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Extinct Gastric Brooding Frog Brought Back From Extinction

Posted: March 18th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Applied Science, Biology | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on Extinct Gastric Brooding Frog Brought Back From Extinction

Gastic Brooding Frog

A frog that can swallow its eggs, brood its young in its gut and give birth through its mouth. The gastric Brooding Frog has been extinct for more than 30 years ago, but the extraordinary amphibian is about to be un-extinct.

In a world first, a team of Australian scientists has taken the first major step in bringing it back to life. They have successfully reactivated its DNA and produced a viable embryo.

The scientists located a frozen carcasses and have been able to recover tissue from the Gastric Brooding Frog. Using a technique known as SCNT, somatic cell nuclear transfer – creating a clone embryo with a donor nucleus – they implanted the long-dead cell nucleus from the extinct species into a fresh egg from related frog :: Read the full article »»»»


Toad Toxin Turned Against Tadpoles

Posted: October 26th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Biology, Cankler Science News | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on Toad Toxin Turned Against Tadpoles

Cane Toad Toxin Turned Against It's Own Tadpoles - image via - National GeograpicA group of researchers in the Northern Territory say they may have discovered a simple way to combat one of northern Australia’s most invasive pests, the cane toad. FrogWatch is conducting field studies in waterways across Darwin on ways to cut down numbers of the troublesome toad, which was originally introduced to Australia to control the cane beetle.

Group coordinator Graeme Sawyer says a variety of tadpole traps are being used, the most successful trap contains toxins which attract tadpoles, trapping them inside. “We may be able to eradicate tadpoles completely out of places,” Mr Sawyer said. “We couldn’t do that before.”

A single trap collected more than 16,000 tadpoles in just a few days. Mr Sawyer says the toxin was made from the toads. “We’ve been harvesting it straight out of toads: putting the toad in a plastic sandwich bag, popping the glands like you would a pimple and then just putting the bags in the freezer,” he said.

Mr Sawyer says the traps could be a way for residents to help fight the toad. In our first trial the tadpole traps captured all of the tadpoles in a backyard pond and no metamorph toads – small toads newly emerged from the tadpole stage – were seen at the site. In the second trial the traps collected 16116 tadpoles and just 67 metamorphs were collected from the site. The group is hoping to eradicate the Cane Toad from the Northern Territory.

Checkout: www.frogwatch.org.au

Related: Australian Marsupials Make Meal of Toxic Toads


The Impact of Carnivory on Human Evolution

Posted: April 29th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Biology | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on The Impact of Carnivory on Human Evolution

The Impact of Carnivory on Human EvolutionAdopting an opportunistic diet may have contributed to the evolutionary success of our ancestors by allowing them to have more children.

It seems that our diet as well as our large brain, long life span and high fertility are key elements that made humans an evolutionary success. In a new study published in the journal PLoS ONE, researchers have now shown that by becoming omnivores, our ancestors were able to give birth to a greater number of offspring.

The specific impact of carnivory on human evolution, life history and development remains controversial. Researchers say they have shown in quantitative terms that dietary profile is a key factor influencing time to weaning across a wide taxonomic range of mammals, including humans :: Read the full article »»»»


Bacteria Communicate By Touch

Posted: March 6th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Applied Science, Biology | Tags: , , | Comments Off on Bacteria Communicate By Touch

Bacteria Communicate By TouchWhat if bacteria could talk to each other? What if they had a sense of touch? A new study by researchers at UC Santa Barbara suggests both, and theorizes that such cells may, in fact, need to communicate in order to perform certain functions. The findings appear today in the journal Genes & Development. Christopher Hayes, UCSB associate professor of molecular, cellular, and development biology, teamed with graduate students Elie Diner, Christina Beck, and Julia Webb to study uropathogenic E. coli (UPEC), which causes urinary tract infections in humans. They discovered a sibling-like link between cell systems that have largely been thought of as rivals. The paper shows that bacteria expressing a contact – dependent growth inhibition system CDI – can inhibit bacteria without such a system only if the target bacteria have CysK, a metabolic enzyme required for synthesis of the amino acid cysteine. CysK is shown to bind to the CDI toxin – an enzyme that breaks RNA ó and activate it.

For a cell system typically thought of as existing only to kill other bacteria – as CDIs have largely been – the results are surprising, said Hayes, because they suggest that a CDI+ inhibitor cell has to get permission from its target in order to do the job. Read the full article »»»»


How Maryjane Makes You Forget

Posted: March 5th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Biology, Cankler Science News, Chemically Engineered | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on How Maryjane Makes You Forget

How Maryjane Makes You ForgetIn their latest übercool posting, the journal Cell is reporting that researchers have discovered how maryjane – marijuana – disrupts short term memory. The researchers have picked-up on previously overlooked brain cells that have a crucial role in memory formation. The drug impairs users’ working memory – the ability to retain and use information over short periods of time. Neuroscientists Giovanni Marsicano of the University of Bordeaux, France, and Xia Zhang of the University of Ottawa Institute of Mental Health Research now show that this common side effect occurs because of a previously unknown signalling mechanism between neurons and non-neuronal cells called astrocytes.

The psychoactive ingredient of marijuana is tetrahydrocannabinol – THC. Using microelectrodes implanted into the brains of anaesthetized rats, the researchers found that the compound weakens the connections, or synapses, between neurons in the hippocampus, a structure that is crucial for memory formation. Read the full article »»»»