Life Sciences and Chemistry

Articles and reports from the Life Sciences and chemistry area deal with applied and basic research into modern biology, chemistry and human medicine.

Valuable information can be found on a range of life sciences fields including bacteriology, biochemistry, bionics, bioinformatics, biophysics, biotechnology, genetics, geobotany, human biology, marine biology, microbiology, molecular biology, cellular biology, zoology, bioinorganic chemistry, microchemistry and environmental chemistry.

Sounding the alarm for infections: EMBL researchers discover rapid-response, interferon-producing cells

Nearly fifty years ago, researchers discovered that when cells in laboratory cultures are infected by a virus, they secrete a substance that protects other cells from infection. In 1957 Alick Issaks and Jean-Jacques Lindenmann traced this effect to a protein called interferon, a molecule now known to play a key role in the immune system. Human and animal cells produce it in a rapid “first wave” response to infections. Since its discovery, scientists have sought to use this natural substance to cure a

Early humans dressed for dinner

Sophisticated jewellery appeared with social events.

Our early ancestors glammed-up for a get-together. Humans worldwide began wearing jewellery at the same time as groups started meeting up, say US researchers. The finding counters the idea that ’modern’ behaviour swept the globe when modern humans migrated out of Africa.

Mary Stiner and her colleagues unearthed ancient necklaces at three sites in Asia, Africa and Europe. Residents of Kenya around 40,000 years ago

Nitric oxide plays a vital role in the formation of long-term memory in snails

Snails can teach us a great deal about how we form memories, according to a group of neuroscientists at the University of Sussex.

Research by Dr Ildikó Kemenes, Professor Paul Benjamin, Professor Michael O’Shea and colleagues shows that nitric oxide plays a vital role in the formation of long-term memory in snails. This is of crucial importance because the gas has already been shown to play such a role in humans and other mammals.

Ideally, scientists would like to use mammals to st

Diminutive Dinosaur from China Sheds Light on Bird Evolution

Tyrannosaurus rex , Apatosaurus and the other dinosaur giants capture the popular imagination. But paleontologists often focus on smaller fry – especially with regard to the origin of birds, which are believed to have evolved from petite, predatory dinosaurs. Researchers describe one such specimen — the partial skeleton of a previously unknown genus of chicken-size dinosaur that roamed China’s Liaoning province nearly 130 million years ago — today in the journal Nature. According to

Bio-Rad Develops Fully Automated Testing System For BSE

Bio-Rad Laboratories Inc., multinational manufacturer and distributor of life science research products and clinical diagnostics, has announced the creation of a complete solution for automated BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease) testing. This highly scalable platform is the first testing system of its kind, providing both screening and confirmation testing capabilities all in one package, and will enable laboratories to reduce staffing costs and increase the speed and security

Chameleons walk on water

Reptile history reveals daring escape from Madagascar

Land-lubber chameleons navigated the oceans to spread around the world. Stowed away on tree rafts, the animals were ferried to distant shores, new research suggests 1 .

Chameleons aren’t good swimmers: their mitten-like feet are made to grasp twigs and trees. Yet the intrepid animals charted the seas several times in the past 26 million years, say Chris Raxworthy of the American Museum of Natural History i

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