Biology Research News

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A collection of press releases about biology research conducted by Penn State scientists.

DNA structure impacts rate and accuracy of DNA synthesis
DNA structure impacts rate and accuracy of DNA synthesis 13 November 2018DNA sequences with the potential to form unusual conformations, which are frequently associated with cancer and neurological diseases, can in fact slow down or speed up the DNA synthesis process and cause more or fewer sequencing errors.
New gene therapy reprograms brain glial cells into neurons
New gene therapy reprograms brain glial cells into neurons 13 November 2018A new gene therapy can turn certain brain glial cells into functioning neurons, which in turn could help repair the brain after a stroke or during neurological disorders like Alzheimer's or Parkinson’s diseases.
Hot temperatures can trigger an RNA response in plants
Hot temperatures can trigger an RNA response in plants 05 November 2018The stress of hotter temperatures may trigger a response in a plant's RNA -- part of a cell's genetic messaging system -- to help manage this change in its environment, according to a team of Penn State researchers.
Giraffe babies inherit spot patterns from their mothers
Giraffe babies inherit spot patterns from their mothers 02 October 2018Some features of a giraffe’s spot pattern are passed on from mother to baby, according to a new study led by researchers from Penn State.
Young children’s oral bacteria may predict obesity
Young children’s oral bacteria may predict obesity 19 September 2018Weight gain in early childhood is related to the composition of oral bacteria of two-year-old children, suggesting that this understudied aspect of a child’s microbiota -- the collection of microorganisms residing in the mouth -- could serve as an early indicator for childhood obesity.
Coral bleaching increases disease risk in threatened species
Coral bleaching increases disease risk in threatened species 11 September 2018Researchers highlight the need to increase genetic diversity among staghorn corals to prevent further loss in the Florida Reef Tract
Community-based conservation management has positive effect on wildlife
Community-based conservation management has positive effect on wildlife 13 August 2018Putting land management in the hands of local communities helps the wildlife within, according to new research by Penn State biologist Derek Lee.
Diverse symbionts of reef corals have endured since 'age of dinosaurs'
Diverse symbionts of reef corals have endured since 'age of dinosaurs' 09 August 2018Coral-algal partnerships dating back 160 million years show ability to withstand severe environmental change
Don't avoid the outdoors, avoid tick bites
Don't avoid the outdoors, avoid tick bites 06 August 2018Penn State researchers' study of tick-borne disease dynamics could thwart future outbreaks
Wildfire management designed to protect Spotted Owls may be outdated
Wildfire management designed to protect Spotted Owls may be outdated 24 July 2018According to a new study, forest fires are not a serious threat to populations of Spotted Owls, a species that acts as an indicator of biological health to the old-growth forests where they live. These findings suggest that management strategies for this species are outdated.
'Nuru' becomes African farmers' newest ally against fall armyworm
'Nuru' becomes African farmers' newest ally against fall armyworm 25 June 2018Penn State researchers have joined forces with the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization to release the first app, called Nuru, to help African farmers recognize fall armyworm — a new and fast-spreading crop pest in sub-Saharan Africa — so that they can take immediate steps to destroy it and curb its spread.
Climate change forced zombie ant fungi to adapt
Climate change forced zombie ant fungi to adapt 30 May 2018Zombie ants clamp on to aerial vegetation and hang for months spewing the spores of their parasitic fungi, but researchers noticed that they do not always clamp on to the same part of the plant. Now the researchers know that the choice of leaves or twigs is related to climate and that climate change forced the fungi to adapt to local conditions.
Altered body odor indicates malaria even if microscope doesn't
Altered body odor indicates malaria even if microscope doesn't 14 May 2018Typhoid Mary may have infected a hundred or more people, but asymptomatic carriers of malaria infect far more people every year through mosquito vectors. An international team of researchers is working toward a way to identify malaria patients including infected individuals who show no malaria symptoms.
Penn State–developed plant-disease app recognized by Google
Penn State–developed plant-disease app recognized by Google 02 April 2018A mobile app designed by Penn State researchers to help farmers and others diagnose crop diseases has earned recognition from one of the world's tech giants.
Deep-sea fish use hydrothermal vents to incubate eggs
Deep-sea fish use hydrothermal vents to incubate eggs 12 February 2018An international team of researchers, including Penn State biologist Charles Fisher, discovered egg cases of deep-sea fish near hydrothermal vents. The team believes that deep-sea skates use the warm water near the vents to accelerate the typically years-long incubation time of the eggs.
Agricultural parasite takes control of host plant’s genes
Agricultural parasite takes control of host plant’s genes 03 January 2018Dodder, a parasitic plant that causes major damage to crops in the U.S. and worldwide every year, can silence the expression of genes in the host plants from which it obtains water and nutrients.
Turning pathogens against each other to prevent drug resistance
Turning pathogens against each other to prevent drug resistance 11 December 2017Limiting a much-needed resource could pit pathogens against one another and prevent the emergence of drug resistance.
Mimicking biological process, hydrogel signals and releases proteins
Mimicking biological process, hydrogel signals and releases proteins 26 October 2017An artificial system using a DNA-laced hydrogel can receive a chemical signal and release the appropriate protein, according to Penn State researchers. Further stimulation by the chemical signal continues to trigger a response.
Gene associated with schizophrenia risk regulates neurodevelopment
Gene associated with schizophrenia risk regulates neurodevelopment 22 September 2017A gene associated with the risk of schizophrenia regulates critical components of early brain development, according to a new study led by researchers from Penn State University. The gene is involved in the translation of proteins from RNA and in the proliferation and migration of neurons in the brain.
Viruses up their game in arms race with immune system
Viruses up their game in arms race with immune system 14 August 2017In a classic example of the evolutionary arms race between a host and a pathogen, the myxoma virus -- introduced to control the rabbit population in Australia in 1950 -- has developed a novel and deadly ability to suppress the immune response of its host rabbits.

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