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Life, Earth and Space

Today’s budding yeasts shed traits from their 400-million-year-old ancestor

Nov. 8, 2018—Evolutionary biologists decoded the genomes of nearly a third of known budding yeast species, allowing them to reconstruct an ancient parent’s metabolic characteristics.

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Karate kicks keep cockroaches from becoming zombies, wasp chow

Oct. 31, 2018—Far from being a weak-willed sap easily paralyzed by the emerald jewel wasp’s sting to the brain, the cockroach can deliver a stunning karate kick that saves its life, biologist Ken Catania has found.

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Two proteins slow down the train of DNA replication in Drosophila

Oct. 29, 2018—This work was the foundation for an NSF grant to interrogate how the Rif1 protein controls DNA replication.

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Studying cellular deliveries

Oct. 26, 2018—James Patton and colleagues have demonstrated how colon cancer cells transmit genetic data to other cells.

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Climate change the likely killer of Australian marsupial lion

Oct. 19, 2018—The extinction of one of Australia’s top predators, the marsupial lion, was likely a result of changing weather patterns and loss of habitat rather than human impacts, a study led by Vanderbilt University paleontologist Larisa DeSantis has found.

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Volcano researcher learns how Earth builds supereruption-feeding magma systems

Oct. 11, 2018—After studying layers of pumice, measuring the amount of crystals in the samples and using thermodynamic models, the team determined magma moved closer to the surface with each successive eruption.

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Earth’s oldest animals formed complex ecological communities

Sep. 17, 2018—Ediacara biota were forming complex communities tens of millions of years before the Cambrian explosion.

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Koala teeth provide insights into diet

Aug. 22, 2018—Paleontologist Larisa DeSantis' latest research confirms that the shape of tooth wear best indicates the kind of food koalas and kangaroos ate, not whether it was covered in dust and dirt.

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High-speed atomic force microscopy reveals clock protein interactions

Aug. 20, 2018—Prof. Carl Johnson and his team discovered on-and-off interactions between KaiA and KaiC take only seconds but combine to create a 24-hour oscillation of phosphorylation in a test tube.

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VU’s high-quality natural sciences research output rises according to 2018 Nature Index

Jun. 7, 2018—The Nature Index tracks author affiliation information from articles published in 68 prestigious natural science journals and ranks institutions according to their rate of inclusion in those journals.

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Building the tiniest recording studios in Music City to understand vocal learning

Jun. 4, 2018—Humans aren't the only animals who can learn vocal communication from others. By studying the process in zebra finches, we may better understand how it works in humans, too.

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Prehistoric people also likely disrupted by environmental change

May. 24, 2018—A prehistoric community in the Mississippi Delta may have abandoned a large ceremonial site after the bayou it sits on began to dry up.

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