism Spectrum Disorder. Nutritional neuroscience. PMID: 26783092  

  • February 5, 2016
  • 02:34 AM
  • 38 views

Good morning genes

by Usman Paracha in SayPeople

Main Point:

Genes could help in determining whether a person likes to rise early in the morning or not.

Published in:

Nature Communications

Study Further:

Researchers, in affiliation with 23andMe, Inc. recently worked on the DNA of 89,283 individuals, and found that genes could show some specific variations more frequently in the people, who self-identify themselves as early risers or morning people. They found 15 different spots in the genetic makeup that can vary between morning........ Read more »

  • February 4, 2016
  • 11:30 PM
  • 35 views

Hadza hunter-gatherers, social networks, and models of cooperation

by Artem Kaznatcheev in Evolutionary Games Group

At the heart of the Great Lakes region of East Africa is Tanzania — a republic comprised of 30 mikoa, or provinces. Its border is marked off by the giant lakes Victoria, Tanganyika, and Malawi. But the lake that interests me the most is an internal one: 200 km from the border with Kenya at […]... Read more »

Apicella, C.L., Marlowe, F.W., Fowler, J.H., & Christakis, N.A. (2012) Social networks and cooperation in hunter-gatherers. Nature, 481(7382), 497-501. PMID: 22281599  

  • February 4, 2016
  • 03:27 PM
  • 47 views

Taser shock disrupts brain function, has implications for police interrogations

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

More than two million citizens have been Tased by police as Taser stun guns have become one of the preferred less-lethal weapons by police departments across the United States during the past decade. But what does that 50,000-volt shock do to a person's brain?

... Read more »

  • February 4, 2016
  • 04:33 AM
  • 56 views

Establishing environmental exposures as risk factors for bipolar disorder: Difficult.

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The findings reported by Ciro Marangoni and colleagues [1] made for some interesting reading recently and their systematic review of longitudinal studies looking at the various environmental exposures put forward as possible risk factors pertinent to the development of bipolar disorder (BD).Trawling through the peer-reviewed material on this topic, the authors were able to 'clump' the various proposed risk factors into one of three categories: "neurodevelopment (maternal influenza during pr........ Read more »

  • February 3, 2016
  • 09:11 PM
  • 65 views

Effect of mobile phone place and its use on fertility of men

by Usman Paracha in SayPeople

Main Point:

Men who use mobile phone more frequently and place their phone close to their groin have higher chances of getting abnormal sperm concentration.

Published in:

Reproductive BioMedicine Online

Study Further:

Researchers have reported that male infertility constitutes about 30% to 40% of all infertility cases. They also reported that studies are showing continuous decline in semen quality since the start of the last century. One of the potential contributing factors in th........ Read more »

Zilberlicht, A., Wiener-Megnazi, Z., Sheinfeld, Y., Grach, B., Lahav-Baratz, S., & Dirnfeld, M. (2015) Habits of cell phone usage and sperm quality – does it warrant attention?. Reproductive BioMedicine Online, 31(3), 421-426. DOI: 10.1016/j.rbmo.2015.06.006  

  • February 3, 2016
  • 03:06 PM
  • 64 views

Investigating potential fetal exposure to antidepressants

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Depression is a serious issue for expecting mothers. Left untreated, depression could have implications for a fetus’s health. But treating the disease during pregnancy may carry health risks for the developing fetus, which makes an expecting mother’s decision whether to take medication a very difficult one. To better understand how antidepressants affect fetuses during pregnancy, scientists studied exposure in mice.

... Read more »

  • February 3, 2016
  • 09:36 AM
  • 58 views

Video Tip of the Week: SGD’s Variant Viewer

by Mary in OpenHelix

Variant viewers are very popular. As we get more and more sequence data, the challenge of looking across many samples only gets more and more important. So I always like to see how different groups are doing this. I’m still waiting for the killer app on this–the pan-genome graphs with all the paths along different […]... Read more »

Cherry, J., Hong, E., Amundsen, C., Balakrishnan, R., Binkley, G., Chan, E., Christie, K., Costanzo, M., Dwight, S., Engel, S.... (2011) Saccharomyces Genome Database: the genomics resource of budding yeast. Nucleic Acids Research, 40(D1). DOI: 10.1093/nar/gkr1029  

Sheppard, T., Hitz, B., Engel, S., Song, G., Balakrishnan, R., Binkley, G., Costanzo, M., Dalusag, K., Demeter, J., Hellerstedt, S.... (2016) The Genome Database Variant Viewer . Nucleic Acids Research, 44(D1). DOI: 10.1093/nar/gkv1250  

  • February 3, 2016
  • 09:20 AM
  • 68 views

Where Do “New” Viruses Come From?

by Bill Sullivan in The 'Scope

Zika. Ebola. MERS. HIV. Where Do “New” Viruses Come From?... Read more »

Simpson, D. (1964) Zika virus infection in man. Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 58(4), 339-348. DOI: 10.1016/0035-9203(64)90201-9  

Koonin EV, Senkevich TG, & Dolja VV. (2006) The ancient Virus World and evolution of cells. Biology direct, 29. PMID: 16984643  

