Journal Club

Highlighting recent, timely papers selected by Academy member labs

Category Archives: Developmental Biology

Hormones not the only drivers of sex disparities in heart health

Often when it comes to disease, the sexes are not equal. Dementia, chronic kidney disease, and many other conditions disproportionately affect one sex or another. Heart disease is a complex case: Males are more likely to suffer heart attacks at … Continue reading

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New culturing techniques track crucial stage of embryo development

The second week of gestation is crucial for human development, as the growing embryo needs to implant in the mother’s womb to survive. Many early pregnancies fail at this point, but it has been difficult to determine exactly why. Lacking … Continue reading

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Lab-cultured mouse embryos, grown for an extended period, offer a new window on fetal development

In a potential methods breakthrough, stem cell biologists grew mouse embryos for five-and-a-half days in vitro, longer than ever before. Appearing recently in Nature, the study unveils new protocols and equipment, including a temperature-and-pressure-controlled incubator that enabled the coauthors to … Continue reading

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Smaller salamander species associated with smaller genomes

The world’s tiniest salamanders are so small that some body parts appear to get short shrift. Those in the genus Thorius, for example, have heads that are “mind bogglingly small, maybe half the size of a pencil eraser,” says herpetologist … Continue reading

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Common features of domestic animals suggest caveats to evolutionary theory

White patches on fur coats, floppy ears, and curly tails are some of the traits frequently seen in domesticated animals. A group of researchers has now put forth a theory as to why these traits so often evolve in association … Continue reading

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By separating life stages, metamorphosis may circumvent harmful evolutionary tradeoffs

  There’s no guarantee evolution will bestow the best version of every trait. The benefits of one trait may impose a cost when an unfavorable trait, correlated genetically, comes along for the ride. In a recent study on wood frogs (Rana sylvatica) … Continue reading

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Honeybee queens influence offspring caste through egg size

Queen bees have surprising sway over the future development of their eggs, a recent study reports. The reigning bee matriarch lays larger eggs in the wax honeycomb cells where workers raise new queens as compared with the eggs laid in … 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: Cells use waves to regulate mitosis, suggesting similar wave dynamics as myriad natural phenomena

  Over the past decade, biologists have discovered an ever-increasing number of phenomena that exhibit wave-like behavior. Everything from the firing of neurons to the spread of a virus through a population can show a similar pattern: they emanate from … 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: Ancient fish moving to land used their tails as crutches

The evolution from fish living in water to vertebrates living on land was one of the most pivotal moments in the history of the animal kingdom. Now scientists using robot fish suggest that these ancient pioneers may have used their … Continue reading

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