Journal Club

Highlighting recently published papers selected by Academy members

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

Categories: Evolution | Journal Club | Population Biology | Reproductive biology | Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

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

Categories: Cell Biology | Developmental Biology | Journal Club | Reproductive biology | Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

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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Journal Club: Enzyme helps to speedily create a key chemical bond in the lab, suggesting synthetic chemistry applications 

With just a few chemical tweaks, cellular enzymes can turn some of the most common amino acids into unique compounds that possess antimicrobial or medicinal properties. But in the lab, it’s much harder to derive these molecules when using conventional … Continue reading

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Journal Club: How to measure the global potential for biomass vegetation

Plants play a big role in removing carbon from the atmosphere. Almost a quarter of carbon from car exhaust and industry gets absorbed by vegetation. That’s a significant amount. But a recent study suggests that amount has the potential to … Continue reading

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Journal Club: New technique lights up the connectome, tracking signals across neuronal populations

Neuroscientists still possess an incomplete understanding of how different neurons interface and communicate throughout the brain’s wiring diagram, called the connectome. In a recent eLife article, Caltech molecular neurobiologist Carlos Lois and colleagues introduce a new tool to screen for such … Continue reading

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