Prevention and Health Promotion are the motto at the Local Health Authority Day 2023
The around 400 local health authorities in Germany – like local health authorities all over the world – are the backbone of all efforts to promote the health of the population. They also play a decisive role in prevention and health promotion, the motto for this year’s Local Health Authority Day on 19 March.
Passerine bird takes advantage of human settlements
Daurian redstarts move their nesting sites closer to or even inside human settlements when cuckoos are around. In doing so, they actively protect their nest against brood parasitism, as cuckoos avoid human settlements. An international team of scientists showed both observational and experimental evidence for this anti-parasitism strategy in a population of Daurian redstarts in northeastern China. Their research illustrates how the breeding behavior of two interacting bird species co-evolves. It also gives us a glimpse on how urbanization can affect interspecific interactions.
Symbiotic fungi transform terpenes from spruce resin into attractants for bark beetles
Bark beetles use volatile fungal metabolites of plant defense substances as important chemical signals in their attack on spruce trees. A research team led by the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology shows that the insects have olfactory sensory neurons specialized for detecting these volatile compounds. The fungal metabolites likely provide important clues to the beetles about the presence of beneficial fungi, the defense status of the trees, and the population density of their conspecifics. The study highlights the importance of chemical communication in maintaining symbiosis between bark beetles and their fungal partners.
Sex roles in the animal kingdom are driven by the ratio of females to males
How picky should females and males be when they choose a mate? How fiercely should they compete for mates? And how much should they engage in raising their offspring? The answers to these questions largely depend on the ratio of adult females to males in the social group, population or species. This is the conclusion of a review by a scientific team with the participation of the German Primate Center – Leibniz Institute for Primate Research (DPZ), the Max Planck Institute for Biological Intelligence, in foundation, and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW). The paper is published in the journal “Biological Reviews”.
Oldest palaeogenome from the African continent tells of the extinction of the blue antelope
An international team of scientists led by the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin and the University of Potsdam generated the first two nuclear genomes of the extinct blue antelope. At 9,950 years, one of the genomes is the oldest sequenced from the African continent to date. The genomic data provide insight into a species‘ extinction. The blue antelope is the only large African mammal species to have become extinct in historical times. The results of this study published in Molecular Biology and Evolution, show that, despite low population sizes, the blue antelope survived the climatic upheavals of the last 10,000 and more years, until the arrival of European settlers put an end to the species.
Competing cells: Cleaning up after yourself brings benefits
When different cell types compete in a confined space, those which remove debris faster have a better chance to dominate their environment. Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization (MPI-DS) showed in their model that not only a higher net proliferation rate, but also the swift removal of dead cells provides a competitive advantage. They mixed two cell populations only differing in debris removal rate and showed that already after a few generations the population with the higher removal rate starts to dominate the confined space.
Heat-lovers are the lucky ones: Insects and climate change
Sparse data often make it difficult to track how climate change is affecting populations of insect species. A new study by the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) has now evaluated an extensive species mapping database (Artenschutzkartierung, ASK) organized by the Bavarian State Office for the Environment (LfU) and assessed the population trends of butterflies, dragonflies and grasshoppers in Bavaria since 1980. The main finding: heat-loving species have been increasing.
A two-step adaptive walk in the wild
An international team led by Angela Hancock at the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research in Cologne (Germany) and scientists from the Associação Projecto Vitó and Parque Natural do Fogo (Cape Verde), the University of Nottingham (UK), and the University of Bochum (Germany) studied a wild thale cress (Arabidopsis thaliana) population that colonized the base of an active stratovolcano. They found that a two-step molecular process rewired nutrient transport in the population. The study, published today in the journal Science Advances, reveal an exceptionally clear case of an adaptive walk in a wild population with broader implications for evolutionary biology and crop improvement.
Double agents: How stomach stem cells change allegiance upon injury
A stomach adult stem cell population can fulfill two distinct functions: either help with digestion under normal conditions or take the lead on injury response. Scientists at IMBA, Institute of Molecular Biotechnology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, demonstrate that these functions are two sides of a coin. Upon injury, one “molecular switch” is enough to propel the stem cells from one state to the other. The findings, now published in Cell Stem Cell, could be instrumental in improving our understanding of gastric pathologies.
“Vertical farming will play a role in future food production”
Alternative production systems to provide the growing global population with healthy, nutritious and sustainably produced foodstuffs are currently gaining considerable attention. In this interview, Senthold Asseng, Professor of Digital Agriculture at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), discusses the concept of vertical farming, which will allow agriculture of the future to take place under fully controlled and automated conditions.
Thawing permafrost could expose Arctic populations to cancer-causing radon
According to a new study, thawing of permafrost due to climate change could expose the Arctic population to much greater concentrations of the invisible, lung cancer-causing gas Radon.
Scientists identify malfunctioning brain cells as potential target for Alzheimer’s treatment
Scientists have identified a rare population of potentially toxic senescent cells in human brains that can serve as a target for a new Alzheimer’s disease treatment.
Paddington, is that you? Researchers spot a “golden” bear while studying endangered spectacled bears in Peru
The number of spectacled bears in Peru might be larger than suspected, a new study in „URSUS“ suggests. A team of researchers from Gothenburg University, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) and Stony Brook University studied the population of the endangered species in Northern Peru. By identifying individuals through facial patterns, they were able to estimate the population density in the area and identify an unknown hotspot. Intriguingly, the researchers also observed the first „golden“ bear.
