Chemical signals from fungi tell bark beetles which trees to infest

Fungi may help some tree-killer beetles turn a tree’s natural defense system against itself. The Eurasian spruce bark beetle (Ips typographus) has massacred millions of conifers in forests across Europe. Now, research suggests that fungi associated with these bark beetles are key players in the insect’s hostile takeovers. These fungi warp the chemical defenses of […]

Source of liver’s ability to regenerate found

Scientists have identified the stem cells behind the liver’s legendary ability to replenish its tissue. Stem cells not only bolster their own numbers but also become other kinds of cells through a process called differentiation, thereby keeping an organ populated as mature cells die off. The stem cells underpinning this process in the liver had […]

This robot automatically tucks its limbs to squeeze through spaces

Inspired by how ants move through narrow spaces by shortening their legs, scientists have built a robot that draws in its limbs to navigate constricted passages. The robot was able to hunch down and walk quickly through passages that were narrower and shorter than itself, researchers report January 20 in Advanced Intelligent Systems. It could […]

How fingerprints form was a mystery — until now

Scientists have finally figured out how those arches, loops and whorls formed on your fingertips. While in the womb, fingerprint-defining ridges expand outward in waves starting from three different points on each fingertip. The raised skin arises in a striped pattern thanks to interactions between three molecules that follow what’s known as a Turing pattern, […]

Orca moms baby their adult sons. That favoritism pays off — eventually

Among some killer whale moms, lifelong feeding for adult sons but not daughters could be a long-term investment play. The delayed payoff? Greater grandmotherly glory. Females in a quirky population of killer whales off the Pacific Coast of North America let their grown mama’s boys share fish that mom catches. Biologists have known that this […]