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

Why vultures matter, and what we lose if they're gone
The primary threat to vultures is the presence of toxins in the carrion they consume. Losses of vultures can allow other scavengers to flourish, and proliferation of such scavengers could bring bacteria and viruses from carcasses into human cities, say investigators.
Plants & Animals News -- ScienceDaily, Fri, 06 May 2016 02:07:28 GMT

T cells use 'handshakes' to sort friends from foes
Chemists provide the first direct evidence that a T cell gives precise mechanical tugs to other cells, and demonstrate that these tugs are central to a T cell's process of deciding whether to mount an immune response.
Plants & Animals News -- ScienceDaily, Fri, 06 May 2016 02:07:28 GMT

Exploiting male killing bacteria to control insects
A team of scientists has discovered a key mechanism that drives a bacteria that kills male insects, a development that could potentially be exploited to control insect pest species in the future.
Plants & Animals News -- ScienceDaily, Fri, 06 May 2016 02:07:28 GMT

Achieving fish biomass targets: The key to securing a sustainable future for coral reefs
(Wildlife Conservation Society) Scientists from WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society), University of Queensland, James Cook University, and Macquarie University have completed a massive study that will help communities and countries of the Western Indian Ocean measure and restore fish populations while identifying the best policies for achieving global sustainable and conservation targets.
EurekAlert! - Biology, Fri, 06 May 2016 02:07:28 GMT

MIT scientists compile list of potential gases to guide search for life on exoplanets
(Mary Ann Liebert, Inc./Genetic Engineering News) A new approach intended to maximize the chances of identifying planets orbiting nearby stars that support life focuses on creating a comprehensive list of the molecules that might be present in the atmospheres of these exoplanets. Biosignature gases emitted by exoplanetary life forms could be detected remotely by space telescopes, but these gases might have quite different compositions from those in Earth's atmosphere, according to an article in Astrobiology.
EurekAlert! - Biology, Fri, 06 May 2016 02:07:28 GMT

Progress and promise of gene transfer and gene editing to cure beta-thalassemias
(Mary Ann Liebert, Inc./Genetic Engineering News) Promising results from the first clinical trials of globin gene transfer to treat beta-thalassemias-inherited forms of anemia have eliminated the need for blood transfusions in some individuals. Enhancing current gene therapy strategies and applying new gene editing tools to correct beta-globin deficiencies and to reactivate fetal hemoglobin production are among the exciting new advances being pursued in the search for a cure for severe globin disorders, as described in Human Gene Therapy.
EurekAlert! - Biology, Fri, 06 May 2016 02:07:28 GMT

Cells check DNA segregation at the end of their division

This is a tomographical slice of a budding yeast cell defective in condensin function (ycg1-2). The division septum advances on incompletely segregated chromosomes.
The cells in our bodies are constantly dividing. From embryonic development to adult life, cell division is necessary for tissue growth and renewal. During division, cells must duplicate their genetic material (or DNA) and ensure identical copies are passed along to the daughter cells. The entire process must work perfectly. If not, the next generation of cells will not have the genetic material necessary to function properly. Their role becomes especially relevant in situations in which cells proliferate rapidly, like embryonic development or tumor proliferation.

Biology News Net, Fri, 06 May 2016 02:07:28 GMT

First gene linked to temperature sex switch

This is a snapping turtle.
The sex of many reptile species is set by temperature. New research reported in the journal GENETICS identifies the first gene associated with temperature-dependent sex determination in any reptile. Variation at this gene in snapping turtles contributes to geographic differences in the way sex ratio is influenced by temperature. Understanding the genetics of sex determination could help predict how reptiles will evolve in response to climate change.

Biology News Net, Fri, 06 May 2016 02:07:28 GMT

T cells use 'handshakes' to sort friends from foes

A 3-D rendering of a fluorescence image maps the piconewton forces applied by T cells. The height and color indicates the magnitude of the applied force.
T cells, the security guards of the immune system, use a kind of mechanical "handshake" to test whether a cell they encounter is a friend or foe, a new study finds.

Biology News Net, Fri, 06 May 2016 02:07:28 GMT

'Super males' emerge from male-dominated populations, study finds
Males who evolve in male-dominated populations become far better at securing females than those who grow up in monogamous populations, according to new research into the behaviour of fruit flies at the University of Sheffield.
Biology News - Evolution, Cell theory, Gene theory, Microbiology, Biotechnology, Fri, 06 May 2016 02:07:28 GMT

IU-led study reveals new insights into light color sensing and transfer of genetic traits
An international team led by Indiana University researchers has uncovered the regulation of a system that allows a globally abundant bacterium to efficiently capture sunlight and perform photosynthesis.
Biology News - Evolution, Cell theory, Gene theory, Microbiology, Biotechnology, Fri, 06 May 2016 02:07:28 GMT

Simulation of prehistoric population dynamics using current topographical satellite data
In a recent breakthrough, scientists from the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, and the Centre for Excellence in Basic Sciences, Mumbai, demonstrate an accurate method to simulate prehistoric movements of people based upon current topographical satellite data. Recently published in the journal PLOS ONE, population dynamics of prehistoric human migration into the island comprising England, Scotland and Wales was simulated by applying a diffusion equation tempered by geographical data determined from satellite-based information.
Biology News - Evolution, Cell theory, Gene theory, Microbiology, Biotechnology, Fri, 06 May 2016 02:07:28 GMT

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