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Updated: 3 hours 42 min ago

Reality check for stem cell cures

Mon, 04/06/2020 - 00:00
Four decades after the first preparation of embryonic stem cells, early hopes for regenerative medicine have failed to convert to real world applications. While rogue clinics try to cash in on unproven treatments, the real cures are still in medical trials and new avenues like the use of animals as intermediate hosts are still being explored. Michael Gross reports.

A feast in the desert

Mon, 04/06/2020 - 00:00
Reduce your bulk to that of an ant and imagine that, to gain a good living, your forefathers left the overcrowded regions of the world and slowly migrated towards the emptier areas of the desert. On this journey through time and space, as the surroundings got harsher, your ancestors slowly adapted their biochemistry, morphology, physiology and behaviour over generations so that, as a well-equipped ant, you are able to enjoy the rare fruits of the desert. For the past half century, Rüdiger Wehner has studied such adaptations in carnivorous, thermophilic ants from just about every imaginable perspective.

Eugenia Chiappe

Mon, 04/06/2020 - 00:00
Interview with Eugenia Chiappe, who studies the role of self-motion estimation in the control of locomotion at the Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown.

SERKs

Mon, 04/06/2020 - 00:00
Liu et al. introduce the SERK family of receptor-like kinases.

Brassinosteroid signalling

Mon, 04/06/2020 - 00:00
In this Primer, Kim and Russinova provide an overview of brassinosteroid signalling in plants.

Traffic accident increase attributed to Daylight Saving Time doubled after Energy Policy Act

Mon, 04/06/2020 - 00:00
Martín-Olalla argues that an important factor in the association between motor vehicle fatalities and the switch to Daylight Saving Time is the timing of the switch, which in the US changed with the Energy Policy Act of 2005.

Response to Martín-Olalla

Mon, 04/06/2020 - 00:00
Vetter et al. respond to Martín-Olalla’s comment about their study linking motor vehicle fatalities to the transition to Daylight Saving Time.

Conservation: Guarding Panda Land

Mon, 04/06/2020 - 00:00
Protecting land to save biodiversity is a cornerstone of conservation. But how effective are protected areas? Two new studies on panda conservation reveal that protection is efficient and suggest ways for improving biodiversity protection.

Developmental Disorders: Few Specific Disorders and No Specific Brain Regions

Mon, 04/06/2020 - 00:00
In a large sample of children struggling to learn at school, a poor match was found between their cognitive profiles and their brain structure. Analyses of brain connectivity suggest network organisation is a better way to think about struggling learners.

Cooperation: How Vampire Bats Build Reciprocal Relationships

Mon, 04/06/2020 - 00:00
In theory, reciprocal relationships should develop gradually, to reduce the risk of helpers being exploited. In a classic case of reciprocity, vampire bats share blood with starving roost-mates. Now it transpires they share food only after first having established grooming relationships.

Evolution: Speciation by Migratory Drop-Off in Flycatchers

Mon, 04/06/2020 - 00:00
Identifying the isolating barriers that lead to species formation is challenging. New genomic, phylogenetic and life-history data in Tyrant flycatchers — the largest bird family — suggests long-distance migration contributes to reproductive isolation among closely related forms and to differential diversification across the family.

Meiosis: Location, Location, Location, How Crossovers Ensure Segregation

Mon, 04/06/2020 - 00:00
The proper behavior of homologous chromosomes at the first meiotic division is usually ensured by crossing over. A new study shows that crossover position influences the successful completion of the chromatin remodeling processes that facilitate homologous segregation

Genomes: Miniaturization Taken to Extremes

Mon, 04/06/2020 - 00:00
The genome of a second species of orthonectid, a small group of parasitic annelids that live in other invertebrates, is the smallest animal genome ever reported and the second smallest in number of genes. This drastic genome reduction has been achieved through massive gene loss and extreme compaction.

Neuroscience: A Chromatic Retinal Circuit Encodes Sunrise and Sunset for the Brain

Mon, 04/06/2020 - 00:00
A new study reveals the retinal circuit for encoding the types of light prominent at sunrise and sunset. The output of that circuit is conveyed to the brain’s master circadian clock. Subconscious processing of sky color changes may therefore be the key stimulus for conveying morning and evening information to the circadian timing system in the brain.

DNA Methylation: Mega-Year Inheritance with the Help of Darwin

Mon, 04/06/2020 - 00:00
DNA methylation in a fungal pathogen has persisted for millions of years without the enzyme that can efficiently add methyl groups de novo. This spectacular example of ‘epigenetic’ inheritance is explained by a super-efficient maintenance enzyme plus natural selection.

Reinforcement Learning: Full Glass or Empty — Depends Who You Ask

Mon, 04/06/2020 - 00:00
An extension of the prediction error theory of dopamine, imported from artificial intelligence, represents the full distribution over future rewards rather than only the average and better explains dopamine responses.

Biofilms: Managing Stress to Navigate Group Dynamics

Mon, 04/06/2020 - 00:00
To thrive in dense communities, organisms have to navigate neighbors and resources. A new study reveals that bacteria integrate cues of communal living through stress pathways. The primary source of the stress — at least for one bacterium — is a direct conflict with neighbors.

Saltatory Conduction: Jumping to New Conclusions

Mon, 04/06/2020 - 00:00
Rapid and efficient saltatory action potential conduction depends on the myelin sheath and clustered Na+ channels at nodes of Ranvier. A new study convincingly shows that the periaxonal space is a necessary conductive component to accurately model myelinated axon physiology and saltatory conduction.

Dopamine Signaling in the Suprachiasmatic Nucleus Enables Weight Gain Associated with Hedonic Feeding

Mon, 04/06/2020 - 00:00
(Current Biology 30, 196–208.e1–e8; January 20, 2020)

Motor Control: Swim Harder, Faster, Stronger

Mon, 04/06/2020 - 00:00
(Current Biology 30, R229–R232; March 9, 2020)

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