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ScienceDaily: Plants & Animals News


High intake of dietary fiber and whole grains associated with reduced risk of non-communicable diseases
Far-ranging fin whales find year-round residence in Gulf of California
Experimental antibody 'cocktail' protects animals from three deadly Ebola viruses
For these birds, climate change spells a rise in fatal conflicts
Mother fruit flies use sex pheromones to veil eggs, preventing cannibalism
Madariaga virus spreads to Haiti
Bacteria help discover human cancer-causing proteins
Targeting an RNA-binding protein to fight aging
New role for brain's support cells in controlling circadian rhythms
Rice plants engineered to be better at photosynthesis make more rice
Termites mitigate effects of drought in Tropical Rainforest
Fish farmers of the Caribbean
Viral production is not essential for deaths caused by food-borne pathogen
Uncovering more options in cancer immunotherapy
Giving Cas9 an 'on' switch for better control of CRISPR gene editing
Chirality in 'real-time'
New dynamic probes for ions interacting with biomolecules
New strategy may curtail spread of antibiotic resistance
Mobile, instant diagnosis of viruses
Turbocharger for the cell machinery
Lung neuropeptide exacerbates lethal influenza virus infection
Malaria vaccine passes test in humans
Murky water keeps fish on edge
Reconstruction of trilobite ancestral range in the southern hemisphere
A tomato for everyone: 'Sunviva' for the good of all


High intake of dietary fiber and whole grains associated with reduced risk of non-communicable diseases



Posted: 10 Jan 2019 03:47 PM PST


Observational studies and clinical trials conducted over nearly 40 years reveal the health benefits of eating at least 25g to 29g or more of dietary fiber a day, according to a series of systematic reviews and meta-analyses.


Far-ranging fin whales find year-round residence in Gulf of California



Posted: 10 Jan 2019 01:09 PM PST


Researchers from Mexico and the United States have concluded that a population of fin whales in the rich Gulf of California ecosystem may live there year-round -- an unusual circumstance for a whale species known to migrate across ocean basins.


Experimental antibody 'cocktail' protects animals from three deadly Ebola viruses



Posted: 10 Jan 2019 01:09 PM PST


Scientists have developed a combination of monoclonal antibodies that protected animals from all three Ebola viruses that cause human disease. The antibody 'cocktail,' called MBP134, is the first experimental treatment to protect monkeys against Ebola virus (formerly known as Ebola Zaire), as well as Sudan virus and Bundibugyo virus, and could lead to a broadly effective therapeutic.


For these birds, climate change spells a rise in fatal conflicts



Posted: 10 Jan 2019 11:19 AM PST


Researchers have found yet another way in which climate change has been detrimental to migrating birds. As European winters have become warmer, pied flycatchers traveling from Africa to reach breeding grounds in the Netherlands are arriving to find that resident great tits have already claimed nesting sites for the season. As a result, the number of flycatchers killed in great tit nests has risen dramatically.


Mother fruit flies use sex pheromones to veil eggs, preventing cannibalism



Posted: 10 Jan 2019 11:19 AM PST


Researchers report how fruit flies, which lay eggs communally, use chemical deception to protect their eggs from being cannibalized by their own larvae.


Madariaga virus spreads to Haiti



Posted: 10 Jan 2019 11:18 AM PST


Madariaga virus (MADV), or South American eastern equine encephalitis virus (EEEV), has -- until now -- been found primarily in animals of South and Central America, with the first human outbreak occurring in Panama in 2010. Now, scientists report the identification of MADV in eight children in Haiti in 2015 and 2016.


Bacteria help discover human cancer-causing proteins



Posted: 10 Jan 2019 11:18 AM PST


Researchers applied an unconventional approach that used bacteria to discover human proteins that can lead to DNA damage and promote cancer.


Targeting an RNA-binding protein to fight aging



Posted: 10 Jan 2019 11:18 AM PST


Researchers have found that the RNA-binding protein PUM2 contributes to the accumulation of defective mitochondria, a key feature of the aging process. Targeting PUM2 in old animals protects against age-related mitochondrial dysfunction.


New role for brain's support cells in controlling circadian rhythms



Posted: 10 Jan 2019 11:18 AM PST


A new study has found that astrocytes, previously thought of as just supporting neurons in regulating circadian rhythms, can actually lead the tempo of the body's internal clock and have been shown for the first time to be able to control patterns of daily behavior in mammals.


Rice plants engineered to be better at photosynthesis make more rice



Posted: 10 Jan 2019 11:18 AM PST


A new bioengineering approach for boosting photosynthesis in rice plants could increase grain yield by up to 27 percent, according to a new study. The approach, called GOC bypass, enriches plant cells with CO2 that would otherwise be lost through a metabolic process called photorespiration. The genetically engineered plants were greener and larger and showed increased photosynthetic efficiency and productivity under field conditions, with particular advantages in bright light.


Termites mitigate effects of drought in Tropical Rainforest



Posted: 10 Jan 2019 11:17 AM PST


Termites are commonly regarded as one of the most destructive insect pests, yet its unknown side was recently revealed by a major new study. Researchers have discovered that termites actually help mitigate against the effects of drought in tropical rain forests.


