Dolphins found stranded on Gulf of Mexico beaches following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill were much more likely to have severe lung and adrenal gland damage “consistent with petroleum product exposure” than dolphins stranded elsewhere and prior to the spill, researchers report. One in five dolphins from the spill zone also had primary bacterial pneumonia.
A study of older adults at risk of late-onset Alzheimer’s disease found that those who consumed more omega-3 fatty acids did better than their peers on tests of cognitive flexibility – the ability to efficiently switch between tasks – and had a bigger anterior cingulate cortex, a brain region known to contribute to cognitive flexibility.
A new study offers insights into the genetic changes that accompany social complexity in bees, including honey bees. Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology faculty members Saurabh Sinha, a professor of computer science; Gene Robinson, a professor of entomology and IGB director; and an international consortium of 52 scientists used comparative genomics to discover that the evolution of bee society is associated with increases in the complexity of gene regulation.
Some species of trap-jaw ants use their spring-loaded mandibles to hurl themselves out of harm’s way when an ant-trapping predator stalks, researchers report in the journal PLOS ONE. This dramatic maneuver doubles the ants’ survival when other escape methods fail, the researchers found.
It took decades of painstaking work, but research geneticist Ram Singh managed to cross a popular soybean variety (“Dwight” Glycine max) with a related wild perennial plant that grows like a weed in Australia, producing the first fertile soybean plants that are resistant to soybean rust, soybean cyst nematode and other pathogens of soy.
Infectious disease expert Mosoka P. Fallah, one of five “Ebola fighters” honored as a Person of the Year by Time in 2014, will be among the speakers at an upcoming symposium at the University of Illinois.