Function of olfactory receptor in the human heart identified
Researchers have for the first time identified the function of olfactory receptors in the human heart muscle, such as are also present in the nose. One of the receptors reacts to fatty acids that occur in the blood, in patients with diabetes significantly above the normal range. If a fatty acid activates the receptor, it triggers a negative effect: the heart rate and the force of muscular contraction are reduced. The team headed by Dr Nikolina Jovancevic and Prof Dr Dr Dr habil. Hanns Hatt from Ruhr-Universität Bochum has published its findings in the journal “Basic Research in Cardiology”.
Altered Vegetation Structure of Forests Impacts Bark-dwelling Spider Assemblages in Xishuangbanna
Spiders were collected using trunk traps (Image by YANG Xiaodong)
Previous studies showed that the species richness of vertebrates and arthropods has significantly decreased in rubber plantations compared to natural forests in Xishuangbanna. Shifts in plant composition caused by land-use changes may directly and/or indirectly affect spider assemblages. However, changes in spiders associated with tree trunks following land-use changes have not yet been examined in tropical regions.
Pure iron grains are rare in the universe
The researchers simulated supernova conditions by sending a rocket into sub-orbit where it was mostly free from the effect of gravity. The S-520-28 rocket was launched from JAXA’s Uchinoura Space Center on December 17th, 2012. In the three years to follow, the researchers conducted additional micro-gravity experiments using aircraft to gather and analyze data.
Pure iron grains in interstellar space are far rarer than previously thought, shedding new light on the evolution history of matters in the universe. Scientists are unsure what form iron takes in outer space even though it is one of its most abundant refractory elements. Extensive analysis of meteorites and other measurements show only low levels of gaseous iron and solid iron compounds, such as iron oxides, sulfides and carbides. That leaves a substantial amount of iron missing, given how much is expected to exist in the universe. Scientists surmise that if iron is not combining with other particles, it might be forming pure metal which is invisible in outer space.
New species discovered in Antarctica
Two species of the Flabegraviera genus: Flabegraviera fujiae (left), the new species discovered in the study, and Flabegraviera mundata (right). Scale bar: 1cm./blog/new-species-discovered-in-antarctica/
A team of Japanese scientists has discovered a new species of polychaete, a type of marine annelid worm, 9-meters deep underwater near Japan’s Syowa Station in Antarctica, providing a good opportunity to study how animals adapt to extreme environments.
Gecko with tear-away skin
Fish-scale geckos in the genus Geckolepis are able to lose their skin at the slightest touch.
Many lizards can drop their tails when grabbed, but one group of geckos has gone to particularly extreme lengths to escape predation. Fish-scale geckos in the genus Geckolepis have large scales that tear away with ease, leaving them free to escape whilst the predator is left with a mouth full of scales. Scientists led by Mark D. Scherz (LMU Munich) and Dr. Frank Glaw (Zoologische Staatssammlung München) have now described a new species (Geckolepis megalepis) that is the master of this art, possessing the largest scales of any gecko.