Scientists at the University of California, Santa Barbara have discovered significant clues to the evolutionary origins of the nervous system by studying the genome of a sea sponge, a member of a group considered to be among the most ancient of all animals.
The honeybee’s alarm signal may not only bring help, but also attract the small hive beetle. Now, an international team of researchers has found that small hive beetles can detect some alarm pheromones at levels below that detected by honeybees.
The local customs that define human cultures in important ways also exist in the ape world, suggests a study reported online June 7th in Current Biology, a Cell Press publication. Indeed, captive chimpanzees, like people, can readily acquire new traditions, and those newly instituted “cultural practices” can spread to other troops.
In a triumph for pests, scientists have figured out how to make the fruit fly live longer. But humans still may get something out of the deal. As reported online in Nature Chemical Biology, the discovery that a single protein can inhibit aging holds implications for human longevity and for treatment of some of the world’s most feared diseases.
Size matters. At least, it does to an alpine ibex. According to a team of international researchers, mature, male alpine ibex demonstrate a correlation between horn growth and genetic diversity. Past research studies have shown that greater genetic diversity correlates with a greater chance of survival.
Nearly all of the 162 land-breeding frog species on Caribbean islands, including the coqui frogs of Puerto Rico, originated from a single frog species that rafted on a sea voyage from South America about 30-to-50-million years ago, according to DNA-sequence analyses led by a research group at Penn State, which will be published in the 12 June 2007 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and posted in the journal’s online early edition this week. Similarly, the scientists found that the Central American relatives of these Caribbean frogs also arose from a single species that arrived by raft from South America.
A team of researchers from Arizona State University, Purdue University and the Norwegian University of Life Sciences has discovered evidence that honeybees have adopted a phylogenetically old molecular cascade — TOR (target of rapamycin), linked to nutrient and energy sensing — and put it to use in caste development. The findings, published in the June 6 edition of PLoS ONE, the online, open-access journal from the Public Library of Science, show that TOR is directly linked in the nutrient-induced development of female honeybees into either queens, the caste of large dominant egg-layers, or into workers, the caste of small helpers.
Organic fruit and vegetables may be healthier for the dinner table, but not necessarily for the environment, a University of Alberta study shows. The study, conducted by a team of student researchers in the Department of Rural Economy at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, showed that the greenhouse gas emitted when the produce is transported from great distances mitigates the environmental benefits of growing the food organically.