Journal Club

Highlighting recent, timely papers selected by Academy member labs

Category Archives: Journal Club

Small, sharp blades mark the change from Middle to Later Stone Age in coastal Kenya

The transition between the Middle and Later Stone Age is a controversial topic among archeologists. Recent findings offer a possible answer, suggesting that the shift occurred between 67,000 and 71,000 years ago, and has as its hallmark a sudden abundance … Continue reading

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

Venus flytrap mechanism could shed light on how plants sense touch

Labelled by Charles Darwin as a “most wonderful” plant, the Venus flytrap is more than a carnivorous curiosity. The rapid closing of its leaves when brushed by prey offers researchers a way to investigate how plants sense their environment through … Continue reading

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

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

Categories: Developmental Biology | Journal Club | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Massive study suggests chimp populations mixed more recently than previously reported

A recent study in Communications Biology reports results from the largest such survey of chimpanzee genetics so far. It suggests that animals from the different groups have mixed more recently than many researchers in the field previously believed. The findings … Continue reading

Categories: Evolution | Genetics | Journal Club | Population Biology | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Agricultural spray could quickly deliver advantageous genes to crops mid-growing season

Plant breeders are masters of genome tuning, spending years developing crops with the genes to resist disease, drought, and pests. Now, a team of industry and academic researchers in Germany and the United Kingdom has developed a viral vector technology … Continue reading

Categories: Agriculture | Genetics | Journal Club | Sustainability Science | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Mutations in metabolic genes can cause antibiotic resistance

A recent study in Science reveals a novel avenue by which genetic changes make bacteria resistant to drugs: mutations in genes involved in cellular metabolism, including some that convert food into energy. “The genes were known; their involvement in metabolism … Continue reading

Categories: Journal Club | Medical Sciences | Microbiology | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

In Mesopotamia, early cities may have faltered before climate-driven collapse

Some of the earliest cities, now buried in the soil of Syria, Iraq, Turkey, and Lebanon, are thought to have collapsed because of rapid climatic change. Drought along with lower temperatures descended on these settlements some 4,200 years ago, forcing … Continue reading

Categories: Anthropology | Climate science | Journal Club | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Noncoding DNA shown to underlie function, cause limb malformations

Genes that code for proteins make up only about 2% of the human genome. Many researchers once dismissed the other 98% of the genome as “junk DNA,” but geneticists now know these noncoding regions help to regulate the activity of … Continue reading

Categories: Biochemistry | Genetics | Journal Club | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Host defenses signal Salmonella to hijack immune cells, spur disease

Immune cells attack dangerous bacteria by engulfing them and then releasing a cascade of defense molecules. But some bacteria, known as intracellular pathogens, have evolved to survive this onslaught and replicate inside immune cells. The result can be Salmonella poisoning … Continue reading

Categories: Immunology | Journal Club | Microbiology | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

How an animal’s teeth can reveal where it’s been

  A careful measurement of isotope ratios in animals’ teeth could offer a new way to closely track their movements, according to a recent study that showed how the approach would work in Mongolian sheep and goat herds. Tooth enamel … Continue reading

Categories: Agriculture | Animal Behavior | Anthropology | Chemistry | Ecology | Journal Club | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

To predict the success of tree-planting schemes, look to villagers’ involvement

Tree-planting projects are sprouting up worldwide in an effort to sequester carbon. Acres of saplings are quick to plant but don’t necessarily have staying power: many die or are cut down before the trees grow to maturity. A recent study … Continue reading

Categories: Environmental Sciences | Journal Club | Political Science | Social Sciences | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment