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Men might have found themselves an excuse not to listen to women. New research suggests that men have twice more difficulty reading emotions in women than in men. This may not sound surprising, but evidence that men have trouble understanding women is, at best, scarce.Being able to guess someone else’s thoughts, feelings and intentions is an instinctive social skill that develops in early childhood. We might take it for granted, but people who struggle or are unable to read other people, like ........ Read more »
Schiffer Boris, Pawliczek Christina, Müller Bernhard W., Gizewski Elke R., Walter Henrik, & Krueger Frank. (2013) Why Don't Men Understand Women? Altered Neural Networks for Reading the Language of Male and Female Eyes. PLoS ONE, 8(4). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0060278.g003
Plants and other photosynthetic organisms live in a catch-22 situation. “Plants produce oxygen but are also poisoned by oxygen,” says Roberto Bassi, an Italian plant physiologist who has been passionate about photosynthesis since his graduate degree at the Padua University Botanical Garden. Bassi’s research group at Verona University played a pivotal role in understanding the dual function of carotenoid pigments in absorbing light energy and protecting the photosynthetic machinery against ........ Read more »
Dall'Osto L., Piques M., Ronzani M., Molesini B., Alboresi A., Cazzaniga S., & Bassi R. (2013) The Arabidopsis nox Mutant Lacking Carotene Hydroxylase Activity Reveals a Critical Role for Xanthophylls in Photosystem I Biogenesis. The Plant Cell, 25(2), 591-608. DOI: 10.1105/tpc.112.108621
Researchers from the Massachusetts General Hospital in the US have grown rat kidneys in the laboratory that produced urine when transplanted into living animals. This is an important step towards the production of customised organs for transplantation into people with kidney failure, which could replace donor organ transplants. Patients with kidney failure can be treated with dialysis, but can only be cured with a kidney transplant. About 15,000 people are waiting for a donor kidney in the Eurot........ Read more »
Song Jeremy J, Guyette Jacques P, Gilpin Sarah E, Gonzalez Gabriel, Vacanti Joseph P, & Ott Harald C. (2013) Regeneration and experimental orthotopic transplantation of a bioengineered kidney. Nature Medicine. DOI: 10.1038/nm.3154
About 15 years ago, a one-page Nature study shook the scientific community. Researchers from the University of Pittsburg showed with a simple experiment that people could feel that a fake rubber hand was in fact their own- they called it the ‘rubber hand illusion’. It goes like this: place a fake hand on a table in front of you and your own hand just next to it. Then block your hand from your view, stare at the fake hand, and get someone to stroke both hands in the same way for a few minutes........ Read more »
Garbarini Francesca, Pia Lorenzo, Piedimonte Alessandro, Rabuffetti Marco, Gindri Patrizia, & Berti Anna. (2013) Embodiment of an alien hand interferes with intact-hand movements. Current Biology, 23(2). DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2012.12.003
Each day, every wild chimpanzee over the age of weaning builds at least one nest. Why do chimpanzees take time out of their very busy lives to build a nest, sometimes two, every day for most of their lives? New research led by Fiona Steward from the University of Cambridge (UK) shows that shelter construction may have evolved to enable large apes to sleep comfortably while minimising predation risk. Although chimpanzees have few predators in the wild, and direct evidence of predation on apes is ........ Read more »
Stewart Fiona A, & Pruetz J D. (2013) Do Chimpanzee Nests Serve an Anti-Predatory Function?. American journal of primatology. PMID: 23471670
Sea squirts, fish and mammals don't look much alike, but glimpse at their embryos and you probably couldn't tell them apart. Among other similarities, all sport a tube-like structure stretching from head to tail - the notochord - that serves as a backbone, before being replaced by the spine. New research now shows that mysterious bubble-like structures in the notochord are critical to make a straight spine.In the centre of the notochord there are unusual cells packed with huge fluid-filled vacuo........ Read more »
Ellis K., Bagwell J., & Bagnat M. (2013) Notochord vacuoles are lysosome-related organelles that function in axis and spine morphogenesis. The Journal of Cell Biology, 200(5), 667-679. DOI: 10.1083/jcb.201212095
Our guts are home to over a 100 trillion bacteria that help digestion, prevent inflammatory bowel disease (IBS) and protect us from invaders, such as harmful bacteria. To keep pathogens at bay without destroying ‘good’ bacteria, there is a subset of specialised cells in the gut epithelium that act as sentinels. These so called ‘M cells’ engulf and rapidly transport large particles from the gut lumen to the underlying lymphoid tissue, where they are recognised and sorted b........ Read more »
