Although we need sleep to survive and spend a significant portion of our lives sleeping, we actually know very little about why sleep is important or how it is regulated in the brain. Scientists use the humble fruit fly to answer some of these questions, in the hopes of eventually understanding human sleep and even treating human sleep disorders.
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Deep beneath the ocean, far beyond the reach of the sun’s rays, the waters pulsate and twinkle with electric blue light. Not distant stars, but marine organisms create this otherworldly glow, an enchanting adaptation called bioluminescence.
The biological sciences and education often highlight a dichotomy between addressing conservation biology scientifically and addressing it creatively. However, this is unnecessary and hinders efforts in conservation biology. Through the means of a “romantic teaching” education, both science and imagination can be employed so that efforts in conservation biology are understood and appreciated by scientists, politicians and the general public.
Messenger RNA (mRNA) is more than just a carrier of information from the genome to the ribosome. Some mRNAs include additional sequences that regulate their message by sensing molecules in the cell. These “riboswitch” sequences are an interesting and unique form of biosensor and cellular regulator.
What do you think of when you picture a marine biologist at work? Perhaps a SCUBA diver counting animals underwater, or people leaning over the side of a boat to put tags on whales, or exploring the deep ocean using submarines. Or even a person bending over a microscope, trying to identify tiny plankton. Few people would picture someone sorting through the contents of ancient trash heaps, or comparing Roman mosaic artworks, or poring over old colonial maps. After all, those are jobs for archaeologists and historians. Marine biologists study ocean life, not human history, right?