In its ability to learn, the cockroach is a moron in the morning and a genius in the evening. Dramatic daily variations in the cockroach’s learning ability were discovered by a new study performed by Vanderbilt University biologists and published online recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Stephan C. Schuster and Webb Miller of Penn State, working with Thomas Gilbert from Copenhagen and a large international consortium, discovered that hair shafts provide an ideal source of ancient DNA — a better source than bones and muscle for studying the genome sequences of extinct animals. Their research achievement, described in a paper to be published in the journal Science on Sept. 28, includes the sequencing of entire mitochondrial genomes from 10 individual woolly mammoths.
The production of melanin in our skin helps protect us from the sun’s rays, but it also helps protect invertebrate animals — in their case, by encapsulating attacking fungi and parasites.
Researchers have completed the whole-genome sequence of Deinococcus geothermalis, which is only the second extremely radiation- and desiccation-resistant bacterium to be sequenced.
Scientists have discovered how the zebrafish (Danio rerio) develops one of its four stripes of pigment cells. Their findings add to the growing list of tasks carried out by an important molecule that is involved in the arrangement of everything from nerve cells to reproductive cells in the developing embryo.