Body

Effector proteins are the bad guys that help bacterial pathogens do their job of infecting the host by crippling the body's immune system. In essence, they knock down the front door of resistance and disarm the cell's alarm system.

The discovery of a flexible genetic coding in leaf-cutting ants sheds new light on how one of nature's ultimate self-organising species breeds optimum numbers of each worker type to ensure the smooth running of the colony. W.O.H HughesResearch at the University of Leeds shows that despite an inherited genetic pre-disposition to grow into a particular worker caste, ant larvae can be triggered by environmental stimuli to switch development depending on colony's workforce needs.

Male uakariResearchers at Ohio University have found that after primates evolved the ability to see red, they began to develop red and orange skin and hair.

Childhood obesity is widely recognised as a major contributor towards cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, sleep disorders, and psychological and social problems. The China National Nutrition and Health survey in 2002 revealed that the prevalence of overweight individuals has increased overall by 39% in the past ten years.

Researchers at Boston Medical Center (BMC) and Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) have found that persons infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), who also have alcohol problems, were negatively affected by co-infection with the hepatitis C virus (HCV). These findings appear in the June issue of Alcoholism: Clinical Experimental Research.

The vast majority of chemotherapy errors identified in children reach patients, according to one of the first epidemiological studies of cancer drug errors in children. Published in the July 1, 2007 issue of CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, the study concluded that the antimetabolite class of chemotherapeutic agents are most likely associated with errors, and that errors in drug administration and errors in drug dosing and frequency were the most common mistakes made and consequently, the most potentially harmful.

Rains are back, and we hardly remember how dry it was a couple of weeks ago. Usually, we do not associate moist tropical forests with drought, but during the ‘verano' it gets astonishingly dry in most Panamanian lowland forests, just as in many tropical forests worldwide: Plants suffer from drought, they grow slower, wilt and even die.credit: STRI

Why are there no Unicorns?

Perhaps horses develop in a way that cannot be easily modified to produce a Unicorn, so such creatures have never arisen. Or maybe Unicorn-like animals have been born in the past but because there is no advantage for a horse to have a horn, such creatures did not thrive and were weeded out by natural selection.

In a fundamental discovery that someday may help cure type 1 diabetes by allowing people to grow their own insulin-producing cells for a damaged or defective pancreas, medical researchers here have reported that they have engineered adult stem cells derived from human umbilical cord blood to produce insulin.

Their paper cites six years of research and calls it "the first demonstration that human umbilical cord blood-derived stem cells can be engineered" to synthesize insulin.

During the first 24 hours of invasion by the malaria-inducing parasite Plasmodium falciparum, red blood cells start to lose their ability to deform and squeeze through tiny blood vessels-one of the hallmarks of the deadly disease that infects nearly 400 million people each year. Now, an international team of researchers led by an MIT professor has demonstrated just why that happens.