Biology

Dyeing to Learn More About Marine Viruses

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Tagging strategy allows for population surveys.
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The sheer volume of cyanobacteria in the oceans makes them major players in the global carbon cycle and responsible for as much as a third of the carbon fixed. These photosynthetic microbes, which include Prochlorococcus and Synechococcus, are tiny – as many as 100 million cells can be found in a single liter of water – and yet they are not the most abundant entities on Earth. That distinction goes to viruses, up to 100 million of which can be found per 1 mL of seawater.

Sequencing of five African fishes reveals diverse molecular mechanisms underlying evolution

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Researchers have sequenced the genomes and transcriptomes of five species of African cichlid fishes and uncovered a variety of features that enabled the fishes to thrive in new habitats and ecological niches within the Great Lakes of East Africa.
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Researchers have sequenced the genomes and transcriptomes of five species of African cichlid fishes and uncovered a variety of features that enabled the fishes to thrive in new habitats and ecological niches within the Great Lakes of East Africa.

The study helps explain the genetic basis for the incredible diversity among cichlid fishes and provides new information about vertebrate evolution. The genomic information from the study will help answer questions about human biology and disease.

Study shows cellular RNA can template DNA repair in yeast

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Scientists have shown that RNA from within cells of a common yeast can serve as a template for repairing DNA.
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The ability to accurately repair DNA damaged by spontaneous errors, oxidation or mutagens is crucial to the survival of cells. This repair is normally accomplished by using an identical or homologous intact sequence of DNA, but scientists have now shown that RNA produced within cells of a common budding yeast can serve as a template for repairing the most devastating DNA damage – a break in both strands of a DNA helix.

Marine protected areas might not be enough to help overfished reefs recover

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Pacific corals and fish can both smell a bad neighborhood, and use that ability to avoid settling in damaged reefs.
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Damaged coral reefs emit chemical cues that repulse young coral and fish, discouraging them from settling in the degraded habitat, according to new research. The study shows for the first time that coral larvae can smell the difference between healthy and damaged reefs when they decide where to settle.

Study in 'Science' finds missing piece of biogeochemical puzzle in aquifers

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A study in Science may dramatically shift our understanding of the complex dance of microbes and minerals that takes place in aquifers deep underground.
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Written by Argonne National Labs

A study published in Science by researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory and co-authored by Georgia Tech may dramatically shift our understanding of the complex dance of microbes and minerals that takes place in aquifers deep underground. This dance affects groundwater quality, the fate of contaminants in the ground and the emerging science of carbon sequestration.

Study of animal urination could lead to better-engineered products

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Despite a wide range of bladder sizes, all animals more than 6 pounds urinate in the same time span.
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Sir Isaac Newton probably wasn’t thinking about how animals urinate when he was developing his laws of gravity. But they are connected – by the urethra, to be specific.

How red tide knocks out its competition

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New research reveals how the algae behind red tide thoroughly disables – but doesn’t kill – other species of algae.
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New research reveals how the algae behind red tide thoroughly disables – but doesn’t kill – other species of algae. The study shows how chemical signaling between algae can trigger big changes in the marine ecosystem.

Evolution in Species May Reverse Predator-Prey Population Cycles

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Co-evolution in species may reverse traditional predator-prey population cycles, creating the appearance that prey are eating the predators.
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Populations of predators and their prey usually follow predictable cycles. When the number of prey increases, perhaps as their food supply becomes more abundant, predator populations also grow.

When the predator population becomes too large, however, the prey population often plummets, leaving too little food for the predators, whose population also then crashes. This canonical view of predator-prey relationships was first identified by mathematical biologists Alfred Lotka and Vito Volterra in the 1920s and 1930s.

Seeing Double: New Study Explains Evolution of Duplicate Genes

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A process called DNA methylation can shield duplicate genes from being removed from the genome during natural selection.
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Fish From Acidic Ocean Waters Less Able to Smell Predators

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Fish living on coral reefs where carbon dioxide seeps from the ocean floor were less able to detect predator odor than fish from normal coral reefs, according to a new study.
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