Alex Torex Blog

SciTech oriented blog

Scientists discover what’s killing the bees and it’s worse than you thought

But in a first-of-its-kind study published today in the journal PLOS ONE, scientists at the University of Maryland and the US Department of Agriculture have indentified a witch’s brew of pesticides and fungicides contaminating pollen that bees collect to feed their hives. The findings break new ground on why large numbers of bees are dying though they do not identify the specific cause of CCD, where an entire beehive dies at once.When researchers collected pollen from hives on the east coast pollinating cranberry, watermelon and other crops and fed it to healthy bees, those bees showed a significant decline in their ability to resist infection by a parasite called Nosema ceranae.

Scientists discover what’s killing the bees and it’s worse than you thought | TG Daily

July 27, 2013 Posted by | Biology | Leave a comment

Scientists develop tough petunia plant which survives temperatures of -10C and will continue flowering through winter

The petunia ‘Below Zero’ plants come in batches of five plugs and cost £7.

Read more: That’s blooming brilliant! Scientists develop tough petunia plant which survives temperatures of -10C and will continue flowering through winter | Mail Online

March 29, 2013 Posted by | Biology | Leave a comment

Back from the dead, nearly: Scientists create living embryo of extinct frog that gives birth through its MOUTH

Jesus wept: Like Lazarus, the long-extinct gastric-brooding frog, Rheobatrachus silus, could be be brought back to life – some 30 years after the last living specimen died out

Read more: Back from the dead, nearly: Scientists create living embryo of extinct frog that gives birth through its MOUTH | Mail Online

March 18, 2013 Posted by | Biology | Leave a comment

‘Zombie’ cells are created in lab… and they outperform their living counterparts

Scientists ‘embalm’ the living cell in a silica acid solution
Fossilised cell can survive greater temperatures and pressures than flesh
Researchers from Sandia National Laboratories and University of New Mexico hope technique can used in commercial manufacturing

Read more: ‘Zombie’ cells are created in lab… and they outperform their living counterparts | Mail Online

February 22, 2013 Posted by | Biology | Leave a comment

The Sauron dinosaur: Palaeontologists name beast after Tolkien’s demonic creation after it is identified from just its eye-socket

Sauroniops pachytholus was one of four large predatory dinosaurs which lived in North Africa 95million years ago
Scientists estimate that it was as much as 40ft long and similar in shape but unrelated to Tyrannosaurus rex

Read more: The Sauron dinosaur: Palaeontologists name beast after Tolkien’s demonic creation after it is identified from just its eye-socket | Mail Online

November 7, 2012 Posted by | Biology | Leave a comment

Artificial jellyfish created from heart cells

Prof Parker said he wanted to challenge the traditional view of synthetic biology which is “focused on genetic manipulations of cells”. Instead of building just a cell, he sought to “build a beast”.

The two groups at Caltech and Harvard worked for years to understand the key factors that contribute to jellyfish propulsion, including the arrangement of their muscles, how their bodies contract and recoil, and how fluid dynamics helps or hinders their movements.
Medusoid-jellyfish grabs The swimming behaviour of the Medusoid closely mimics that of the real thing

Once these functions were well understood, the researchers began to reverse engineer them.

They used silicone to fashion a jellyfish-shaped body with eight arm-like appendages.

Next, they printed a pattern made of protein onto the “body” that resembled the muscle architecture of the real animal.

They grew the heart muscle cells on top, with the protein pattern serving as a road map for the growth and organisation of the rat tissue. This allowed them to turn the cells into a coherent swimming muscle.

BBC News – Artificial jellyfish created from heart cells

July 23, 2012 Posted by | Biology | Leave a comment

Stanford University researchers create first virtual organism

A team of Stanford University researchers has managed to create the world’s first complete computer model of an organism.

The team – led by Prof. Markus Covert – leveraged data from more than 900 scientific papers to account for every molecular interaction that takes place in the life cycle of Mycoplasma genitalium, the world’s smallest free-living bacterium.

Stanford University researchers create first virtual organism | TG Daily

July 22, 2012 Posted by | Biology | Leave a comment

Six-Legged Giant Finds Secret Hideaway, Hides For 80 Years

No, this isn’t a make-believe place. It’s real.

They call it “Ball’s Pyramid.” It’s what’s left of an old volcano that emerged from the sea about 7 million years ago. A British naval officer named Ball was the first European to see it in 1788. It sits off Australia, in the South Pacific. It is extremely narrow, 1,844 feet high, and it sits alone.

Six-Legged Giant Finds Secret Hideaway, Hides For 80 Years : Krulwich Wonders… : NPR

March 1, 2012 Posted by | Biology | Leave a comment

Kakapo: The parrot that can’t fly and only wants sex every two years

Shagged by a rare parrot – Last Chance To See – BBC Two – YouTube

Do some animals DESERVE to go extinct? The parrot that can’t fly, mistakes predators for mates and only wants sex every two years

Kakapo: The parrot that can’t fly and only wants sex every two years | Mail Online

February 22, 2012 Posted by | Biology | Leave a comment

A mitosis mystery solved: How chromosomes align perfectly in a dividing cell

To solve a mystery, sometimes a great detective need only study the clues in front of him. Like Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot and Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, Tomomi Kiyomitsu used his keen powers of observation to solve a puzzle that had mystified researchers for years: in a cell undergoing mitotic cell division, what internal signals cause its chromosomes to align on a center axis?

