Journal Club

Highlighting recently published papers selected by Academy members

Author Archives: Amy McDermott

Journal Club: Protozoan predators help pinpoint how evolution and ecology shape predator-prey dynamics

A hungry lynx bounds after a scampering hare. Occasionally the lynx secures its catch. Often, it doesn’t. For ecology students, this back and forth battle is the textbook example of an ecological process driving predator–prey population dynamics. The predator population … Continue reading

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Journal Club: In big advance for lab-grown organs, 3-D printing better replicates tissue complexity

The lung is a feathery web of blood vessels and air sacs that branch closely together, but never touch. They’re nestled near enough that oxygen can diffuse into the bloodstream, but far enough that blood and air flow through separate … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Newly discovered ion channel gene promises disease insights

The molecular identity and precise function of a commonly expressed cell-membrane chloride channel has long been a mystery. A recent study in Science uncovers the gene responsible for the channel, potentially shedding light on its role in the body. Researchers … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Sex ratios in glossy green sweat bees hint at the origins of cooperation in social insects

On Barro Colorado Island, in the middle of the Panama Canal, a population of metallic-green sweat bees is divided. Half the breeding females live socially, as queens reigning over one or two worker daughters in nests burrowed into twigs. The … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Brain scans and behavior suggest oxytocin can change perceptions of fairness

Some people are more generous in social situations—offering to cover the dinner bill for example. Others are more individualistic, preferring to keep resources for themselves. A recent study in Nature Neuroscience finds that perceptions of fairness vary from person-to-person based … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Carbon payments could prove more profitable than mining or logging for some nations

Logging, mining, and other activities plow through the tropical forests of developing countries, releasing 10 to 18 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions that drive climate change. One proposed solution is for wealthy countries to pay developing nations to keep … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Low-intensity focused ultrasound shows promise as tool to probe deep brain function

To study the brain’s networks of neurons, neuroscientists typically alter the activity in one area, and observe the cascade of effects on others—something like unscrewing one bulb in a string of Christmas lights and observing as others go dim. But … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Pinpointing theory of mind deficiencies in autism

Around age four, preschoolers learn that other people have unique thoughts and feelings, an inner life. These children start to be able to predict a person’s behavior based on that understanding. They start developing theory of mind (ToM). That developmental … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Seedbanks, meant to safeguard key plant species, need to enhance their diversity

Humanity’s last hope could someday rest on a humble seed, tucked away in the cool and dark of a collection. Seed collections, called seedbanks or seed genebanks, store millions of grains, nuts, and kernels in baggies and plastic bins, meant … Continue reading

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