Beautiful Biology

This blog will highlight biology & ecology-related things that I find particularly interesting.

If you have anything to contribute, need me to change links, edit a citation, update a fact etc, please contact me.

cool-critters:

Takahē (Porphyrio hochstetteri)

The Takahē, Notornis, or South Island Takahē is a flightless bird indigenous to New Zealand and belonging to the rail family. It was thought to be extinct after the last four known specimens were taken in 1898. However, after a carefully planned search effort the bird was rediscovered in the Murchison Mountains, where it is still found nowadays. The Takahē is monogamous, builds a bulky nest under bushes and scrub, and lays one to three buff eggs. It is territorial. Although the Takahe now finds protection in the Fiordland National park it is still highly endangered. photo credits: wikipedia, animalscamp, nzbirdsonline

tangledwing:

Narcissus Flycatcher (Ficedula narcissina).These small flycsthers are native to Eastern Asia. In North America, the Narcissus Flycatcher accidentally occurs only along the most western portions of the Aleutian archipelago.The name of the Narcissus Flycatcher is a reference to the yellow color of many varieties of the narcissus flower. Both photos courtesy Hiyashi Haka

house-of-gnar:

Fungus creates endless supply of “zombie ant” hosts

A parasitic fungus, described in a new study, manipulates its ant host to die on the “doorstep” of its colony, as to ensure an endless supply of future hosts.Ophiocordyceps camponoti-rufipedis, also known as the “zombie ant fungus,” prefer this close-to-home killing in order to more effectively reproduce and transmit their infection, according to researchers at Penn State and colleagues at Brazil’s Federal University of Vicosa.The fungus controls the behavior of carpenter ant workers (Camponotus rufipes) to die with precision attached to leaves in the understory of tropical forests."After climbing vegetation and biting the veins or margins on the underside of leaves, infected ants die, remaining attached to the leaf postmortem, where they serve as a platform for fungal growth," lead author Raquel Loreto said in a statement.

read in depth…..

i-love-dna:

Your body is composed of a variety of immune cells, each functioning in a unique way. But, have you ever wondered which cell type best fits your personality? Take this Cell Personality Quiz to discover which cell type you truly resonate with.

i-love-dna:

Your body is composed of a variety of immune cells, each functioning in a unique way. But, have you ever wondered which cell type best fits your personality? Take this Cell Personality Quiz to discover which cell type you truly resonate with.

currentsinbiology:

DNA methylation involved in Alzheimer’s disease
A new study led by researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) and Rush University Medical Center, reveals how early changes in brain DNA methylation are involved in Alzheimer’s disease. DNA methylation is a biochemical alteration of the building blocks of DNA and is one of the markers that indicate whether the DNA is open and biologically active in a given region of the human genome.
The study is published online August 17, 2014 in Nature Neuroscience.
According to the researchers, this is the first large-scale study employing epigenome-wide association (EWAS) studies—which look at chromosomal make-up and changes—in relation to the brain and Alzheimer’s disease.

"Our study approach may help us to better understand the biological impact of environmental risk factors and life experiences on Alzheimer’s disease," said Philip L. De Jager, MD, PhD, Program in Translational Neuropsychiatric Genomics, BWH Departments of Neurology and Psychiatry, lead study author. "There are certain advantages to studying the epigenome, or the chemical changes that occur in DNA. The epigenome is malleable and may harbor traces of life events that influence disease susceptibility, such as smoking, depression and menopause, which may influence susceptibility to Alzheimer’s and other diseases."

currentsinbiology:

DNA methylation involved in Alzheimer’s disease

A new study led by researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) and Rush University Medical Center, reveals how early changes in brain DNA methylation are involved in Alzheimer’s disease. DNA methylation is a biochemical alteration of the building blocks of DNA and is one of the markers that indicate whether the DNA is open and biologically active in a given region of the human genome.

The study is published online August 17, 2014 in Nature Neuroscience.

According to the researchers, this is the first large-scale study employing epigenome-wide association (EWAS) studies—which look at chromosomal make-up and changes—in relation to the brain and Alzheimer’s disease.

"Our study approach may help us to better understand the biological impact of environmental risk factors and life experiences on Alzheimer’s disease," said Philip L. De Jager, MD, PhD, Program in Translational Neuropsychiatric Genomics, BWH Departments of Neurology and Psychiatry, lead study author. "There are certain advantages to studying the epigenome, or the chemical changes that occur in DNA. The epigenome is malleable and may harbor traces of life events that influence disease susceptibility, such as smoking, depression and menopause, which may influence susceptibility to Alzheimer’s and other diseases."