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Latest PLoS Biology Stories

2011-09-14 11:32:47

A new study reveals that the way fruit bats use biosonar to 'see' their surroundings is significantly more advanced than first thought. The study, published September 13 in the online, open access journal PLoS Biology, examines Egyptian fruit bats (Rousettus aegyptiacus), which use echolocation to orient inside their caves and to find fruit hidden in the branches of trees. Their high-frequency clicks form a sonar beam that spreads across a fan-shaped area, and the returning echoes allow them...

2011-09-07 12:33:30

Mysterious mesenchyme is key piece of pancreatic puzzle A somewhat mysterious soft tissue found in the fetus during early development in the womb plays a pivotal role in the formation of mature beta cells the sole source of the body's insulin. This discovery, made by scientists at University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and Texas A&M University, may lead to new ways of addressing Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. As reported today in the journal PLoS Biology, during the late stages...

2011-09-07 11:15:29

Do animals that have evolved for millions of years underground, completely isolated from the day-night cycle, still "know" what time it is? Does a normal circadian clock persist during evolution under constant darkness? A new study directly tackles these fundamental questions by investigating a species of cavefish, Phreatichthys andruzzii, which has lived isolated for 2 million years beneath the Somalian desert. Many fish species have evolved in the absence of sunlight in cave systems around...

2011-09-01 11:58:38

An investigation into the mysterious inner workings of the malaria parasite has revealed that it survives and proliferates in the human bloodstream thanks in part to a single, crucial chemical that the parasite produces internally. According to scientists at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and Stanford Medical School, reporting today in the journal PLoS Biology, this insight immediately provides a powerful new tool for discovering and designing drugs to treat malaria,...

2011-08-31 12:39:54

A novel technique to "tame" the malaria parasite, by forcing it to depend on an external supply of a vital chemical, has been developed by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine and the University of California-San Francisco. The scientists have, in effect, created a domesticated strain of Plasmodium – the one-celled parasite that causes malaria – that would no longer cause this dreaded disease. Their findings not only make it possible to grow large volumes...

2011-08-03 12:17:04

Many medical devices, ranging from artificial hip joints to dentures and catheters, can come with unwelcome guests "“ complex communities of microbial pathogens called biofilms that are resistant to the human immune system and antibiotics, thus proving a serious threat to human health. However, researchers may have a new way of looking at biofilms, thanks to a study conducted by University of Iowa biologist David Soll and his colleagues published in the Aug 2 issue of the online, open...

2011-07-27 13:31:58

The development of identical egg laying organs of two nematode species is regulated by different signaling pathways Changes in a short protein domain can alter a whole signaling network involved in organ development"“ this is the key result of a comparative study of the development of the egg laying organ in two species of nematodes. However, the outward appearance of the organ remains the same in both species. The study provides support for the theory of developmental systems drift...

2011-07-27 12:43:11

The past two decades have witnessed an epidemic spread of obesity-related diseases in Western countries. Elucidating the biological mechanism that links overnutrition to obesity could prove crucial in reducing obesity levels. In the July 26 issue of PLoS Biology, Dr. Dongsheng Cai and his research team at Albert Einstein College of Medicine describe a pathway that directs the brain to sense the body's glucose dynamics, and they find that a defect of this glucose sensing process contributes to...

2011-07-20 12:23:02

In the century and a half since Charles Darwin's publication of The Origin of Species, evolutionary theory has become the bedrock of modern biology, yet its application to the understanding of the human mind remains controversial. For the past 30 years, evolutionary interpretation of human cognition has been dominated by the field of evolutionary psychology. One view of this field is that human minds are composed of a list of dedicated programmes, each fashioned by natural selection to solve...

2011-06-22 22:19:56

The world's oceans support vast populations of single-celled organisms (phytoplankton) that are responsible, through photosynthesis, for removing about half of the carbon dioxide that is produced by burning fossil fuels "“ as much as the rainforests and all other terrestrial systems combined. One group of phytoplankton, known as the coccolithophores, are known for their remarkable ability to build chalk (calcium carbonate) scales inside their cells, which are secreted to form a...


Latest PLoS Biology Reference Libraries

PLoS Medicine
2012-05-17 15:12:48

PLoS Medicine is a peer-reviewed medical journal established in October 2004. It is the second journal of the Public Library of Sciences, which publishes open-access material. All material in PLoS Medicine is published under the Creative Commons license. To fund the journal, the publication’s business model requires that authors pay publication costs. PLoS Medicine provides an innovative and influential venue for research and comment on the major challenges to human health worldwide. It...

PLoS Biology
2012-05-02 19:40:12

PLoS Biology is a peer-reviewed scientific journal covering all aspects of biology. It was established in 2003, with the first issue published in October of that year. It was the first journal of the Public Library of Science. As of May 2012, the current editor-in-chief is Jonathan Eisen (University of California, Davis). All content in PLoS Biology is published under the Creative Commons “by-attribution” license. The journal is funded by authors who are charged set fees to publish...

PLoS ONE
2012-04-30 14:56:25

PLoS ONE is an open-access peer-reviewed scientific journal published by the Public Library of Science (PLoS). It was established in 2006 as a beta version. In August 2008 it moved from a weekly publication schedule to a daily one, publishing articles as soon as they became ready. In October 2008, it came out of “beta.” In September 2009, PLoS ONE made full online usage of every published article publicly available. The founding managing editor was Chris Surridge. He was succeeded by...

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Word of the Day
humgruffin
  • A terrible or repulsive person.
Regarding the etymology of 'humgruffin,' the OED says (rather unhelpfully) that it's a 'made-up word.' We might guess that 'hum' comes from 'humbug' or possibly 'hum' meaning 'a disagreeable smell,' while 'gruffin' could be a combination of 'gruff' and 'griffin.'