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Bioscience News
Today's biological science headlines from the sources selected by our team:

Nature's tiny engineers: Corals control their environment, stirring up water eddies to bring nutrients
Conventional wisdom has long held that corals -- whose calcium-carbonate skeletons form the foundation of coral reefs -- are passive organisms that rely entirely on ocean currents to deliver dissolved substances, such as nutrients and oxygen. But now scientists have found that they are far from passive, engineering their environment to sweep water into turbulent patterns that greatly enhance their ability to exchange nutrients and dissolved gases with their environment.
Plants & Animals News -- ScienceDaily, Tue, 02 Sep 2014 20:58:56 GMT

Mom's hormones could make female magpie chicks more adventurous
Female magpies have been shown to be more adventurous than their male siblings, according to new research. “The fact that observable differences between the first hatched and last hatched magpie’s behaviors exist indicates that mothers may be able to produce variable traits, possibly through adjustable transmission of maternal hormones or creating the conditions for sibling rivalry. Mothers could potentially produce a variety of personalities perhaps as an adaptive strategy in unpredictable environmental conditions," researchers say.
Plants & Animals News -- ScienceDaily, Tue, 02 Sep 2014 20:58:56 GMT

Training your brain to prefer healthy foods
It may be possible to train the brain to prefer healthy low-calorie foods over unhealthy higher-calorie foods, according to new research.
Plants & Animals News -- ScienceDaily, Tue, 02 Sep 2014 20:58:56 GMT

This week From AGU: California earthquake, future Mars rovers, models underestimate ozone
(American Geophysical Union) This week From AGU: California earthquake, future Mars rovers, models underestimate ozone.
EurekAlert! - Biology, Tue, 02 Sep 2014 20:58:56 GMT

Field Museum presents conservation award to founder of popular environmental website
(Field Museum) The Field Museum has named creator of the Parker/Gentry Award winner for 2014.
EurekAlert! - Biology, Tue, 02 Sep 2014 20:58:56 GMT

Sabotage as therapy: Aiming lupus antibodies at vulnerable cancer cells
(Yale University) Yale Cancer Center researchers may have discovered a new way of harnessing lupus antibodies to sabotage cancer cells made vulnerable by deficient DNA repair.The study, led by James E. Hansen, M.D., assistant professor of therapeutic radiology at Yale School of Medicine, found that cancer cells with deficient DNA repair mechanisms (or the inability to repair their own genetic damage) were significantly more vulnerable to attack by lupus antibodies.
EurekAlert! - Biology, Tue, 02 Sep 2014 20:58:56 GMT

Scientists call for investigation of mysterious cloud-like collections in cells

About 50 years ago, electron microscopy revealed the presence of tiny blob-like structures that form inside cells, move around and disappear. But scientists still don't know what they do — even though these shifting cloud-like collections of proteins are believed to be crucial to the life of a cell, and therefore could offer a new approach to disease treatment.

Biology News Net, Tue, 02 Sep 2014 20:58:57 GMT

Memory in silent neurons

When we learn, we associate a sensory experience either with other stimuli or with a certain type of behaviour. The neurons in the cerebral cortex that transmit the information modify the synaptic connections that they have with the other neurons. According to a generally-accepted model of synaptic plasticity, a neuron that communicates with others of the same kind emits an electrical impulse as well as activating its synapses transiently. This electrical pulse, combined with the signal received from other neurons, acts to stimulate the synapses. How is it that some neurons are caught up in the communication interplay even when they are barely connected? This is the crucial chicken-or-egg puzzle of synaptic plasticity that a team led by Anthony Holtmaat, professor in the Department of Basic Neurosciences in the Faculty of Medicine at UNIGE, is aiming to solve. The results of their research into memory in silent neurons can be found in the latest edition of Nature.

Biology News Net, Tue, 02 Sep 2014 20:58:57 GMT

Small molecule acts as on-off switch for nature's antibiotic factory

The soil bacteria Streptomyces form filamentous branches that extend into the air to create spiraling towers of spores.
Scientists have identified the developmental on-off switch for Streptomyces, a group of soil microbes that produce more than two-thirds of the world's naturally derived antibiotic medicines.

Biology News Net, Tue, 02 Sep 2014 20:58:57 GMT

An uphill climb for mountain species?
A recently published paper provides a history of scientific research on mountain ecosystems, looks at the issues threatening wildlife in these systems, and sets an agenda for biodiversity conservation throughout the world's mountain regions. Biology News, Tue, 02 Sep 2014 20:58:57 GMT

Brain circuit differences reflect divisions in social status
Life at opposite ends of primate social hierarchies is linked to specific brain networks, a new Oxford University study has shown. Biology News, Tue, 02 Sep 2014 20:58:57 GMT

Extinctions during human era worse than thought
It's hard to comprehend how bad the current rate of species extinction around the world has become without knowing what it was before people came along. The newest estimate is that the pre-human rate was 10 times lower than scientists had thought, which means that the current level is 10 times worse. Biology News, Tue, 02 Sep 2014 20:58:57 GMT

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