Patients with atrial fibrillation and heart failure benefit from early rhythm control
A subgroup analysis of the EAST – AFNET 4 study population revealed: Early initiation of rhythm control therapy is associated with clinical benefit in patients with heart failure and recently diagnosed atrial fibrillation. The new findings were presented by Dr. Andreas Rillig, UKE Hamburg, at the HRS congress on 30.07.2021 , .
Random effects make it difficult to optimise antibiotic therapy
Research team from the Kiel Evolution Center investigates the role of a reduction in bacterial population size and resulting random effects in the evolution of antibiotic resistance
International Ring Trial Successful – ELISA Developed for Measurement of an Important Grass Allergen
Therapy options for allergies are increasing in number. Various therapeutic allergen products are available for allergic patients, but there is a lack of standard methods for comparing the active ingredient content of the available products. In an international ring trial coordinated by the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut, a test method (ELISA) was trialled for the allergen Phl p 5 in timothy grass pollen, to which up to a quarter of the European population is sensitized. In all the participating laboratories, the method successfully quantified the allergen. The results are reported in Allergy in its online edition dated 9 July 2021.
Italienische Höhlensalamander in Deutschland?
Nicht-einheimische Arten zählen zu den Hauptproblemen für den Verlust der Artenvielfalt. Unter den Amphibien sind es vor allem einige nicht-einheimische Froschlurche (z.B. Aga-Kröte oder Afrikanischer Krallenfrosch), die großen negativen Einfluss auf fremde Ökosysteme nehmen können. Für Schwanzlurche, also Molche und Salamander, sind nur wenige Fälle bekannt, in denen diese in andere Ökosysteme verschleppt oder ausgesetzt wurden. Seit 2013 ist bekannt, dass es eine kleine Population von Höhlensalamandern im Weserbergland/Solling, Niedersachsen gibt. Jetzt ist die Art sowohl durch genetischen Nachweis als auch aufgrund des äußeren Erscheinungsbilds als Speleomantes italicus bestimmt.
Inherited risk of early-onset cancer is higher among minority families
A new study shows inherited risk of early-onset cancer is significantly higher among Latino and African American families for solid tumors, and Asian/Pacific Islander families for blood-based cancers, compared to non-Latino white families in California. Researchers used California population-based health registries to evaluate the relative cancer risk among first-degree relatives of patients diagnosed with cancer by the age of 26. This study demonstrates the need for increased scrutiny on familial cancer clustering in minority populations.
Future food from the sea: jellyfish chips, sea cucumber soup and green caviar
The world’s population is growing rapidly, and fertile land, freshwater and fertilizer are becoming scarce. At the Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT), scientists are therefore investigating the extent to which the sea holds food resources that have hardly been used to date, and how these can be sustainably exploited.
Zellkern-Erbgut aus Höhlensedimenten gibt Einblicke in unsere Vergangenheit
Forschern vom Max-Planck-Institut für evolutionäre Anthropologie in Leipzig ist es erstmalig gelungen, chromosomale DNA von Neandertalern aus Höhlensedimenten zu isolieren und zu analysieren. Benjamin Vernot und Kollegen haben Zellkern-DNA von Neandertalern aus Höhlenablagerungen in Nordspanien und Südsibirien untersucht und konnten feststellen, dass dort vor etwa 100.000 Jahren eine Population durch eine andere ersetzt wurde. Die Untersuchung chromosomaler DNA aus Sedimenten kann Forschern auch an anderen Fundstätten neue Einblicke in die menschliche Vergangenheit geben, ohne dass sie auf den Fund fossiler Knochen und Zähne angewiesen sind.
Antarktische Seebären: Große Herde erhöht Überlebenschance
Neue Studie von Verhaltensforschenden im Sonderforschungsbereich NC³
Wenn die Population zu klein ist, sterben mehr Jungtiere der Antarktischen Seebären. Das haben Biolog*innen der Universität Bielefeld in einem Teilprojekt des Transregio-Sonderforschungsbereichs NC³ nachgewiesen. Ihr Artikel ist heute (24.03.2020) in der wissenschaftlichen Zeitschrift „Proceedings of the Royal Society B“ erschienen.
64 human genomes as new reference for global genetic diversity
Exactly 20 years after the successful completion of the „Human Genome Project“, an international group of researchers, the Human Genome Structural Variation Consortium (HGSVC), has now sequenced 64 human genomes at high resolution. This reference data includes individuals from around the world, better capturing the genetic diversity of the human species. Among other applications, the work enables population-specific studies on genetic predispositions to human diseases as well as the discovery of more complex forms of genetic variation, as the 65 authors report in the current issue of the scientific journal Science.
How European hibernating bats cope with white-nose syndrome which kills millions of North American bats
Fungal diseases are a major threat to wildlife, sometimes resulting in significant population declines or even causing the extirpation of populations or species. White-nose syndrome, caused by the cold-loving fungus Pseudogymnoascus destructans, has become a major cause of death for hibernating bats in North America. European bats survive when infected by the same fungus during hibernation. What are the reasons for such a contrast in outcomes? A scientist team led by the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW) has now analysed the humoral innate immune defence of European greater mouse-eared bats to the fungus.
Scientists find key function of molecule in cells crucial for regulating immunity
Scientists discovered that AIM2 is important for the proper function of regulatory T cells, or Treg cells, and plays a key role in mitigating autoimmune disease. Treg cells are a seminal population of adaptive immune cells that prevents an overzealous immune response, such as those that occurs in autoimmune diseases.
Blutgefäße steuern die Entwicklung des Nervensystems
Signale aus dem Gefäßsystem wesentlich für die Spezifizierung einer Nervenzell-Population