Life Lines by Dr. Dolittle

Sponsored by the American Physiological Society

New species of octopus?

Scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) think they have discovered a new species of octopus while exploring the ocean floor around Necker Island (near Hawaii). The octopus was found 4,290 meters deep. Interestingly, fins were absent from the pale octopus, which NOAA scientist Michael Vecchione noted was unusual for an octopus living at that depth. Moreover, its suckers were found to be in a single row on each of its […]

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Beware of freezing hearts

Thirteen-lined ground squirrels (Ictidomys tridecemlineatus) are really cute when they hibernate (above). During torpor bouts, their body temperature decreases to a few degrees Celsius and their metabolism drops by as much as 95% with heart rates ranging from only 3-10 beats per minute. These bouts of torpor are interrupted by periodic arousals every couple of weeks during which their metabolism increases as body temperature elevates to 37 degrees Celsius. What is so fascinating is […]

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‘GMAs’? Genetically modified animals

Researchers in China are exploring the use of gene-editing technologies to create customized animals. Take for example research at the Shaanxi Provincial Engineering and Technology Research Center for Shaanbei Cashmere Goats where animals have been genetically-modified to have longer hair (i.e. more wool) and more muscles (i.e. meat). This was accomplished using the relatively new technology CRISPR-Cas9 developed in the United States that allows researchers to cut out a piece of DNA from embryos. Chinese scientists […]

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The amazing cockroach

Testing the bite force of American cockroaches. Image from: Tom Weihmann | University of Cambridge I’ll admit I get a bit squeamish when I see a cockroach. However, after reading new research about the “ew” inspiring creatures, I have a bit more respect for them. Not only can these bugs run vertically up walls, survive nuclear war and live without their head for weeks (thus I suggest squishing the whole body), new […]

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The seal of enigma!

I am excited to present this guest blog from Bridget Martinez, graduate student from the University of California, Merced. She has been studying elephant seals in the laboratory of Dr. Rudy Ortiz. She had presented her research at the 2015 Experimental Biology conference in Boston, MA which was mentioned in a prior blog . Here is her description of her research: Bridget Martinez, Graduate Student, University of California – Merced […]

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T. Rex – Just a ‘big angry chicken’?

If you have not already had a chance to see it, the T. Rex Autopsy airing on the National Geographic channel is a must-see! They literally created a model of T. Rex based on available evidence about T. Rex and other dinosaurs as well as evidence from modern birds and then performed an “autopsy”. The conclusion: T. Rex was basically a ‘big angry chicken’ – Love it!! It will be airing again […]

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Wound healing with fish

Researchers in China have discovered that collagen isolated from the skin of tilapia effectively reduce wound healing time in mice. The usefulness of collagen, a major structural protein found in connective tissues, in wound healing has been known. Using fish proteins instead of typical mammalian sources reduces the risk for potential pathogens. Dr. Jiao Sun (Shanghai Jiaotong University School of Medicine) and colleagues isolated collagen from the skin of tilapia […]

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