A mitosis mystery solved: How chromosomes align perfectly in a dividing cell

February 13, 2012 Posted by | Biology | Leave a comment

Eeek! Human response to fear is more like animals than thought

“The findings suggest that, despite our sophisticated mental capabilities, our responses are in fact driven by these more primitive processes when in danger.

Lead author, Professor Ian McLaren of the University of Exeter, said: ‘This research clearly shows that, in these circumstances, our reaction to a fear-provoking stimulus depends on a primitive response caused by associative learning. This is something we share with other animals.

‘This could have important practical implications. Now that we know that associative processes are implicated in our response to fear-inducing stimuli, we need to consider the implications for the ways in which we treat anxiety and phobias.'”

Eeek! Human response to fear is more like animals than thought | Mail Online

January 20, 2012 Posted by | Biology | Leave a comment

I lived as a turkey for a year

Did you learn to talk “turkey”?
They sort of taught me their language. Researchers had identified 25 to 30 calls in wild turkeys that I was familiar with. But I learned that wild turkey vocabulary was much more complex than I had realised – within each of their calls were different inflexions that had specific meanings. For example, they had an alarm call for dangerous reptiles, but what I learned was that in that call there were specific inflexions that would identify a species of snake. Eventually when I heard a certain vocalisation I knew without question they had found a rattlesnake.

I lived as a turkey for a year – life – 23 December 2011 – New Scientist

December 23, 2011 Posted by | Biology | Leave a comment

Cleverer than a child of four, the birds who can read your mind

This experiment is part of a research programme which has proved that members of the crow family, known as corvids, aren’t just among the cleverest birds, they are smarter than most mammals.

In fact, their intelligence rivals that of apes — who, along with crows, are able to do tasks that three and four-year-old children have difficulty with.

Cleverer than a child of four, the birds who can read your mind | Mail Online

December 6, 2011 Posted by | Biology | Leave a comment

Scientists discover secret of limb regeneration

“Breakthrough: By studying zebra-fish, scientists worked out exactly how the freshwater species uses retinoic acid to re-grow parts of its body”

Scientists discover secret of limb regeneration: It’s a genetic trick using acid from vitamin A | Mail Online

November 25, 2011 Posted by | Biology, Health - Regenerative Medicine | Leave a comment

Team creates ‘human-on-a-chip’

“Researchers have for the first time used stem cells to grow neuromuscular junctions between human muscle cells and human spinal cord cells – the key connectors used by the brain to communicate and control muscles in the body.”

“Right now we rely a lot on animal systems for medical research but this is a pure human system,” says research professor Nadine Guo. “This work proved that, biologically, this is workable.”

Team creates ‘human-on-a-chip’ | TG Daily

November 23, 2011 Posted by | Biology | Leave a comment

Eyes in slow motion

Eyes in slow motion – YouTube

October 19, 2011 Posted by | Biology | Leave a comment

Ever wondered what the top of your hand would look like without skin?

“DO YOURSELF A FAVOR, DO NOT WATCH THIS VIDEO!!!! “

Ever wondered what the top of your hand would look like without skin? (NSFL) (video) – Digg

September 5, 2011 Posted by | Biology | Leave a comment

Loch Ness-like monster in Alaska captured on film?

Paul LeBlond, former head of the Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences at the University of British Columbia, told Discovery News: ‘I am quite impressed with the video.

‘Although it was shot under rainy circumstances in a bouncy ship, it’s very genuine.’

The Cadborosaurus willsi, meaning ‘reptile’ or ‘lizard’ from Cadboro Bay, is an alleged sea serpent from the North Pacific thought to have a long neck, a horse-like head, large eyes, and back bumps that stick out of the water.

Sightings have been reported for years.

Loch Ness-like monster in Alaska captured on film? | Mail Online

July 20, 2011 Posted by | Biology | Leave a comment

Introducing Google Body: Video reveals new 3D medical browser that will make us all doctors

Introducing Google Body: Video reveals new 3D medical browser that will make us all doctors | Mail Online

Not content with letting you spy on your neighbours with Street View or hover over far-away countries Google has now developed a new browser that maps out the entire human body.

Called Google Body Browser, the hi-tech 3D application has been hailed as a breakthrough in the study of anatomy that could revolutionise our understanding of the human body and even fast-track medical research.

The gadget, yet to be officially released, lets you explore the human body in much the same way you can navigate the world on Google Earth.

December 16, 2010 Posted by | Biology, IT | Leave a comment

Team builds logic gates into bacteria

Team builds logic gates into bacteria | TG Daily

A team at the University of California has successfuly implanted E coli bacteria with the key molecular circuitry to act as computers.

They’ve given the cells the same sort of logic gates, and created a method to build circuits by ‘rewiring’ communications between cells. It means cells could be turned into miniature computers, they say.

The research has already formed the basis of an industry partnership
with California-based Life Technologies. The genetic circuits and design
algorithms developed at UCSF will be integrated into a professional
software package as a tool for genetic engineers, much as computer-aided
design is used in architecture and the development of advanced computer
chips.

The next step, says Voigt, is to be able to program cells using a formal language similar to computer programming languages.

December 9, 2010 Posted by | Biology, IT, Technology | Leave a comment

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