Mouse pups born out of lab-grown eggs for the first time

Japanese researchers have successfully produced functional mouse eggs entirely in cell culture. For the first time, Katsuhiko Hayashi and colleagues generated mature egg cells using pluripotent stem cells derived from both embryos and adults. The team subjected the new egg cells to in vitro fertilization to develop embryos, which were then transferred into surrogate mice. Some […]

How the hummingbird turns

  Hummingbirds control their turning velocity and radius using body orientation and asymmetrical wingbeats, according to a new study. Using a feeder tracking experiment researchers found the birds control their turning velocity by altering their physical orientation, and control their turning radius by beating their wings at slightly different speeds. Researchers filmed six adult male […]

Learning from the naked mole rat

When most mammals, including humans, are in a low-oxygen environment they begin to hyperventilate to increase their oxygen uptake. However this is an energetically costly way to increase oxygen levels in the body. The naked mole rat is unique from other mammals; when it is exposed to hypoxia (low oxygen levels) it does not begin […]

A bird’s eye view of birds

The view seen by humans (left) and drones (right) when trying to count seabird populations from either the ground or the air. (Image credits: Jarrod Hodgson) A new study compares the accuracy of monitoring of sea bird colonies by UAVs and traditional human ground counts and demonstrates that population estimates can be improved with this […]

Filling in the family tree: The Sima de los Huesos hominins

Hominins found in the Sima de los Huesos (“pit of bones”) in northern Spain are more closely related to Denisovans than Neanderthals, according to genetic analysis. Until now it has been unclear how the 28 individuals were related to other hominins living during the Late Pleistocene. Analyzing the mitochondrial DNA lead the authors to conclude […]

Improving the cellular backpack

Medicine can be delivered to specific parts of the body by fitting it inside a “backpack” and attaching it to white blood cells. This targeted drug delivery means other tissues of the body aren’t affected, and side effects are limited.  Original research presented at a meeting of the American Chemical Society on March 17, 2015.

Cutting away at the mystery of leafcutting bees

Leafcutting bees use pieces of various plant leaves to build their nests, however determining which plants they prefer has been a challenge. In the past, researchers had to either observe leafcutting bees visiting a plant or identify pieces of leaf in the nest in to know which plant the bees relied on. Now, using DNA […]

Printing living bones may be possible

Printing bones and cartilage could be the way of the future. Using specialized ‘bioprinters’, researchers have been able to “print” cells into layered patterns reconstructing human body parts. Current 3D printers are unable to create bone and cartilage with enough structural stability. By combining bioprinters with biodegradable polymer materials researchers were able to “create” the […]

Visualizing the blood-brain barrier

Using a microscope to see inside living tissue, researchers have found how the parasite Toxoplasma gondii passes through the blood brain barrier to invade the central nervous system. The researchers hope this finding will help develop effective strategies to stop the parasite from entering and damaging the brain. T. gondii infects about 30 per cent of […]

How bears gain weight without getting obese

Bears eat intensively to put on weight for winter hibernation but don’t seem to suffer the negative health effects of obesity, thanks to the microbiota in their digestive tract. By analyzing fecal samples researchers found the microbiota in a bear’s digestive tract changes when the bear is preparing for hibernation. The researchers believe some of […]

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