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Latest Max Planck Institute Stories

Intracellular ABC Transporters Allow Leaf Beetle Larvae To Accumulate Defensive Substances When Feeding
2013-12-09 11:58:38

Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology Similar membrane proteins play a crucial role in the transport of toxic substances out of the cell Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena, Germany, have discovered the decisive biological stimulator for the accumulation of defensive substances in leaf beetle larvae used by the insects to fend off predators: ABC transport proteins, which are found in large quantities in glandular cells of the larvae. The poplar leaf...

Bacteria Grow Faster When They Feed Each Other
2013-12-03 09:39:00

Max Planck Institute The division of labor is more efficient than a struggle through life without help from others – this is also true for microorganisms. Researchers from Research Group Experimental Ecology and Evolution at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology and their colleagues at the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena, Germany came to this conclusion when they performed experiments with microbes. The scientists worked with bacteria that were deficient in the production...

Sca1 Stem Cells Replace Steadily Ageing Heart Muscle Cells
2013-12-02 14:59:22

Max Planck Institute Up until a few years ago, the common school of thought held that the mammalian heart had very little regenerative capacity. However, scientists now know that heart muscle cells constantly regenerate, albeit at a very low rate. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Heart and Lung Research in Bad Nauheim, have identified a stem cell population responsible for this regeneration. Hopes are growing that it will be possible in future to stimulate the self-healing...

Thousands Of Years Of Captive Breeding Has Impaired Olfactory Functions In Silkmoths
2013-11-21 10:22:04

Max Planck Institute Domesticated silkmoths Bombyx mori have a much more limited perception of environmental odors compared to their wild relatives. The extremely sensitive olfactory detection of pheromones in males eager to mate, however, remains unaltered. A new study on silkmoths published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, revealed that the insects’ ability to perceive environmental odors has been reduced after about 5000 years of domestication by humans. Scientists from the...

Secret Of Short Stems
2013-11-12 14:21:25

Max Planck Institute Arabidopsis plants that only reach half their normal height have a mutation in the biosynthesis of the plant growth factor gibberellin The normal height to which plants grow is a critical trait. In the wild Arabidopsis thaliana uses the same genetic changes in the biosynthesis of the growth factor gibberellin to cut its size in half as found in semi-dwarf varieties of rice and barley that have been bred by people. When expressing the same phenotype, various plant...

Researchers Explain The Flagellar Synchronisation Of Swimming Algae
2013-10-25 14:14:45

Max Planck Institute The beating of flagella is one of the basic principles of movement in the cellular cosmos. However, up to now, scientists were unsure as to how the movements of several of these small cellular appendages are synchronized. Dresden-based researchers from the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics and the MPI for the Physics of Complex Systems have now succeeded in demonstrating how the green alga Chlamydomonas synchronizes the movements of its two...

Researchers Uncover Mechanism For Improving Song Learning In Young Zebra Finches
2013-10-23 12:49:50

Max Planck Institute Most songbirds learn their songs from an adult model, mostly from the father. However, there are relatively large differences in the accuracy how these songs are copied. Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Seewiesen now found in juvenile zebra finches a possible mechanism that is responsible for the differences in the intensity of song learning. They provided the nerve growth factor “BDNF” to the song control system in the brain. With this...

Sediments From The Deep Sea Give Insight Into Dynamics Of The Deep Biosphere
2013-10-22 14:53:38

Max Planck Institute Traces of past microbial life in sediments off the coast of Peru document how the microbial ecosystem under the seafloor has responded to climate change over hundreds of thousands of years. For more a decade scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology and their colleagues at MARUM and the University of Aarhus have investigated microbial life from this habitat. This "Deep Biosphere", reaching several hundred meters below the seafloor, is exclusively...

West African Bats Are Hosts To Multitude Of Different Haemosporidian Parasites
2013-10-21 13:55:21

Max Planck Institute In Europe, bats are normally discussed in the context of endangered species threatened by loss of their habitats. However, in recent years, bats have caught the eye of infection biologists. The animals are namely hosts to a surprising number of pathogens, many of which could be dangerous to humans. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology, the Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin and the American Museum of Natural History have been able to identify in...

Soaring Variety Of Malaria Parasites Found In Bats
2013-10-07 16:10:08

American Museum of Natural History Researchers have discovered a surprising diversity of malaria parasites in West African bats as well as new evidence of evolutionary jumps to rodent hosts. Led by scientists at the American Museum of Natural History, the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology, and the Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin, the new study reveals that two bat-infecting parasites are closely related to parasites in rodents that are commonly used to model human malaria in...