Archives for May, 2013

Dr. George Chandy at the University of California, Irvine discovered a toxin in Caribbean sun anemones (see photo) in 1984 and has spent his career studying the toxin. Prior work by his team suggested that a synthetic version of a peptide (ShK-186) from the toxin may help treat autoimmune disease.  It works by blocking a…

Top 10 New Species of 2012

The top 10 new species discovered in 2012 has been announced by the International Institute of Species Exploration at Arizona State University. My favorites: The adorable tiny frog, Paedophryne amanuensis, from New Guinea that is only 7mm (pictured above on a dime). It is currently considered the smallest living vertebrate. Glow-in-the-dark cockroaches, Lucihormetica luckae, from Ecuador…

I was just digitally flipping through a new book called “Crime Against Nature“, which describes various reproductive behaviors in the animal kingdom. It is written by an artist, Gwenn Seemel, not a scientist, so I cannot vouch for the scientific accuracy of the book as a whole. However, the illustrations are quite nice and the content is seemingly scandalous,…

Dr. Kerstin Lindblad-Toh at Uppsala University (Sweden) who specializes in comparative genomics and Dr. Åke Hedhammar, SLU (Sweden) recently identified a novel gene in German shepherd dogs, PKP-2, that encodes a protein (plakophilin-2) important for regulating proper skin structure and function. This protein was found to be associated with canine atopic dermatitis (i.e. doggy eczema), a…

Bunker Bats

Scientists in Maine have converted two Cold War bunkers at Loring Air Force Base into winter havens for bats in an effort to protect the animals from the fungus that causes white nose syndrome. What is nice about using a man-made space is that they can actually clean up the area as opposed to trying to kill…

Clinging tightly

Live Science posted a story recently on the sticking power of clingfish. Northern clingfish, like the one shown in the image above, live in turbulent waters off the Pacific Coast of North America. In order to cling to surfaces, the animals have what are called adhesion discs on their bellies that they use to hold…

Darwin is the more famous of the two when it comes to thinking about who came up with the theory of evolution. However, a man named Alfred Russel Wallace co-discovered the theory. Alfred Wallace died 100 years ago. In honor of his contribution to the theory of evolution, NPR ran a wonderful story about him…