Plants Found to Send Nerve-Like Messages. PLANTS, unlike animals, have no nerves, so scientists have been jolted by the discovery this month that the tomato plant uses an electric signal to alert its defense system against grazing caterpillars.
A team of researchers from England and New Zealand reported in the Nov. 5 issue of Nature that when a leaf on a tomato seedling is chewed by insects it sends out electrical warning signals, alerting the rest of the plant to the danger. As undamaged leaves receive the signal, they begin producing defensive chemicals that make them difficult to digest. "It's a very exciting result," said Dr. Keith Roberts, head of the cell biology department at the John Innes Institute in England and author of the commentary published along with the article. "It's really a conceptual breakthrough to think plants use electrical signals in the same way animals use them in nerve cells.
Dr. But the newly discovered signals are not entirely identical to nerve impulses in animals. Dr. According to Dr. Dr. Carnivorous plant. Trapping mechanisms Five basic trapping mechanisms are found in carnivorous plants.
Pitfall traps (pitcher plants) trap prey in a rolled leaf that contains a pool of digestive enzymes or bacteria.Flypaper traps use a sticky mucilage.Snap traps utilize rapid leaf movements.Bladder traps suck in prey with a bladder that generates an internal vacuum.Lobster-pot traps force prey to move towards a digestive organ with inward-pointing hairs. These traps may be active or passive, depending on whether movement aids the capture of prey. For example, Triphyophyllum is a passive flypaper that secretes mucilage, but whose leaves do not grow or move in response to prey capture. Meanwhile, sundews are active flypaper traps whose leaves undergo rapid acid growth, which is an expansion of individual cells as opposed to cell division. Pitfall traps Pitfall traps are thought to have evolved independently on at least four occasions. Pinguicula gigantea with prey. Flypaper traps
Consciousness in a Cockroach. "You can use these flickers," van Swinderen tells me, "to extract what the fly is attending to.
At the moment," he says, "it's paying attention to the X. " Van Swinderen has inserted an electrode into the fly's brain to monitor its neural activity. The jagged brain waves percolating through the electrode scroll across a computer screen. Buried deep in the jumble of jagged peaks are two tiny signals: one wave rising and falling 12 times per second and another rising and falling 15 times per second. Those two waves are emanating from thousands of brain cells responding to the two flickering objects. Van Swinderen prefers to call it "salience" rather than "attention," because he does not want to imply that flies are conscious. Van Swinderen often records brain waves simultaneously from three locations in a large insect brain region called the medial protocerebrum.
"Attention," says van Swinderen, "is a whole-brain phenomenon. Of course, these genes act early, while the embryo is primitive. Cat Parasite Affects Everything We Feel and Do. Kevin Lafferty is a smart, cautious, thoughtful scientist who doesn't hate cats, but he has put forth a provocative theory that suggests that a clever cat parasite may alter human cultures on a massive scale.
His phone hasn't stopped ringing since he published one of the strangest research papers to come out of the mill in quite awhile. The parasite, Toxoplasma gondii, has been transmitted indirectly from cats to roughly half the people on the planet, and it has been shown to affect human personalities in different ways. Research has shown that women who are infected with the parasite tend to be warm, outgoing and attentive to others, while infected men tend to be less intelligent and probably a bit boring. But both men and women who are infected are more prone to feeling guilty and insecure.
Other researchers have linked the parasite to schizophrenia. Lafferty, who is a parasite ecologist with the U.S. So that led to a basic question: "It's kind of way out in left field," he says. Idle Minds and What They May Say about Intelligence. For many years now, neuroscientists have been telling the subjects of experiments something like this: “Please lie in the MRI scanner and relax.
When you see the task instructions come onto the screen in front of you, do your best.” The researcher would then use the brain’s activity during the “lie there and relax” period as a mere control condition; the object of scientific interest was always what “lights up” when a subject reads, makes financial decisions or performs some other task. That has changed. It is now appreciated that the mind never rests. And that if we measure brain activation while a person lies in a scanner doing nothing, naturally occurring fluctuations will reveal networks that help elucidate the functional organization of the brain in fascinating new ways. Intelligence is a complex and historically controversial topic, in large part because it is difficult to define and to measure. Evolution of Old World fruit flies on three continents mirrors climate change. Fast-warming climate appears to be triggering genetic changes in a species of fruit fly that is native to Europe and was introduced into North and South America about 25 years ago.
