Researchers discover cell reproduction not triggered by retinoic acid as previously believed

2 days 4 hours ago
Meiosis is essential to sexual reproduction. For almost 15 years, it has been commonly held that retinoic acid, a molecule derived from vitamin A, triggers meiosis in mammalian germ cells. Yet, in joint articles published in Science Advances, French researchers from the Institut de Biologie Valrose (CNRS / INSERM / Université Côte d'Azur) and the IGBMC (CNRS / INSERM / University of Strasbourg), with their colleagues, have demonstrated that meiosis in mice begins and proceeds normally even in the absence of retinoic acid. These findings set the stage for new research in the field of reproductive biology.

How a male fly knows when to make a move on a mate

2 days 4 hours ago
Much like people, fruit flies must decide when the time and place are right to make a move on a mate. Male fruit flies use cues such as age and pheromones to gauge their chances of success, but just how they do that on a molecular level was a mystery.

New native grass species have been discovered on the Iberian Peninsula and Menorca

2 days 7 hours ago
The team of researchers from the project Flora ibericaX(2) have discovered two new native grasses on the Iberian Peninsula and in Menorca, respectively. These two species, which are new to science, have been featured in Systematic Botany. The article is the fruit of the collaboration between the Area of Botany and the University of Seville Herbarium, the Systematic and Evolution Unit for Vascular Plants at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, and researchers from other institutions in the Balearic Islands.

When do plants help or hinder each other?

2 days 7 hours ago
When plants grow close together, each individual plant has less chance of doing well—at least, that was the accepted wisdom in environmental research. Now Dr. Ruichang Zhang and Professor Katja Tielbörger from the Institute of Evolution and Ecology at the University of Tübingen are challenging that principle. Their investigation of the combined effects of environmental stress and competition on plants has led them to develop a new theoretical model suggesting that plants can 'help' each other out. The researchers were able to confirm their model predictions in detail in an experiment with real plants. Their study has been published in the latest Nature Communications.

First fossil nursery of the great white shark discovered

2 days 7 hours ago
An international research team led by Jaime A. Villafaña from the Institute of paleontology at the University of Vienna discovered the first fossil nursery area of the great white shark, Carcharodon carcharias in Chile. This discovery provides a better understanding of the evolutionary success of the largest top predator in today's oceans in the past and could contribute to the protection of these endangered animals. The study is published in the journal Scientific Reports.

How the darter got stripes: Expanding a sexual selection theory explains animal patterns

2 days 7 hours ago
Samuel Hulse, a Ph.D. candidate at UMBC, spent a lot of time in waders over the last two years. He traipsed from stream to stream across the eastern U.S., carefully collecting live specimens of small, colorful freshwater fish known as darters and taking photos of their habitats. Then he brought them back to the lab to capture high-quality images of their coloration patterns.

Environmentalists suggest COVID-19 could represent a new opportunity for a more diverse future

2 days 7 hours ago
A team of environmental researchers at the Australian Rivers Institute–Coast & Estuaries, School of Environment and Science, Griffith University, is suggesting in a Letters piece in the journal Science that the COVID-19 pandemic could represent a new opportunity for a more diverse future—they suggest that with proper planning, we could use what has been learned from the global lockdown to improve global biodiversity.

Following in the footsteps of elephants

2 days 8 hours ago
Imagine for a moment that you're 6,000 pounds, living in one of the wildest places on Earth, with no schedule, nowhere to be. How do you decide where to spend your time? Where to go next? Do you move where food is most plentiful? Is water your main priority?

Peculiar behavior of the beetle Toramus larvae, carrying their exuviae

2 days 8 hours ago
When studying the larval morphology of Toramini (Coleoptera: Erotylidae) we found that larvae of the genus Toramus attach their exuviae to their distal abdomen, with each exuvia from the preceding instar attached to the next to form a vertical pile. Exuvial attachment is facilitated by modified hook-like setae with flattened shafts inserted into the exuvia of the previous instar. We discuss the possibility that the exuvial attachment serves as a kind of autotomy—"exuvial autotomy."

Understanding the atomic details of the endoplasmic reticulum membrane protein complex

2 days 8 hours ago
All human cells are enclosed in a greasy membrane that is embedded with thousands of different proteins. These so-called membrane proteins carry out countless functions, from regulating our blood pressure, to coordinating our immune responses, to controlling the firing of neurons in our brains. Membrane proteins are so important that they are targeted and regulated by more than half of all pharmaceutical drugs on the market today.

Researchers uncover the arks of genetic diversity in terrestrial mammals

2 days 10 hours ago
Mapping the distribution of life on Earth, from genes to species to ecosystems, is essential in informing conservation policies and protecting biodiversity. Researchers from the University of Copenhagen and the University of Adelaide developed models based on longstanding evolutionary and ecological theories to explain and map genetic diversity globally, a basal, but previously hidden dimension of biodiversity.

The European viper uses cloak-and-dazzle method to escape predators

2 days 10 hours ago
A study by researchers at the University of Jyväskylä demonstrate that the characteristic zig-zag pattern on a viper's back performs seemingly opposing functions during a predation event. At first, the zig-zag pattern helps the snake remain undetected. But upon exposure, it provides a conspicuous warning of the snake's dangerous defense. Most importantly the zig-zag can also produce an illusionary effect that may hide the snake's movement as it flees. The research, published in Animal Behaviour (2020), reveals how a single color pattern can have multiple effects during a predation event, thereby expanding the discussion on protective coloration and anti-predator adaptations.
44 minutes 10 seconds ago
Phys.org provides the latest news on biology, evolution, microbiology, biotechnology
Subscribe to Phys.org Biology feed