Body

NEW YORK (Feb. 5, 2009) – New research from Columbia University Medical Center continues to shed light on the benefits of making fish a staple of any diet.

Fish are generally rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which have shown benefit in many health areas such as helping to prevent mental illness and delaying some of the disabilities associated with aging. Eating tuna, sardines, salmon and other so-called cold water fish appears to protect people against clogged arteries. Omega-3 fatty acids can also lower triglycerides, a type of fat often found in the bloodstream.

This year marks both the bicentennial of Charles Darwin's birth and the 150th anniversary of the publication of his seminal work "On the Origin of Species." Just in time for the Darwin observances, a new paper appearing today in the journal Science by a team led by University of Notre Dame researchers Andrew Forbes, Thomas Powell, and Jeffrey Feder offers important insights into how new species come to be.

Scientists including one from The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston successfully predicted the outcome of a nano drug on breast tumors in a pre-clinical study. Their research could help determine which patients will respond best to cancer-fighting nano drugs.

Researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University also participated in the study, which appears in the February issue of Radiology.

A team of researchers are reporting the ongoing emergence of a new species of fruit fly--and the sequential development of a new species of wasp--in the February 6 issue of the journal Science.

Jeff Feder, a University of Notre Dame biologist, and his colleagues say the introduction of apples to America almost 400 years ago ultimately may have changed the behavior of a fruit fly, leading to its modification and the subsequent modification of a parasitic wasp that feeds on it.

ANN ARBOR, Mich---Kids from low-income families are much more likely to suffer from serious infections such as herpes or hepatitis A than their counterparts in wealthier households.

Two recent University of Michigan studies show a startlingly strong correlation between income and chronic infection in both adults and children, with lower income populations suffering much higher rates of chronic infections and clusters of infections than higher income families.

Why do nearly half of North American wolves have black coats while European wolves are overwhelmingly gray or white? The surprising answer, according to teams of biologists and molecular geneticists from Stanford University, UCLA, Sweden, Canada and Italy, is that the black coats are the result of historical matings between black dogs and wild gray wolves.

The research, federally funded by the National Science Foundation, appears Feb. 5 in the online edition of the journal Science and will be published later in the journal's print edition.

Lanham, MD; February 5, 2009 – Isolongifolenone, a natural compound found in the Tauroniro tree (Humiria balsamifera) of South America, has been found to effectively deter biting of mosquitoes and to repel ticks, both of which are known spreaders of diseases such as malaria, West Nile virus, and Lyme disease.

WALNUT CREEK, Calif.—An international team led by scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Joint Genome Institute (JGI) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) have translated the genetic code that explains the complex biochemical machinery making brown-rot fungi uniquely destructive to wood. The same processes that provide easier access to the energy-rich sugar molecules bound up in the plant's tenacious architecture are leading to innovations for the biofuels industry.

Berkeley -- With limited funding and an inadequate number of scientists, governments in countries containing "hotspots" of threatened biodiversity are wrestling with how to protect plants and animals in disappearing habitats.

But a new strategy developed by University of California, Berkeley, biologists could help scientists, governments and private organizations worldwide to identify the areas within hotspots where they should focus their time, effort and money - areas likely to have a wealth of unique diversity.

A gene that helped one species split into two species shows evidence of adapting much faster than other genes in the genome, raising questions about what is driving its rapid evolution.

STANFORD, Calif. — Slipping through trees or across snow, the wolf hasglided into legend on paws of white, gray or — in North America — evenblack. This last group owes an unexpected debt to the cousins of thedomestic dog, say Stanford researchers. In an unconventionalevolutionary twist, dogs that bred with wolves thousands of years agoceded a genetic mutation encoding dark coat color to their formerancestors. As a result, the Gray Wolf, or Canis lupus, is no longer justgray.

Paleontologists can still hear the echo of the death knell that drove the dinosaurs and many other organisms to extinction following an asteroid collision at the end of the Cretaceous Period 65 million years ago.

"The evolutionary legacy of the end-Cretaceous extinction is very much with us. In fact, it can be seen in virtually every marine community, every lagoon, every continental shelf in the world," said University of Chicago paleontologist David Jablonski. It is, he said, "sort of an echo of the big bang for evolutionary biology."

Emergence of black-colored wolves is the direct result of humans raising dogs as pets and beasts of burden, according to new research by a University of Calgary biologist published today by the prestigious academic journal Science. And dark coloring may also aid the survival of the species as wolf habitat is affected by climate change in the future, the study suggests.

Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y. – In plant pollen grains, sperm cells, which carry the genetic material to be passed on to progeny, are cocooned within larger "companion" cells that are called pollen vegetative cells. These companions provide sperm with energy and nourishment, and push them towards their targets during fertilization.

1 in 200 of our human genes can be inactivated with no detectable effect on our health. A study by Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute scientists raises new questions about the effects of gene loss on our wellbeing and evolution.