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Complex nerve-cell signaling traced back to common ancestor of humans and sea anemones
Complex nerve-cell signaling traced back to common ancestor of humans and sea anemones 16 February 2015New research shows that a burst of evolutionary innovation in the genes responsible for electrical communication among nerve cells in our brains occurred over 600 million years ago in a common ancestor of humans and the sea anemone. The research, led by Timothy Jegla, an assistant professor of biology at Penn State University, shows that many of these genes, which when mutated in humans can lead to neurological disease, first evolved in the common ancestor of people and a group of animals called cnidarians, which includes jellyfish, coral, and sea anemones. A paper describing the research is scheduled to be posted online in the Early Edition (EE) of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America sometime during the week beginning February 16, 2015.
Dragonfly gut infections suggest environmental role in obesity
Dragonfly gut infections suggest environmental role in obesity 11 February 2015Obesity and diabetes are not just problems of modern-day humans and their domesticated pets. Insects also are affected by these health conditions, and intestinal infections by protozoans are the cause, according to researchers at Penn State. The research suggests that intestinal infections may contribute to metabolic diseases, including diabetes and obesity, in humans as well.
Research in Action: NSF Grant Helps to Further the Search for Earthlike Exoplanets
Research in Action: NSF Grant Helps to Further the Search for Earthlike Exoplanets 06 February 2015A four-year grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) is allowing scientists in the Eberly College of Science to better search for Earthlike planets outside of our solar system.

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