Journal Club

Highlighting recently published papers selected by Academy members

Journal Club: “Sandman” molecule controls when fruit flies wake up

Sleep cuts people off from the outside world, which entails considerable risks and costs that scientists reason must be counterbalanced by a vital but enigmatic benefit. Now scientists have discovered what makes a switch flip in the brains of fruit … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Female flies fight back against mate-guarding by males

After mating, males of many species take steps to keep their partners from having sex with other males. But some females may have evolved tricks to foil these measures. Researchers studying the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster have discovered that when … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Animals that glow for courtship have more species

The distinct blinking pattern of fireflies enables mate recognition and, thus, the perpetuation of the species. But it seems this flashy courtship ritual could be driving the formation of new species, too. A new analysis of diverse animal lineages—from octopuses … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Removing an immune inhibitor helps protect against lethal fungal infections

Protecting cells from out-of-control immune reactions comes at a price: the same protein that quiets B and T cells to prevent autoimmune responses may also hinder the body’s fight against pathogens. Now researchers have found that in the case of … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Friction of the vacuum could slow the rotation of pulsars

A vacuum is by definition a space entirely devoid of matter, so one might naturally assume that objects in a vacuum do not encounter friction. However, quantum physics implies that the vacuum is not actually completely empty, but is rather … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Low-calorie diets might improve effectiveness of cancer treatments

The old saying goes, “feed a cold, starve a fever”—now scientists might add, “starve a tumor.” In mice, a low-protein, low-calorie diet sensitizes breast cancer and melanoma cells to attack by the immune system, while prodding the immune system itself … Continue reading

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Journal Club: New ability to measure the recoil from single photons could help address fundamental physics mysteries

Scientists have for the first time directly measured the recoil that single photons exert on levitating nanoparticles in a vacuum. The work that could help lead to more sensitive measurements of ultra-weak forces, according to research detailed online June 13 … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Mosquito saliva inflames immune system to spread viruses, suggesting possible interventions

The quick, piercing bite of a mosquito leaves behind a tiny amount of saliva under the skin of its prey. This saliva has been shown to have potent effects, such as numbing the pain of the bite and preventing blood … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Even infants intuitively infer how others minimize costs and maximize rewards

A growing body of research suggests that people have a commonsense psychology — an intuitive way to infer what others want and might decide — that is already sophisticated from infancy. Now researchers have proposed a model for this commonsense … Continue reading

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Journal Club: “Zombie” HIV RNA could cause ongoing damage

Streaming through the blood of people with HIV are cells carrying mutant, incomplete viral genomes—viral DNA sets that researchers have long deemed duds, irrelevant to disease. But a study in PNAS this week refocuses attention on these defective viral tagalongs. … Continue reading

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