Researchers in France found that rats who ate junk food during pregnancy had heavier pups that strongly preferred fat straight after weaning. However, a balanced diet in childhood seemed to reduce the pups' desire for fat. The pups also showed altered brain reward circuitry into adulthood. The findings could have implications for childhood nutrition and obesity in Western countries.
Mice exposed to scents of mint or fresh cut grass before and shortly after birth show increased responses in a specific population of odor-processing neurons to a variety of odors, according to new research published in eNeuro. The study demonstrates how early experience shapes the brain's processing of the sense of smell.
In a study whose embargo lifts Sept. 25, Washington University in St. Louis scientists along with a Canadian biologist learn that brainier birds are better able to colonize inhospitable places, among other findings.
The brain plays an active role much earlier than previously thought. Long before movement or other behaviors occur, the nascent brain of an embryonic frog instructs normal muscle and nerve patterning and protects the embryo from agents that cause developmental defects. In addition to identifying these essential functions for the first time, Tufts researchers successfully rescued defects caused by lack of a brain by using widely available, human-approved drugs.
By taking videos of a tiny beating zebrafish heart as it reconstructs its covering in a petri dish, scientists have captured unexpected dynamics of cells involved in tissue regeneration. They found that the depleted heart tissue regenerates in a wave, led by a front of fast-moving, supersized cells and trailed by smaller cells that multiply to produce others. The nature of this wavefront is determined by mechanical tension on the cells.
Tiny fish called Trinidadian guppies have individual 'personalities', new research shows.
Plant-pollinator relationships are vital to our natural and agricultural ecosystems, with an incredible amount of food crops worldwide dependent on plant-pollinator interaction success. But the advancement of climate change is disrupting plant-pollinator relationships. A special issue of Applications in Plant Sciences -- Studying Plant-Pollinator Interactions Facing Climate Change and Changing Environments -- explores the creative methods being used by researchers to study the effects of climate change on plant-pollinator relationships.
Fresh analysis of how our cells store and manage DNA when they undergo cell division could give valuable insights into a rare developmental condition known as Cornelia de Lange syndrome.
A genus of Australian ants, many of whose members prefer to forage in blistering temperatures of up to 50°C (122°F), is revised to include 74 new species. The ants include seed-eaters, ant and termite raiders, 'honeypot ants' that store nectar and honeydew, and numerous others whose biology is not yet understood. Some are bizarre: one species has eyes like inverted ice-cream cones. The revision is published in the open-access journal ZooKeys.
In a major step forward, scientists at CSHLtoday publish a discovery about the molecular-genetic basis of neuronal cell types. Neurons are the basic building blocks that wire up brain circuits supporting mental activities and behavior. The study, which involves sophisticated computational analysis of the messages transcribed from genes that are active in a neuron, points to patterns of cell-to-cell communication as the core feature that makes possible rigorous distinctions among neuron types across the mouse brain.