Journal Club

Highlighting recently published papers selected by Academy members

Journal Club: Human genetics contributes to gut microbiome composition

Microbial communities in the human gut are formed at birth and shaped over time by a person’s diet, and other aspects of lifestyle and environment. Now scientists have confirmed that human genetic sequence polymorphisms also play a key role in … Continue reading

Categories: Applied Biological Sciences | Genetics | Journal Club | Microbiology | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Journal Club: Ancient pottery harbors 5,000-year-old beer recipe

Fermented beverages have long been a part of social and religious rituals. Now, researchers have identified a beer-making toolkit at an archaeological site in northern China with a 5,000-year-old recipe for beer. Ancient pottery vessels, dating to 3400-2900 BC, contained … Continue reading

Categories: Agriculture | Journal Club | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Journal Club: Rule-breaking microbe lacks mitochondria

Mitochondria, organelles central to cellular metabolism and energy production, are typically a hallmark of the eukaryotic cells that make up plants, animals, fungi, and many other organisms. Now scientists report the first known example of a eukaryotic organism that lacks … Continue reading

Categories: Biochemistry | Cell Biology | Journal Club | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Journal Club: Mutations in non-coding gene signal risk of celiac disease

Researchers struggling to find genes linked to celiac disease may have been looking in the wrong place. Recent findings have uncovered a gene that appears to amplify risk for the common autoimmune disorder by spelling out not a protein, but … Continue reading

Categories: Applied Biological Sciences | Genetics | Journal Club | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Journal Club: Copper offers novel clues to ancient Earth’s “Great Oxidation Event”

Roughly 2.4 billion years ago, oxygen gas began suffusing Earth’s atmosphere in what scientists call the Great Oxidation Event. Much remains uncertain about this critical moment in history, but now researchers find that copper in ancient sediments could help track … Continue reading

Categories: Chemistry | Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences | Journal Club | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Journal Club: How to find the rare, disease-resistant individuals who could help forge new therapies

A new study finds individuals who appear healthy despite having mutations associated with severe childhood diseases, a finding that could help uncover factors that protect against these diseases. “Finding those individuals is the starting point for searching for the other … Continue reading

Categories: Genetics | Journal Club | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Journal Club: Tasmanian devils hit with another contagious cancer

Cancers aren’t usually contagious, but a tiny number of them can spread when diseased cells move from one animal to another. One such cancer, an aggressive facial tumor, has wiped out large numbers of Tasmanian devils in Australia over the … Continue reading

Categories: Cell Biology | Ecology | Genetics | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Journal Club: Ancient Chinese may have cultivated grass seeds 30,000 years ago

Typically, archaeological research into the origins of agriculture has focused on western Asia, in areas such as the Fertile Crescent (the present-day Middle East). Now scientists report that intentional collection of grass seeds may be traced back about 30,000 years … Continue reading

Categories: Agriculture | Journal Club | Plant Biology | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Journal Club: Charred fossilized eggs suggest that humans contributed to Australia’s megafaunal extinction

A huge flightless bird known as Genyornis newtoni once roamed the Australian Outback along with a host of other giant animals. Now scientists have unearthed what may be the first reliable evidence that humans contributed to the extinction of these … Continue reading

Categories: Anthropology | Applied Biological Sciences | Evolution | Journal Club | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Journal Club: Why do trees fix nitrogen in certain forests and not others? Model offers insights with big implications for the biosphere

Many trees can generate their own fertilizer from nitrogen in the air. But it remains a mystery as to why they grow where they do – for example, few grow in the nitrogen-poor soils of temperate forests but many thrive … Continue reading

Categories: Ecology | Environmental Sciences | Journal Club | Plant Biology | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment