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Latest Max Planck Institute Stories

2009-08-20 11:35:00

A newly discovered signaling pathway ensures that plants remember to flower -- even without positive signals from the environmentWhy do some plants blossom even when days are short and gray? Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology have found the answer to this question: An endogenous mechanism allows them to flower in the absence of external influences such as long days. A small piece of RNA, a so-called microRNA, has a central role in this process, as a decline of...

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2009-08-03 19:35:00

A longstanding and fruitful collaboration between researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology and the University of Neuchâtel in Switzerland, together with contributions from colleagues in Munich and the US, has produced another first: the successful manipulation of a crop plant to emit a signal that attracts beneficial organisms. Genetic transformation of maize plants resulted in the release of the naturally active substance (E)-beta-caryophyllene from...

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2009-07-31 11:10:00

Common and clumsy-looking, the blow fly is a true artist of flight. Suddenly changing direction, standing still in the air, spinning lightning-fast around its own axis, and making precise, pinpoint landings "“ all these maneuvers are simply a matter of course. Extremely quick eyesight helps to keep it from losing orientation as it races to and fro. Still, how does its tiny brain process the multiplicity of images and signals so rapidly and efficiently?To get to the bottom of this,...

2009-07-17 09:39:03

A team of scientists from the University of Copenhagen and the Max Planck Institute in Germany, using groundbreaking technology, has identified no less than 3,600 molecular switches in the human body. These switches, which regulate protein functions, may prove to be a crucial factor in human ageing and the onset and treatment of diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease. The results of the team's work have been published in the current edition of the journal...

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2009-07-01 10:45:00

Astronomers have unveiled an unprecedented new atlas of the inner regions of the Milky Way, our home galaxy, peppered with thousands of previously undiscovered dense knots of cold cosmic dust "” the potential birthplaces of new stars. Made using observations from the APEX telescope in Chile, this survey is the largest map of cold dust so far, and will prove an invaluable map for observations made with the forthcoming ALMA telescope, as well as the recently launched ESA Herschel space...

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2009-06-24 13:15:00

Researchers in Europe released a new report on Wednesday that suggests the geyser seen on the surface of Saturn's moon Enceladus could be fed by a salty ocean underneath the surface. Writing in the journal Nature, scientists said that the discovery could support theories of the existence of extraterrestrial life. Scientists first discovered Enceladus' habit of spewing a mix of water vapor, gas and tiny grains of ice into space in 2005 with observations from the Cassini spacecraft. Enceladus...

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2009-06-18 15:00:00

First model of entire sunspots shows striking, beautiful detail In a breakthrough that will help scientists unlock mysteries of the sun and its impacts on Earth, scientists have created the first-ever comprehensive computer model of sunspots. The resulting visuals capture both scientific detail and remarkable beauty. The results are published this week in a paper in Science Express. The research was supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The high-resolution simulations of...

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2009-06-15 12:35:00

Scientists in the Netherlands have found part of a Neanderthal man's skull that has been dredged up from the North Sea, BBC News reported. The specimen is a fragment from the front of a skull belonging to a young adult male and experts say it is the first confirmed find of its kind. The 60,000-year-old fossil has undergone an extensive analysis of chemical "isotopes" that match results from other Neanderthal specimens, suggesting a carnivorous diet. This is the first confirmed specimen of...

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2009-06-08 13:35:00

New research finds that chimpanzees remember the precise location of their favorite fruit trees.In fact, their spatial memory is so exact that they are able to locate a single tree among more than 12,000 others within an entire forest, primatologists have found. Furthermore, the chimps also remember how productive each tree is, and decide to travel further to eat from those trees they know will provide the most fruit.Scientists say such an ability may have helped steer the evolution of...

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2009-05-28 07:27:17

Canaries that hear poor songs as juveniles nevertheless sing rather normal songs as adults Many songbirds learn their songs early in life from a role model. In the absence of an appropriate tutor, they develop an improvised song that often lacks the species-typical song structure. However, male canaries even learn to sing normal songs when they were exposed as juveniles to tutors that lacked the features of normal canary song, as researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology have...


Word of the Day
bibliopole
  • A bookseller; now, especially, a dealer in rare and curious books.
This word comes from a Greek phrase meaning 'book seller.'
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