My Picks From ScienceDaily

Monarch Butterflies Help Explain Why Parasites Harm Hosts:

It’s a paradox that has confounded evolutionary biologists since Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species in 1859: Since parasites depend on their hosts for survival, why do they harm them? A new University of Georgia and Emory University study of monarch butterflies and the microscopic parasites that hitch a ride on them finds that the parasites strike a middle ground between the benefits gained by reproducing rapidly and the costs to their hosts. The study, published in the early online edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, provides the first empirical evidence in a natural system of what’s called the “trade-off hypothesis.”

Recipe For Energy Saving Unravelled In Migratory Birds:

Pointed wings together with carrying less weight per wing area and avoidance of high winds and atmospheric turbulence save a bird loads of energy during migration. This has been shown for the first time in free-flying wild birds by researchers at Princeton University, the University of Montana, and the German Max Planck Institute for Ornithology. They state that climate change might have a critical impact on small migrants’ energy budgets if it causes higher winds and atmospheric instability as predicted.

Warming Climate Is Changing Life On Global Scale, Says New Study:

A vast array of physical and biological systems across the earth are being affected by warming temperatures caused by humans, says a new analysis of information not previously assembled all in one spot. The effects on living things include earlier leafing of trees and plants over many regions; movements of species to higher latitudes and altitudes in the northern hemisphere; changes in bird migrations in Europe, North America and Australia; and shifting of the oceans’ plankton and fish from cold- to warm-adapted communities.

New Insights Into The Dynamics Of The Brain’s Cortex:

Using mathematics and a computer model of brain activity, Roberto Fernández Galán, Ph.D., an assistant professor of neurosciences at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, has shown a direct link between activity in the cortex and the microscopic structure of this neuronal network.

Endocrine Disruptors In Common Plastics Linked To Obesity Risk:

Exposure during development either in the womb or during infancy to chemicals used to make products such as baby bottles, the lining of food tins and some plastic food wraps and containers, may contribute to the development of obesity, according to new research presented at the European Congress on Obesity.

Female Sex Offenders Often Have Mental Problems:

Women who commit sexual offences are just as likely to have mental problems or drug addictions as other violent female criminals. This according to the largest study ever conducted of women convicted of sexual offences in Sweden.

Girls, Young Women Can Cut Risk Of Early Breast Cancer Through Regular Exercise:

Mothers, here’s another reason to encourage your daughters to be physically active: Girls and young women who exercise regularly between the ages of 12 and 35 have a substantially lower risk of breast cancer before menopause compared to those who are less active, new research shows.

Bears And Hibernation: New Insights Into Metabolism In Extreme Conditions:

Due to their ability to produce a potent inhibitor of protein degradation, hibernating bears do not lose muscle mass after long periods of hibernation. This is the main conclusion of the study directed by Professor Josep M. Argilés and co-written by Francisco J. López-Soriano, Gemma Fuster, Sílvia Busquets and Vanessa Almendro of the Cancer Research Group at the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Department of the University of Barcelona (UB).

Rapid, Dramatic ‘Reverse Evolution’ Documented In Tiny Fish Species:

Evolution is supposed to inch forward over eons, but sometimes, at least in the case of a little fish called the threespine stickleback, the process can go in relative warp-speed reverse, according to a study led by researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and published online ahead of print in the May 20 issue of Current Biology.

Mice Can Do Without Humans’ Most Treasured Genes:

The mouse is a stalwart stand-in for humans in medical research, thanks to genomes that are 85 percent identical. But identical genes may behave differently in mouse and man, a study by University of Michigan evolutionary biologists Ben-Yang Liao and Jianzhi Zhang reveals.

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