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.

Is being big clam on the block a factor in species success?

Body size is one of the most important biological characteristics in the study of organisms, telling a researcher a lot about how a particular animal lives and interacts with it’s environment and with other species. Despite this importance, there has been little study of body size trends of ancient life.

Now, using marine life forms as models, three Virginia Tech doctoral students in geological sciences have launched a long-term research project to see what can be learned about life ac

Evolution upset: Oxygen-making microbes came last, not first

Get ready to rewrite those biology textbooks – again. Although the “lowly” blue-green algae, or Cyanobacteria, have long been credited as one of Earth’s earliest life forms and the source of the oxygen in the early Earth’s atmosphere, they might be neither.

By creating a new genetic family tree of the world’s most primitive bacteria and comparing it to the geochemistry of ancient iron and sulfur deposits, Carrine Blank of Washington University has found evidence that instead of Cyanobacter

Butterfly restrains Darwin

In experiments with butterflies, evolutionary biologists from Leiden University have demonstrated that natural selection is not always the only factor which determines the appearance of an organism. Constraints also appear to play a role at times in determining the progress and outcome of the evolutionary process.

This research from Leiden provides evidence for the hypothesis of Stephen Jay Gould and Richard Lewontin. In 1979, these two scientists stated that Darwin`s theory of natural selec

Methane bacteria possess pressure valve

Microbiologists from the University of Nijmegen have discovered that a methane-forming archaeabacterium sometimes deliberately allows hydrogen ions to leak out of its cell. At high hydrogen concentrations in particular, the cell membrane works as a sort of pressure valve. The waste of energy seems to be of vital importance for the microorganism.

The researchers examined how a bacterium adapts to changing circumstances. The study focussed on the behaviour of the relatively simple methane prod

Immune synapses cannot function without ZAP-70

Communication within the immune system

A familial form of severe combined immune deficiency (SCID) is caused by anomalies of an enzyme called ZAP-70. If ZAP-70 is lacking or does not work, the T-cells, which play a key role in the mechanisms of immune defense, are no longer functional. Affected children therefore catch infections as soon as they are exposed to pathogenic microorganisms. The only treatment at present is bone marrow transplantation.

INSERM research scientists

Untangling the web of tropical biodiversity

Caterpillar study shows order in the complexity of tropical biodiversity

One of the world’s largest and highest-quality set of observations on live tropical insects and their host plants has led researchers to reinterpret the structure of tropical insect communities. The team of scientists who collaborated on this analysis includes Scott Miller of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, Yves Basset of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Vojtech Novotny

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