Tail regeneration in lungfish provides insight into evolution of limb regrowth

A new study published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B from researchers at the University of Chicago and Universidade Federal do Pará explores regenerative ability in the tails of West African lungfish for the first time, and finds that the process shares many of the same traits as tail regeneration in salamanders. Their results indicate that this trait was likely found in a common ancestor – and provide a new opportunity for better understanding and harnessing the mechanisms of limb regrowth.

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Genetic mutations may be linked to infertility, early menopause

A new study from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis identifies a specific gene’s previously unknown role in fertility. When the gene is missing in fruit flies, roundworms, zebrafish and mice, the animals are infertile or lose their fertility unusually early but appear otherwise healthy. Analyzing genetic data in people, the researchers found an association between mutations in this gene and early menopause.

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Pregnancy Complications in Assisted Reproduction Linked to a Specific Process

An experimental study from researchers in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania links a specific procedure – embryo culture – that is part of the assisted reproduction process (ART) to placental abnormalities, risk for preeclampsia, and abnormal fetal growth. The team, led by Marisa Bartolemei, PhD, a professor of Cell and Developmental Biology, published their findings today in Development.

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New View on How Tissues Flow in the Embryo

Watching and measuring what happens in tissues inside the human embryo is currently not possible, and it’s difficult to do in mammalian models. Because humans and the fruit fly Drosophila share so many biological similarities, Columbia Engineering and Syracuse University researchers tackled this problem by focusing on fruit flies. The team reports today that they can predict when the tissue will begin to rapidly flow just by looking at cell shapes in the tissue.

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Think all BPA-free products are safe? Not so fast, scientists warn

Using “BPA-free” plastic products could be as harmful to human health — including a developing brain — as those products that contain the controversial chemical, suggest scientists in a new study led by the University of Missouri and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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Team builds the first living robots

Scientists repurposed living frog cells—and assembled them into entirely new life-forms. These tiny “xenobots” can move toward a target and heal themselves after being cut. These novel living machines are neither a traditional robot nor a known species of animal. They’re a new class of artifact: a living, programmable organism.

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