Tahoun Amin, Mahajan Simmi, Paxton Edith, Malterer Georg, Donaldson David S., Wang Dai, Tan Alwyn, Gillespie Trudi L., O’Shea Marie, & Roe Andrew J. (2012) Salmonella Transforms Follicle-Associated Epithelial Cells into M Cells to Promote Intestinal Invasion. Cell Host , 12(5), 645-656. DOI: 10.1016/j.chom.2012.10.009
Before ending up on a dinner plate, thyme plants use ingenious ways to survive extreme cold and severe drought. By sniffing around in the field, scientists discover that wild thyme adapts remarkably quickly to climate change. In the early 1970s, a research team from the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique led by Philippe Vernet made a very odd finding. While collecting samples of wild thyme (Thymus vulgaris) from a small basin tucked between hills on the north of Montpellier, in France,........ Read more »
Thompson, J., Charpentier, A., Bouguet, G., Charmasson, F., Roset, S., Buatois, B., Vernet, P., & Gouyon, P. (2013) Evolution of a genetic polymorphism with climate change in a Mediterranean landscape. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1215833110
New research shows how some bacteria manage to evade a widely used antibiotic by removing it from their protein factories.The widespread use of antibiotics over the past decades has led to the emergence of resistant bacteria. Since their discovery in the 1930s, antibiotics have been overused in human medicine and in industrial farms as food supplements to promote animal growth. A shocking 80% of antibiotics produced in the USA are used in farms, despite warnings from the World Health Organizatio........ Read more »
Li, W., Atkinson, G., Thakor, N., Allas, ., Lu, C., Chan, K., Tenson, T., Schulten, K., Wilson, K., Hauryliuk, V.... (2013) Mechanism of tetracycline resistance by ribosomal protection protein Tet(O). Nature Communications, 1477. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms2470
Donhofer, A., Franckenberg, S., Wickles, S., Berninghausen, O., Beckmann, R., & Wilson, D. (2012) Structural basis for TetM-mediated tetracycline resistance. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 109(42), 16900-16905. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1208037109
Not many people can say they’ve had close encounters with a 4-metre long crocodile, a near-extinct Galápagos tortoise and… a yeti. For Michel Milinkovitch, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Geneva, this is just part of the job. A typical day at work could be spent in his lab working with computer scientists, or it could be spent at the zoo studying crocodiles up close, very close. “Once we were working in the croc pit and a male charged,” he says laughing “I just shouted ........ Read more »
Milinkovitch, M., Manukyan, L., Debry, A., Di-Poi, N., Martin, S., Singh, D., Lambert, D., & Zwicker, M. (2012) Crocodile Head Scales Are Not Developmental Units But Emerge from Physical Cracking. Science, 339(6115), 78-81. DOI: 10.1126/science.1226265
After the sun sets over the African savannah, the nocturnal male beetle Scarabaeus satyrus leaves its nest in the ground to go on a hunt for a pile of fresh dung. Once he finds the fuming manure, the beetle franticly sculpts it into a ball and rolls it away as quickly as possible to escape competition from vicious dung stealers. At a safe distance from the dung heap, the beetle buries the ball and, if he is lucky, a female will mate with him and then lay her eggs inside the secluded excrement. O........ Read more »
You wouldn’t think that those pesky flies hovering around your fruit bowl could help scientists understand cancer. Flies don’t have cancer, and a fly is, well, just a fly. However, the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster has been one of scientists' favourite animal models for over a century, and is nowadays used to study many human diseases. New research using fruit flies has now uncovered molecular details in tissue overgrowth that explain some long-standing questions in cancer research.Why ........ Read more »
Djiane, A., Krejci, A., Bernard, F., Fexova, S., Millen, K., & Bray, S. (2012) Dissecting the mechanisms of Notch induced hyperplasia. The EMBO Journal, 32(1), 60-71. DOI: 10.1038/emboj.2012.326
The first time on an airplane is one of those experiences that leave a stamp on your memory. My first plane trip was about 20 years ago, and I would have great recollections of that flight if not only for what happened after the 'no smoking' lights went out. Shortly after the 'ding', a cloud of cigarette smoke filled the air cabin. For hours on end, I was crammed with over hundred other people in a small, enclosed space breathing recycled smoke-infested air. Not a pleasant memory.As appalling as........ Read more »
Levy, D., de Almeida, L., & Szklo, A. (2012) The Brazil SimSmoke Policy Simulation Model: The Effect of Strong Tobacco Control Policies on Smoking Prevalence and Smoking-Attributable Deaths in a Middle Income Nation. PLoS Medicine, 9(11). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1001336
Nabi-Burza E., Regan S., Drehmer J., Ossip D., Rigotti N., Hipple B., Dempsey J., Hall N., Friebely J., & Weiley V. (2012) Parents Smoking in Their Cars With Children Present. PEDIATRICS, 130(6). DOI: 10.1542/peds.2012-0334
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