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Latest Max Planck Institute Stories

Bonobos Retain Elevated Thyroid Hormones Well Into Adulthood
2013-12-18 13:23:48

Max Planck Institute Despite the fact that chimpanzees and bonobos share similar starting conditions at birth they develop different behavioral patterns later in life. These differences might be caused by different hormone levels. Researchers of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, and the Royal Zoological Society of Antwerp in Belgium have analyzed thyroid hormones from urine samples of zoo-living chimpanzees and bonobos. They discovered that bonobos...

Vesta's Hidden Attractions Provided By Dawn
2013-12-17 08:01:02

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory Some beauty is revealed only at a second glance. When viewed with the human eye, the giant asteroid Vesta, which was the object of scrutiny by the Dawn spacecraft from 2011 to 2012, is quite unspectacular color-wise. Vesta looks grayish, pitted by a variety of large and small craters. But scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany, have re-analyzed the images of this giant asteroid obtained by Dawn's...

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...


Word of the Day
grass-comber
  • A landsman who is making his first voyage at sea; a novice who enters naval service from rural life.
According to the OED, a grass-comber is also 'a sailor's term for one who has been a farm-labourer.'