evolution

Neurochemicals such as serotonin and dopamine play crucial roles in cognitive and emotional functions of our brain. Vesicular monoamine transporter 1 (VMAT1) is one of the genes responsible for transporting neurotransmitters and regulating neuronal signaling. A research team led by Tohoku University has reconstructed ancestral VMAT1 proteins, revealing the functional changes in neurotransmitter uptake of… Read more

Humans diverged from chimpanzees and other great apes roughly 6m years ago. But despite us being closely related, human brains are vastly different – enabling us to engage in complex language, science, art, morality and much more. But what exactly was it that enabled our brains to reach such mindboggling heights? We know that the… Read more

Except for various cartoon characters, the Geico Gecko and Mr. Ed, animals can’t speak. Yet they have a lot to say to scientists trying to figure out the origins of human language. Speaking isn’t the only avenue for language. After all, linguistic messaging can be transmitted by hand signals. Or handwriting. Or texting. But speech… Read more

By investigating symbiotic organs in cephalopods – octopuses and their kin – researchers have found that there may be many evolutionary paths towards the current forms of organs that host symbiotic microbes. Many animals have specialized symbiotic organs. In humans, the appendix may even be one example, safeguarding beneficial bacteria when the gastrointestinal tract is… Read more

A mathematical relationship that sheds new light on the rate at which cancer cells mutate and why some survive and rapidly multiply, yet others do not, has been revealed by researchers at the Yale School of Public Health. The finding has implications for decision-making for precision-medicine tumor boards, the selection and design of clinical trials… Read more