Fish farmers of the Caribbean



Posted: 10 Jan 2019 11:17 AM PST


There are only so many fish in the sea. And our appetite for seafood has already stressed many wild fisheries to the breaking point. Meanwhile, the planet's growing population will only further increase the need for animal protein, one of the most resource-intensive types of food to produce.


Viral production is not essential for deaths caused by food-borne pathogen



Posted: 10 Jan 2019 11:16 AM PST


The replication of a bacterial virus is not necessary to cause lethal disease in mice infected with a food-borne pathogen called Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC), according to a new study. The surprising findings could lead to the development of novel strategies for the treatment of EHEC and life-threatening kidney-related complications in children.


Uncovering more options in cancer immunotherapy



Posted: 10 Jan 2019 08:30 AM PST


If scientists want to boost immune cells' ability to kill cancer cells, then vast libraries of small molecules are potentially available. A new paper shows a platform to sort through them, plus validation. One of the hits: IAP antagonist birinapant, which is already in clinical trials (coincidentally).


Giving Cas9 an 'on' switch for better control of CRISPR gene editing



Posted: 10 Jan 2019 08:29 AM PST


Scientists have created an 'on' switch for CRISPR-Cas9 that allows it to be turned on in select cells only, specifically those that have a particular protein-cutting enzyme, or protease. Viruses produce such proteases, as do cancer cells, so the Cas9 variants -- called ProCas9 -- could be used as sensors for viral infections or cancer. The variants were discovered by circular permutations on wild-type Cas9 designed to produce a stripped-down Cas9 tuned to human cells.


Chirality in 'real-time'



Posted: 10 Jan 2019 08:29 AM PST


Distinguishing between left-handed and right-handed ('chiral') molecules is crucial in chemistry and the life sciences, and is commonly done using a method called circular dichroism. However, during biochemical reactions the chiral character of molecules may change. Scientists have for the first time developed a method that uses ultrashort deep-ultraviolet pulses to accurately probe such changes in real-time in (bio)molecular systems.


New dynamic probes for ions interacting with biomolecules



Posted: 10 Jan 2019 08:29 AM PST


Pairs of negatively charged phosphate groups and positive magnesium ions represent a key structural feature of DNA and RNA embedded in water. Vibrations of phosphate groups have now been established as selective probes of such contact pairs and allow for a mapping of interactions and structure on the ultrafast time scales of molecular dynamics.


New strategy may curtail spread of antibiotic resistance



Posted: 10 Jan 2019 07:14 AM PST


In studying a bacterium that causes disease in hospitalized people, researchers have figured out a key step in the transmission of antibiotic resistance from one bacterium to another. Their insight suggests a new strategy for stopping the spread of antibiotic resistance.


Mobile, instant diagnosis of viruses



Posted: 10 Jan 2019 07:14 AM PST


In a first for plant virology, a team from CIRAD recently used nanopore technology to sequence the entire genomes of two yam RNA viruses. This as yet little-used but promising molecular biology technique paves the way for new tools for field diagnosis of plant, animal and human diseases.


Turbocharger for the cell machinery



Posted: 10 Jan 2019 07:14 AM PST


Researchers have discovered a new molecular regulatory mechanism in unicellular parasites which has never before been observed. RNA fragments do not act as brakes in the cell apparatus, but on the contrary as 'stimulants': they boost protein production after periods of stress.


Lung neuropeptide exacerbates lethal influenza virus infection



Posted: 10 Jan 2019 06:39 AM PST


Researchers found that lung immune cells (phagocytes) produce increased levels of neuropeptide Y (NPY) when mice are infected with severe influenza virus. NPY and its receptor form the NPY-Y1R axis. In mice with influenza, activation of this axis causes excess pulmonary inflammation and viral replication, leading to increased disease severity. Deactivation of NPY, Y1R or their downstream effects was found to mitigate disease severity. These pathways could be targets for novel anti-influenza medicines.


Malaria vaccine passes test in humans



Posted: 10 Jan 2019 06:39 AM PST


A vaccine against fatal pregnancy malaria shows promising results in the first tests in humans. The new study has taken a vaccine all the way from discovery of a mechanism through development and production to clinical trials in humans.


Murky water keeps fish on edge



Posted: 10 Jan 2019 06:10 AM PST


Fish become anxious and more cautious when water quality is degraded by sediment, an effect that could stunt their growth and damage their health.


Reconstruction of trilobite ancestral range in the southern hemisphere



Posted: 09 Jan 2019 11:26 AM PST


Brazilian researchers used biogeographic analysis to study trilobites -- arthropods that became extinct over 252 million years ago.


A tomato for everyone: 'Sunviva' for the good of all



Posted: 09 Jan 2019 08:48 AM PST


Plant breeders have launched a joint initiative to protect seeds as common property. Agrecol developed an 'Open Source Seed License,' which legally protects seeds as commons (i.e., a natural resource accessible to all members of society) and thus protects them from patenting and similar issues such as 'plant variety protection.'
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