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Tag: life sciences

Mar 23, 2012

Know Your Enemy: Japanese Beetles

Last year I wrote a series of posts about critters we love to hate: mosquitoes, ticks, horseflies, black widows and carpenter bees. With the arrival of spring, I decided to pick up where I left off. First up: Japanese beetles or, as rose-growers call them, #@!*ing Japanese beetles. As the name suggests, Japanese beetles –… 

Feb 3, 2012

Norovirus: What It Is, How We’re Fighting It

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Lee-Ann Jaykus, a professor in NC State’s Department of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences, and lead investigator of a $25 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) to study human noroviruses. If you have spent a day or two… 

Jan 30, 2012

What’s A Genotype? What’s A Phenotype? And Why Do I Care?

Genetics research is interesting stuff, and news stories about exciting new findings seem to crop up almost daily. But many people simply don’t have the vocabulary to understand what’s going on. “What is a genotype anyway?” you might ask. “What’s a phenotype? And why should I care?” Good questions! Let’s talk about this a little… 

Dec 16, 2011

Trivial Pursuits: The Abstract’s 2011 Quiz

The Abstract staff will be taking off for a couple of weeks to prepare for 2012. In an attempt to amuse and entertain ourselves you, we’ve pulled together a quick quiz on some of the research we’ve written about over the past year. See how you do! Questions: 1). Until recently, researchers thought Greece was… 

Dec 9, 2011

Insects And Evolution

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by post-doctoral researcher Michelle Trautwein, whose work at NC State focuses on entomology, genetics and evolution. Here she explains what we know about insect evolution – and why it matters. Our planet is swarming with insects. Literally. Six-legged creatures account for the majority of life on earth, by far… 

Nov 28, 2011

Read This! Book Recommendations For Kids And Armchair Researchers

I think it is important to get the general public – and kids – interested in research. It’s never too late to get grown-ups excited about science. And maybe the child you encourage today will be a future Albert Schweitzer, Marie Curie or Steve Jobs. With the holidays approaching, now’s your chance to go buy… 

Nov 18, 2011

Why Thanksgiving Might Make You Sleepy

Well folks, it’s almost Turkey Day again. Last year I tackled some questions about tryptophan, and why Thanksgiving dinner can make you pass out on the floor in front of the football game. Super-short version: tryptophan isn’t the culprit, gluttony is. When you gorge yourself, your body diverts blood away from your brain to help… 

Oct 25, 2011

With or Without You

Virgin motherhood by a copperhead snake. Sperm storage for more than five years by an eastern diamondback rattlesnake before fertilization and motherhood. Reptile reproduction, to steal from Alice in Wonderland,  is getting curioser and curioser. In a new paper, Dr. Warren Booth, an NC State postdoctoral researcher, and a colleague from Georgia State University show two… 

Oct 18, 2011

Winds of (Climate) Change

In a climate-change paradox, plants and animals are forced to make difficult choices. Changes in climate can force plants and animals out of their homes in protected areas – like state and national parks and other conserved areas – and into areas where they are less apt to survive. As these plants and animals chase… 

Oct 12, 2011

Research! Coming Soon To A Home Near You

Citizen science is all about getting people to become active participants in the scientific process. And a new research project that focuses on the wild life in our homes is a great opportunity to use citizen science to collect meaningful data and advance our understanding of the world around us in a fun and interesting… 

Sep 21, 2011

Into Africa, Via the Penguin Conveyor Belt

Dr. Dan Ksepka is an expert on prehistoric penguins. In his latest research, he delves into the origins of several species of now-extinct African penguin to find out whether they all evolved from one common ancestor or whether they were distinct species that arrived at separate times. His conclusion, based upon fossil evidence, is that… 

Sep 8, 2011

Monster Fish Q & A, with Zeb Hogan

Editor’s Note: Dr. Zeb Hogan is an assistant research professor at the University of Nevada-Reno, and host of the National Geographic series “Monster Fish.” Hogan is the keynote speaker at NC State’s Frederick and Joan Barkalow Distinguished Conservationist Lecture, which will be held Sept. 14 from 1:30-2:30 p.m. in David Clark Labs, Room 101. The event… 

Sep 7, 2011

Home Field Advantage

It’s football season, that magical time of year when regalia-bedecked fans gather to cheer on the home team and elevate tailgating to an art form. But fans aren’t the only ones who have favorite colors: it turns out that the football fields themselves also have a preference. Why? Because the health of the turf on a football field… 

Aug 26, 2011

Send In The Ants

Editor’s Note: This guest post was written by David Hunt, of NC State’s News Services. I don’t want to alarm you, but you may have Camponotus americanus crawling around in your backyard. Or Tetramorium caespitum creeping between the cracks in your front walkway.  In fact, there are more than 200 species of these critters sharing our… 

May 18, 2011

Corn Gene Repels Diseases, or A Dating Game With No Winners

Remember “The Dating Game”? The concept of the show – which first appeared on television in the 1960s – was simple. A woman was separated by partition from three eligible bachelors. She’d ask the men any number of mind-numbing/slightly racy questions and then, based on the quality of the answers, select one of the bachelors…