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Genetics

Giant Rhinoceros Skeleton Found in China – This Was One of the Largest Land Mammals Ever

In the land of endless fossils—aka North China—a new species of giant rhinoceros has been discovered in Gansu Province that ranks among the largest terrestrial mammals to ever walk the Earth. Belonging to an extinct genus called Paraceratherium, which means “near the hornless beast,” the new species displays some different characteristics and carries with it […]

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Scientists discover unreported plant body part

(The Company of Biologists) A previously unreported anatomical structure named the ‘cantil’ has been described in the popular plant model, Arabidopsis thaliana. Scientists from The Pennsylvania State University, USA, reveal that the cantil forms between the stem and flower-bearing stalk when flowering is delayed. Published in the journal Development, this study highlights that there are still discoveries to be made, even in some of the most meticulously studied species, and provides new clues for understanding conditional growth in plants.

Persistence pays off in the human gut microbiome

(Earlham Institute) The human gut microbiome is a complex community of trillions of microbes that are constantly interacting with each other and our bodies. It supports our wellbeing, immune system and mental health — but how is it sustained?

Puppies are born ready to communicate with people, study shows

(Cell Press) Anyone that’s ever interacted with a dog knows that they often have an amazing capacity to interact with people. Now researchers reporting in the journal Current Biology on June 3 have found that this ability is present in dogs from a very young age and doesn’t require much, if any, prior experience or training. But, some of them start off better at it than others based on their genetics.

Climate change-resistant corals could provide lifeline to battered reefs

(University of Pennsylvania) Corals that withstood a severe bleaching event and were transplanted to a different reef maintained their resilient qualities, according to a new study led by Katie Barott of the University of Pennsylvania.

Terpen-tales: The mystery behind the unique fragrance of the lovely lavender

(Nanjing Agricultural University The Academy of Science) Scientists from China have sequenced and analyzed the genome of lavender to provide insights into what causes its distinct aroma. Their findings shed light into the evolution of this uniquely fragrant plant, which could pave the way for creating improved lavender varieties besides adding to existing knowledge on the evolution, phytochemistry, and ecology of Lamiaceae, the plant family to which lavender belongs.

High genomic diversity is good news for California condor

(University of California – Berkeley) The wild California condor population dropped to 22 before rescue and captive breeding allowed reintroduction into the wild. A new assembly of the complete genome of the bird reveals some inbreeding as a result, but overall high genomic diversity attesting to large populations of condors in the past, likely in the tens of thousands. Comparison to Andean condor and turkey vulture genomes reveals declines in their populations also, and lower genomic diversity than California condor.

Transforming atmospheric carbon into industrially useful materials

(Salk Institute) Plants are unparalleled in their ability to capture carbon from the air, but this benefit is temporary. Researchers have proposed a more permanent, and even useful, fate for this captured carbon by turning plants into a valuable industrial material called silicon carbide (SiC). A new study from Salk scientists quantifies this process with more detail than ever before.

NYUAD study sequences genome of extinct date palms germinated from 2,000 year-old seeds

(New York University) Researchers from NYU Abu Dhabi’s Center for Genomics and Systems Biology have successfully sequenced the genome of previously extinct date palm varieties that lived more than 2,000 years ago.

Flatfish got weird fast due to evolutionary cascade

(Rice University) Flatfishes rapidly evolved into the most asymmetric vertebrates by changing multiple traits at once, according to a new Rice University study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.