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Latest Max Planck Institute Stories

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2011-04-26 10:18:02

A plant's sugary offering betrays caterpillars to predatory ants Trichomes, hair-like projections on leaves, are part of a plant's defense against herbivores: they can be obstacles, traps, or reservoirs for toxic substances. The hairs of wild tobacco Nicotiana attenuata contain primarily acyl sugars, which are composed of the common sugar, sucrose, bound to branched chain aliphatic acids, compounds that give baby vomit its distinctive odor. Tiny, freshly hatched caterpillars consume these...

2011-04-20 20:00:10

The combination of simple codes and Captchas, which are even more encrypted using a chaotic process, produces effective password protection The passwords of the future could become more secure and, at the same time, simpler to use. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems in Dresden have been inspired by the physics of critical phenomena in their attempts to significantly improve password protection. The researchers split a password into two sections. With...

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2011-04-17 07:39:46

Scientists assemble genes involved in regulating olfaction in the antennae of a moth Insects have a highly sensitive sense of smell. Extremely low concentrations of odor molecules in the air are sufficient to be detected by receptor neurons on their antennae. Specific proteins, so-called receptor proteins, expressed in these neurons recognize the odors. The odor molecules bind to the receptors and produce chemical and electrical signals that are processed in the insect brain and eventually...

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2011-04-04 20:11:05

Two species of gorillas live in central equatorial Africa. Divergence between the Western gorillas (Gorilla gorilla) and Eastern gorillas (Gorilla beringei) began between 0.9 and 1.6 million years ago and now the two species live several hundred kilometers apart. An international team of researchers including Olaf Thalmann of the University of Turku in Finland and Linda Vigilant of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany found that the divergence of Western lowland...

2011-04-04 08:05:21

(Ivanhoe Newswire) "“ Turns out our sensitivity to seeing in color is not only due to cone cells in the retina, but also through the thyroid gland by controlling which visual pigment is produced in the cones. Research conducted on mice and rats has revealed that the production of visual pigment present in mature cones is regulated by the thyroid hormone. The team of researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research in Frankfurt/M., along with colleagues at the University of...

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2011-03-25 07:58:21

The use of different environments by males and females in the parti-colored bat makes population estimation and thereby the conservation of the species more difficult The use of different resources by males and females exacerbates the estimation of population sizes. However, the monitoring of population sizes, particularly for rare and threatened species, is pivotal to quick and effective conservation action. Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Radolfzell investigated...

2011-03-17 17:31:38

During the evolution of plants of the mustard family a leucine producing enzyme mutated into an enzyme that protects plants against herbivores Plants are continually exposed to herbivore attack. To defend themselves, they have developed sophisticated chemical defense mechanisms. Plants of the mustard family, such as thale cress (Arabidopsis thaliana), produce glucosinolates (mustard oil glucosides) to protect themselves against herbivory. Scientists know many different kinds of these...

2011-02-03 14:52:05

If you already know what you are about to see, you will recognise it faster The human brain works incredibly fast. However, visual impressions are so complex that their processing takes several hundred milliseconds before they enter our consciousness. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research in Frankfurt am Main have now shown that this delay may vary in length. When the brain possesses some prior information ̢蠫 that is, when it already knows...

2011-01-26 13:29:40

When it comes to pollen formation, seed plants go for overproduction Plants producing flower pollen must not leave anything to chance. The model plant thale cress (Arabidopsis), for instance, uses three signaling pathways in concert with partially overlapping functions. The yield becomes the greatest when all three processes are active; however, two are sufficient to form an acceptable quantity of flower pollen. In a new study, Peter Huijser and his colleagues at the Max Planck Institute for...

2011-01-24 15:46:20

Surprising rate at which neuronal networks in the cerebral cortex delete sensory information The dynamics behind signal transmission in the brain are extremely chaotic. This conclusion has been reached by scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization at the University of Göttingen and the Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience Göttingen. In addition, the Göttingen-based researchers calculated, for the first time, how quickly information...


Word of the Day
snash
  • To talk saucily.
  • Insolent, opprobrious language; impertinent abuse.
This word is Scots in origin and probably imitative.