"This is a clear signal on three different continents that climate change is occurring, and that genetic change is going along with it," said Raymond Huey, a University of Washington biology professor who is co-author of a paper describing the findings, published Aug. 31 in Science Express, the online edition of the journal Science. The research deals with an Old World fruit fly species called Drosophila subobscura, which originally ranged from the Mediterranean Sea to Scandinavia. European biologists who studied the insect's genetic makeup more than 40 years ago noted that sections of chromosomes were inverted, something like taking part of a bar code from a consumer product and flipping it backwards. "We humans are relatively lucky that we have technology that can help us to deal with the changes. No Fruit Fly Evolution Even after 600 Generations. Many Americans believe that the big-picture story of evolution, as biology professors routinely expound it, is false.1 Basically, they haven't bought into the concept that all life descended from one common ancestor that miraculously sprang into being millions of years ago.
And that makes sense, considering there are no real examples of that kind of evolution. If evolutionary biologists could document such evolution in action, they could vindicate their worldview and cite real research to support their surreal claims. In 1980, this search for proof led researchers to painstakingly and purposefully mutate each core gene involved in fruit fly development.
The now classic work, for which the authors won the Nobel Prize in 1995, was published in Nature.2 The experiments proved that the mutation of any of these core developmental genes―mutations that would be essential for the fruit fly to evolve into any other creature―merely resulted in dead or deformed fruit flies. References Dao, C. Fish caught evolving into three different species - Technology & science - Science - DiscoveryNews.com. The King demoiselle is not just one type of fish, but three distinct groups that recently split from each other, according to a new study.
By essentially catching one species in the process of turning into three, the study suggests that conservation efforts might be failing a variety of species that have yet to be identified. "This work, along with others, is starting to show that there is a lot more biodiversity in the oceans then we previously thought," said Joshua Drew, a marine conservation biologist at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. "We really are in a situation where we are losing things before we even know they exist. " The King demoiselle is a variety of damselfish that lives in the Indo — West Pacific, from the Solomon Islands to the Philippines and through central Indonesia. The area is known for its spectacular diversity, but the region also faces serious threats, including pollution, blast fishing, and oil spills from the shipping industry.
The Salamanders that Refuse to Grow Up. Horizontal and vertical: The evolution of evolution - life - 26 January 2010. JUST suppose that Darwin's ideas were only a part of the story of evolution.
Suppose that a process he never wrote about, and never even imagined, has been controlling the evolution of life throughout most of the Earth's history. It may sound preposterous, but this is exactly what microbiologist Carl Woese and physicist Nigel Goldenfeld, both at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, believe. Darwin's explanation of evolution, they argue, even in its sophisticated modern form, applies only to a recent phase of life on Earth. At the root of this idea is overwhelming recent evidence for horizontal gene transfer - in which organisms acquire genetic material "horizontally" from other organisms around them, rather than vertically from their parents or ancestors.
The donor organisms may not even be the same species. Cool Evolution Trick: Platinum Turns Baby Snails Into Slugs. Evolution doesn’t have to operate at a snail’s pace, even for snails.
In experiments designed to simulate the evolutionary transition that produced slugs, researchers exposed baby snails to the metal platinum, causing the animals to develop without external shells. The research illustrates how a big leap on the evolutionary path of animal body plans might have occurred. It also reopens a can of worms concerning the development and evolution of an entire class of shelled creatures. Scientists reared Marisa snails, best known for cleaning up algae and other debris in home aquariums, in petri dishes containing varying concentrations of platinum. At certain exposures, all of the roughly 80 percent of snails that survived were shell-less, Heinz Köhler of the University of Tübingen in Germany and his colleagues report in the September-October Evolution & Development. The new research suggests that torsion might not have occurred in one grand swivel. See Also: Image: Goethe University.
Green Sea Slug Is Part Animal, Part Plant. SEATTLE — It’s easy being green for a sea slug that has stolen enough genes to become the first animal shown to make chlorophyll like a plant. Shaped like a leaf itself, the slug Elysia chlorotica already has a reputation for kidnapping the photosynthesizing organelles and some genes from algae. Now it turns out that the slug has acquired enough stolen goods to make an entire plant chemical-making pathway work inside an animal body, says Sidney K.
Pierce of the University of South Florida in Tampa. The slugs can manufacture the most common form of chlorophyll, the green pigment in plants that captures energy from sunlight, Pierce reported January 7 at the annual meeting of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology. Pierce used a radioactive tracer to show that the slugs were making the pigment, called chlorophyll a, themselves and not simply relying on chlorophyll reserves stolen from the algae the slugs dine on.
