Published News Biology

Humans aren’t so special after all: The fuzzy evolutionary boundaries of Homo sapiens | Ars Technica

Recent discoveries point to shared traits and blurred borders with our closest relatives.

Artificial photosynthesis could power homes in a few years, say Australian researchers - ScienceAlert

Researchers at Monash University in Melbourne have successfully developed the world’s most energy-efficient ‘artificial photosynthesis’ technique, which effectively mimics plant-based photosynthesis by using solar energy to convert water into hydrogen. The process, which creates hydrogen and oxygen by running an electric current through water, could be used to inexpensively power our homes and cars in just a few years, say the researchers.

“Electrochemical splitting of water could provide a cheap, clean and renewable source of hydrogen as the ultimately sustainable...

Consciousness has less control than believed, according to new theory | SF State News

Consciousness -- the internal dialogue that seems to govern one's thoughts and actions -- is far less powerful than people believe, serving as a passive conduit rather than an active force that exerts control, according to a new theory proposed by an SF State researcher.

BBC - The truth about chameleons

Reputation: Chameleons can change colour to blend in with their surroundings.
Reality: Sometimes, but changing colour is much more often about sex. They also have cool eyes and fast tongues. One chameleon even spends more time inside the egg than out of it.

Protein Gels Being Devised to Simulate Human Functions | Science and Enterprise

New York University’s engineering school is developing a new type of protein-based gel materials that respond to and replicate natural biochemical processes. The research team is investigating ways of making hydrogels from engineered proteins derived from E. coli bacteria that can then be refined into substances imitating natural processes to help heal wounds, detect changes in vital signs, or deliver drugs.

4-Legged Fossil Snake Is a World First - Scientific American

The first four-legged fossil snake ever found is forcing scientists to rethink how snakes evolved from lizards.

Although it has four legs, Tetrapodophis amplectus has other features that clearly mark it as a snake, says Nick Longrich, a palaeontologist at the University of Bath, UK, and one of the authors of a paper describing the animal in Science.

Simple technology makes CRISPR gene editing cheaper

University of California, Berkeley, researchers have discovered a much cheaper and easier way to target a hot new gene editing tool, CRISPR-Cas9, to cut or label DNA.

The CRISPR-Cas9 technique, invented three years ago at UC Berkeley, has taken genomics by storm, with its ability to latch on to a very specific sequence of DNA and cut it, inactivating...

Bioluminescent glow worms turn 30-million-year-old caves into alien skies | The Verge

One of the biggest challenges of photographing the native glow worms of New Zealand's limestone caves is standing in freezing water for hours at a time. Auckland photographer Joseph Michael has been doing just this for the past few months, suffering through the cold and damp to capture images of the species known as Arachnocampa luminosa. He says the long-exposure shots in his new series Luminosity attempt to recreate the magical feeling of exploring caves lit only by the creature's natural glow. "Standing in cold water for hours on end loses its appeal pretty quickly but it's worth is when...

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