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.

Armour-plated fish and the evolution of dentists

The discovery of small spikes lining the mouths of primitive fossil fish reveal surprising new details about how early animals fed. New research published today in a Royal Society paper sheds light on how teeth evolved.

Primitive fish did not have jaws or fins but were covered in rigid bony scales and resembled small armour-plated submarines. Dr Mark Purnell, a palaeontologist at the University of Leicester, has discovered that heterostracans, one of the most important groups of these early

`Plant aspirin’ offers hope against crop diseases

The discovery by French scientists that cotton plants produce a kind of ‘plant aspirin’ in response to bacterial infection could lead to new ways of fighting crop diseases.

Researchers led by the French Institute of Research for Development (IRD) found that salicylic acid — which has a chemical structure very similar to that of aspirin — and jasmonate acid are both released by cotton plants in response to infection by the bacterium Xanthomonas .

The two plant hormones play

Shooting stars sugar coated

Meteorites could have sweetened the earliest life.

Sugar from space may have nourished the first life on Earth. Two meteorites contain a range of polyols, organic substances closely related to sugars such as glucose 1 .

George Cooper of NASA’s Ames Research Center in California and co-workers have found these compounds in the Murchison meteorite, which fell over the Australian town Murchison in 1969, and in the Murray meteorite, that fell to Kentucky in 1950.

Protein Structure Reveals Elegant Water Flow Solution

The structure of one of the basic members of the cell-membrane water-channel family, a protein called aquaporin 1 (AQP1), has been determined to a resolution of 2.2 angstroms (22 billionths of a meter).

The structure reveals the elegantly simple means by which AQP1 can transport water through the cell membrane at a high rate while effectively blocking everything else, even individual protons, the nuclei of hydrogen atoms.

Biophysicist Bing Jap led a team from Lawrence Berkeley Nat

Plastic-Protein Hybrid Materials

Enzymatic films for bioactive surfaces

We encounter them every day in laundry detergent, dishwashing liquid, or shower gel: surfactants – surface-active substances. Surfactants belong to a category of molecules called amphiphiles, molecular hermaphrodites consisting of a water-loving (hydrophilic) “head” and a water-hating (hydrophobic) “tail”. Most surfacants are small amphiphilic molecules. However, an international research team working with Roeland J. M. Nolte, University of Nijme

Key Animal Genes Were Available Before Animals Were

Without the help of fossils or any other record from the distant past, scientists have identified what they believe represents a common ancestor of all animals on Earth, a microscopic organism with key genetic traits that, until now, have been found only in true animals.
Writing in Tuesday’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a team of scientists from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Madison reports the discovery of a key cell communication ge

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