Biology

New way to find relatives from forensic DNA

Investigators may be able to use forensic DNA to track down family members in public genealogy databases, creating new ways to generate leads while also raising issues about genetic privacy.

A new mechanism for how animal cells stay intact

Watching the movement of every cell in an adult animal all at once, the Prakash lab discovered ultra-fast cellular contractions. This research suggests a new role for cellular contractions in tissue cohesion, which could be the basis of a new material.

Comparing hovering bats and hummingbirds

Engineers carted their extremely sensitive lab equipment to the forests of Costa Rica, where they teamed up with ecologists to meticulously record over 100 different bats and hummingbirds to learn more about hovering flight.

Pond dwellers swim in polygons to avoid light

Although they’ve been studied for hundreds of years, it wasn’t until a Stanford bioengineering lab tried to model how Euglena reacts to light that anyone noticed the organism swimming in precise polygons.

Hormone helps plants adjust their ventilation

The Bergmann lab at Stanford has shown how one hormone pathway in plants regulates the way leaves build their epidermal layer with the right number of breathing pores, giving plants a strategy to optimize their productivity while taking into account changes in the environment.

A new map of the brain’s serotonin system

New findings reveal that the brain’s serotonin system ­– which regulates everything from our moods to our movements – is made up of multiple parallel pathways that affect the brain in different, and sometimes opposing, ways.