Does posture matter in horses? The paper by Karen Gellman and Andy Ruina explores the stability of different equine postures theoretically, using a mechanical model. They find that a canted-in posture, seen in some domestic horses, takes twice the neuromuscular effort to stabilize as one with vertical or slightly splayed-out limbs, commonly seen in feral or healthy domestic horses. Further research to characterize equine postural choice measures postures in living horses and explores several possible reasons why some domestic horses stand canted-in. (Photograph by Elizabeth Reese) Image licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.
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The importance of considering regulatory domains in genome-wide analyses – the nearest gene is often wrong!
Summary: Identifying which gene is the target of an enhancer is often accomplished by assigning it to the nearest gene, here we discuss how this heuristic can lead to incorrect predictions.
Standing horse posture: a longer stance is more stable
Summary: Without stabilizing muscles, a standing horse is unstable. The bigger the spacing between fore and hind hooves, the less muscular effort needed for stabilization.
The genomic basis of host and vector specificity in non-pathogenic trypanosomatids
Summary: Comparing closely related non-pathogenic trypanosomes, we highlight differential investment in cell-surface protein encoding genes and predict this differential investment is associated with the life histories of their hosts and vectors.
Bees can be trained to identify SARS-CoV-2 infected samples
Summary: Honeybees can be quickly trained to identify SARS-CoV2 infected samples. SARS-CoV2 positive sample detection by bees reached a diagnostic sensitivity of 92% and a specificity of 86%. Honeybee-based diagnostics can offer a reliable and rapid test that provides a readily available, low-input addition to the currently available testing methods.
Odours of cancerous mouse congeners: detection and attractiveness
Summary: Male mice could discriminate the smell of cancerous congeners even when the tumour was hardly detectable by other means; however, females did not discriminate against the smell of males carrying cancerous tumours. Odorant molecules other than volatile organic compounds analysed here might explain the observed behaviour.
Investigating the effect of cholinergic and adrenergic blocking agents on maternal-fetal heart rates and their interactions in mice fetuses
Summary: Autonomic development of fetal mice is analyzed through electrocardiography. Saline infusion does not alter maternal and fetal heart rate variation and coupling significantly. Atropine increases maternal heart rate, while propranolol lowers fetal heart rate.
NANOS3 suppresses premature spermatogonial differentiation to expand progenitors and fine-tunes spermatogenesis in mice
Summary: This study demonstrated that NANOS3 functions as a timekeeper to prevent premature differentiation in order to initiate synchronized differentiation upon retinoic acid stimulation.
An experimental test of chronic traffic noise exposure on parental behaviour and reproduction in zebra finches
Summary: Breeding zebra finches chronically exposed to aversive traffic noise, compared to behaviourally neutral noise, had longer nest attendance but the reproductive outcomes did not improve.
METHODS & TECHNIQUES
Phenotype assessment for neurodegenerative murine models with ataxia and application to Niemann–Pick disease, type C1
Summary: We present a detailed, comprehensive scoring system for murine models of NPC, and likely other neurodegenerative diseases, presenting with motor incoordination. This easy, relatively quick assessment yields high inter-rater reliability.
Assigning metabolic rate measurements to torpor and euthermy in heterothermic endotherms: ‘torpor’, a new package for R
Summary: The presented method and its associated R-package (torpor) enable the assignment of metabolic rate measurements to torpor or euthermy, ultimately improving the standardization of respirometry analyses in heterotherms.
Dirichlet process mixture models for single-cell RNA-seq clustering
Summary: Dirichlet mixture models (LDA and HDP) are applied for clustering cells in scRNA-Seq data. Here we made a comprehensive comparison of LDA and HDP model-based clustering for scRNA-seq data.
The Forest of Biologists
The Forest of Biologists is a biodiversity initiative created by The Company of Biologists, with support from the Woodland Trust. For every Research and Review article published in Biology Open a native tree is planted in a UK forest. In addition to this we are protecting and restoring ancient woodland and are dedicating these trees to our peer reviewers. Visit our virtual forest to learn more.
Propose a new Workshop for 2025
Do you have an idea for a Workshop? We are now accepting proposals for our 2025 Biologists Workshops programme. As the scientific organiser, your involvement will be focused on the science. We'll take care of all the logistics. In 2025 we'll continue our efforts to diversify our Workshop programme and will be reserving one of our Workshops for an application from a Global South (GS) country to host an event overseas.
A Year at the Forefront Review
This A Year at the Forefront Review sheds light on the most recent developments in the study of bacterial response to and defence against reactive oxygen and chlorine species. Visit our online Open Access Journal to read all about Sadia Sultana and Jan-Ulrik Dahl's work.
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