Around the world, the number of bees is abruptly decreasing. Known as colony collapse disorder, the phenomenon is affecting agriculture on the global scale. According to a report by the United Nations, crops reliant on honeybee pollination sum up to a net worth of $200 billion, and the decline in population is increasing the cost of beekeeping by an average of 20%. Looking into the matter are bioresearchers from Michigan State University, who are busy deriving the genes responsible for pollination.
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Bacterial cells commonly act as little machines in the lab of a bioresearcher. Some fluoresce as they bind to certain particles, others change color based on the presence of a certain chemical in solution. Useful as these cells are, they are generally pre-set; each lab has to find one that does the necessary job or wait for one to be discovered. Now the wait is over – thanks to a research team at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where programmable bacterial cells are quickly becoming a reality.
Occasionally in the research world, investigation in one particular study can lead to accidental and novel discoveries in another. Such was the case recently as the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where life science researchers working on zebrafish embryos stumbled upon a revelation about colon cancer that also applies to humans.
A human’s first instinct upon seeing a scorpion is to get away from it as fast as possible. The grasshopper mouse, on the other hand, routinely feeds on bark scorpions, as seen in the video below. Despite the venomous nature of their prey, the mice suffer no side effects from their mealtime and aren’t even that bothered while they’re eating. The secret of their immunity is inspiring researchers at Michigan State University to look into the medicinal properties of this mouse’s body.
The method of three-dimensional printing, which conjures up solid objects from 3D computer models, is beginning to make a larger impact on the world of life science technology. Though 3D printing was developed almost thirty years ago, its use in conjunction with biology began fairly recently but is quickly increasing. In fact, bioscientists from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor just used 3D printing to save the life of a baby.
It has long been known that mercury, which in high enough levels is toxic to humans, is found in several kinds of fish. But the reason fish contain mercury in the first place has always eluded us- until now. Life science researchers at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor have found the reasons (indeed, there are multiple) and have concluded that the levels of mercury in fish are actually rising to this day.
The arena of renewable energy has expanded to include a number of different methods and natural resources. At Michigan State University, a new and unlikely contender has entered the scene. Decomposing microorganisms are the key behind the university’s incredibly efficient anaerobic digester, which they put into operation this Tuesday.
Science researchers at Michigan State University recently published a study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that says they have discovered a second molecular door that can be used in creating mosquito repellant. Scientists long believed that there was only one molecular gateway in targeting disease-carrying mosquitoes, but this door is coming to a close. Pyrethroid insecticides have been used for years and work so well as an insecticide that the World Health Organiation uses them with the mosquito nets they distribute around the world.
Researchers at Michigan State University have developed a groundbreaking new method of detecting Parkinson’s disease at an earlier stage, making it possible to treat the disease and control symptoms more effectively. Professor and chair of Michagan State University’s Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders Rahul Shrivastav helped in part to develop the method of detection, which involves monitoring speech patterns, movement patterns of the jaw and tongue in particular. According to the Michigan State University news page, these signs are detectable before the disease begins to affect other muscles and movement.
The summer is finally approaching, which means biotechnology news related to mosquito outbreaks is especially hot. (We had the same thought last summer; see Irvine Research Lab Produces Transgenic Mosquitoes to Combat Malaria and Rock Neurogenetics Lab in the Press for Mosquito Research, Fashion Scents.) As was the case last summer, researchers are working hard to reduce the impact of malaria, which is largely transmitted by mosquitoes. At Michigan State University, they are taking a unique approach to this old problem: instead of protecting humans from mosquitoes, just protect mosquitoes from malaria in the first place.