Life Lines by Dr. Dolittle

Sponsored by the American Physiological Society

Comparative Physiology

The physiology of bad taste

Ever wonder how humans and other animals evolved the ability to detect foods that can potentially harm us? A recent article published in Physiological Reviews, explains the physiology behind why certain foods taste bad. The act of tasting is very complex and includes receptors in our mouths that can detect specific chemicals in our food and prepare our digestive system to receive the food and, as anyone with a cold knows, […]

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Fish offer clues to fixing broken hearts

About a year ago we talked about how Mexican tetra (Astyanax mexicanus) may hold the clues to treating diabetes. New research shows that is not all these tiny fish can teach us. Researchers at the University College London and the University of Oxford now think these fish may hold clues to regenerating damaged heart tissue. Their findings were published in Cell Reports. Mexican tetra are freshwater fish. Over millions of years, […]

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Time to talk turkey

Just in time for Thanksgiving… While wild turkeys are known to spend time in the snow, I read an interesting article about the effects of cold exposure on livestock during transport. According to the article, nearly all livestock animals are transported at some point in their life, which can be pretty stressful to the animals. In fact, some turkeys lose weight during transport and others do not even make it […]

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What do nematodes and humans have in common?

Orthologs are genes present in different species that evolved from a common ancestor. While studies have shown the existence of orthologous genes and proteins in C elegans that are associated with diseases in humans, a new study published in Physiological Genomics examined this question as it relates to reproduction. In the new study, researchers identified a whopping 504 genes in C elegans that have yet to be associated with reproduction in humans whereas […]

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Compromising fish

Here’s something to think about. How do fish optimize gas exchange in their gills to efficiently take up oxygen (favoring large, thin, permeable membranes) while at the same time limiting water and ion movement across the surface? If they reduce surface area, then oxygen transfer will be limited, but ions and water transfer will be optimized. What is a fish to do? A new review article published in Physiology discussed how […]

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Alcoholic Fish

As I prepare to leave the great city of New Orleans at the end of a fabulous conference, I can’t help but mention one final poster that I saw titled, “Depressing mitochondrial function during paradoxical anaerobism leads to an alcoholic fish.” It seemed appropriate given our conference hotel was on Bourbon Street. This poster, presented by Dr. Stanley Hillyard (University of Nevada – Las Vegas) examined desert pupfish (Cyprinodon spp). […]

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