The secret behind male ornaments

The longer the sword of the male (bottom), the greater the chances of its bearer being interested by a female (top). In the swordtail fish (Xiphophorus hellerii), scientists have now identified the genetic basis of sword growth. Credit: Georg Schneider / University of Würzburg In many species, males have eye-catching characteristics. Although often impractical, they […]

A gene from ancient bacteria helps ticks spread Lyme disease — ScienceDaily

One of the reasons ticks spread Lyme disease so well goes back to a unique evolutionary event. Researchers reporting in the journal Cell on December 10 have discovered that an antibacterial enzyme in ticks, Dae2, protects them from bacteria found on human skin, while still allowing them to harbor Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacterium that causes […]

MGB study finds majority of COVID-19 patients died in hospital

There have been over 280,000 deaths in the United States due to COVID-19, with the infectious nature of the disease preventing many patients from receiving end-of-life care at home. Researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and collaborators found that 95.5 percent of individuals who died with a diagnosis of COVID-19 in the Mass General Brigham […]

Bacteria can travel from one continent to another in atmospheric dust particles

Figure 1. Sequence of iberulite formation in the atmosphere with bacterial involvement (left) and the appearance of an iberulite under electron microscopy (right). Credit: Atmospheric Research Researchers from the University of Granada (UGR) have discovered that some microorganisms, such as bacteria, can travel from one continent to another ‘hidden’ in atmospheric dust. Scientists from the […]

Human egg cells are imperfect surprisingly often — ScienceDaily

More than 7% of human oocytes contain at least one exchangeless chromosome pair, demonstrating a remarkably high level of meiotic recombination failure, finds a study appearing December 10 in the American Journal of Human Genetics. The findings suggest that right from the get-go of human egg cell development, a striking proportion of oocytes are predestined […]

Low blood pressure during hemodialysis may indicate peripheral vascular disease

Using a large nationwide registry of patients receiving maintenance hemodialysis, this study published in the American Journal of Kidney Diseases found that higher frequency of low blood pressure episodes during hemodialysis was associated with a higher incidence of diagnosed peripheral arterial disease. Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a condition characterized by progressive atherosclerotic narrowing or […]

Fan mussel larval dispersal is decisive for the future of an endangered species

Protecting the marine areas that distribute larvae will be decisive for the future of the species in the Mediterranean. Credit: Diego Kersting, UB-IRBio Fan mussel populations—the biggest bivalve mussel in the Mediterranean—are endangered due to the severe parasitosis caused by the protozoan Haplospridium pinnae since 2016. Now, a study published in the journal Frontiers in […]

Sea urchins stuck belly-up in low-oxygen hot water — ScienceDaily

As oceans warm and become more acidic and oxygen-poor, Smithsonian researchers asked how marine life on a Caribbean coral reef copes with changing conditions. “During my study, water temperatures on reefs in Bocas del Toro, Panama, reached an alarming high of almost 33 degrees C (or 91 degrees F), temperatures that would make most of […]

Sea star listed as critically endangered following research by Oregon State University

IMAGE: Sunflower sea star view more  Credit: Janna Nichols CORVALLIS, Ore. – The iconic sunflower sea star has been listed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature following a groundbreaking population study led by Oregon State University and The Nature Conservancy. “These sea stars used to be easy to find and were […]

Chinese capsule with moon rocks begins return to Earth

This graphic simulation image provided by China National Space Administration shows the orbiter and returner combination of China’s Chang’e-5 probe after its separation from the ascender, at the Beijing Aerospace Control Center (BACC) in Beijing Sunday, Dec. 6, 2020. The Chinese probe that landed on the moon transferred rocks to an orbiter Sunday in preparation […]