Harvard alumna and researchers ID gene critical to floral nectar spurs

Scientists discover gene that directs spur development, name it after NBA Spurs coach. In the paper, the scientists identify the gene critical to controlling the development of these spurs in the common columbine, or Aquilegia. They found it acts as a master regulator that appears to control the creation of the spurs by regulating the activity of other genes, the way a coach decides who plays and when.

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Short-term moisture removal can eliminate downy mildew of spinach

Scientists at the University of Arkansas explored the relationship between available moisture and disease establishment and in a recent article they demonstrated that removing moisture decreased both spore survival and disease. Even a 30-minute dry period reduced spore germination to almost zero. Spores were unable to recover and cause disease on spinach.

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Aging chimps show social selectivity

When humans age, they tend to favor small circles of meaningful, established friendships rather than seek new ones, and to lean toward positive relationships rather than ones that bring tension or conflict. These behaviors were thought to be unique to humans but it turns out chimpanzees, one of our closest living relatives, have these traits, too. Understanding why can help scientists gain a better picture of what healthy aging should look like and what triggers this social change.

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Uncrushable diabolical ironclad beetle reveals its strengths to scientists

The toughening mechanisms that make the diabolical ironclad beetle extremely resistant to crushing have been uncovered by researchers in the US and Japan. David Kisailus at the University of California, Riverside and colleagues found that interlocking sutures in the exoskeletons of the insects allowed them to stiffen when under stress.

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