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biological sciences Archives

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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When mitochondrial genes act up

Jul. 12, 2016—A team of Vanderbilt scientists have identified some of the methods that mutant mitochondrial DNA use to circumvent the molecular mechanisms that cells use to regulate mitochondrial activity.

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Renowned molecular biologist Sidney Fleischer dies at 86

Jun. 21, 2016—Sidney Fleischer, a renowned molecular biologist famous internationally for his work on calcium and the discovery of the ryanodine receptor, was remembered as a “true giant” in his field who worked along with his wife to advance the field of cell signaling. He died May 27 at the age of 86.

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Jackson named 2016 Pew biomedical scholar

Jun. 10, 2016—The Pew Charitable Trusts has named Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences and Biochemistry Lauren Parker Jackson as a member of its 2016 class of Pew biomedical scholars.

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Electric eels make leaping attacks

Jun. 6, 2016—Vanderbilt biologist Kenneth Catania has accidentally discovered that electric eels can make leaping attacks that dramatically increase the strength of the electric shocks they deliver. In doing so, Catania has confirmed a 200-year-old observation by famous 19th-century explorer and naturalist Alexander von Humboldt.

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‘Young Scientist’ showcases high schoolers’ research at Vanderbilt

Jun. 2, 2016—High school students performing advanced research at Vanderbilt have the opportunity to share their findings with the scientific community through a journal of their own.

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The Chronicle of Higher Education: Building a Better ‘Bridge’ to the Ph.D.

May. 19, 2016—The Fisk-Vanderbilt Master's-to-Ph.D. Bridge Program, which supports minority STEM graduate students, is the subject of a feature story in the Chronicle of Higher Education.

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Neanderthal DNA has subtle but significant impact on human traits

Feb. 11, 2016—The first study that directly compares Neanderthal DNA in the genomes of a significant population of adults of European ancestry with their clinical records confirms that this archaic genetic legacy has a subtle but significant impact on modern human biology.

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