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ScienceDaily: Plants & Animals News


Protecting rare species can benefit human life
Designing biological movement on the nanometer scale
How host-cell enzymes combat the coronavirus
Natural compound found in broccoli reawakens the function of potent tumor suppressor
Scientists find new type of cell that helps tadpoles' tails regenerate
Could better tests help reverse the rise of drug-resistant infections?
Mutation makes bulldogs and Norwich terriers more susceptible to breathing problems
True identity of imposter 'pigs' on 17th century map overturns early colonial history of Barbados
A tale of two skeeters
Measuring plant improvements to help farmers boost production
Algal blooms in Lake Erie's central basin could produce neurotoxins
Fecal microbiota transplant found safe and effective in children with C. difficile
Bedbugs evolved more than 100 million years ago
How plants are working hard for the planet
Antibody responses vs. Ebola keep evolving in survivors, months after recovery
Heavily processed foods cause overeating and weight gain, study finds
Nutrition: Substantial benefit from replacing steak with fish
Human antibody reveals hidden vulnerability in influenza virus
Key step in cell protein production
Global invasion routes of the red swamp crayfish, described based on genetics
Organic animal farms benefit birds nesting in agricultural environments
Evolution in the gut
Antibiotic treatment alleviates Alzheimer's disease symptoms in male mice
Revision to common view on how retinal cells in mammals process light
Breakthrough technique for studying gene expression takes root in plants


Protecting rare species can benefit human life



Posted: 16 May 2019 12:53 PM PDT


Preserving rare species for the sake of global biodiversity has long been the primary focus for conservationists. To better protect rare animals, insects and plants, and to prepare for an uncertain future influenced by climate change, a team of researchers is aiming to merge this conventional wisdom with a new way of thinking: arguing researchers needs to better understand how rare species benefit people outside of their existence value.


Designing biological movement on the nanometer scale



Posted: 16 May 2019 11:29 AM PDT


Synthetic proteins have now been created that can move in response to their environment in predictable and tunable ways. These proteins can use their movement to disrupt lipid membranes in cells. They show promise as tools for drug delivery, and might eventually rival the efficiency of virus vehicles, but without some of their drawbacks.


How host-cell enzymes combat the coronavirus



Posted: 16 May 2019 11:29 AM PDT


Host-cell enzymes called PARP12 and PARP14 are important for inhibiting mutant forms of a coronavirus, according to a new study.


Natural compound found in broccoli reawakens the function of potent tumor suppressor



Posted: 16 May 2019 11:29 AM PDT


Long associated with decreased risk of cancer, broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables -- the family of plants that also includes cauliflower, cabbage, collard greens, Brussels sprouts and kale -- contain a molecule that inactivates a gene known to play a role in a variety of common human cancers. A new study demonstrates that targeting the gene, known as WWP1, with the ingredient found in broccoli suppressed tumor growth in cancer-prone lab animals.


Scientists find new type of cell that helps tadpoles' tails regenerate



Posted: 16 May 2019 11:29 AM PDT


Researchers have uncovered a specialized population of skin cells that coordinate tail regeneration in frogs. These 'Regeneration-Organizing Cells' help to explain one of the great mysteries of nature and may offer clues about how this ability might be achieved in mammalian tissues.


Could better tests help reverse the rise of drug-resistant infections?



Posted: 16 May 2019 11:28 AM PDT


Faster, more accurate tests for drug-resistant infections are hailed as a promising tool in the fight against antibiotic resistance, so much so that the US and Britain are offering millions in prize money for their development. A modeling study shows that better tests could, in theory, change the game and put drug-resistant bacteria at a reproductive disadvantage relative to more easily-treated strains -- but with a caveat.


Mutation makes bulldogs and Norwich terriers more susceptible to breathing problems



Posted: 16 May 2019 11:28 AM PDT


The discovery of a new mutation associated with breathing difficulties in popular dog breeds suggests that shortened skulls causing flat faces is not the only factor that contributes to the condition, but that swelling around the airways from edema may also play a role.


True identity of imposter 'pigs' on 17th century map overturns early colonial history of Barbados



Posted: 16 May 2019 10:17 AM PDT


Which came first, the pigs or the pioneers? In Barbados, that has been a historical mystery ever since the first English colonists arrived in 1627 to encounter what they thought was a herd of wild European pigs. Research is shedding new light on the mystery and the altering of New World environments.


A tale of two skeeters



Posted: 16 May 2019 10:17 AM PDT


A native mosquito in Missouri has fewer parasites when it shares its waters with an interloper, according to new research.


Measuring plant improvements to help farmers boost production



Posted: 16 May 2019 10:17 AM PDT


Today, scientists have shown a new technology can more quickly scan an entire field of plants to capture improvements in their natural capacity to harvest energy from the sun.


Algal blooms in Lake Erie's central basin could produce neurotoxins



Posted: 16 May 2019 08:46 AM PDT


Harmful algal blooms pose a unique toxic threat in Lake Erie's central basin, new research has found. Not only do blooms routinely occur in this area, which previously was not thought to be an area of concern, they can also produce types of cyanobacterial toxins that aren't typically detected through routine water-safety monitoring, according to a new study.


