Language Protein Differs in Males, Females

Findings could lead to greater understanding of sex differences in language acquisition

Male rat pups have more of a specific brain protein associated with language development than females, according to a study published February 20 in The Journal of Neuroscience. The study also found sex differences Continue reading

10 Common Phobias

Terrified of the creepy-crawlies? Scared of slithering serpents? Well, you’re not alone. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, phobias affect approximately 10% of adults. There are a number of explanations for why phobias develop, including evolutionary and behavioral theories. Continue reading

Fact or Myth: Do Pheromones And Attraction Go Hand In Hand?

This is a Fact.

Before any naysayers chime in with, “pheromones are load of nonsense,” consider the amount of time we spend making sure we smell nice.

We shower, shampoo, deodorize and spritz in an effort Continue reading

Could the Ways Animals Regenerate Hair and Feathers Lead to Clues to Restore Human Fingers and Toes?

This summer’s action film, “The Amazing Spider-Man™,” is another match-up between the superhero and his nemesis the Lizard. Moviegoers and comic book fans alike will recall that the villain, AKA Dr. Curt Connors, was a surgeon who, after losing an arm, experimented with cell generation and reptilian DNA and was eventually able to grow back his missing limb. The latest issue of the journal Physiology Continue reading

Do You Hear What I Hear?

Caltech biologists locate brain’s processing point for acoustic signals essential to human communication

In both animals and humans, vocal signals used for communication contain a wide array of different sounds that are determined by the vibrational frequencies of vocal cords. For example, the pitch of someone’s voice, and how it changes Continue reading

Body Clock ‘Alters’ Immune System

The time of the day could be an important factor in the risk of getting an infection, according to researchers in the US.

They showed how a protein in the immune system was affected by changes in the chemistry of the body through the day.

The findings, published in the journal Immunity, showed the time of an infection changed its severity.

An expert said drugs were likely to take advantage of the body clock in the near future.

Plants, animals and even bacteria go through a daily 24-hour routine, known as a circadian rhythm. Jet lag is what happens when the body gets out of sync with its surroundings after crossing time zones.

It has been known Continue reading

Complex Sex Life of Goats Could Have Implications for Wildlife Management

A new study of the mating habits of mountain goats reveals the vastly different strategies of males in different populations and could shed light on the unseen impacts of hunting.

A Durham University-led research team found that male chamois (a species of wild goat-antelope) adopt different strategies in different populations in order to succeed in the rut: some put a lot of energy in at a young age, while others wait until they are much older.

Researchers looking at neighbouring populations of chamois in Northern Italy found that males in one population delay their reproductive efforts until an older age when their size and experience allow them to dominate in the rut. They then put increasing effort into breeding until they die. Continue reading

Fulvic Acid Can Supercharge your Immune System

One area of our lives requiring much attention is great nutrition and the proper uptake of nutrients. This is actually true for humans, animals and plants alike. There is one well researched yet seldom discussed component that facilities the full uptake of trace minerals and other nutrients. The key is Fulvic Acid.

Fulvic Acid is a naturally occurring organic compound usually found in soil and plants. It is recognized for its ability to balance and energize cell life and biological processes. Fulvic Acid literally transforms minerals and other nutrients into minute molecules. Nutrient uptake is more efficient because of Fulvic Acid. With better nutrient uptake cell respiration and energy production increases helping to bring the body back to full function. Although Fulvic Acid has been well researched it is just now beginning to come into prominence.

Other Benefits of Fulvic Acid

Here are some additional benefits of Fulvic Acid that would brighten any day:

– Increased energy Continue reading

Milk from ‘Spider Goats’ Could Produce Ligament Replacement Material

What’s stronger than Kevlar, stretchier than nylon, and a natural material that has long intrigued scientists and engineers because of its potential medical applications? The strongest of the six types of spider silk, referred to as “dragline” silk, is used for outer circles of a web, or for repelling from ceiling to floor.

