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Latest University of Zurich Stories

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2011-05-20 06:40:00

A fang-like tooth on double upper lips, spiny teeth on the tongue and a pulley-like mechanism to move the tongue backwards and forwards "“ this bizarre bite belongs to a conodont and, thanks to a fresh fossil find, has now been analyzed and reconstructed by a Swiss-French research team headed by paleontologists from the University of Zurich. Their analysis sheds some light on the evolutionary origin of jaws. Using a 3D animated model, the reconstruction shows for the first time how the...

2011-05-16 15:59:15

Aggressive male mating behavior might well be a successful reproductive strategy for the individual but it can drive the species to extinction, an international research team headed by evolutionary biologist Daniel Rankin from the University of Zurich has demonstrated in a mathematical model. Evolutionary biologists have long debated whether the behavior of the individual is able to influence processes on a population or species level. The possibility of selection at species level is still...

2011-04-25 12:36:03

The neutralization of the cytokine GM-CSF could halt the development of multiple sclerosis. This was demonstrated by the research team of the immunologist Burkhard Becher at the University of Zurich in an animal model. Unlike other known cytokines, they write in the journal Nature Immunology, this messenger substance is essential for the development of the disease. By the end of this year, a clinical trial will be launched in which GM-CSF is to be neutralized in MS patients. The immune...

2011-01-27 14:34:15

Switzerland is not the democracy par excellence as thought, but only a mediocre one and ranks fourteenth when compared with twenty-nine established democracies. These are the finding of the democracy barometer, a new instrument for measuring the quality of democracy developed at the University of Zurich and the Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB). According to the democracy barometer, Denmark has the highest quality of democracy, followed by Finland and Belgium. These countries best...

2011-01-14 08:51:46

Airborne prions are also infectious and can induce mad cow disease or Creutzfeldt-Jakob disorder. This is the surprising conclusion of researchers at the University of Zurich, the University Hospital Zurich and the University of Tbingen. They recommend precautionary measures for scientific labs, slaughterhouses and animal feed plants. The prion is the infectious agent that caused the epidemic of mad cow disease, also termed bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), and claimed the life of over...

2010-11-15 21:43:53

Biologists at UC San Diego and four other institutions have identified a long-sought after family of genes that controls how yeast and plants accumulate toxic heavy metals and arsenic inside their cells. Their discovery, published in two separate scientific papers, is a significant advance with the potential to restore environmentally damaged waste sites and protect the food supply from toxic metal contamination. It could permit scientists to engineer plants capable of removing toxic metals...

2010-11-12 12:50:04

Powdery mildew is a fungus that infects both crop and ornamental plants. Each year, powdery mildew and other plant pathogens cause immense crop loss. Despite decades of intense research, little is known of the plant molecules that allow fungal hyphae to invade the host's epidermal cells. A European research group lead by Ueli Grossniklaus, a plant geneticist at the University of Zurich, now published a study in Science shedding a new light on mildew susceptibility in plants and its surprising...

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2010-11-03 11:34:43

By Bob Beale, UNSW Female dolphins who have help from their female friends are far more successful as mothers than those without such help, according to a landmark new study. Previous research into reproductive success in animal populations has had mixed findings: some studies point to the benefits of inherited genetic characteristics, while others show the benefits of social effects, such as having an honorary aunt or uncle or other unrelated helpers. The new study is the first to look at...

2010-10-08 02:16:03

Witnessing a person from our own group or an outsider suffer pain causes neural responses in two very different regions of the brain. And, the specific region activated reveals whether or not we will help the person in need. Researchers at the University of Zurich studied the brain responses of soccer fans and now have neurobiological evidence for why we are most willing to help members of our own group. Our reactions to shocking news clips on television demonstrate that human beings can...

2010-10-04 23:00:39

Revenge cuts both ways in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Scientists of the University of Zurich, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Tel Aviv and Quinnipiaq Universities show that attacks by either side lead to violent retaliation from the other. Both Israelis and Palestinians may underestimate their own role in perpetuating the conflict. A team of scientists from the University of Zurich, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Tel Aviv and Quinnipiaq Universities have...


Word of the Day
holluschickie
  • A 'bachelor seal'; a young male seal which is prevented from mating by its herd's older males (mated bulls defending their territory).
This comes from the Russian word for 'bachelors.'
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