Using the zebrafish, a model organism widely used in genetic studies, researchers have found that when it comes to social interactions with other fish, individual zebrafish learn to prefer one fish color pattern over another according to their early experience with these patterns. The work extends the utility of zebrafish to studies of behavior and evolution and is reported by University of Texas researchers Raymond E. Engeszer, Dr. David M. Parichy, and Dr. Michael J. Ryan.
Social behavior has long been of interest to biologists and psychologists alike. The studies reported this week suggest that the extensive knowledge of zebrafish genetics will afford researchers an opportunity to see how genes, development, and environment lead to behaviors that mediate social interactions.
The investigators examined the way fish choose their consorts during the formation of loose social aggregates, called shoals, and they exploited the developmental genetic resources of this biomedical model organism to manipulate the appearance of the fish. Fish were chosen to have drastically different color patterns, either blue and gold stripes or an absence of stripes and a uniform mother-of-pearl color. This difference was the result of a single DNA base change in the fishs genome. To determine whether genes or the environment determine individuals preferences, the investigators raised subject fish either with other fish of their own color or with fish of the alternate color. When subject fish were later allowed to choose which color of fish to associate with, they greatly preferred whichever color pattern they had been raised with, irrespective of their own color. This learned social preference could have enormous impacts on the survival and reproductive success of individual fish. This work represents a first step in using the zebrafish and the tools of developmental genetics to investigate long-standing questions concerning the impact of behavior on evolution.
Heidi Hardman | EurekAlert!
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The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.
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Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
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Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
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Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
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