best in science, biology, plant, animal, hormonesA reaction similar to the inactivation of prostaglandin hormones has now been discovered in the larval guts of two plant pest species. The insects bear an enzyme which structurally modifies and thereby inactivates OPDA, a highly active plant hormone. The results illustrate the close relationships and interactions of hormone activities in the animal and plant kingdom.

science, biology, rat, MIT, alzheimers researchby Deborah Halber, Picower Institute

MIT study illuminates thoughts and memories

Researchers at MIT's Picower Institute for Learning and Memory have found that rats use a mental instant replay of their actions to help them decide what to do next, shedding new light on how animals and humans learn and remember.

science, biology, snake, vertebraeSnakes, fish, chickens, and humans all begin life in much the same way. Early in their transformation from an amorphous blob of cells into a fully developed animal, growing cells pinch off into a string of identical segments destined to become individual vertebrae, which will later sprout blood vessels, peripheral nerves, and muscle. These repeated segments ensure that the rod-like spinal column can hunch, arch, and twist. The segmentation process also helps establish some key differences in the body plans of different organisms: while humans have 33 vertebrae, frogs have 10 or fewer, and snakes can have more than 300. 

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