Dec 07, 2016
Bacteria able to shed their cell wall assume new, mostly spherical shapes. ETH researchers have shown that these cells, known as L-forms, are not only viable but that their reproductive mechanisms may even correspond to those ...
Experiences leave behind epigenetic traces in our genetic material
Dec 07, 2016
An ideological dispute is taking place in biology. And it's about a big topic that's central to everything: heredity. In his epoch-making book On the Origin of Species of 1859, Darwin wrote of the reigning ignorance about ...
Bacteria produce aphrodisiac that sets off protozoan mating swarm
Dec 06, 2016
Researchers seeking the evolutionary roots of the animal kingdom have discovered a bacterium, Vibrio fischeri, that acts as an aphrodisiac by releasing an enzyme that sends the choanoflagellate, Salpinogoeca rosetta, one ...
Building better nanodiscs: Improved tool provides unprecedented view of viral infection
Nov 22, 2016
Harvard Medical School researchers have improved the design of tiny nanodiscs—synthetic models of cell membranes used to study proteins that control what enters and leaves a cell. The enhancements provide an unprecedented ...
Only half of a chromosome is DNA, study finds
Nov 21, 2016
DNA makes up only half of the material inside chromosomes – far less than was previously thought – a study has revealed.
X-ray laser gets first real-time snapshots of a chemical flipping a biological switch
Nov 14, 2016
Scientists have used the powerful X-ray laser at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory to make the first snapshots of a chemical interaction between two biomolecules - one that flips an RNA "switch" ...
New findings about the deformed wing virus, a major factor in honey bee colony mortality
Nov 11, 2016
In recent years, massive losses of honey bee colonies have occurred during winter in Europe and North America. It could be shown that the Varroa mite and the deformed wing virus are the main factors responsible for the alarming ...
On the origin of life: Studying how the first biomolecule self-replicated
Nov 02, 2016
It's the ultimate chicken-or-egg conundrum: What was the "mother" molecule that led to the formation of life? And how did it replicate itself? One prominent school of thought proposes that RNA is the answer to the first question. ...
All-female hybrid fish species uses males for better genetics
Oct 17, 2016
Some species are comprised of female-only members, giving themselves a competitive advantage over species that produce both male and female offspring. Since the females are capable of bearing offspring, they can quickly outnumber ...
Human transport has unpredictable genetic and evolutionary consequences for marine species
Oct 14, 2016
New research, led by the University of Southampton, has found that human activities such as shipping are having a noticeable impact on marine species and their native habitats.