CRISPR Editing in Fruit Flies to Mimic Monarch Butterflies

Ellie Teng ‘21 Monarch butterflies can consume toxic milkweed plants due to mutations in their genome. Both the caterpillar and the butterfly store the consumed toxins to defend against predators. Eating a monarch would cause a predator to regurgitate. Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley have utilized the CRISPR-Cas9 tool to genetically modified harmless fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster) to have the ability to eat … Continue reading CRISPR Editing in Fruit Flies to Mimic Monarch Butterflies

Viruses in Koalas Can Be Models for Genome Immunity

Ellie Teng ‘21 Retroviruses such as HIV are viruses that take genes from host cells and incorporate them into their own genomes. Transposons are DNA elements that can change positions in the genome, increasing the potential for mutations and genome instability. Piwi-interacting RNAs (piRNAs) guide the immune system towards silencing the transposons during germline development. Koalas infected by the retrovirus KoRV-A virus are immunodeficient and … Continue reading Viruses in Koalas Can Be Models for Genome Immunity

Big-Hearted: Arrhythmia in the World’s Largest Living Animal

Mariam Malik ‘22 Bradycardia is a slower-than-normal heart rate, and can vary depending on age and physical condition. According to the American Heart Association, a heart rate lower than sixty beats per minute (BPM) qualifies as bradycardia. Tachycardia, on the other hand, is a heartbeat that is too fast, specifically one that beats over a hundred times per minute. Both conditions vary by age and … Continue reading Big-Hearted: Arrhythmia in the World’s Largest Living Animal

21st Century Mind: The Effects of Blue-Light on the Brain, Retinas, and Rate of Aging

Mariam Malik ‘22 Blue light from electronic devices, such as smartphones and laptops, is of shorter wavelength on the light spectrum, thereby giving off higher amounts of energy. The harmful effects of absorbing too many light rays, such as UV and micro, have been researched and known. However, a recent study at Oregon State University on Drosophila melanogaster, the common fruit fly, shows the damaging … Continue reading 21st Century Mind: The Effects of Blue-Light on the Brain, Retinas, and Rate of Aging

Ecological Dynamics of Coastal Plants, Birds, and Herbivores

Fatin Chowdhury ’20 In a recent paper, scientists from the University of Irvine examined the resistance of shrub plants to herbivory, as enabled by plant morphology or the presence of avian species. The scientists studied both direct and indirect defenses in nature and assessed these mechanisms in the context of energetic trade-offs. Characteristics that were already known to directly lower the success rate of herbivory … Continue reading Ecological Dynamics of Coastal Plants, Birds, and Herbivores

Interactions between a Tree Exudate and a Loquat-Seed Starch

Fatin Chowdhury ’20 As naturally derived ingredients become more sought after in manufacturing and other areas, the science behind biodegradable material continues to expand. Recently, in order to better understand the chemical dynamics of different ingredients in biomaterials and explore the possibility of developing an edible film, a pair of scientists located in South Korea investigated the interactions of a tree-based gum with loquat-seed derived … Continue reading Interactions between a Tree Exudate and a Loquat-Seed Starch

Changes in Retinal Chromatin Allow Animals To Be Nocturnal

Mariam Malik ‘22 Night vision allows nocturnal animals to be active at nighttime and sleep when the sun is out, while diurnal animals are active during the day and sleep at night. However, when both diurnal and nocturnal animals are born, their ocular abilities are equal until a change in the cells of the eye occurs, allowing the animal to see in the dark. Through … Continue reading Changes in Retinal Chromatin Allow Animals To Be Nocturnal

Is Eternal Life Actually Possible? New Drug Formula May Reverse Biological Age

Joyce Chen ’23 Biological age is the measurement of the true ages of humans through the chemical changes in their DNA. Previous research and hypotheses inferred that reversing this can allow humans to acquire better immune systems and healthier bodies in general. To test if biological age reversal is actually possible, determined scientists from Intervene Immune and the University of California, Los Angeles, completed a … Continue reading Is Eternal Life Actually Possible? New Drug Formula May Reverse Biological Age

Glutamate Receptor GLR-3 Encodes for Evolutionary Cold-Sensing Receptor

Simran Kaur ’20 The capacity to detect cold temperatures is essential for many living organisms because cold temperatures can cause detrimental effects like severe soft-tissue damage and hypothermia. Some organisms have evolved the presence of thermoreceptors, which are specific nerve endings that are sensitive to changes in temperature and exist in the skin, skeletal muscle, and the hypothalamus. Thermoreceptors relay electrical signals to the central … Continue reading Glutamate Receptor GLR-3 Encodes for Evolutionary Cold-Sensing Receptor

Bat-Plant Mutualism in Brazil’s Cerrado and Efficiency in Conservation Efforts

Fatin Chowdhury ‘20 A group of researchers based in Europe and Brazil have detailed their literature-based simulation study of mutualistic bat and plant relationships in an area of Brazil called the Cerrado, with an emphasis on efficient conservation. This environment is a neotropical savanna biome characterized by high fauna diversity and distinct habitats, ranging from grasslands to dense gallery forests. These savannas are noted for … Continue reading Bat-Plant Mutualism in Brazil’s Cerrado and Efficiency in Conservation Efforts