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Biologists shed new light on an old question

Press Releases   •   Dec 12, 2018 17:00 GMT

For nearly 100 years biologists have argued about how exactly natural selection can possibly work. If nature selects the individuals with the best genes then why aren’t all organisms the same? Recent findings made at Uppsala University suggest that the answer could be sex.

​White-browed Shortwing is not 1 but 4 species

​White-browed Shortwing is not 1 but 4 species

Press Releases   •   Nov 26, 2018 09:00 GMT

The White-browed Shortwing has been considered to be a single species. But now the mainland and Taiwan Island populations have been studied by an international team of researchers, led by Uppsala University. They analysed DNA, plumages, structure, songs and geographical distributions, and concluded that the continental and Taiwanese populations are actually three rather than one species.

​Hundreds of babblers’ DNA analysed

​Hundreds of babblers’ DNA analysed

Press Releases   •   Nov 23, 2018 15:58 GMT

Using DNA sequences for 402 of the 452 species of the world’s “babblers”, an international team from China, Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland and the USA have analysed the evolutionary relationships among these species. Many of these species have not previously been studied using genetic methods, and this is by far the most comprehensive analysis of this group of birds to date.

Gigantic mammal “cousin” discovered

Gigantic mammal “cousin” discovered

Press Releases   •   Nov 22, 2018 19:00 GMT

During the Triassic period mammal-like reptiles called therapsids co-existed with ancestors to dinosaurs, crocodiles, mammals, pterosaurs, turtles, frogs, and lizards. Researchers at Uppsala University in Sweden, together with colleagues in Poland, have discovered fossils from a new genus of gigantic dicynodont. The new species Lisowicia bojani is described in the journal Science.

Deciding not to resuscitate: nurses’ and physicians’ perspectives

Press Releases   •   Nov 15, 2018 10:37 GMT

When deciding not to resuscitate patients in cardiac arrest, ethical issues arise. Nurses and physicians conflicting perspectives often cause frustration. In a new doctoral thesis from Uppsala University, Mona Pettersson examines clinical and ethical perspectives on “DNR orders” in cancer care.

The unintended consequences of dams and reservoirs

The unintended consequences of dams and reservoirs

Press Releases   •   Nov 13, 2018 16:54 GMT

An international team of drought scientists show that while many dams and reservoirs are built, or expanded, to alleviate droughts and water shortages, they can paradoxically contribute to make them worse. The study is published in Nature Sustainability.

Researchers capture in-action images of photosynthetic protein complex splitting water

Researchers capture in-action images of photosynthetic protein complex splitting water

Press Releases   •   Nov 07, 2018 18:00 GMT

In a new article published in Nature an international research team presents high-resolution images of photosystem II, the protein complex that splits water into hydrogen ions and oxygen during photosynthesis. The images will help researchers better understand this complex mechanism, possibly opening up the door to developing cheap and efficient solar fuel devices.

​New infrastructure for medieval literature launched

​New infrastructure for medieval literature launched

Press Releases   •   Oct 31, 2018 15:23 GMT

Norse World is a new database which will make it easier for researchers to study perceptions of the surrounding world in Medieval Scandinavian literature. The new tool is a digital resource aimed at researchers in fields such as language history and philology, comparative literature, manuscript studies and digital humanities. It will be freely available to both researchers and the public.

​Molecular details of protein evolution investigated

Press Releases   •   Oct 24, 2018 19:00 BST

Through random mutation the sequences of our proteins slowly change over time, usually without affecting function. But sometimes new functions will be invented in this process. Scientists at Uppsala University have studied such a case in molecular detail. The results are published in Science Advances and show how several factors conspire to shape a plastic protein-protein interaction.

