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

Simran Kaur 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 nervous … Continue reading Glutamate Receptor GLR-3 Encodes for Evolutionary Cold-Sensing Receptor

Mudrocks and Plants: A Shared History

Gene Yang ‘19 Billions of years ago, during the Precambrian, mudrocks were considered a rare sedimentary deposit in rivers. Then, the colonization of land by plants coincided with an increase in mudrocks, resulting in a significant change in the composition of river sedimentary deposits. While this relationship between mudrocks and plants has been well-established, less is known quantitatively, and even less about why these two … Continue reading Mudrocks and Plants: A Shared History

Searching for New Anti-Malaria Drugs

By Gene Yang ’19 Over 216 million cases of malaria, a disease caused by the Plasmodium parasite and transmitted by mosquitos, were recorded in 2016. While this disease still results in an estimated half a million deaths per year, the majority of which occurs in Sub-Saharan Africa, mortality rates are on the decline thanks to increased prevention and control. However, if malaria eradication is to … Continue reading Searching for New Anti-Malaria Drugs

Evolution of the Nervous System: Independent or Conserved?

By: Gene Yang ‘19 The question of whether the central nervous system evolved once or multiple times is a subject of much study and debate. Humans and other animals with bilateral symmetry, all of which possess central nervous systems, are known to have descended from a common ancestor. In the past, it was believed that the central nervous system evolved just once in our bilateral … Continue reading Evolution of the Nervous System: Independent or Conserved?

Figure 1. Dogs produced isolated facial expressions that did not resemble human emotions.

Facial Expressions Of Humans And Dogs Are Not The Same

By Maryna Mullerman ’20 Mammalian facial expressions are known to correlate with animals’ internal states. Substantial similarities have been previously identified between chimpanzees and humans, but facial expression similarities between more distant mammalian species is unknown. Caeiro Cátia and researchers from the University of Lincoln in the United Kingdom investigated whether domestic dogs produced certain facial expressions in response to different external emotional stimuli. Furthermore, … Continue reading Facial Expressions Of Humans And Dogs Are Not The Same

Figure 1: The poison frog, Ameerega bassleri, is one of the three studied lineages of frogs that evolved resistance to epibatidine, a toxin lethal in microgram-doses.

Poison Frogs: Evolution of Epibatidine Resistance

Gene Yang ‘19 Animals that use toxins as anti-predator defense usually evolve a method of resistance, often at a high physiological cost, to prevent self-intoxication. Poisonous frogs, a broad polyphyletic group within the order Anura, often use one such method known as target site insensitivity, which is the alteration of the molecular target of the toxin to disallow the toxin from binding. Researchers from University … Continue reading Poison Frogs: Evolution of Epibatidine Resistance

Figure 1. Biologists find visual impairments in a kiwi population that lead them to believe that vision is unrelated to kiwi survival.

Free-Living Blind Bird Population Observed for the First Time

Gene Yang ‘19 Researchers of UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, in collaboration with New Zealand ornithologists, have observed multiple blind, healthy birds existing in a free-living avian population. These organisms from the genus Apteryx, commonly known as kiwis, are flightless birds native to New Zealand. Although kiwis are predominantly nocturnal, unlike most nocturnal bird species, they do not possess the notable characteristics in their … Continue reading Free-Living Blind Bird Population Observed for the First Time

The Origin of Dogs Traces Back to Two Separate Locations

by Jenna Mallon (’18) Although it is a common fact that domestic dogs originated from wolves, there are still speculations concerning the geographical and temporal origins of man’s best friend. There are disagreements over when and where dogs were domesticated. Despite evidence that points to the Paleolithic Era, some archeologists argue that dogs could have been independently domesticated in two separate regions: Eastern and Western … Continue reading The Origin of Dogs Traces Back to Two Separate Locations