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December 27 2014

Top Japan lab dismisses ground-breaking stem cell study


Japan's top research institute on Friday hammered the final nail in the coffin of what was once billed as a ground-breaking stem cell study, dismissing it as flawed and saying the work could have been fabricated.

The revelations come a week after a young researcher at the centre of the scandal, which has rocked the country's scientific establishment, said she would resign after failing to reproduce the successful conversion of an adult cell into a stem cell-like state, known as "STAP" cells.

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December 27 2014

Study Sheds Light on What Causes Cells to Divide


When a rapidly-growing cell divides into two smaller cells, what triggers the split? Is it the size the growing cell eventually reaches? Or is the real trigger the time period over which the cell keeps growing ever larger?

A novel study published online today in the journal Current Biology has finally provided an answer to this long unsolved conundrum. And it’s not what many biologists expected.

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December 27 2014

Half-male, half-female bird has a rough life


This bird might look like a holiday ornament, but it is actually a rare half-female, half-male northern cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis, pictured with female plumage on the left and male plumage on the right) spotted a few years ago in Rock Island, Illinois. Researchers have long known such split-sex “gynandromorphs” exist in insects, crustaceans, and birds.

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