In the early ‘90s molecular biologist Randolph Lewis and his colleagues at University of Wyoming in Laramie identified the two proteins that make up the strong silk, but the large size of the proteins made the attempts to mass-produce the silk from spiders unsuccessful. Cannibalistic spiders also aren’t the ideal animal to farm commercially for the quantities needed, so the researchers have experimented with inserting the silk-producing genes into the genome of animals including cows, hamsters, and most recently, goats. Continue reading

Alternative Food Sources that Bestow Availability, Nutrition and Other Uses

Alternative food sources in a world of shrinking resources are those that offer a diverse profile in terms of availability, nutrition and other important uses. Some food plants grow well in marginal soil, offer high nutrition, and have medicinal uses that could make them high priority in years to come. Easy propagation, tolerance of diverse growing conditions, multiple uses of its products, and beneficial nutrition would be earmarks of life-saving food crops. Another food source already utilized in other countries is insects. An online search for nutritious foods yields results such as broccoli, kale, avocadoes, bee pollen and others equally well-known. While these all-stars undoubtedly have a place in the pantheon of nutritious foods, a few other candidates could nose them out.

Moringa oleifera, also known as horseradish or drumstick tree, is a miracle tree grown throughout the tropics that can nevertheless withstand frost and frozen soil. It propagates easily from stumps, seeds, direct sowing, cuttings or natural regeneration. It is drought-resistant and fast-growing.  Continue reading

Natural Selective Breeding Works Better than GMOs

Twenty years of careful research and development on a new apple variety has produced an amazing fruit that New Zealand’s Scoop news states is “sweet, tangy and delicious.” And the most amazing aspect of Swiss orchardist and researcher Markus Kobelt’s new RedLove apple variety is that it was designed to be resistant to disease, appealing to the palate, and easy to grow — and all without the use of any sort of artificial genetic modification.

For many years, researchers from other organizations have been working on creating a genetically modified (GM) apple variety that would be higher in nutrients, more resistant to disease and pests, and appealing to growers and consumers. But Kobelt beat them to the punch  Continue reading

How Birds and Mammals Evolved to Have 4-Chambered Hearts

DETROIT –  Scientists have discovered the first genetic link that can explain how the heart evolved from being a three-chambered to four-chambered organ.

The discovery has shed light on how cold-blooded birds and mammals became warm-blooded.

Frogs have a three-chambered heart consisting of two atria and one ventricle, which sends a concoction of blood that is not fully oxygenated to the rest of the frog’s body.

On the other hand, turtles’ hearts have three chambers, but the single ventricle starts developing a wall, or septum, which makes the heart send blood that is slightly richer in Oxygen than the frog’s.

However, birds and mammals have a fully septated ventricle-a bona fide four-chambered heart, which ensures the separation of low-pressure circulation to the lungs, and high-pressure pumping into the rest of the body.

As warm-blooded animals, we use a lot of energy and therefore need a great supply of oxygen for our activities. The four-chambered heart gives us an evolutionary advantage- we’re able to roam, hunt and hide even in the cold of night, or the chill of winter.

But many humans suffer from congenital heart disease, a very common birth defect, which is usually caused by VSD, or ventricular septum defects-a condition that is frequently correctable with surgery

Benoit Bruneau of the Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease, who studies the transcription factor, Tbx5, in early stages of embryological development, has called it “a master regulator of the heart.”

He teamed up with scientists at Michigan State University to examine a wide evolutionary spectrum of animals and found that in the cold-blooded, Tbx5 is expressed uniformly throughout the forming heart’s wall.

On the other hand, warm-blooded embryos showed the protein very clearly restricted to the left side of the ventricle, which allowed for the separation between right and left ventricle.

Interestingly, in the turtle, the molecular signature was found to be transitional as well.

A higher concentration of Tbx5 is found on the left side of the heart, gradually dissipating towards the right.

“The great thing about looking backwards like we’ve done with reptilian evolution is that it gives us a really good handle on how we can now look forward and try to understand how a protein like Tbx5 is involved in forming the heart and how in the case of congenital heart disease its function is impaired,” concluded Bruneau.