302 articles from MONDAY 1.2.2021

Reindeer lichens are having more sex than expected

Scientists thought that reindeer lichens (moss-looking organisms that form a major part of reindeer diets) reproduced mainly asexually by cloning themselves. But it turns out, reindeer lichens are having a lot more sex than scientists expected. In a new study, researchers found that the reindeer lichens they examined have unexpected levels of genetic diversity, indicating that the lichens have...

Potential therapeutic targets to inhibit colorectal cancer progression

Researchers have revealed that colorectal cancer tissues contain at least two types of fibroblasts, namely, cancer-promoting fibroblasts and cancer-restraining fibroblasts, and that the balance between them is largely involved in the progression of colorectal cancer. Their findings suggest that artificially altering the balance between the two types of cells could curb the spread of colorectal...

Mysterious magnetic fossils offer past climate clues

There are fossils, found in ancient marine sediments and made up of no more than a few magnetic nanoparticles, that can tell us a whole lot about the climate of the past, especially episodes of abrupt global warming. Now, researchers have found a way to glean the valuable information in those fossils without having to crush the scarce samples into a fine powder.

Arctic shrubs add new piece to ecological puzzle

A 15-year experiment on Arctic shrubs in Greenland lends new understanding to an enduring ecological puzzle: How do species with similar needs and life histories occur together at large scales while excluding each other at small scales? The answer to this question has important implications for how climate change might shift species' distributions across the globe.

Lactobacillus manipulates bile acids to create favorable gut environment

New research from North Carolina State University reveals that probiotic Lactobacillus bacteria use enzymes situationally to manipulate bile acids and promote their own survival in the gut. These findings further elucidate the complicated relationship between bile acids and gut bacteria and could eventually enable researchers to design lactobacilli with therapeutic properties, thereby engineering...

Physics of snakeskin sheds light on sidewinding

Most snakes get from A to B by bending their bodies into S-shapes and slithering forward headfirst. A few species, however—found in the deserts of North America, Africa and the Middle East—have an odder way of getting around. Known as "sidewinders," these snakes lead with their mid-sections instead of their heads, slinking sideways across loose sand.

Mysterious magnetic fossils offer past climate clues

There are fossils, found in ancient marine sediments and made up of no more than a few magnetic nanoparticles, that can tell us a whole lot about the climate of the past, especially episodes of abrupt global warming. Now, researchers including doctoral student Courtney Wagner and associate professor Peter Lippert from the University of Utah, have found a way to glean the valuable information in...

Geologists produce new timeline of Earth's Paleozoic climate changes

The temperature of a planet is linked with the diversity of life that it can support. MIT geologists have now reconstructed a timeline of the Earth's temperature during the early Paleozoic era, between 510 and 440 million years ago—a pivotal period when animals became abundant in a previously microbe-dominated world.

New clues emerge in how early tetrapods learned to live—and eat—on land

New research out of the University of Chicago has found evidence that the lobe-finned fish species Tiktaalik roseae was capable of both biting and suction during feeding, similar to modern-day gars. These results, published on Feb. 1 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, provide evidence that bite-based feeding originally evolved in aquatic species and was later adapted for use...

Virtual conference CO2 emissions quantified in new study

The virtual conferencing that has replaced large, in-person gatherings in the age of COVID-19 represents a drastic reduction in carbon emissions, but those online meetings still come with their own environmental costs, new research from the University of Michigan shows.