News Round-Up October 5th-11th

Bioscience news 1

Hello, and welcome to the #bioscisews round-up! This is the place where you can find all the important biosci new stories from the past week, in a short, digestible paragraph.

This week’s news

Pitcher plants’ ant trap. Until recently, carnivorous plants fell into two classes, active and passive, based on how they ‘receive’ their prey. Venus fly traps are an example of ‘active’ carnivorous plants, while all pitcher plants were thought to be ‘passive’. However a species of pitcher plant has now been classified as a ‘free energy’ species, as it uses the force of raindrops hitting its unique lid, to fling ants into its pitcher for digestion.

ants crawling on a pitcher plant leaf

Image Source

Mammals flourish at Chernobyl. The human exclusion zone around the Chernobyl nuclear reactor is acting as the perfect method of creating a virtually human free nature reserve, and a long-term study has found that mammals appear to be flourishing under these conditions.

Roe deer near Chernobyl nuclear power plant (c) Tatyana Deryabina

Image Source

Decline of the cactus? A global study has concluded that almost one third of cactus species are under threat, due to over harvesting, slow growth and small distribution range.

Carnegiea gigantea (Image: Craig Hilton-Taylor)

Image Source

Hope you enjoyed this week’s news round-up, thanks for reading!

Stewart Barker                                                                                                                   The University of Sheffield                                                                                                     @Stewart_Barker

Advertisements

News Round-Up August 16th-22nd

Bioscience news 1

Hello, and welcome to the #bioscisews round-up! This is the place where you can find all the important biosci new stories from the past week, in a short, digestible paragraph.

This week’s news

Publication of the California two-spot octopus genome. This was an investigation into the unique neural and morphological features of cephalopods, and has lead to some speculation of the evolution of brains in non-mammals.

Image source

Novel regenerative cell line discovered in mouse livers. After the previous discovery that cells are thought to differentiate into new hepatocytes (therefore having the ability to repair the liver), they actually differentiated into a different cell type. And the hunt was on for the progenitor cells. This study suggests they have been found in the liver of mice!

hybrid hepatocyets

Image Source

Ancient cats outcompeted ancient dogs. Actually, it’s not as simple as that. The diversification of ancient carnivores in North America was heavily affected by other carnivorous families. At least two families of canids (dogs), were outcompeted by other canids, and felids (Cats), which then proliferated further in their absence, affecting the canid species present today. So it’s not a case of cats versus dogs, it’s more of a carnivorous free-for-all!

Image Source

Book pages that clean water. The ‘Drinkable Book’ contains both a guide on why water should be filtered, with pages that can be removed and used to purify a reported 100 L of water. The paper contains nanoparticles of copper and silver, commonly used in hospitals for their antibacterial properties.

A man leafing through the book

Image Source

20 year old frozen sperm helps to save a critically endangered ferret species. In a remarkable effort to save the critically endangered black-footed ferret, conservationists have produced highly important, genetically variable offspring from artificial insemination using sperm frozen 20 years ago. This is impressive from a technological perspective, as it shows that artificial insemination with 20 year old sperm is possible, raising hopes for other endangered species. Additionally, not relying on the current small pool of genetic diversity but instead mixing in some diversity from several generations back, can offer some increased diversity and prevent potential deadly genetic bottlenecks commonly seen in species brought back from the brink of extinction.

Image Source

Hope you enjoyed this week’s news round-up, thanks for reading!

Stewart Barker                                                                                                                   The University of Sheffield                                                                                                     @Stewart_Barker

Julie Blommaert                                                                                                             @Julie_B92

Kakapo: The Owl Parrot

Glancing through the Internet, as I do many times a day, I came across an interesting website: the ARKive. It is a non-profit initiative dedicated to providing public awareness and education about the conservation of many diverse species across the World. It was created by the charity Wildscreen, initially to record and document the wonders of all species found on Earth. They work alongside Google, WWF and IUCN to ensure there is a free resource accessible to everyone, detailing the features and fascinating personalities of the many species with live amongst. ARKive recently celebrated their 10th Anniversary, and to mark the event, they decided to hold a vote for the World’s most favourite species. And the number 1 choice was a species I knew very little about, so I thought I’d share my findings with you…

Continue reading