Image: Nicholas E. See Also: "Python Cave" Reveals Oldest Human Ritual, Scientists Suggest. December 22, 2006 A team of archaeologists has discovered what it says is evidence of humankind's oldest ritual. Africa's San people may have used a remote cave for ceremonies of python worship as much as 70,000 years ago—30,000 years earlier than the oldest previously known human rites—the team says. "The level of abstract thinking within the peoples of [this period] and the continuity of their cultural patterns is proving to be astonishing for such an early date," said Sheila Coulson, an archaeologist at Norway's University of Oslo.
Coulson and colleague Nick Walker base their findings on artifacts found in Rhino Cave, a cavern discovered in the 1990s in the remote Tsodilo Hills of Botswana. The researchers found a large rock inside the cave that they say resembles a giant python, with natural features in the stone forming an eye and a mouth. Beneath the python rock, scientists found a section of curved wall, which they believe may have collapsed during work on the "python. " Modern behavior of early humans found half-million years earlier than previously thought. Evidence of sophisticated, human behavior has been discovered by Hebrew University of Jerusalem researchers as early as 750,000 years ago - some half a million years earlier than has previously been estimated by archaeologists. The discovery was made in the course of excavations at the prehistoric Gesher Benot Ya'aqov site, located along the Dead Sea rift in the southern Hula Valley of northern Israel, by a team from the Hebrew University Institute of Archaeology.
Analysis of the spatial distribution of the findings there reveals a pattern of specific areas in which various activities were carried out. This kind of designation indicates a formalized conceptualization of living space, requiring social organization and communication between group members. Such organizational skills are thought to be unique to modern humans. In the second area, identified evidence indicates a greater variation of activities - all of which took place in the vicinity of a hearth.
Modern behavior of early humans found half-million years earlier than previously thought. Erratic Sunspots Smash NOAA Predictions. January 17, 2011, by Ken Jorgustin Permalink The current solar cycle (solar cycle 24) has confounded many observers, perhaps even the NOAA Solar Cycle Prediction Panel who had come to a consensus that the solar cycle presently underway would peak sometime during early 2013. In fact, the current prediction model for this month of January, 2011, has it packed with between 50 and 55 new sunspots.
The problem is… where are all the sunspots? During early 2010 and again during mid 2010, it appeared as though the sunspot activity was rapidly increasing, even to the point of catching up with the current NOAA prediction model. Records indicate that only 14 sunspots (plus or minus depending on the chosen database) appeared during December 2010, while January 2011 has only produced 9 sunspots as of this writing (more than half way through the month), only 16 percent of expected! Sunspot number prediction from If the current trend continues, we may be in store for some cold weather in our future. Lightning Makes Mushrooms Multiply. For generations, Japanese farmers have welcomed storms over their fields based on the belief that lightning strikes provoke plentiful harvests of mushrooms, which are staples of Japanese cuisine.
(Related: "New Lightning Type Found Over Volcano? " ) Currently, mushroom demand is so high that dealers are increasingly turning to foreign suppliers. Japan imports about 50,000 tons of mushrooms a year, mainly from China and South Korea. As part of a four-year study, scientists in northern Japan have been bombarding a variety of mushrooms in lab-based garden plots with artificially induced lightning to see if electricity actually makes the fungi multiply.
(See pictures of Brazilian mushrooms that glow in the dark .) The latest results show that lightning-strength jolts of electricity can more than double the yield of certain mushroom species compared with conventional cultivation methods. A direct hit with that much energy would fry the mushrooms. Black Fungus Eats Harmful Radiation in Chernobyl. A lightning strike in Africa helps take the pulse of the sun. Our Brains Are Shrinking. Are We Getting Dumber? Human 'dental chaos' linked to evolution of cooking - life - 19 February 2005. Monkeys perform arithmetic as well as college students. Hearing radio frequencies « xcorr: computational neuroscience. Magnetic Microprocessors Could Enable the Most Efficient Computers Physically Possible. Researchers develop drug delivery system using nanoparticles triggered by electromagnetic field. Salmonella Spills its Secrets on the Space Shuttle.
Physicists Convert Information Into Energy. 'Lifeless' prion proteins are 'capable of evolution' Rudimentary form of cellular "vision" 'Most beautiful' math structure appears in lab for first time - physics-math - 07 January 2010. 'Schrödinger's Hat' Uses Invisibility to Measure Quantum World. 'Junk' DNA gets credit for making us who we are - life - 19 March 2010. DNA Phantom Effect. Blood Cells without DNA. DNA Molecules Display Telepathy-like Quality. Neurocardiology: The Brain in the Heart. Expand Your Mind: Getting a Grasp on Consciousness. Harmonic Resonance in the Brain. Face recognition ability inherited separately from IQ.