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27 September 2018

Some female termites can reproduce without males [Phys]

Populations of the termite species Glyptotermes nakajimai can form successful, reproducing colonies in absence of males, according to a study published in the open access journal BMC Biology.

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27 September 2018

Birds’ voiceboxes are odd ducks [Phys]

In a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, an interdisciplinary team of developmental biologists, evolutionary morphologists, and physiologists examined the windpipes of birds, crocodiles, salamanders, mice, and cats to learn more about how syrinxes evolved. Their findings seem to confirm: the syrinx is an evolutionary odd duck. But it might have arisen from a reinforcement at the bottom of the windpipe that we still see in many other animals.

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25 September 2018

DNA islands effective as ’anti-bacterial drones’ [Phys]

Genomic "islands" that evolved from viruses can be converted into "drones" that disable Staphylococcus aureus, bacteria that are often resistant to antibiotics and pose a threat to safe hospital care, a new study finds.

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25 September 2018

Burst of morning gene activity tells plants when to flower [Phys]

For angiosperms—or flowering plants—one of the most important decisions facing them each year is when to flower. It is no trivial undertaking. To flower, they must cease vegetative growth and commit to making those energetically expensive reproductive structures that will bring about the next generation.

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24 September 2018

Fears grow for small tortoiseshell butterfly as decline continues [The Guardian]

Big Butterfly Count records worst summer ever for the species, despite the heatwave providing a boost to most others.

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