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In biology, you learned that the penicillin-producing mold fungus Penicillium chrysogenum only reproduces asexually through spores - it has been taught that way for much of the last century. But a group of researchers now say that the fungus also has a sexual cycle, two "genders". 




In 1928, anti-bacterial researcher Alexander Fleming demonstrated (after discovering it serendipitously following years of research) the formation of penicillin in Penicillium chrysogenum. To date, there is no other known producer of that antibiotic.





One of the mechanisms involved in hearing is similar to the battery in your car. How do researchers know?  They heard it in a fruit fly love song.

The auditory system of the fruit fly contains a protein that functions as a sodium/potassium pump, often called the sodium pump for short, and is highly expressed in a specialized support cell called the scolopale cell. The scolopale cell is important because it wraps around the sensory endings in the fly's ear and makes a tight extra-cellular cavity or compartment around them called the scolopale space.


New research suggests that racial stereotypes and creativity have more in common than we might think.

In an article published in Psychological Science, psychologists find that racial stereotyping and creative stagnation share a common mechanism: categorical thinking.  "Although these two concepts concern very different outcomes, they both occur when people fixate on existing category information and conventional mindsets," the authors write.
 


Feel heavier after the holidays?

Newcastle University says you are not alone. Their Theta-probe XPS machine, the only one of its kind in the world, has shown that the original kilogram is also heavier - at least compared to when it became the metric standard in 1875.


Researchers have identified four new regions on the human genome associated with Behcet's disease, a painful and potentially dangerous condition which
causes inflammation of blood vessels in various parts of the body
- the work was aided because the disease is found predominantly in people with ancestors along the Silk Road.

Named for the Turkish physician who described it in 1937, Behcet's disease has no specific genetic or environmental cause but common symptoms include painful mouth and genital sores, and eye inflammation that can lead to blindness. In some cases, it can affect blood vessels in the brain, lungs, and other vital organs. 


It's statistical polling...for science. 

A paper in Nature Climate Change uses structured expert elicitation and mathematically pools experts' opinions to forecast future sea level rises from melting ice sheets. Soliciting and pooling expert judgments is used in eruption forecasting and the spread of vector borne diseases - with questionable accuracy - and in their paper Professor Jonathan Bamber and Professor Willy Aspinall from the University of Bristol try to model the uncertainties in the future response of the ice sheets.