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Forest & trees

News & articles

  • DNA from ancient packrat nests helps unpack Earth's past - New work shows how using next-generation DNA sequencing on ancient packrat middens -- nests made out of plant material, fragments of insects, bones, fecal matter, and urine -- could provide ecological snapshots of Earth's past. The study may pave the way for scientists to better understand how plant communities -- and possibly animals, bacteria, and fungi as well -- will respond to human-caused climate change.
  • Plant-based relatives of cholesterol could give boost to gene therapy - Gene-infused nanoparticles used for combating disease work better when they include plant-based relatives of cholesterol because their shape and structure help the genes get where they need to be inside cells.
  • Unexpected insights into the dynamic structure of mitochondria - As power plants and energy stores, mitochondria are essential components of almost all cells in plants, fungi and animals. Until now, it has been assumed that these functions underlie a static structure of mitochondrial membranes. Researchers have now discovered that the inner membranes of mitochondria are not static, but constantly change their structure every few seconds in living cells.