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biological sciences Archives

Forget sponges: the earliest animals were marine jellies

Apr. 10, 2017—A powerful new method has been devised to settle contentious phylogenetic tree-of-life issues. such as "What is the oldest branch of the animal family tree?"

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Fish eyes may hold key to regenerating human retinas

Mar. 9, 2017—Research into retinal regeneration in zebrafish has identified a signal that appears to trigger the self-repair process, raising the possibility of inducing retinal repair in human eyes.

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New tool for combating mosquito-borne disease: insect parasite genes

Feb. 27, 2017—Genes used by the insect parasite Wolbachia to control its hosts' reproduction can be used to help control the spread of mosquito-borne diseases like dengue, Zika and malaria.

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Amount of daylight may impact serotonin programming

Jan. 19, 2017—The duration of exposure to daylight, or the “photoperiod,” may affect development of seasonal affective disorder by programming serotonin neurons in the brain, according to Vanderbilt University researchers.

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Research that ruled in 2016: Readers’ favorite stories

Dec. 16, 2016—Artificial kidneys, gay-straight alliances and junkyard batteries captured readers' attention in 2016.

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Vanderbilt earns top rankings, including a No. 1, for successful minority recruitment in master’s and Ph.D. programs

Dec. 12, 2016—"Diverse: Issues In Higher Education" has ranked Vanderbilt University No. 1 in the country for the number of doctoral degrees awarded to African Americans in the biological and biomedical sciences.

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Blood-brain barrier on a chip sheds new light on “silent killer”

Dec. 6, 2016—A new microfluidic device containing human cells that faithfully mimics the behavior of the blood-brain barrier is providing new insights into brain inflammation, the silent killer.

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Each animal species hosts a unique microbial community and benefits from it

Nov. 28, 2016—A laboratory study of four animal species and their microbiota finds that each species hosts a unique community of microbes that can significantly improve its health and fitness.

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Bioluminescent sensor causes brain cells to glow in the dark

Oct. 27, 2016—A team of Vanderbilt scientists have genetically modified luciferase, the enzyme that produces bioluminescence, so that it acts as an optical sensor that records activity in brain cells.

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Virus carrying DNA of black widow spider toxin discovered

Oct. 11, 2016—DNA related to black widow spider toxin been discovered in a phage that infects the bacterial parasite Wolbachia. It is the first time animal-like DNA has been found in a bacterial virus.

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Discovery of male-harming DNA mutation reinforces ‘mother’s curse’ hypothesis

Aug. 2, 2016—There is new evidence that the "mother’s curse" – the possibility that moms may transmit genes to their children that harm their sons but not their daughters – holds true in animals.

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These days, fecal transplantation is no joke

Jul. 12, 2016—Fecal transplants are increasingly being used to treat certain human illnesses and more scientists have begun to research the transplants' effects in animals.

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