Tag: Biology and Biochemistry

Stored in Synapses: How Scientists Completed a Map of the Roundworm’s Brain

The tiny, transparent roundworm known as Caenorhabditis elegans is roughly the size of a comma. Its entire body is made up of just about 1,000 cells. A third are brain cells, or neurons, that govern how the worm wriggles and when it searches for food — or abandons a meal to mate. It is one […]

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New Weapons Against Cancer: Millions of Bacteria Programmed to Kill

Scientists have used genetically reprogrammed bacteria to destroy tumors in mice. The innovative method one day may lead to cancer therapies that treat the disease more precisely, without the side effects of conventional drugs. The researchers already are scrambling to develop a commercial treatment, but success in mice does not guarantee that this strategy will […]

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The Vampire Birds of the Galápagos Have Fascinating Inner Lives

For half the year, a little brown bird on the northernmost islands of the Galápagos uses its wickedly sharp beak to pick at seeds, nectar and insects. But when the climate dries out, it drinks blood. Yes, there is such a thing as a vampire finch. Yes, it is what it sounds like. Galápagos finches […]

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Meet the Deep-Sea Dragonfish. Its Transparent Teeth Are Stronger Than a Piranha’s.

Unassuming dragonfish lurk in the twilight zone, more than 1,600 feet under the surface of the ocean. Dark, eel-like, and roughly three and a half inches long, these deep-sea creatures glow with bioluminescence and have evolved a complex sensory system that allows them to detect even the subtlest movements in the ocean’s shadowy realms, then […]

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Solving a Leafy Mathematical Mystery

Next time you go outside, take a minute to look at your local leaf arrangements. You’ll probably notice a few different patterns. In basil plants, each leaf is about 90 degrees — a quarter-turn — from the last, a template called “decussate.” A visualization of a decussate leaf pattern. The redder the coloring, the stronger […]

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The Shorebirds of Delaware Bay Are Going Hungry

REEDS BEACH, N.J. — On a recent spring day at this remote beach, hundreds of shorebirds flapped frantically beneath a net trapping them on the sand. Dozens of volunteers rushed to disentangle the birds and place them gently in covered crates. On a nearby sand dune, teams of scientists and volunteers attached metal leg bands, […]

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