Fecal microbiota transplant found safe and effective in children with C. difficile



Posted: 16 May 2019 08:46 AM PDT


Fecal microbiota transplant (FMT), or the transfer of stool from a healthy donor to a patient, has been found effective in reversing severe, recurring diarrheal infections from Clostridiodes difficile in adults by restoring a normal microbiome. Now, the largest study to date of FMT in children finds the procedure to be safe and effective in eradicating an infection that is on the rise among children, even those without known risk factors.


Bedbugs evolved more than 100 million years ago



Posted: 16 May 2019 08:46 AM PDT


Bedbugs -- some of the most unwanted human bed-mates -- have been parasitic companions with other species aside from humans for more than 100 million years, walking the earth at the same time as dinosaurs.


How plants are working hard for the planet



Posted: 16 May 2019 08:45 AM PDT


As the planet warms, plants are working to slow the effect of human-caused climate change -- and new research has assessed how plants are responding to increasing carbon dioxide (CO2).


Antibody responses vs. Ebola keep evolving in survivors, months after recovery



Posted: 16 May 2019 08:45 AM PDT


Antiviral antibodies produced by survivors of Ebola infection continue to evolve and improve after recovery, according to a study of immune responses in four people who received care at Emory University Hospital in 2014. High levels of neutralizing antibodies- thought to be key to protecting someone against deadly infection -- didn't appear in patients' blood until months after they left the hospital.


Heavily processed foods cause overeating and weight gain, study finds



Posted: 16 May 2019 08:45 AM PDT


People eating ultra-processed foods ate more calories and gained more weight than when they ate a minimally processed diet, according to results from a new study. The difference occurred even though meals provided to the volunteers in both the ultra-processed and minimally processed diets had the same number of calories and macronutrients.


Nutrition: Substantial benefit from replacing steak with fish



Posted: 16 May 2019 08:45 AM PDT


Consumers will gain a health benefit from substituting part of the red and processed meat in their diet with fish, according to new calculations. Men over 50 and women of childbearing age in particular would benefit from such a change in diet.


Human antibody reveals hidden vulnerability in influenza virus



Posted: 16 May 2019 08:45 AM PDT


The ever-changing 'head' of an influenza virus protein has an unexpected Achilles heel, report scientists. The team discovered the structure of a naturally occurring human antibody that recognizes and disrupts a portion of the hemagglutinin (HA) protein that the virus uses to enter and infect cells. The investigators determined that the antibody, FluA-20, binds tightly to an area on the head of the HA protein that is only briefly accessible to antibody attack.


Key step in cell protein production



Posted: 16 May 2019 08:45 AM PDT


Scientists have discovered how genes create proteins in research which could aid the development of treatments for human diseases.


Global invasion routes of the red swamp crayfish, described based on genetics



Posted: 16 May 2019 08:45 AM PDT


Researchers have identified the main introduction routes of the red swamp crayfish, Procambarus clarkii, during its global-scale invasion. This North American species is the most widely spread freshwater crayfish worldwide and is one of the worst invasive species due to its impact on the structure and functioning of freshwater ecosystems.


Organic animal farms benefit birds nesting in agricultural environments



Posted: 16 May 2019 07:14 AM PDT


Environmental subsidies for agriculture awarded by the European Union aim to improve biodiversity in agricultural environments. A recently completed Finnish study indicates that the proximity of organic animal farms increases bird numbers, and this has enabled environmental subsidies to positively impact bird populations.


Evolution in the gut



Posted: 16 May 2019 07:14 AM PDT


Evolution and dietary habits interact and determine the composition of bacteria in the digestive tract. Many microorganisms in the intestine seem to have developed in sync with their host animals over millions of years.


Antibiotic treatment alleviates Alzheimer's disease symptoms in male mice



Posted: 16 May 2019 06:08 AM PDT


Researchers have demonstrated that the type of bacteria living in the gut can influence the development of Alzheimer's disease symptoms in mice. The study shows that, by altering the gut microbiome, long-term antibiotic treatment reduces inflammation and slows the growth of amyloid plaques in the brains of male mice, though the same treatment has no effect on female animals.


Revision to common view on how retinal cells in mammals process light



Posted: 16 May 2019 06:08 AM PDT


Scientists say that new experiments with mouse eye tissues strongly suggest that a longstanding 'textbook concept' about the way a mammal's retina processes light needs a rewrite.


Breakthrough technique for studying gene expression takes root in plants



Posted: 16 May 2019 05:24 AM PDT


An open-source RNA analysis platform has been successfully used on plant cells for the first time -- a breakthrough that could herald a new era of fundamental research and bolster efforts to engineer more efficient food and biofuel crops. The technology, called Drop-seq is a method for measuring the RNA present in individual cells, allowing scientists to see what genes are being expressed and how this relates to the specific functions of different cell types.
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