Baize, S., Pannetier, D., Oestereich, L., Rieger, T., Koivogui, L., Magassouba, N., Soropogui, B., Sow, M., Keïta, S., De Clerck, H.... (2014) Emergence of Zaire Ebola Virus Disease in Guinea. New England Journal of Medicine, 371(15), 1418-1425. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1404505  

  • February 3, 2016
  • 08:45 AM
  • 50 views

Plants That Don’t Sleep Will Take The Dirt Nap

by Mark Lasbury in As Many Exceptions As Rules

If you don't let your plants sleep at night, they die....really! Several species of plants fold their leaves up and reduce their activity at night, every night. If kept from doing that, they turn brown and shrivel up. It's called nyctinasty, and it is different from tropic movements that are directed against specifically positioned stimuli. And what directs their movements? Water! - plants are hydraulic machines.... Read more »

  • February 3, 2016
  • 04:29 AM
  • 60 views

Estimated autism rate in 2 regions of Poland

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"The average prevalence of ASD [autism spectrum disorder] was 35/10 000 children and was about 4-fold higher in males."I don't have too much to add to the findings reported by Karolina Skonieczna-Żydecka and colleagues [1] who estimated the prevalence of ASD in two regions of Poland: "West Pomeranian and Pomeranian regions." Based on the analysis of data from "Provincial Disability Services Commissions", researchers concluded that approximately 3 children in 1000 in those regions........ Read more »

Skonieczna-Żydecka K, Gorzkowska I, Pierzak-Sominka J, & Adler G. (2016) The Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorders in West Pomeranian and Pomeranian Regions of Poland. Journal of applied research in intellectual disabilities : JARID. PMID: 26771078  

  • February 2, 2016
  • 05:20 PM
  • 85 views

How Not to Get Killed by a Cow

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish



Between 1993 and 2015, cattle killed 13 people who were out for walks in the United Kingdom. Dozens more walkers received broken bones or other injuries from the animals.

Murderous cattle are an understudied phenomenon, say veterinarian Angharad Fraser-Williams and other researchers at the University of Liverpool in the United Kingdom. So they scoured news articles and scientific literature to learn about cattle attacks over two decades. They turned up some advice for people wishing to av........ Read more »

Fraser-Williams, A., McIntyre, K., & Westgarth, C. (2016) Are cattle dangerous to walkers? A scoping review. Injury Prevention. DOI: 10.1136/injuryprev-2015-041784  

  • February 2, 2016
  • 03:03 PM
  • 74 views

Depressed or inflamed? Inflammation attacks brain’s reward center

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Inflammation is a good thing, it helps the body fight disease, and without it we wouldn't survive. Unfortunately, when inflammation isn't kept under control it can wreak havoc on the body. From potentially causing alzheimer's to arthritis it seems that unchecked inflammation can cause all sorts of issues. In fact, a new study adds to the list of issues out of control inflammation causes in the body.

... Read more »

  • February 2, 2016
  • 12:35 PM
  • 67 views

Weird small holes in the woods

by Rosin Cerate in Rosin Cerate

Within the ground beneath our feet lie dark cavities of various shapes and sizes. They're home to pale and eyeless creatures living a midnight existence. Natural holes in the ground, filled with air and/or water, can be roughly categorized into three types based on the particular habitat they provide for subterranean organisms:(1) Caves are large, deep, and tend not to contain much organic matter for organisms to munch on. They're often found in karst and volcanic areas prone to developing big h........ Read more »

  • February 2, 2016
  • 05:14 AM
  • 59 views

Computational Tools from Biophysical Journal

by ragothamanyennamalli in Getting to know Structural Bioinformatics

Biophysical Journal has created a collection of papers that describe tools and software that can be routinely used in biological research. Editor Prof. Leslie Loew mentions that the full-text of articles in this collection will be freely available until February 25, 2016.... Read more »

Qi Y, Cheng X, Lee J, Vermaas JV, Pogorelov TV, Tajkhorshid E, Park S, Klauda JB, & Im W. (2015) CHARMM-GUI HMMM Builder for Membrane Simulations with the Highly Mobile Membrane-Mimetic Model. Biophysical journal, 109(10), 2012-22. PMID: 26588561  

McGibbon RT, Beauchamp KA, Harrigan MP, Klein C, Swails JM, Hernández CX, Schwantes CR, Wang LP, Lane TJ, & Pande VS. (2015) MDTraj: A Modern Open Library for the Analysis of Molecular Dynamics Trajectories. Biophysical journal, 109(8), 1528-32. PMID: 26488642  

Hertig S, Goddard TD, Johnson GT, & Ferrin TE. (2015) Multidomain Assembler (MDA) Generates Models of Large Multidomain Proteins. Biophysical journal, 108(9), 2097-102. PMID: 25954868  

de Vries SJ, Schindler CE, Chauvot de Beauchêne I, & Zacharias M. (2015) A web interface for easy flexible protein-protein docking with ATTRACT. Biophysical journal, 108(3), 462-5. PMID: 25650913  

join us!

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.

Register Now

Research Blogging is powered by SMG Technology.

To learn more, visit seedmediagroup.com.