The scientific community is stunned by research which backs an Australian Aboriginal legend on how coastal palm trees got to Central Australia. Tasmanian ecologist Professor David Bowman did DNA tests on palm seeds from the outback, and his conclusion is startling :: Read the full article »»»»
The discovery offers clues about how to turn on brain sensitivity to leptin and insulin, hormones that turn off appetite.
Researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center have revealed how a mutation in a single gene is responsible for the inability of neurons to effectively pass along appetite suppressing signals from the body to the right place in the brain. What results is obesity caused by a voracious appetite.
Their study, published March 18th on Nature Medicine‘s website, suggests there might be a way to stimulate expression of that gene to treat obesity caused by uncontrolled eating.
The research team specifically found that a mutation in the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (Bdnf) gene in mice does not allow brain neurons to effectively pass leptin and insulin chemical signals through the brain. In humans, these hormones, which are released in the body after a person eats, are designed to “tell” the body to stop eating. But if the signals fail to reach correct locations in the hypothalamus, the area in the brain that signals satiety, eating continues. Read the full article »»»»
That behemoth of knowledge, Scientific American has an ubercool new post on genetics: Honeybees (Apis mellifera) are more than cookie-cutter drones, workers, foragers and queens. They might have individual personality differences similar to our own, according to new research.
After studying hives—both in the wild and in the lab—and analyzing genetic and biochemical profiles of bees’ brains, researchers have found that some bees, like some humans, seem to be programmed to seek out new experiences, or novelty.
Forager bees are in charge of gathering food outside of the hive, but not all of these bees, it seems, are inclined to strike out and go exploring for new flowers. Only a subset of them – some five to 25 percent – actively scout out new pollen sources. The rest of the foragers simply follow these adventurers’ bee dances to find the food. A similar division happens when a group of bees set out in a swarm to start a new hive. In a swarm, less than five percent of foragers acted as nest scouts—independently searching for a suitable new home.
The researchers wanted to see if these scouting groups overlapped, which would indicate an underlying tendency of a subgroup of bees to seek out the new. And if some bees are striking out for novel finds in different circumstances, that, they argued, would be evidence that these bees have an essential “personality” difference from their fellow foragers. Read the full article »»»»
image source: zachary huang/beetography.com