Biology

Dr. Brian Hammer and colleagues awarded a grant to reboot the gut using bacterial dueling

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Brian Hammer and colleagues awarded grant to pursue high-risk, high reward research
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The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and Research Corporation for Science Advancement awarded 5 grants totaling $731k to teams of researchers pursuing "ambitious, high-risk, highly impactful discovery research on untested ideas in physical cell biology."

Easy on the eyes: How eyelash length keeps your eyes healthy

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Study finds that animals and humans have similar lash length
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It started with a trip to the basement of the American Museum of Natural History in New York to inspect preserved animal hides. Later, Georgia Institute of Technology researchers built a wind tunnel about 2 feet tall, complete with a makeshift eye. By putting both steps together, the team discovered that 22 species of mammals – from humans, to hedgehogs, to giraffes ­– are the same: their eyelash length is one-third the width of their eye.

Study details impact of Deepwater Horizon oil spill on beach microbial communities

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When oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill first began washing ashore on Pensacola Municipal Beach in June 2010, populations of sensitive microorganisms, including those that capture sunlight or fix nitrogen from the air, began to decline. At the same time, organisms able to digest light components of the oil began to multiply, starting the process of converting the pollutant to carbon dioxide and biomass.

Ribose-seq identifies and locates ribonucleotides in genomic DNA

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Researchers have developed and tested a new technique that allows them to determine the full profile of ribonucleotides -- RNA fragments -- embedded in genomic DNA.
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Ribonucleotides, units of RNA, can become embedded in genomic DNA during processes such as DNA replication and repair, affecting the stability of the genome by contributing to DNA fragility and mutability. Scientists have known about the presence of ribonucleotides in DNA, but until now had not been able to determine exactly what they are and where they are located in the DNA sequences.

Fish use chemical camouflage from diet to hide from predators

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A species of small fish uses a homemade coral-scented cologne to hide from predators, a new study has shown, providing the first evidence of chemical camouflage from diet in fish.
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A species of small fish uses a homemade coral-scented cologne to hide from predators, a new study has shown, providing the first evidence of chemical camouflage from diet in fish.

Georgia Tech Biologist Opens the Discover Science Center

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This summer, Tonya Shearer, research scientist in the School of Biology, opened the Discover Science Center (DSC), a science enrichment lab serving the metro-Atlanta area.
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By Hannah Ackermann

 
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Tonya Shearer with students this summer

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.

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