You are what you eat...at least, your brain is
The gut microbiota influences blood-brain barrier permeability in mice. Braniste et al.
annotated by Kenton Hokanson and Maude Magali David
Microorganisms that live in the digestive tract (the gut microbiota) exert a powerful influence on the development and function of the blood-brain barrier (BBB). Using a mouse model...
annotations posted 06/10/2016
Human evolution likely encouraged by a dry climate
Late Pliocene fossiliferous sedimentary record and the environmental context of early Homo from Afar, Ethiopia. DiMaggio et al.
annotated by Ian Winkelstern
The earliest known fossil of the genus Homo was found in northern Ethiopia. Scientists performed a detailed study of the surrounding rocks and...
annotations posted 06/03/2016
Seeing the forest for the trees
High-Resolution Global Maps of 21st-Century Forest Cover Change. Hansen et al.
annotated by Hilary Barker
Our understanding of how forests change remains limited, due to our inability to observe them over time. In this study, Hansen et al. use satellite imagery (Landsat) to map global-scale forest cover changes...
annotations posted 05/25/2016
A golden fish reveals pigmentation loss in Europeans
SLC24A5, a Putative Cation Exchanger, Affects Pigmentation in Zebrafish and Humans. Lamason et al.
annotated by Brett Robison and Sandra Blumenrath
Human skin color, determined by the pigment melanin, is a highly variable trait. The reason for these variations has been an enduring mystery of biology....
annotations posted 05/20/2016
Midnight sun: contributing to climate change?
Sunlight controls water column processing of carbon in arctic fresh waters. Cory et al.
annotated by Sara Nason
Arctic soil that has been frozen for many years is beginning to thaw. Organic carbon that has been trapped in the frozen ground is now able to move in the environment. Much of the newly released organic...
annotations posted 05/20/2016
Ligand binding to the FeMo-cofactor: Structures of CO-bound and reactivated nitrogenase. Spatzal et al.
annotated by Leila Margaret Duman
The reduction of dinitrogen (N2) by the enzyme nitrogenase is one of the most widely applicable transformations in the world, converting the stubbornly inert gas that makes...
annotations posted 05/13/2016
Does bad luck cause cancer?
Variation in cancer risk among tissues can be explained by the number of stem cell divisions. Cristian Tomasetti and Bert Vogelstein
annotated by Alyssa Chamberlain
Scientists traditionally believed that cancer risk was due to a person's genetics and lifestyle risk factors, such as smoking, alcohol use, and exposure to radiation...
annotations posted 04/29/2016
There's a new kid in town
Rapid evolution of a native species following invasion by a congener. Yoel Stuart et al.
annotated by Fred Wasserman and Sandra Blumenrath
In recent years, biologists have increasingly recognized that evolutionary change can occur rapidly when natural selection is strong. In a field study conducted on small islands in...
annotations posted 04/15/2016
Say goodbye to stains
Robust self-cleaning surfaces that function when exposed to either air or oil. Yao Lu et al.
annotated by Patricia Weisensee
Did you ever wish that the water you just spilled had not wet your entire pants? Or that your clothes remained clean after that walk on the beach? Lu et al. found an easy yet effective...
annotations posted 04/01/2016
Lighting up life
Green Fluorescent Protein as a Marker for Gene Expression. Martin Chalfie, et al.
annotated by Jennifer Susan Stancill
Scientists' ability to track the activity of proteins has long been limited by our ability to see the proteins we're tracking. Modern biomedical researchers have overcome this with a unique...
annotations posted 03/18/2016