In a North Carolina laboratory, a live moth was clamped tight in a box with a microphone and made to panic. Through the panic, its powers of prediction were probed. The moth, a species of tiger moth called Bertholdia trigona, isn’t psychic. Instead, the moths’ hearing is the key. It’s one of two weapons it [...]... Read more »
Corcoran, A., Wagner, R., & Conner, W. (2013) Optimal Predator Risk Assessment by the Sonar-Jamming Arctiine Moth Bertholdia trigona. PLoS ONE, 8(5). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0063609
Within our DNA are the remains of thousands, maybe millions, of genetic nomads. They once roamed free through the landscape of our genomes; now most are silenced and still, unable to move. These are the ‘jumping genes’, or ‘transposable elements’ to give them their proper name; curious stretches of mobile DNA. Almost 50% of our [...]... Read more »
Mitra, R., Li, X., Kapusta, A., Mayhew, D., Mitra, R., Feschotte, C., & Craig, N. (2012) Functional characterization of piggyBat from the bat Myotis lucifugus unveils an active mammalian DNA transposon. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 110(1), 234-239. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1217548110
Lurking in gutters, gardens and forests, just under-foot, lies something strange. Something almost alien. They lead independent lives as single cells foraging for, and feeding on, bacteria. But when food becomes scarce they work together, in their millions, forming a multicellular ‘organism’ of individuals. In this form they’re more mobile; moving about, looking for food [...]... Read more »
Santorelli LA, Kuspa A, Shaulsky G, Queller DC, & Strassmann JE. (2013) A new social gene in Dictyostelium discoideum, chtB. BMC evolutionary biology, 13(1), 4. PMID: 23298336
You’re not just eating for one. You’re eating for trillions. We like to think of ourselves as an individual, but the truth is we are never alone. We are a buzzing hive of bacteria and other microbes that make up our ‘microbiome’. They eke out a living in whatever niches they can find, our skin [...]... Read more »
Duerkop, B., Clements, C., Rollins, D., Rodrigues, J., & Hooper, L. (2012) A composite bacteriophage alters colonization by an intestinal commensal bacterium. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 109(43), 17621-17626. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1206136109
What do explosives and weight loss have in common?* To find out we need to go back to World War One, to a munitions factory in France. People working with explosives were running high temperatures and losing weight. Some dangerously so. This was no fever, due to some viral or bacterial infection. It was due [...]... Read more »
Stanford KI, Middelbeek RJ, Townsend KL, An D, Nygaard EB, Hitchcox KM, Markan KR, Nakano K, Hirshman MF, Tseng YH.... (2012) Brown adipose tissue regulates glucose homeostasis and insulin sensitivity. The Journal of clinical investigation. PMID: 23221344
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