Biology

The great grunion run: Monitoring grunion runs to inform conservation

Grunion runs describe the unusual breeding behaviour of the California grunion, which come ashore on sandy beaches to spawn. Fertilised eggs then incubate in the sand and only hatch when scouring waves from the next spring tide reveal them. These life history traits leave both adult fish and eggs vulnerable to negative human impacts. Professor Karen L. M. Martin from […]

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Biology

Legumes can help to eliminate trace element deficiency in Africa

Nutrient-poor soils in Africa is a pressing issue. As a result, many people in the African continent suffer from nutrient deficiency due to not being able to access nutritious foods. This is what makes the work of Professor Felix D. Dakora of Tshwane University of Technology so important. His pioneering research into finding foods that will enable increased nutrient consumption […]

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Biology

Understanding the impact of Mycoplasma ovipneumoniae in domestic sheep

Mycoplasma ovipneumoniae is frequently present in domestic sheep operations and is associated with negative effects on productivity and profitability. Infection of a flock with this pathogen may increase frequency of pneumonia, reduce lambing rates, and impair feed efficiency, resulting in significant financial costs. In addition, presence of this pathogen is associated with increased risk for nearby wild bighorn sheep, which […]

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Biology

Alpha-Gal syndrome Trade-off between allergy and protection to infectious diseases

Tick bites are responsible for the development of Alpha-Gal Syndrome (AGS) in humans. Resulting in severe allergies to red meat, tick bites and certain drugs, the syndrome is life threatening. Anti-α-Gal IgE antibodies induced by tick bites trigger the allergies. However, anti-α-Gal IgM antibodies induced by microbiota bacteria protect against infectious diseases. Professor José de la Fuente and Dr Alejandro […]

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Biology

Understanding the olfactory system

The recent discovery of endogenous cannabinoids has kickstarted a whole area of research into their function. Cannabinoids have been widely studied in the hippocampus and amygdala of the brain but their role in other regions, including the olfactory system, are largely a mystery. Professor Thomas Heinbockel and his team from Howard University College of Medicine research cannabinoids in the olfactory […]

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Biology

Biomimetic assembly of multienzyme reactions on DNA nanostructures

Using DNA nanotechonology, researchers from Rutgers University-Camden have created self-assembly biomimetic systems capable of enzyme proximity immobilisation and enzyme compartmentalisation. Remarkably, these structures have proven themselves capable of forming a multi-enzyme cascade with substrate channeling and regulated reaction circuit. The potential for future applications of this research are wide-ranging and include healthcare and biomedical research to energy release and chemical […]

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Biology

Where the river meets the sea: Understanding underexplored river estuarine ecosystems

River estuaries are vital bodies of water that provide multiple ecological services, such as nutrient cycling, climate change adaptation, and habitats for a wide range of ecologically and economically important species. In recent years, estuary habitats have been highly degraded by human activities. For this reason, their protection, restoration, and conservation are fundamental. Dr Rei Itsukushima and colleagues at the […]

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Biology

Nuclear reprogramming: From one cell type to another

Dr Kei Miyamoto from Kindai University in Japan studies how mature, differentiated cells from one individual can be transferred into egg cells from another and reprogrammed to develop into a clone of the original donor animal. This has implications for animal cloning, such as in endangered species or prized livestock lines. Furthermore, studying reprogramming leads to a better understanding of […]

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Biology

How a minority can swiftly shape collective actions

Understanding how groups of animals react to sudden threats has eluded researchers for many years and previous models failed to provide a mechanism for how social information can disseminate quickly through the ranks. For the past ten years, Dr Bertrand Lemasson, based at the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center in Oregon, USA, has studied how and when an individual’s actions within […]

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Biology

DNA replication: Unravelling the secrets of the replisome

Every cell needs to divide and produce more cells. This is an essential part of every living organism. The first step is to make a copy of its own DNA to pass on to daughter cells. This is known as DNA replication and has been the focus of Professor Michael O’Donnell’s lab for many years. The team, based at The Rockefeller University, New […]

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