We all know that light effects the growth and development of plants, but what effect does light have on humans and animals? A new paper by Nathalie Hoang et al., published in PLoS Biology, explores this question by examining cryptochromes in flies, mice, and humans. In plants, cryptochromes are photoreceptor proteins which absorb and process blue light for functions such as growth, seedling development, and leaf and stem expansion. Cryptochromes are present in humans and animals as well and have been proven to regulate the mechanisms of the circadian clock. But how they work in humans and animals is still somewhat of a mystery.
Endangered migratory whales will be faced with shrinking crucial Antarctic foraging zones which will contain less food and will be further away, a new analysis of the impacts of climate change on Southern Ocean whales has found.
A cold slice of watermelon has long been a Fourth of July holiday staple. But according to recent studies, the juicy fruit may be better suited for Valentine’s Day. That’s because scientists say watermelon has ingredients that deliver Viagra-like effects to the body’s blood vessels and may even increase libido.
A detailed analysis of data from nearly 50 years of weekly fish-trawl surveys in Narragansett Bay and adjacent Rhode Island Sound has revealed a long-term shift in species composition, which scientists attribute primarily to the effects of global warming.
Ground-breaking technology that will enable biologists to identify and monitor large numbers of endangered animals, from butterflies to whales, without being captured, will be shown to the public for the first time at this year’s Royal Society Summer Science exhibition [30 June to 3 July].
Researchers at New York University’s Center for Developmental Genetics report that the photoreceptors in an insect’s eye can change their traditional functions during metamorphosis. The researchers found that when photoreceptors responsible for detecting the color green die off during metamorphosis a second class of photoreceptors–those responsible for detecting the color blue–then fill the role of detecting the color green. These rare switches, the authors speculate, are likely the result of changing life patterns.
Measuring and testing the teeth of living primates could provide a window into the behavior of the earliest human ancestors, based on their fossilized remains. Research funded by the National Science Foundation and led by University of Arkansas anthropologist Michael Plavcan takes us one step closer to understanding the relationship between canine teeth, body size and the lives of primates.