Life Lines by Dr. Dolittle

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Tag Archive for ‘animal’

Sleep = better DNA repair

I read an interesting article published in Nature Communications that described how zebrafish larvae need sleep to help fix damaged DNA that accumulates in their brains during the day. The researchers engineered zebrafish larvae to have fluorescent chromosomes in a single neuron, which allowed them to observe double-strand breaks in the DNA build-up during wakefulness. In contrast, chromosome activity necessary for repair increased when the animals were sleeping. If the researchers disrupted […]

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New study shows mussels are “hot and bothered”

Freshwater organisms are especially vulnerable to environmental changes as they are exposed to both atmospheric changes as well as run-off from nearby cities; in particular, rising temperatures and increasing carbon dioxide levels from both natural factors (rainfall, geology, etc) as well as human influence (deforestatin, agriculture, urbanization). For example, studies of rivers around the world have found that carbon dioxide levels vary from 647 – 38,000 µatm. Higher levels are […]

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Individuality in woodpeckers

Animals, like people, have unique sounds that allow them to recognize individuals. For example, you can hear a great spotted woodpecker calling in the first portion of this YouTube video below. In another YouTube video, we see a great spotted woodpecker doing what woodpeckers do best…pecking at wood. Woodpeckers peck (i.e. drum) to ward off rivals as well as attract mates. In a new study published in PLoS ONE, researchers examined […]

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Do negative facial expressions impact dogs?

As a dog owner, it seems to me as if my canine pal understands when I am happy or mad. But, is that seeming awareness due to my facial expressions or the tone of my voice? In a new study published in Behavioural Processes, researchers at the University of Lincoln and University of Sao Paulo attempted to unravel this mystery of how angry or happy human facial expressions might make […]

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Man catches rare warm-blooded fish

This past weekend a man caught a very rare fish, called an opah (aka moonfish), off the coast of Ocean City, Maryland. What makes this fish so rare is that it is the only known warm-blooded fish. In fact, they are able to keep their whole body about 5 degrees Celsius above the water they swim in. Other fish lose heat generated from muscle movements to the environment as the […]

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Amazing longevity of Greenland sharks

A multi-national team of scientists sought to determine the age of Greenland sharks (Somniosus microcephalus). These animals grow rather slowly (about 1cm per year) and are the largest fish in the arctic (>500 cm long), but their longevity was not yet known. The team used radiocarbon dating of crystalline proteins found within the nuclei of the eye lens. Because these proteins are formed prenatally, they offer a rather accurate way to […]

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