Biology

Metabiology and the complexity of natural evolution

In his study of metabiology, Arturo Carsetti, from the University of Rome Tor Vergata, reviews existing theories and explores novel concepts regarding the complexity of biological systems while demonstrating the role of information processing and mathematical reasoning. On the basis of what is claimed by Gregory Chaitin, he perceives evolution as a hill-climbing random walk in software space, making biology mathematical […]

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Biology

Dancing DNA: How Rad51 chooses the perfect partner

Professor Hiroshi Iwasaki, Tokyo Institute of Technology, aims to learn more about a biological process called homologous recombination, which is crucial to maintaining the integrity of DNA. His laboratory-based research means that we can learn more about this process and a key protein called Rad51. An increased understanding of this complex mechanism could be translated to the DNA repair processes […]

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Biology

Telemetry reveals how river connectivity affects fish ecology

Human impacts on river systems have reduced connectivity by creating barriers that often prevent fish passage. The Lake Winnipeg Basin Fish Movement Project has used acoustic telemetry to track fish migration along the river system and build vital knowledge and understanding of fish ecology. The results will inform river restoration and conservation of two fish species, the Channel Catfish and […]

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Biology

Brains over brawn: Mating strategies in Japanese macaques

If you’re a Japanese macaque (Macaca fuscata yakui), you don’t have to be the alpha male to be the most successful. In fact, recent research from Dr Yosuke Otani at Osaka University shows that a better mating strategy is likely to give you the best reproductive success. These monkeys may have evolved to outsmart the primate hierarchy. We have a […]

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Biology

Proteomics reveals new possibilities in the fight against infection

The work of Dr Jennifer Geddes-McAlister at the University of Guelph investigates the interactions between hosts and pathogens to uncover new treatment options to combat infections. Her lab uses a range of techniques centered around proteomics, the study of proteins, to progress knowledge of fungal and bacterial infections in humans and agricultural crops. The results of this research can be […]

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Biology

Subcellular dissection of plant immunity towards bacteria

In the plant kingdom, disease is an exception rather than a rule. That is because plants have an immune system. A plants’ immune system consists of several signalling pathways that act together to counteract microbial pathogens. However, there is not enough known about the subcellular pathways that allow proteins to move within and out of the plant cell and ward […]

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Biology

Changing climate: A ‘threat multiplier’ for foodborne and waterborne infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance

Dr Aliyar Cyrus Fouladkhah of Tennessee State University is an Assistant Professor in Public Health Microbiology. His laboratory explores preventive measures for the spread of infectious diseases, antibiotic resistance, and food security in the landscape of changing climate. His research aims to provide better understanding of the ecology, epidemiology and effectiveness of control measures of enteric and environmental pathogens at […]

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Biology

Revisiting the medicinal plants of the Bible and the Holy Land

Many previously described medicinal plants of the Bible do not match the flora of the Holy Land. Using modern interpretations of ancient Hebrew, Egyptian and Mesopotamian sources, the authors have reduced these potential medicinal plants to 45 species of which 20 were not previously included. Amots Dafni (Institute of Evolution, Department of Evolutionary and Environmental Biology, University of Haifa, Israel) […]

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Biology

Climate change is driving the expansion of zoonotic diseases

Climate change is expanding the range of many infectious diseases. In particular, vector-borne diseases, such as dengue or malaria, are advancing. Predictions of disease risk need to take into account both biological and abiotic factors. Dr Jeanne M. Fair and her colleagues at Los Alamos National Laboratory, New Mexico, USA, are pioneering a multidisciplinary approach to the problem. By combining […]

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Biology

Mitonucleons: A new chapter in the story of mitochondria?

Mitonucleons are a newly recognised type of mitochondrial superstructure. Consisting of multiple mitochondria enveloping chromatin, mitonucleons appear to be responsible for the development of unusual structures called spheroids. Dr Honoree Fleming of Castleton State College, Vermont, USA, has identified mitonucleons in human endometrial cells in vitro. Using microscopy, Dr Fleming has also observed mysterious structures called tubules, which appear to […]

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