Nerve fibers of the corpus callosum -- the big data cable linking both sides of the human brain -- are colored like an exotic caterpillar in this image from a recent paper in the Journal of Neuroscience.
The "fight or flight" response blamed for some of our modern ills was a great thing, back in the day.
This automatic physiological response to stress pumps the hormone cortisol through your veins, rapidly shutting down your immune system and redirecting resources to your muscles and brain to give you the extra energy to fight or outrun the unseen threat.
It surely enabled our ancestors to hunt their dinners without becoming dinner themselves.
A section of embryonic mouse brain has been stained to show different subtypes of developing neurons. Red marks neurons born early in development and yellow are more recent; cell nuclei are blue. A team led by Debra Silver in Molecular Genetics and Microbiology has found that mice having only one good copy of the gene Rbm8a have fewer neural progenitor cells and thus fewer neurons and are born with smaller brains, demonstrating that Rbmb8a is crucial to healthy brain development.
The combination of an old malaria drug, chloroquine, and an experimental drug, D4476, has been found to interrupt the normal functions of cancer cells, stained blue. David Virshup and Jit Kong Cheong, from Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School in Singapore, wanted to interfere with the cancer cell's known reliance on autophagy, a form of self-destruction. The cells ended up with their surfaces clogged with digestive vacuoles (red), that effectively prevent them from obtaining nutrition.
The family tree of birds has been redrawn.
An enormous international scientific effort that compared the whole genomes of 48 bird species has simultaneously published more than two dozen research papers in Science and several other journals.
The new phylogeny shows ostriches, pigeons and chickens close to the origin of modern birds.
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The genomes of modern birds tell a story of how they emerged and evolved after the mass extinction that wiped out dinosaurs and almost everything else 66 million years ago. That story is now coming to light, thanks to an ambitious international collaboration that has been underway for four years.
With obesity and age, fat cells invade the pancreas, where they become factors in the insulin secretion process relevant to diabetes and in the inflammation that leads to pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer. James Minchin, a post-doctoral researcher in the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology made this image of lipid droplets (magenta) surrounded by fibrous collagen (green) in the pancreatic tissue of zebrafish as part of his work on genetic and environmental sources of obesity.
It may look like a poster for the Grateful Dead, but these Day-Glo rainbow stripes belong to a fruit fly. Duke biologist Amy Bejsovec is studying the patterns that emerge during a fruit fly's development from egg to adult -- information that may help treat diseases that arise when normal development goes awry. The red stripes stain a protein called Wingless, which helps cells grow and multiply and develop into different cell types. Blue marks cell nuclei.
Taking a lesson from the way human skin can wrinkle, assistant professor Xuanhe Zhao of mechanical engineering and materials science has developed a nanofilm that is spread on a pre-stretched surface and then allowed to relax, creating a microscopic landscape with a precise pattern of high peaks and low valleys. The method produces large-area surface patterns faster, cheaper and with more precision than existing approaches.