Menopausal Mother Nature

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CRISPRi screens reveal sources of metabolic robustness in E. coli

Metabolic robustness, the ability of a metabolic system to buffer changes in its environment, is not always a welcome feature for microbiologists: it interferes with metabolic engineering or prevents that antibiotics kill bacteria. Therefore it is important to understand the mechanisms that enable metabolic robustness. A massively parallel CRISPRi screen demonstrated that E. colimetabolism is very robust against knockdowns of enzymes, and multi-omics data revealed the mechanisms behind it. In the future, the researchers want to apply this knowledge to build better models of metabolism, which enable rational-design of industrial microbes.

Ancient people relied on coastal environments to survive the Last Glacial Maximum

Excavations on the south coast of South Africa have uncovered evidence of human occupations from the end of the last ice age, approximately 35,000 years ago, through the complex transition to the modern time, known as the Holocene and adaptions that were key to our species ability to survive wide climate and environmental fluctuations.

Nature is widely adapted to current climate — making it harder to adjust to a new one

To do the right thing at the right time, organisms need to glean cues from their environment. With ongoing climate change, the timing of these cues, like the accumulation of warm days, is rapidly shifting. Now a network of researchers working on an unprecedentedly large dataset of seasonal events has shown that the timing of species’ activity fail to keep up with their cues, and that how quickly activity shifts reflects past evolution.

How tissue geometry influences the movement of cells through the body

Cells move constantly throughout our bodies, performing myriad operations critical to tissue development, immune responses and general wellbeing. This bustle is guided by chemical cues long studied by scientists interested in cellular migration.

Very hungry and angry, caterpillars head-butt to get what they want

When food is scarce, monarch butterfly caterpillars go from docile to domineering. The results look something like a combination of boxing and ‘bumper’ cars. The less food, the more likely caterpillars were to try to head-butt each other out of the way to get their fill, lunging and knocking aside other caterpillars to ensure their own survival. And, they are most aggressive right before the final stages of their metamorphosis.

Health trade-offs for wildlife as urbanization expands

City living appears to improve reproductive success for migratory tree swallows compared to breeding in more environmentally protected areas, a new five-year study suggests. But urban life comes with a big trade-off – health hazards linked to poorer water quality.

Government Transparency Should Be Welcomed, Not Shunned Or Suppressed

Ballot harvesting, behind-the-curtains ballot counting, and other hijinks have made transparency a critical issue this election year. Meanwhile, as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency celebrates its fiftieth birthday, political battles continue to rage over the extent of public, executive and…

Abundance of prey species is key to bird diversity in cities

A team of scientists collaborated to analyze breeding bird data gathered by citizen scientists. They found that the abundance of invertebrates such as insects or spiders as prey is a key factor affecting bird diversity in the city. The more prey is available, the more diverse the urban bird communities are.

Study highlights sex-specific variability in mouse features

(eLife ) Scientists have shown that sex-specific differences in variability depend on individual physical and physiological features in mice, debunking competing theories that either males or females are more variable.