Liberal Media

Tag Archive for Biology


Mycologist promotes agarikon as a possibility to counter growing antibiotic resistance

( —Mycologist Paul Stamets is espousing the health benefits of agarikon, a fungus that grows on trees in old growth forests in North America and Europe. He’s written and published a blog piece in the Huffington Post, describing the known antibacterial and antiviral abilities of the fungus and suggesting we take better care of our old growth forests as a means of survival in an uncertain future.


Researchers find ferns communicate with one another to decide gender

( —A combined team of researchers from Nagoya University and the University of Tokyo has discovered that a certain type of fern plant communicates with others of its kind using pheromones as a means of choosing the gender of maturing plants. In their paper published in the journal Science, the researchers describe how their study of the Japanese climbing fern, led to a better understanding of the role that the pheromone gibberellin plays in its reproduction process. Tai-ping Sun, with Duke University offers a perspective piece in the same journal edition, providing a more in-depth analysis of the work the team has done.

How can we help endangered vultures?

Zoologists from the School of Natural Sciences at Trinity College Dublin are proposing an ingenious idea to help conserve populations of African white-backed vultures. The iconic birds, which play a critical role in sustaining healthy ecosystems, may need to dine for free in human-staffed ‘vulture restaurants’ if they are to survive spells of food scarcity in Swaziland and neighbouring countries. 

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Synthetic biology on ordinary paper, results off the page

New achievements in synthetic biology announced today by researchers at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, which will allow complex cellular recognition reactions to proceed outside of living cells, will dare scientists to dream big: there could one day be inexpensive, shippable and accurate test kits that use saliva or a drop of blood to identify specific disease or infection—a feat that could be accomplished anywhere in the world, within minutes and without laboratory support, just by using a pocket–sized paper diagnostic tool.

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How ferns adapted to one of Earth’s newest and most extreme environments

Ferns are believed to be ‘old’ plant species – some of them lived alongside the dinosaurs, over 200 million years ago. However, a group of Andean ferns evolved much more recently: their completely new form and structure (morphology) arose and diversified within the last 2 million years. This novel morphology seems to have been advantageous when colonising the extreme environment of the high Andes.