Category archives: Biology

A new theory on the early building blocks of life

A new theory on the early building blocks of life

BiochemistryBiologyChemistryEvolution

By Isabel Perez Castro

From nucleic acids to proteins and sugar chains, all life is made up of polymers, large molecules made up of sequences of small units called monomers. However, how these macromolecules first appeared on the surface of Earth is still controversial. It is generally assumed that, right before life started, our planet was covered in very […]

One year or one cell division older?

One year or one cell division older?

BiologyBiomedicineHealthMolecular biology

By Invited Researcher

Aging is one of those topics mankind is always trying to understand, especially whether it can be reversed or stopped. With increasing age come not only alterations in appearance, but also associated changes like the degeneration of tissues such as muscles, bone and neural tissues or a higher predisposition for disease. In recent years, we […]

Alpha by design

Alpha by design

BiologyNeurobiology

By José Ramón Alonso

In social species, the dominant individual is often called the alpha. Depending on the species, the alpha may be a male, a female, both or a pair. The alpha individual usually presents a certain behavior: dominant, assertive, brash and usually has privileged access to food, mates, or best space, while the other members of the […]

Engineering nitrogen-fixing cereals, between science fiction and reality

Engineering nitrogen-fixing cereals, between science fiction and reality

BiologyBiotechnologyPlant biology

By Daniel Marino

Every organism, from virus to animals need nitrogen (N) to live; indeed, nucleic acids and proteins are made out with N. Nearly all of these organisms, fulfill their nitrogen needs taken up N from the environment in reduced forms, usually as nitrate (NO3–), ammonium (NH4+) or amino acids. Interestingly, certain microorganisms, known as diazatrophs, have […]

A membrane with voltage-dependent conductances increases the energy efficiency of fly photoreceptors

A membrane with voltage-dependent conductances increases the energy efficiency of fly photoreceptors

BiologyNeurobiology

By Francisco J Hernández

The neuronal membrane, like membranes surrounding other cells, is mainly formed by a lipid surface impermeable to ions. It is only through ion channels, small protein pores embedded in the membrane, that ions can cross, allowing electrical current to charge or discharge the neuron. The inclusion of ion channels in a membrane, determines its electrical […]

Melodrama with happy ending for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy patients

Melodrama with happy ending for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy patients

BiologyBiomedicineGeneticsMedicinePharmacy

By Sergio Laínez

Patients suffering from rare diseases (defined by the European as those affecting less than 5 in 10000 people) have traditionally been overlooked by pharmaceutical companies. They are usually looking for the next blockbuster drug, so the lack of a large patient pool means they may not generate the revenue needed to justify the R&D financial […]