biology

How Lizard Tails Could Help Scientists Study Human Limb Regeneration

Prosthetic technology is getting insanely good. But what if we just didn’t need it any more? What if we could simply program our genes to regrow human limbs as easily as lizards regrow lost tails? Well, scientists are getting closer to that fantastic future.


Australian Study: Our Hot, Bright Cities Are Spawning Gigantic Spiders

File this one under: Oh HELL no. While we know that our ever-industrialising lifestyles make survival tough for animals like birds and mountain lions, in at least one case urbanisation is helping a species to thrive. Thanks to the artificial conditions we create, our cities are growing ultrafertile megaspiders.


DIY Diagnosis: How One Woman Uncovered Her Own Genetic Flaw

When Kim Goodsell discovered that she had two extremely rare genetic diseases, she taught herself genetics to help find out why.


A Common Bacteria Can Be Injected Directly Into Tumours To Fight Cancer

In its natural form, Clostridium novyi is at best benign (it lives in the soil) and at worst harmful (it can cause infections). But a slightly modified version of the bacterium could be a completely new treatment for cancer. Injecting thousands of spores of a modified C. novyi into rats, dogs, and one human patient shrank or even eradicated their tumors.


Crayfish Can Turn Ordinary Blood Cells Into Neurons

Whatever you happen to call them — crawfish, crawdads, mudbugs — crayfish are pretty tasty. They also have a pretty remarkable ability to regenerate neurons from blood cells. Understanding brain regeneration in these little crustaceans might one day help us understand how it could work in humans.


This Is The Nicest Explanation Of How Life Began You'll Ever See

Every living thing comes from another living thing. But billions of years ago, nothing was really alive: the Earth just had a bunch of chemicals on it. So where did life appear from? This lovely animation from New Scientist explains just that in perhaps the nicest way we’ve ever seen.


Why We Yawn (And Why It Really Is Contagious)

Babies, dogs, cats, birds, mice, rats and even snakes yawn, and some of us were even doing it in the womb. Although for thousands of years the reason has remained elusive, recent scholarship may have uncovered the truth as to why we yawn.


Scientists Made This Entire Mouse Transparent Using Detergent

Last year, scientists did the wacky and cool thing of making a mouse brain transparent. Now they have gone and done it to an entire mouse by pumping detergent through its veins. The transparent mouse looks like gross rodent jello (yes, there is a photo), but it’s also an incredible new way to study what intact organs look like on the inside.


Why Snot Is Green And Yellow

Snot is an essential part of a healthy body (no, really), and its colour and consistency can give you a lot of information about what’s going on in yours at any given time.


One Super-Common Bacteria Is Wasting Labs Millions In Research Money

Unless you’re a biologist, the bacterium Mycoplasma probably will not strike fear in your heart. Our mouths are teeming with this tiny and usually harmless microbe. But when Mycoplasma finds its way into a petri dish of cells, it becomes a big and expensive headache. A new study finds that 11 per cent of samples in gene-expression studies were contaminated with Mycoplasma, potentially invalidating those results and wasting millions of dollars.


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