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Talking back

Talking back

A science blog, sans blague

STAFF BLOG
Evolution

Dragonflies with Backpacks May Advance the Science of Prey Capture

Dragonflies are straight "A" hunters, capturing fruit flies in mid-air about 95 percent of the time, a grade that puts a head-of-the-class predator like a lion to shame.The insect's efficiency—combined with hackable biology (less moving parts—i.e., neurons) compared to any mammal big or small—makes the dragonfly an alluring organism to study the neural underpinnings of a basic but still complex behavior like prey capture.Intrigued by the dragonfly, biologist Anthony Leonardo and colleagues from Intan Technologies and Duke University set about creating the instrumentation that will enable the researchers to monitor the activity of a group of neurons in the species Libellula lydia that appear to be essential for guiding the hunt ...

STAFFJune 17, 2013 — Gary Stix
Health

Brie and Milbenk se Are the New Lab Rats for Microbiologists

Trillions of microbes, a galaxy’s worth of prokaryotes, inhabit the human GI tract.Figuring out what the microbiome does, as this Brobdingnagian collection of critters is known, remains a grand challenge of biology.As always, scientists try to make a difficult problem tractable by conducting studies in a simpler version of the organism or environment they wish to observe: a mouse, rat, fruit fly or roundworm as stand-ins for humans...

STAFFJune 7, 2013 — Gary Stix

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