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Latest Max Planck Institute Stories

Oxytocin Plays Key Role In Maintaining Social Relations
2013-01-24 12:28:39

Max-Planck-Gesellschaft Researchers found that in chimpanzees the hormone oxytocin is likely to play a key role in maintaining social relations with both kin and non-kin cooperation partners Animals which maintain cooperative relationships show gains in longevity and offspring survival. However, little is known about the cognitive or hormonal mechanisms involved in cooperation. Researchers of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, have now found that...

2012-12-19 15:29:16

After metamorphosis European forest cockchafers benefit from the same bacterial symbionts housed during their larval stage. Apart from the common European cockchafer (Melolontha melolontha), the European forest cockchafer (Melolontha hippocastani) is the most common species of the Melolontha genus. These insects can damage huge areas of broadleaf trees and conifers in woodlands and on heaths. Cockchafers house microbes in their guts that help them to digest their woody food, such as...

2012-11-29 13:34:42

Skeletal remains in an island cave in Favignana, Italy, reveal that modern humans first settled in Sicily around the time of the last ice age and despite living on Mediterranean islands, ate little seafood. The research is published November 28 in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Marcello Mannino and colleagues from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Germany. Genetic analysis of the bones discovered in caves on the Egadi islands provides some of the first...

Ferns Herbivore Defense
2012-11-21 13:00:05

Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology Unlike flowering plants, bracken ferns do not release any odor signals to attract the enemies of their attackers for their own benefit. They dominated the earth for 200 million years and numerous different species can still be found all over the world: mosses, horsetails and ferns. Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena, Germany, have now found out that bracken ferns (Pteridium aquilinum) do not release any...

Pulsar Is Accompanied By Black Widow
2012-10-25 16:03:16

Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online Scientists at the Max Planck Institute have discovered a millisecond pulsar accompanied by an unusual sub-stellar partner known as a "black widow." The team has solved the mystery and identified the culprit of a source of strong gamma-rays found in the constellation of Centaurus back in 1994. Millisecond gamma-ray pulsar PSR J1311-3430 was found through a new data analysis method developed by the scientists at the Max Planck...

Biological Pest Control Using Predators Of Insect Eggs And Larvae Increases Plant Fitness
2012-10-16 15:15:40

To solve the acute, global problem of securing food resources for a continuously growing population, we must work constantly to increase the sustainability and effectiveness of modern agricultural techniques. These efforts depend on new insights from plant ecology, particularly from work on native plants that grow in the primordial agricultural niche. Based on field studies on wild tobacco plants in the Great Basin Desert, Utah, USA, researchers of the Max Planck Institute for Chemical...

Red Queen Or Red King
2012-09-24 10:52:18

In relationships based on mutuality, the number of individuals involved can determine the rate at which species evolve The relationship between species determines how rapidly they evolve. Parasites and their hosts coevolve more rapidly, and partners in a mutualistic relationship can evolve more slowly. But this view is obviously too simplistic. The rate of evolution in a mutualistic relationship does not depend only on the type of interactions, but also on the number of individuals...

2012-06-06 21:42:30

The discovery of the first enzyme in the pathway sheds new light on the evolution of alkaloid formation Humans encounter alkaloids every day Alkaloids constitute a very large group of natural nitrogen-containing compounds with diverse effects on the human organism. A large variety of plant-produced alkaloids have strong pharmacological effects, and are used as toxins, stimulants, pharmaceuticals or recreational drugs, including caffeine, nicotine, morphine, quinine, strychnine, atropine...

Tobacco Plants Advertise They Are Ready To Attack Leafhoppers
2012-05-23 10:25:32

Like blood-sucking insects, herbivores evaluate their host's readiness for defense Tobacco: actually pretty bad food for leafhoppers Empoasca sp. is not a typical pest of wild tobacco (Nicotiana attenuata). When this plant grows in its natural habitats in North America, however, it is attacked by tobacco hornworm larvae (Manduca sexta). This specialist insect is resistant to the toxic nicotine, which the plant produces as a defense against its enemies. When researchers from the Max...

2012-05-22 00:43:48

Max Planck scientists decipher the structure of bacterial injection needles at atomic resolution The plague, bacterial dysentery, and cholera have one thing in common: These dangerous diseases are caused by bacteria which infect their host using a sophisticated injection apparatus. Through needle-like structures, they release molecular agents into their host cell, thereby evading the immune response. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in...


Word of the Day
lunula
  • A small crescent-shaped structure or marking, especially the white area at the base of a fingernail that resembles a half-moon.
This word is a diminutive of the Latin 'luna,' moon.
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