Mind-Altering Parasite May Make Infected People More Attractive, Study Suggests

The brain-hijacking parasite Toxoplasma gondii seems to be almost everywhere. The microscopic invader is thought to infect up to 50 percent of people, and a range of studies suggests it may alter human behavior, in addition to that of many other animals. The parasite has been linked with a large range of neurological disorders, including … Read more

Research team improves gene editing with chemical process

CRISPR-associated protein Cas9 (white) from Staphylococcus aureus based on Protein Database ID 5AXW. Credit: Thomas Splettstoesser (Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 4.0) The gene-editing technique known as CRISPR has accelerated biological and medical research in the last decade by allowing scientists to repair the DNA of human cells almost as simply as using a pair of scissors. … Read more

A Reliable and Renewable Biological Photovoltaic Cell

This system, containing blue-green algae, powered a microprocessor continuously for a year using nothing but ambient light and water. Credit: Paolo Bombelli Algae-Powered Computing Scientists used a widespread species of blue-green algae to power a microprocessor continuously for a year — and counting — using nothing but ambient light and water. Their system has the … Read more

Microscopic Footage of Coral Reveals a Colorful Symbiotic Relationship

Recent footage of coral inspected under a microscope reveals not only gorgeous colors but also what are known as dinoflagellates, which have a fascinating symbiotic relationship with coral. James Weiss of the YouTube channel Journey to the Microcosmos was given the opportunity to inspect a coral under a microscope. That task in itself was difficult … Read more

How adaptability and tenacity can help you to thrive

Mohammed Shaaban is now based in London.Credit: Michael Bowles/The Francis Crick Institute In January 2011, I was fresh from my bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and chemistry at Fayoum University in Egypt, when demonstrations against the Egyptian regime culminated in a revolution. One direct outcome of the revolution was the inauguration of the Zewail City of … Read more

How life could have arisen on an ‘RNA world’ | Science

It’s the ultimate chicken-and-egg conundrum. Life doesn’t work without tiny molecular machines called ribosomes, whose job is to translate genes into proteins. But ribosomes themselves are made of proteins. So how did the first life arise? Researchers may have taken the first step toward solving this mystery. They’ve shown that RNA molecules can grow short … Read more

Higher wheat yields and protein content on the horizon

The new wheat line growing in the field. The wheat on the right has the extra flower-bearing spikelets artificially highlighted in pink to show their extent. Credit: University of Adelaide A team of international researchers has discovered a way to produce higher quality wheat. The scientists from the University of Adelaide and the UK’s John … Read more

The Brain Searches for the Best Way to Move the Body

Summary: When learning how to coordinate a new movement, the nervous system first explores and evaluates many different coordinated patterns. With experience, the nervous system then adapts specific aspects of movements and simultaneously decreases pattern variability. Source: Simon Fraser University Research that examines how the body adapts to new movements is shedding new light on … Read more

These Bats Scare Off Predators by Buzzing Like Hornets

Greater mouse-eared bats. Scientists have discovered the first case of acoustic Batesian mimicry in mammals: greater mouse-eared bats imitate the buzzing sound of a stinging insect to deter predatory owls from eating them. In Batesian mimicry, a harmless species imitates a more dangerous one in an evolutionary “ruse” that protects the mimic from would-be predators. … Read more