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A simple and primitive animal, Trichoplax adhaerens, appears to harbor a far more complex suite of capabilities than meets the eye. The findings, reported Nature, establish a group of organisms as a branching point of animal evolution and identify sets of genes, or a "parts list," employed by organisms that have evolved along particular branches.

Trichoplax adhaerens was first detected in the 1880s clinging to the sides of an aquarium but it just recently got characterized by the U.S. Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute (DOE JGI)and they found that its ancient lineage was matched by its complexity.


According to new research in the Journal of Consumer Research, simply asking people a question about whether they're willing to volunteer their time leads to increases in donations of both time and money.

The researchers conducted three separate studies, which yielded similar results. In the first study, participants completed an online survey and then read a statement about lung cancer and the American Lung Cancer Foundation's mission. Half of the participants were asked how much time they would like to donate to the foundation and half were not asked. Then all were asked how much money they would donate to the foundation. The participants who were asked to donate time eventually pledged more than those who weren't asked: $36.44 versus $24.46.

Biologists and biochemists are now able to access 3-D images of biomacromolecules underlying biological functions and disease, thanks to a collaborative website called Proteopedia which provides a new resource by linking written information and three-dimensional structural information.

Rather than relying just on text to provide the understanding of biomacromolecule structures, this wiki web resource, first described in Genome Biology, displays protein structures and other biomacromolecules in interactive format. These interactive images are surrounded by descriptive text containing hyperlinks that change the appearance (such as view, representations, colors or labels) of the adjacent 3D structure to reflect the concept explained in the text.

This makes the complex structural information readily accessible and comprehensible, even to people who are not structural biologists.


We don't need to 'frame' science for the masses, no matter what you may read elsewhere by people who want to manipulate data to achieve their ideological goals.

Informed people who make their own decisions(whether they agree with you or not) and then participate improves the overall quality of federal agencies' decisions about the environment, says a new report from the National Research Council.

More importantly, public involvement increases the legitimacy of decisions in the eyes of those affected by them, which makes it more likely that the decisions will be implemented effectively - something heavy-handed mandates can never accomplish. Agencies should recognize public participation as valuable to their objectives, not just as a formality required by the law, the report says. It details principles and approaches agencies can use to successfully involve the public.

What we see can sometimes depend as much on our ears as on our eyes, according to research led by Dr Elliot Freeman, lecturer in psychology at Brunel University’s School of Social Sciences and published this week in Current Biology.

The study revealed that the perceived direction of motion from a given visual object (in this case, red bars across a screen), depends on minute variations in the timing of an accompanying sound (a sequence of beeps, for example). This provides evidence that the brain’s integration of these visual and audio cues occurs at a very early stage of processing.

A predisposition to adult snoring can be established very early in life, according to research published today in Respiratory Research. The study describes possible childhood risk factors, including exposure to animals, early respiratory or ear infections and even growing up in a large family.

Karl A Franklin from University Hospital Umeå, Sweden, and a team of Nordic researchers questioned more than sixteen thousand randomly selected people from Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Denmark and Estonia about their childhood and their snoring habits. According to Franklin “A total of 15,556 subjects answered the questions on snoring. Habitual snoring, defined as loud and disturbing snoring at least three nights a week, was reported by 18%.”

Risk factors related to snoring: