Squid tentacles are loaded with hundreds of suction cups, or suckers, and each sucker has a ring of razor-sharp teeth that help these mighty predators latch onto and take down prey. Researchers report that the proteins in these teeth could form the basis for a new generation of strong, but malleable, materials that could someday be used for reconstructive surgery, eco-friendly packaging and many other applications.
Sea cucumbers change the stiffness of their skin, Venus flytraps roll up their leaves and even pine cones are capable of closing up their scales at increasing levels of humidity. In the course of evolution, Nature has managed to give rise to complex materials capable of responding to external stimuli by way of mechanical movement. Which is exactly what chemists are now trying to do as well - and with considerable success.
By confining colonies of human embryonic stem cells to tiny circular patterns on glass plates, researchers have for the first time coaxed them into organizing themselves just as they would under natural conditions.
Researchers have demonstrated that when exposed to repeated cycles of antibiotics, within days bacteria can evolve a new adaptation, by remaining dormant for the treatment period to survive antibiotic stress. The results show for the first time that bacteria can develop a biological timer to survive antibiotic exposure. With this new understanding, scientists could develop new approaches for slowing the evolution of antibiotic resistance.
By labelling the ends of thousands of microtubules, which are indispensable and extremely dynamic and variable, researchers have finally been able to follow their distribution and movement during the assembly of the mitotic spindle.
With the plethora of research and published studies on stem cells over the last decade, many would say that the definition of stem cells is well established and commonly agreed upon. However, a new review article suggests that scientists have only scratched the surface of understanding the nature, physiology and location of these cells.
Researchers have developed new methods to trace the life history of individual cells back to their origins in the fertilised egg. By looking at the copy of the human genome present in healthy cells, they were able to build a picture of each cell's development from the early embryo on its journey to become part of an adult organ.