Both plants and animals make decisions in response to the environment to maximize their fitness. Plants use dormancy in seeds to move through time and space, and timing of the transition to germination is influenced by external cues, including temperature. Here, we report the presence of a decision-making center within the root tip of dormant seeds and demonstrate that it shares a similar configuration as some systems within the human brain.

On World Oceans Day, 8 June, UNESCO will present the first ever global stock-taking of the oceanographic sciences at the United Nations' Ocean Conference, at the UN in New York from 5 to 9 June.

Reduced graphene oxide (rGO) is a promising antibacterial material, the efficacy of which can be further enhanced by the addition of silver nanoparticles (nAg). In this study, the mechanisms of antibacterial activity of rGO–nAg nanocomposite against several important human pathogenic multidrug resistant bacteria, namely Gram-positive coccal Staphylococcus aureus and Gram-negative rodshaped Escherichia coli and Proteus mirabilis are investigated.

Original Source

Plastics are synthetic polymers derived from fossil oil and largely resistant to biodegradation. Polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) represent ∼92% of total plastic production. PE is largely utilized in packaging, representing ∼40% of total demand for plastic products with over a trillion plastic bags used every year. Plastic production has increased exponentially in the past 50 years.

Lignin, one of the most abundant renewable feedstock, is used to develop a biocompatible hydrogel as anti-infective ointment. A hydrophilic polyoxazoline chain is grafted through ring opening polymerization, possess homogeneous spherical nanoparticles of 10–15nm. The copolymer was covalently modified with triazole moiety to fortify the antimicrobial and antibiofilm activities. The hydrogel was capable of down regulating the expression level of IL-1β in LPS induced macrophage cells, and to cause significant reduction of iNOS production.

The social brain hypothesis posits that social complexity is the primary driver of primate cognitive complexity, and that social pressures ultimately led to the evolution of the large human brain. Although this idea has been supported by studies indicating positive relationships between relative brain and/or neocortex size and group size, reported effects of different social and mating systems are highly conflicting.

Lignin, one of the most abundant biopolymers on Earth, derives from the plant phenolic metabolism. It appeared upon terrestrialization and is thought critical for plant colonization of land. Early diverging land plants do not form lignin, but already have elements of its biosynthetic machinery. Here we delete in a moss the P450 oxygenase that defines the entry point in angiosperm lignin metabolism, and find that its pre-lignin pathway is essential for development.

Zika is an emerging virus whose rapid spread is of great public health concern. Knowledge about transmission remains incomplete, especially concerning potential transmission in geographic areas in which it has not yet been introduced. To identify unknown vectors of Zika, we developed a data-driven model linking vector species and the Zika virus via vector-virus trait combinations that confer a propensity toward associations in an ecological network connecting flaviviruses and their mosquito vectors.

Malaria parasites degrade substantial quantities of hemoglobin to release heme within a specialized digestive vacuole. Most of this heme is sequestered in an inert crystal. However, the concentration of bioavailable, labile heme in the parasite’s cytosol was unknown. We developed a biosensor to provide the first quantitative insights into labile heme concentrations in malaria parasites. We find that ∼1.6 µM labile cytosolic heme is maintained, including during a period coincident with intense hemoglobin degradation.

Some 14,000 km from Japan, a 33-member team is researching a wide range of issues on global warming at Showa Station, Japan’s Antarctic research center.

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