Posted: March 18th, 2013 | Author: M.Aaron Silverman | Filed under: Applied Science, Biology | Tags: Clone, Cloning, Extinction, Gastric Brooding Frog, SCNT, Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer | No Comments »
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 »»»»
Posted: October 26th, 2012 | Author: Verity Penfold | Filed under: Biology, Cankler Science News | Tags: Cane Toads, Feral Pest, FrogWatch, Metamorph Toad, Northern Territory, Tadpoles | No Comments »
A 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.
Related: Australian Marsupials Make Meal of Toxic Toads
Posted: April 29th, 2012 | Author: Marcus Dangerfield | Filed under: Biology | Tags: Carnivory, Human Evolution, Mammalian Development, Opportunistic Diet, Weaning | No Comments »
Adopting 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 »»»»
Posted: March 6th, 2012 | Author: Michael Courtenay | Filed under: Applied Science, Biology | Tags: bacteria, Bacteria Communicate, CDI Toxin | No Comments »
What 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 »»»»
Posted: March 5th, 2012 | Author: Michael Courtenay | Filed under: Biology, Cankler Science News, Chemically Engineered | Tags: Cannabis, Cannabis Blends, Marijuana, Maryjane, Skunk, Synapses, Tetrahydrocannabinol, THC, University of Bordeaux | No Comments »
In 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 »»»»
Posted: March 3rd, 2012 | Author: The Cankler | Filed under: Biology, Science News | Tags: Australia, health, Obesity, Obesity Epidemic | No Comments »
Australians are getting more obese by the day, with experts warning body fat is masking the diagnosis of other illnesses. It is causing stress on Australia’s public health system and the people who have to examine the grossly overweight bodies. South Australian forensic pathologist Roger Byard says the problem is so bad he cannot get some of his clients onto his examination tables, reports Rebecca Brice from abc.net.au.
Dr Byard says obesity is one of the most frightening epidemics he has seen in his four decades in medicine. ”We have antibiotics for infections, we have chemotherapy for cancer, so we take two steps forward but with the obesity problem we’re almost taking three steps back,” Dr Byard said.
Dr Byard says since 1986 the rate of morbidly obese bodies entering his Adelaide mortuary has risen from just over 1 per cent to almost 5 per cent. At times the bodies are so big he has to dissect them on the floor. ”We try to avoid this obviously, but if a body is so large that we can’t safely put the body on a trolley then we have to perform the autopsy on the floor, which is terribly difficult.”
The bigger the bodies, he says, the harder it is to dissect them and the harder it is to find the cause of death. ”Obesity comes with so many diseases – it’s almost how do you choose which is the problem,” he said. ”As well as the fact that they have to carry this excess weight around, their heart’s being compressed and this adipose tissue material is secreting toxins that people think actually cause death of heart cells. So they’re being attacked on all fronts.” Dr Byard said.
The problems are not confined to the morgue. Some obese hospital patients do not fit into CT scanning machines and excess fat can hinder the taking of blood using syringes, which impedes diagnosis in both the dead and the living.
Posted: February 22nd, 2012 | Author: M.Aaron Silverman | Filed under: Biology, Cankler Science News | Tags: Caryophyllaceae, Cryopreservation, Fossil, Fossil Squirrel Burrows, Permafrost, Pleistocene, Siberia, Silene Stenophylla | No Comments »
A new paper, to appear in this weeks issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, reports that fruit seeds stored away by squirrels more than 30,000 - Late Pleistocene Age - years ago, found in Siberian permafrost have been regenerated into full flowering plants by scientists in Russia. The seeds of the herbaceous Silene stenophylla plant are far and away the most ancient plant material to have been brought back to life, said lead researchers Svetlana Yashina and David Gilichinsky of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
The age of the flower was confirmed by radiocarbon dating at 31,800 years, passing the record for viable regeneration of ancient flora held at 2,000 years by date palm seeds found near the Dead Sea in Israel. The latest findings could be a landmark in research of ancient biological material, demonstrating the importance of permafrost – the natural cryopreservation of plant tissue over many thousands of years. The discovery may be invaluable to the search of ancient gene pools of pre-existing life, which hypothetically has long since vanished from the earth’s surface”, the researchers wrote. Read the full article »»»»