Biology

Barriers on Europe’s rivers can improve fishing, be a source of energy and reduce the passage of invasive species, but they can also be a flood risk, interfere with migration patterns and fragment habitats. So what’s the best approach to reconnecting our rivers? One EU-funded project is providing some answers.
New research part-supported by the EU-funded FLIACT project has shown that gut bacteria ‘speak’ to the brain to control food choices, identifying two specific species of bacteria that have an impact on animal dietary decisions.
Identifying the environmental factors driving larval settlement is crucial to understanding the population dynamics of marine invertebrates. EU-funded research feeds into a new study that takes three environmental factors into consideration in an attempt to predict larval presence and intensity.
A new study has shown that bilingual people think about time differently depending on the language context in which they are estimating the duration of events.
Premature lambs have been kept alive for weeks using artificial wombs resembling plastic bags. It is hoped the advancement will one day offer premature babies a better chance of survival.
Researchers have made a chance discovery on how wax moth larvae commercially bred for fishing bait have the ability to biograde polyethylene – in essence, they can eat our waste, sparking widespread excitement that these little critters could become a potent weapon against environmental pollution.
Bronchitis and pneumonia may be harmful, but by studying the genetic structure of the bacteria that causes them, EU-funded scientists have been able to gain a better understanding of how genes function. Their research suggests DNA is organised the same way in all living organisms, a finding that may hold the key to new vaccines and drug therapies.
A new study, drawing on the work of the EU-funded ERA project along with the further support of two others, finds more evidence that dietary restriction increases life-span, as well as delaying and protecting against age-related health problems.
The development of gene therapy vectors for the hereditary immunodeficiency Chronic Granulomatous Disease (CGD) is hampered by the absence of human cell lines, necessary for rapid and effective gene therapy vector testing. A new model supported by EU funding can make the process more efficient.
War is not just a human activity. Costly group fights also break out between mongooses researchers have just found, with up to 30 animals on each side ‘arranged in battle lines’.
Building on EU-funded research, scientists have identified genetic traits that heighten the risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Commission Regulation (EU) 432/2012 lists a series of requirements for producers to legally advertise the health benefits of polyphenols in their olive oil. Thanks to the OLEUM project, an easy method can now be applied to certify compliance with this regulation.
Results from a large study of volunteer blood donors in Martinique during the 2016 Zika virus outbreak - which according to state health authorities affected 568 pregnant women - are now in. They provide a precise follow-up of incident cases and seroprevalence but also important insights into the management of blood donations and the natural history of ZIKV infection in adults.
A new technology combining photoacoustics with ultrasounds has enabled the University of Twente to differentiate between arthritic and healthy fingers, diagnose liber fibrosis and even measure blood velocity. Soon, this device could also be tested for mapping the likes of skin cancer, burns or hardening of the arteries.
Researchers have found that our increasing thirst for digital technology can have negative effects on our mental and physical health, neurological development and personal relationships.
Supported through the EU-funded T-FORCES project, scientists have found that biodiverse forests did not boost carbon storage beyond a certain point.
Supported through the EU-funded PALEOPLANT project, a series of genetic analyses of prehistoric seeds have unearthed millennium-old barley on the Canary Islands, shedding light into native Canarian origins.
If you’ve overindulged during the festive period and you’re digestive system feels a bit worse for wear, then be encouraged by the fact that Irish researchers have discovered an entirely new digestive organ called the mesentery, opening up an entirely new field of medical science.
A dinosaur fragment trapped in amber for over 99 million years and complete with fossilised feathers has been found and, for the first time, linked to a non-avian dinosaur.
An EU-funded Scottish-led team is using virtual coral larvae to test how well marine reserves can withstand climate change.
Researchers from the EU-funded EVOMECH project have warned that repeated dieting may lead to weight gain as the brain interprets the diets as short famines and urges the person to store more fat for future shortages.
By taking a quantitative approach to studying the immune system, EU-funded researchers have opened the door to a deeper understanding of T cell behaviour.
A new study supported by the EU-funded TRIFORC project has shown that by changing the genetic code for one amino acid in a plant begins a process that produces a new natural product that could be used in a variety of ways, including disease resistance.
Following the granting of a young British girl’s instructions to be cryogenically preserved so she can be revived in the future when a cure for cancer exists, there has been intense debate inside and outside the scientific community on both the viability of cryogenic freezing but also on the ethical issues thrown up by the procedure. Once again, it raises the centuries-old question that defines the conflict between modern science and ethics: Even if we could do something, should we?
EU-funded researchers have found that the body clock breaks down when light and temperature are out of sync, affecting activity levels.
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Study in Poland