Using a highly-detailed musculoskeletal model of an echidna forelimb, Harvard scientists are not only shedding new light on how the little-studied echidna's forelimb works, but are also opening a window into understanding how extinct mammals might have used their forelimbs.
In optogenetics, researchers use light to control protein activity. This technique allows them to alter the shape of embryonic tissue and to inhibit the development of abnormalities. Now, scientists in EMBL's De Renzis group have enhanced the technique to stop organ-shaping processes in fruit fly embryos. Their results, published in The EMBO Journal, allow control over a crucial step in embryonic development.
Children born prematurely often experience serious problems with the gastrointestinal tract and therefore have increased risk of developing life-threatening bowel infection. Now researchers from the University of Copenhagen have shown, in a study on pigs, that transplantation of faeces from healthy pigs changes the bowel's bacterial composition in those born prematurely and protects them from the fatal bowel disease necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC).
A study using animal-attached technology to measure food consumption in four very different wild vertebrates has revealed that animals using a high-risk strategy to find rarer food are particularly susceptible to becoming extinct, as they fail to gather food for their young before they starve.
Researchers from Washington University in St. Louis have mapped the regions of the brain in mormyrid fish in extremely high detail. The new measurements can help illuminate longstanding questions in neuroanatomy. As brains get bigger, do all regions of the brain scale up in a predictable way? Or does natural selection act independently on separate regions of the brain -- such that certain parts of the brain become enlarged in animals that have extra reasons to use them?
The first Human Cell Atlas study of early pregnancy in humans has shown how the maternal immune system is affected by cells from the developing placenta. Researchers mapped over 70,000 single cells at the junction of the uterus and placenta, revealing how cells talk to each other to modify the immune response and enable pregnancy. Published in Nature, this will help understand successful pregnancy, and what can go wrong during miscarriages or pre-eclampsia.
University of Wisconsin-Madison scientists have made a fresh attempt to untangle the scorpion family tree using not the shape and structure of the arachnids' bodies, but the shape of their venom.
Antibodies against dengue virus make it easier for Zika to infect certain immune cells in the placenta, called Hofbauer cells.
Two new studies provide evidence that previous Dengue infection in pregnant mothers may lead to increased severity of Zika in babies, and that previous Zika infection in mice mothers may increase severity of Dengue infection in their pups. The research, publishing Nov. 14 in the journal Cell Host & Microbe, supports that maternally acquired antibodies for one virus can assist infection by the other by a process unique to flaviviruses.
A Rutgers-led experimental study found that women prefer and invest more in daughters, while men favor and invest more in their sons. The study of gender biases appears in the journal Scientific Reports.