Biology

Controlling Salmonella in the poultry gut: Diversity is key

When microorganisms that interact in a specific environment suppress the growth of pathogens, researchers call this ‘pathogen exclusion’. Salmonella is found in poultry intestines and can harm both the birds and humans. To control Salmonella growth, a balance between microorganisms that colonise the poultry gut is necessary. This involves complex interactions between microbes that we don’t yet fully understand. Dr Margie […]

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Biology

Challenging shrimp bacterial diseases with phytobiotics

Whiteleg shrimp, a prized species in aquaculture, faces severe threats from emerging bacterial diseases, with acute hepatopancreatic necrosis (AHPND) posing a significant risk. Traditional reliance on antibiotics to combat this disease, although effective, raises concerns about antibiotic resistance. Dr Carla Hernández-Cabanyero and Dr Belén Fouz of the University of Valencia, Spain, have pioneered a One Health approach, introducing two cutting-edge […]

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Biology

What Lake Sturgeon genetics reveal about population structures

The freshwater fish Lake Sturgeon experienced drastic population declines across North America beginning approximately 150 years ago. Although commercial harvest has since ceased, many populations have been slow to recover. Stocking programs have been used to help recover the species, but they need to be approached cautiously as populations of fish that have been isolated for thousands of years may […]

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Biology

Non-surgical sterilisation iSpay: Will pet-spaying operations soon be a thing of the past?

Dr CheMyong Jay Ko is the founder of Epivara and a professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, USA, working on reproductive endocrinology. His team has recently achieved a breakthrough in the search for a non-surgical method of permanently sterilising female companion animals such as dogs and cats. Here, we present their proof-of-concept study […]

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Biology

From lipids to life: Cracking the puzzle about the origin of life

The quest to understand life’s origin has long intrigued scientists seeking to unravel the mysteries of existence. Traditional approaches to this question have their own limitations. Professor Doron Lancet and his team from the Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel, offer a fresh perspective and a more feasible pathway for understanding how life emerged on Earth. Their work introduces a paradigm […]

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Biology

Exploring the transfer of antibiotic resistance genes within poultry litter

Antibiotic resistance is a major threat to human and animal health. Bacteria containing antibiotic resistance genes are found in poultry litter, usually from commercial chicken production. Since poultry litter is often used as a soil fertiliser, there is a risk that this antibiotic resistance could be transferred into the soil. Professor John Maurer at Virginia Tech University, USA, has shown […]

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Biology

Pollen: Surviving the hay fever season

The temperature is rising, the ice cream van is playing a merry tune, children are playing in the garden, and a warm summer breeze floats in through the window bearing – for some – a payload of pollen that will set off a chain reaction that leads to hay fever – runny noses, itchy eyes, and bouts of sneezing. Hayfever […]

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Biology

The vampire squid – a deep-sea monster or a misunderstood mollusc?

Neither squid nor vampire, Vampyroteuthis infernalis is a mysterious deep-sea member of the Cephalopod class of molluscs. The last of its kind, the vampire squid is the only living member of the order Vampyromorphida. Because of its curious name (which literally means ‘vampire squid from hell’ in Latin) and intimidating appearance, the vampire squid has captured the minds of people […]

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Biology

Biomimicry: The imitation game

Evolution has the advantage of millions of years of trial and error to refine nature’s designs; biomimetics uses nature as the source of inspiration for innovative design solutions to complex problems. The scope of opportunity offered by biomimicry is breathtaking – and the results are often beautiful. Here, we take a closer look at brilliant examples of biomimicry and the […]

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Biology

Evolutionary theory: Debating the origins of our DNA

For over a decade, Mr Shaojie Deng of Chongqing Municipal Bureau of Planning and Natural Resources, China, has been formulating and more recently presenting his new evolutionary theory to the academic world. Over time his thought processes too have evolved with his most recent manuscript centring around the stable complex model as an explanation for the evolution of enzymes and […]

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