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Researchers have worked out the evolutionary relationships of dozens of bird species. The findings add to the evidence that some traits  such as vocal learning or foot-propelled underwater diving  evolved independently among different groups of birds.

Birds find their place in the avian tree of life

Author: Diana Yates, Life Sciences Editor

Published Date:December 11, 2014

An international effort involving more than 100 researchers, nine supercomputers and about 400 years of CPU time has yielded the most reliable avian tree of life yet produced, researchers report in the journal Science. The tree reflects the evolutionary relationships of 48 species of birds.

Published Date: December 11, 2014


From left, bioengineering professor Jian Ma, cell and developmental biology professor Lisa Stubbs, entomology professor and Institute for Genomic Biology director Gene Robinson, animal biology professor Alison Bell and their colleagues found that distantly related organisms share key genetic mechanisms that help them respond to threats.

Study: Different species share a 'genetic toolkit' for behavioral traits

Author: Diana Yates, Life Sciences Editor

Published Date:December 1, 2014

The house mouse, stickleback fish and honey bee appear to have little in common, but at the genetic level these creatures respond in strikingly similar ways to danger, researchers report. When any of these animals confronts an intruder, the researchers found, many of the same genes and brain gene networks gear up or down in response.

Published Date: December 1, 2014


Illinois researchers developed a platform to grow and study neuron cells using tiny rolled microtubes. Pictured, left to right: Olivia Cangellaris, Paul Froeter, professor Xiuling Li, Wen Huang and professor Martha Gillette.

Microtubes create cozy space for neurons to grow, and grow fast

Author: Liz Ahlberg, Physical Sciences Editor

Published Date:November 11, 2014

Tiny, thin microtubes could provide a scaffold for neuron cultures to grow so that researchers can study neural networks, their growth and repair, yielding insights into treatment for degenerative neurological conditions or restoring nerve connections after injury.

Published Date: November 11, 2014


Animal biology professor Ken Paige (left) and postdoctoral fellow Daniel Scholes found that a plants ability to duplicate its genome within individual cells influences its ability to regenerate.

Some plants regenerate by duplicating their DNA

Author: Diana Yates, Life Sciences Editor

Published Date:November 11, 2014

When munched by grazing animals (or mauled by scientists in the lab), some herbaceous plants overcompensate – producing more plant matter and becoming more fertile than they otherwise would. Scientists say they now know how these plants accomplish this feat of regeneration.

Published Date: November 11, 2014


From left, University of Illinois graduate research assistant Manuel A. Ortega, chemistry professor Wilfred van der Donk, graduate student Yue Hao, biochemistry professor Satish Nair, and postdoctoral researcher Mark Walker solved a decades-old mystery into how a broad class of natural antibiotics are made.

Team discovers how microbes build a powerful antibiotic

Author: Diana Yates, Life Sciences Editor

Published Date:October 27, 2014

Researchers report in the journal Nature that they have made a breakthrough in understanding how a powerful antibiotic agent is made in nature. Their discovery solves a decades-old mystery, and opens up new avenues of research into thousands of similar molecules, many of which are likely to be medically useful.

Published Date: October 27, 2014


University of Illinois kinesiology and community health professor Ruopeng An and his colleagues found that a majority of U.S. adults fail to meet recommended intakes of 10 key nutrients, with disabled adults faring worst.

Study: Many in U.S. have poor nutrition, with the disabled doing worst

Author: Diana Yates, Life Sciences Editor

Published Date:October 23, 2014

A new study finds that most U.S. adults fail to meet recommended daily levels of 10 key nutrients, and those with disabilities have even worse nutrition than average.

Published Date: October 23, 2014