News in Brief
By mining the immune cells of a patient that beat the MERS virus, scientists have identified a protein that could help prevent and treat the deadly disease.
When tested in mice, the protein targeted the virus that causes Middle East respiratory syndrome. The protein could be used to develop vaccines or treatments to protect people from the MERS virus,...
Biologists often use lasers to probe cells. Now, for the first time, cells have returned fire.
Harvard University researchers have created intracellular lasers by implanting microscopic beads and oil droplets into animal cells. When energized by an outside laser pulse, an implant traps and amplifies light and then emits a laser pulse of its own. “It’s a wonderful way of coupling optics...
Stink bug moms appear to carefully choose the color of their eggs.
A female Podisus maculiventris stink bug can lay eggs in a range of colors from pale yellow to black. P. maculiventris moms control the color of the eggs they lay, seemingly pairing darker eggs with darker surfaces, researchers...
Parents often complain that grandparents meddle in child-rearing. New research suggests that such meddling starts in the womb, where cells from grandma manipulate the mother’s immune system.
Scientists already knew that during pregnancy some cells from the fetus invade the mother, while cells from mom sneak into the offspring. These interloping cells can survive for decades (...
There is life after death. And it’s kind of gross.
For most of us, death means life (as we know it) is over, kaput, finis. Whatever we believe about a continued existence metaphysically, when we die, our body’s time on Earth comes to an end. But for the microbes living within us, time marches on. And if you are a microbial ecologist, that’s when things get interesting.
A previously hidden genetic link between native peoples in Australia and the Amazon has inspired two different teams of researchers to reach competing conclusions about the origins of Native Americans.
One team analyzing modern genetic data finds evidence that at least two ancestral populations gave rise to Native Americans. Another team, analyzing DNA from present-day and ancient...
Carrying malaria makes mosquitoes more susceptible to infection with a second strain of the parasite that causes the disease, a new study demonstrates.
People can get infected with malaria parasites multiple times, but researchers knew little about how malaria affects the mosquitoes that are responsible for transmitting the disease...
Holding your breath all summer, even if possible, wouldn’t keep mosquitoes from finding you. Nor would breath-holding plus invisibility. Studies of how mosquitoes find people to bite reveal tastes and tricks that are “annoyingly robust.”
So says, literally, a report to be published in the Aug. 17 Current Biology on...
A project that deciphered the genetic blueprint, or genome, of melons.
The melonomics project — named for melon genomics (and not for melanoma) — ran from 2009 to 2013 in Spain and sequenced the genome of Cucumis melo, a muskmelon species that includes varieties such as cantaloupe and honeydew.
Researchers have now analyzed...
Shift work can be brutal. Working late nights, early mornings and constantly changing hours wreaks havoc on social and family life. But in our racing, 24-hour world, someone needs to keep the lights on. For years, scientists have studied just what happens when we play fast and loose with the body’s clock. A handful of new studies add to the evidence that shift work and other kinds of circadian...