If you are reading this, you did not start your life by hatching from an egg. This is one of the many traits that you share with our mammalian relatives. A new paper in this weeks PLoS Biology explores the genetic changes that led mammals to feed their young via the placenta and with milk, rather then via the egg, and finds that these changes occurred fairly gradually in our evolutionary history. The paper shows that milk-protein genes arose in a common ancestor of all existing mammalian lineages and preceded the loss of the genes that encoded egg proteins.
Des Moines, Iowa, USA March 18, 2008 A group of some 15 chimpanzees isolated in a pocket of Rwandan rain forest will have a greater range and, thus, greater chances for survival thanks to one of Africas most ambitious forest restoration and ecological research efforts ever. Organizers of the project, named the Rwandan National Conservation Park, said today that a 30-mile (50km) tree corridor will be planted to connect the Gishwati Forest Reserve, the chimpanzees home range, to Nyungwe National Park.
Male songbirds produce a subtly different tune when they are courting a female than when they are singing on their own. Now, new research offers a window into the effect this has on females, showing they have an ear for detail. The finding provides insights not only into the intricacies of songbird attraction and devotion but also into the way in which the brain develops and responds to social cues, in birds and humans.
The study is reported in the March 18 issue of PLoS Biology by researchers at University of California, San Francisco.
NEW YORK, March 17, 2008 Children with an inherited blood disorder called alpha thalassemia make unusually small red blood cells that mostly cause a mild form of anemia. Now, researchers have discovered that this disorder has a benefit—it can protect children against one of the worlds greatest killers, malaria, according to a new study.
Chikungunya virus, an infectious agent transmitted by mosquitoes, appears seldom to harm infants of mothers infected early in pregnancy, but can frequently cause serious problems, including lasting brain injury, in babies born to mothers who acquire the virus near the time of delivery, according to a study in PLoS Medicine.
The rapid growth of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in London during the late 1990s was driven in part by transmission of the AIDS virus within clusters of sexual contacts, with individuals frequently passing the virus to others within months after becoming infected themselves, according to research published in PLoS Medicine by Andrew Leigh Brown and colleagues at the University of Edinburgh and Londons Chelsea and Westminster Hospital.
With human activity pushing more and more species to the brink of extinction--species abundance has declined by 40% between 1970 and 2000 alone--the need to protect biodiversity has never been more urgent. In a new essay published this week in the open-access journal PLoS Biology, conservation biologist Luigi Boitani and his colleagues argue that the next meeting of the World Conservation Congress in October is the perfect opportunity to codify policies that can make significant gains in biodiversity conservation and stanch the loss of species, habitat, and ecosystem services.
Working from home reduces stress in office workers but leads to fears about career progression, according to new research announced today (Tuesday, March 18).
The findings, led by Durham Business School, Durham University, showed that home workers worried about missing-out on water-cooler networking where potential opportunities for moving up the ladder are discussed informally in the office.
Bacteria can be used to engineer genetic modifications, thereby providing scientists with a tool to combat many challenges in areas from food production to drug discovery. However, this sophisticated technology can also be used maliciously, raising the threat of engineered pathogens. New research published in the online open access journal Genome Biology shows that computational tools could become a vital resource for detecting rogue genetically engineered bacteria in environmental samples.