Journal Club

Highlighting recently published papers selected by Academy members

Journal Club: Diagnosing disease with smartphone cameras

Bioengineers at the University of Washington have devised a way to use smartphone cameras for imaging diagnostics, paving the way to test for afflictions such as influenza and sexually transmitted infections without costly equipment. The technique, presented this month in Analytical … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Damaged reefs get quieter, causing fewer fish to hear their way home

  A healthy coral reef creates quite the underwater racket. Reef croakers croak, damselfish woop-woop-woop, and clown fish sound thuds like a woodpecker at a tree. But a new study reports that climate-change related disturbances can turn down the volume … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Horizontal gene transfer can boost fitness quickly, but the conditions matter

Horizontal gene transfer (HGT) is rampant in the bacterial community, as well as in some other members of the tree of life. Researchers have long known that HGT events can improve an organism’s ability to adapt to changing environments. What’s … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Older zebra finch fathers produce young with shorter lifespans

Scientists have long observed that the offspring of younger parents tend to live longer than the offspring of older parents in many animal species, including humans. But this phenomenon, dubbed the “Lansing effect” for the first scientist who described it, … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Studies hint at how cholesterol and other molecules move through cells

Four recent studies take a close look at how molecules cross the gap between membrane contacts within a cell, offering insights into crucial cellular activities. Three of the papers elucidate the transport of cholesterol; the fourth suggests that such contact … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Canines remember who cooperates, suggesting principles similar to those seen in human interaction

Human cooperation often comes down to one key understanding: You help me, I’ll help you. Social animals, including dogs, also help others, even nonrelatives. But many scientists assume that animal cooperation is a different breed. They see animals as less … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Fruit flies’ internal circadian clocks continually check the temperature

As a fruit fly sails from sunshine into a patch of shade, its temperature drops by 10 degrees F or so. Immediately, certain neurons in its brain spring into action, telling the fly’s circadian clock about the temperature change. By … Continue reading

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Journal Club: How traditional people tamed the Amazon rainforest

The Amazon rainforest is often thought of as an untamed wilderness. But a growing number of studies, for example one in 2015 and another in 2017, show that local people have domesticated the forests for millennia, weaving patches of useful … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Scientists culture human placenta cells in hopes of understanding pregnancy complications

A collection of human placental cells known as trophoblasts are responsible for much of what goes right in a healthy pregnancy. But growing and studying these cells in the lab has been a major challenge. Now, a team of Japanese … Continue reading

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Journal Club: New clues in the mystery of the mechanism of general anesthetics

Anesthetics have been used in surgery since the mid-1800s, but their exact mechanisms of action continue to be the subject of intense investigation. Past studies have suggested they block neurotransmitter receptors postsynaptically. Now a new study, published January 9 in … Continue reading

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