Recent research has revealed that by feeding spiders to their chicks, birds can manipulate the personality and learning ability of their young. In a report recently published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, University of Glasgow researchers reveal that birds preferentially feed their young spiders containing taurine.
Taurine is an amino acid which is also found in breast milk and energy drinks. The beneficial qualities of taurine include aiding the development of premature babies and reducing blood pressure in human adults, but it has not previously been known how taurine influences the development of birds.
By comparing the behaviour of wild blue tits that were fed a taurine supplement, mimicking a diet rich in spiders, with blue tits that were not, researchers were able to observe the long term impacts of this vital nutrient.
Sleep disorder and ear, nose and throat specialists at Thomas Jefferson University are examining an innovative procedure to treat obstructive sleep apnea syndrome.
The bacteria that cause brucellosis can sense light and use the information to regulate their virulence, according to a study in the August 24 issue of the journal Science. The discovery comes after 120 years of research into the disease, which causes abortions in livestock and fevers in humans. Researchers found that two other bacteria, including a species that attacks plants, sense light using the same type of protein structure, and at least 94 more species possess the code for it in their DNA.
The Johns Hopkins scientist who first showed that the absence of the protein myostatin leads to oversized muscles in mice and men has now found a second protein, follistatin, whose overproduction in mice lacking myostatin doubles the muscle-building effect.
A new poisonous frog was recently discovered in a remote mountainous region in Colombia by a team of young scientists supported by the Conservation Leadership Programme (CLP). The new frog, which is almost two centimetres in length, was given the name the “golden frog of Supatá.”
One of the strangest and most endangered birds in the world, the kakapo, is being brought back from the brink of extinction with the help of scientists from the University of Glasgow.