Unravelling the genetics of fungal fratricide

Unravelling the genetics of fungal fratricide

Press Releases   •   Oct 15, 2018 12:38 BST

Selfish genes are genes that are passed on to the next generation but confer no advantage on the individual as a whole, and may sometimes be harmful. Researchers at Uppsala University have, for the first time, sequenced (or charted) two selfish genes in the fungus Neurospora intermedia that cause fungal spores to kill their siblings.

New knowledge about retrovirus-host coevolution

Press Releases   •   Oct 08, 2018 20:00 BST

Retroviruses have colonised vertebrate hosts for millions of years by inserting their genes into host genomes, enabling their inheritance through generations as endogenous retroviruses (ERVs). Researchers from Uppsala University now provide new knowledge about the long-term associations of retroviruses and their hosts by studying ERV variation and segregation in wild and domestic rabbits.

Artificial enzymes convert solar energy into hydrogen gas

Press Releases   •   Oct 04, 2018 10:02 BST

In a new scientific article, researchers at Uppsala University describe how, using a completely new method, they have synthesised an artificial enzyme that functions in the metabolism of living cells. These enzymes can utilize the cell’s own energy, and thereby enable hydrogen gas to be produced from solar energy.

​World speed record for polymer simulations

​World speed record for polymer simulations

Press Releases   •   Oct 04, 2018 08:34 BST

Star polymers are within the most topologically entangled macromolecules. With a simulation over a hundred times faster than earlier studies, it is demonstrated that the mean square displacement scales with a power law 1/16 in time, instead of the previously assumed zero. It suggests that star polymer motion is the result of two linear relaxations coinciding in time.

New study shows cells produce specialised protein factories under stress

Press Releases   •   Oct 03, 2018 12:15 BST

Prevailing dogma in biological research holds that the cell’s protein factories, the ribosomes, function the same way in all cells and in all conditions. In an international study with participation from Weill Cornell Medicine and Uppsala University, published today in the journal Cell Reports, the researchers show that this is a truth that seems to not hold true.

Well established theories on patterns in evolution might be wrong

Press Releases   •   Sep 27, 2018 13:23 BST

How do the large-scale patterns we observe in evolution arise? A new paper in the journal Evolution by researchers at Uppsala University and University of Leeds argues that many of them are a type of statistical artefact caused by our unavoidably recent viewpoint looking back into the past.

Genetic risk: Should researchers let people know?

Press Releases   •   Sep 24, 2018 08:10 BST

Should researchers inform research participants, if they discover genetic disease risks in the participants? The value of complex genetic risk information for individuals is uncertain. In a PhD thesis from Uppsala University, Jennifer Viberg Johansson suggests that this uncertainty needs to be acknowledged by both geneticists and ethicists.

Bravery cells found in the hippocampus

Press Releases   •   Sep 07, 2018 10:00 BST

Why do some people comfortably walk between skyscrapers on a high-wire or raft the Niagara Falls in a wooden barrel whereas others freeze on the mere thought of climbing off escalators in a shopping mall? In a new study, scientists have found that a certain type of cells in the hippocampus play a key role.

How sleep loss may contribute to adverse weight gain

Press Releases   •   Aug 23, 2018 08:43 BST

In a new study, researchers at Uppsala University now demonstrate that one night of sleep loss has a tissue-specific impact on the regulation of gene expression and metabolism in humans. This may explain how shift work and chronic sleep loss impairs our metabolism and adversely affects our body composition. The study is published in the scientific journal Science Advances.

Catastrophic floods can trigger human resettlement away from rivers

Press Releases   •   Aug 22, 2018 19:00 BST

A new study by researchers at Uppsala University, published in the journal Science Advances, uses satellite nighttime light data to reveal how flood protection shapes the average distance of settlements from rivers.

Working memory might be more flexible than previously thought

Press Releases   •   Aug 16, 2018 12:52 BST

Breaking with the long-held idea that working memory has fixed limits, a new study by researchers at Uppsala University and New York University suggests that these limits adapt themselves to the task that one is performing. The results are presented in the scientific journal eLife.