Biology

A Swarm of Bee Research

Bees are amazing little creatures; while some of them live solitary lifestyles, many bee species form large colonies, or hives, and function as a superorganism. Scientific interest in bees covers many different angles. Some researchers are interested in how bees learn and communicate as part of the superorganism.

A Shifting Mutational Landscape in 6 Nutritional States: Stress-Induced Mutagenesis as a Series of Distinct Stress Input–Mutation Output Relationships

The notion of stress-induced mutagenesis (SIM) [1,2] has changed our perspective on the flexibility of mutation rates in organisms. The earliest evidence for SIM was that starvation can increase the supply of mutations, presumably increasing the capacity for adaptive changes and evolvability [1,3,4]. SIM is a collection of mechanisms observed in bacterial, yeast, and human cells, in which mutagenesis pathways are activated in response to adverse conditions, such as starvation or antibiotic stresses [5,6].

A New Discrete Dynamic Model of ABA-Induced Stomatal Closure Predicts Key Feedback Loops

The epidermes of leaves and other aerial plant parts have natural openings known as stomata. Stomata are the entry and exit points where gas exchange, particularly CO2 uptake for photosynthesis and O2 and water vapor diffusion from the leaf interior to the atmosphere, takes place. Each stomate is surrounded by a pair of guard cells that modulate stomatal apertures in response to endogenous water status, to multiple phytohormones, and to many environmental signals such as light and CO2 [1–4].

Spatial Learning Depends on Both the Addition and Removal of New Hippocampal Neurons

It was classically assumed that once the development of the central nervous system ended, “everything can die, nothing can regenerate and be renewed”. This dogma, restricting neurogenesis to a developmental phenomenon has, however, been challenged by the discovery that new neurons are created in specific regions of the adult mammalian brain.

A Mechanism for the Cortical Computation of Hierarchical Linguistic Structure

Detecting relevant signals in the environment is a crucial function in biological systems. For humans, language is a critical, if not the defining, species-specific environmental signal to detect. As such, it is not surprising that the human auditory system is specialised for speech processing [e.g., 1,2].

A fat-derived metabolite regulates a peptidergic feeding circuit in Drosophila

Animals must balance food intake with energy expenditure to maintain optimal health. In choosing what and how much to eat, animals integrate external cues like tastes and smells with internal motivational states like hunger and satiety. Powerful homeostatic mechanisms tie these motivational states to the sensing of nutrient and energy status. Because fat is the primary long-term energy storage molecule, these homeostatic sensors monitor fat levels—triggering increased feeding when they fall and decreased feeding when they rise.

Red Tides

Red tides occur all over the world but the farthest north they have been detected in Alaska is Cook Inlet. They are large blooms of toxin producing dinoflagellates that may color the water a deep red. The key point is the production of toxin. Red tides can actually produce other colorations of the tides, but not all colored tides are necessarily toxic. The toxin is taken in by filter feeding animals and stored in their flesh.

A Fast and Accessible Methodology for Micro-Patterning Cells on Standard Culture Substrates Using Parafilm™ Inserts

Micropatterning techniques to control the spatial organization of cells at the sub-mm scale are useful for tissue engineering [1], biosensor technology development [2], and for asking fundamental questions about the dependence of cell behaviour on local tissue organization [3], [4]. Micropatterning techniques provide direct control over several spatial parameters including colony or cell sheet size, distance between colonies, and with some methods, homotypic or heterotypic cell–cell contact [5], [6].

Eugene – A Domain Specific Language for Specifying and Constraining Synthetic Biological Parts, Devices, and Systems

In its development as an engineering field, synthetic biology is at a stage where encapsulation has been identified as a fundamental challenge. Encapsulation will enable design re-use, sharing, and software tool development, all of which greatly increase synthetic biology’s ability to grow both in complexity and in community size.

Seawall Construction

Well-built seawalls have long been used as an inexpensive way to control coastal erosion. Seawalls are associated with reduced aesthetic value, and increased erosion at the ends and in front of the seawall.

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