Neurotensin: Scientists Identify New Biomarker for High-Fat-Diet-Induced Obesity

Researchers have identified a potential new biological marker for the development of obesity, according to a study published online May 11, 2016 in the journal Nature .

The new findings directly link neurotensin (NT) with increased fat absorption and obesity and suggest that NT may provide a prognostic marker of future obesity and a potential target for prevention and treatment. Image credit: University of Massachusetts Lowell.
Neurotensin, also known as NT or NTS, is a 13-amino-acid neuropeptide produced mainly in the gastrointestinal tract and central nervous system. It is released with fat ingestion and facilitates fatty acid absorption in the intestine.
Previous research has shown that NT can also stimulate the growth of various cancers and increased fasting levels of pro-NT (an NT precur… Read more

Neurotensin: Scientists Identify New Biomarker for High-Fat-Diet-Induced Obesity

Researchers have identified a potential new biological marker for the development of obesity, according to a study published online May 11, 2016 in the journal Nature .

The new findings directly link neurotensin (NT) with increased fat absorption and obesity and suggest that NT may provide a prognostic marker of future obesity and a potential target for prevention and treatment. Image credit: University of Massachusetts Lowell.
Neurotensin, also known as NT or NTS, is a 13-amino-acid neuropeptide produced mainly in the gastrointestinal tract and central nervous system. It is released with fat ingestion and facilitates fatty acid absorption in the intestine.
Previous research has shown that NT can also stimulate the growth of various cancers and increased fa… Read more

Dust from Sahara Makes Significant Impact on Caribbean Sea Ecosystem, Research Shows

Atmospherically transported dust from the Sahara Desert, the largest desert in the world, is bringing iron and other nutrients to underwater plants in the Caribbean, but bacteria may be the first thing to prosper from that dust, according to a new research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences .

Sahara, Libya. Image credit: Victor Korniyenko / CC BY-SA 3.0.
“The dust is causing the bacteria to bloom and also become more toxic to humans and marine organisms. This has been going on for a long time, but nobody understood it. It’s a natural phenomenon,” said co-author Prof. William Landing of Florida State University.
Prof. Landing and his colleagues from the University of Georgia, the U.S. Geological Survey and Florida State University used V… Read more

Research: Leopards Have Lost 75% of Historic Range

According to a new research, leopards have lost as much as 75% of their historic range.

A leopard ( Panthera pardus ). Image credit: Joseph Lemeris.
The leopard ( Panthera pardus ) is the smallest of the great cats (lion, tiger, and jaguar) that is natively found in a variety of different habitats across sub-Saharan Africa and southern Asia.
According to genetic analysis, nine subspecies of this species are recognized: Panthera pardus pardus, P. p. nimr, P. p. saxicolor, P. p. melas, P. p. kotiya, P. p. fusca, P. p. delacourii, P. p. japonensis and P. p. orientalis .
Leopards are powerfully built cats with a very elegant shape. They are sexually dimorphic as males tend to be larger than females: (i) males range in body mass from 31 to 65 kg and in length from 5.2 to 7.5 feet (1.6… Read more

Newly-Discovered Species of Parasitic Wasp Named after Brad Pitt

An international team of scientists has described a previously unknown species of wasp from South Africa and has named it Conobregma bradpitti , after the American actor and producer Brad Pitt.

Conobregma bradpitti . Image credit: Butcher B.A. et al.
Conobregma bradpitti belongs to a widespread group of wasps parasitizing moth and butterfly caterpillars.
“These wasps lay their eggs into a host, which once parasitized starts hardening,” explained Dr. Buntika Butcher from Chulalongkorn University in Thailand, lead author of a paper published online in the journal ZooKeys .
“Thus, the wasp cocoon can safely develop and later emerge from the ‘mummified’ larva.”
“Despite their macabre behavior, many of these wasp species are considered valuable in agriculture b… Read more

Jamesbondia: New Subgenus of Plants Named after Ornithologist James Bond

An international team of botanists has described a new subgenus of plants and named it after the notable American ornithologist James Bond.

Left: Alternanthera costaricensis . Right: Alternanthera sp. Image credit: I. Sánchez-del Pino & D. Iamonico.
Jamesbondia is an infrageneric group of the Neotropical flowering genus known as Alternanthera , according to Dr. Duilio Iamonico from the University of Rome Sapienza, Italy, and Dr. Ivonne Sánchez-del Pino from the Centro de Investigación Científica de Yucatán, Mexico.
The scientists named it after the ornithologist James Bond, whose name Ian Fleming — a keen bird watcher — is known to have used for his eponymous spy series.
The four Jamesbondia plant species — Alternanthera costaricensis, A. geniculata, A. oli… Read more

Scientists Sequence Mitochondrial Genome of Hispaniolan Solenodon

An international team of scientists has completely sequenced the mitochondrial genome of the Hispaniolan solenodon (a venomous, insectivorous mammal that diverged from other living mammals 78 million years ago), filling in the last major branch of placental mammals on the tree of life.

The Hispaniolan solenodon ( Solenodon paradoxus ). Image credit: Solenodon Joe / CC BY 3.0.
The Hispaniolan solenodon ( Solenodon paradoxus ), also known as the Dominican solenodon, or agouta , is one of only a few mammal species capable of producing toxic saliva, which it uses to immobilize its invertebrate prey.
The species is endemic to Hispaniola, the island shared by Haiti and the Dominican Republic. It is found in forests and brush country, as well as around plantations.
It lo… Read more

Biologists Estimate that Earth is Inhabited by One Trillion Microbial Species

Our planet could contain roughly 1 trillion microbial species, with only 0.001% now identified, says a duo of scientists at Indiana University.

This colorized scanning electron micrograph shows Mycobacterium tuberculosis , gram-positive bacteria that cause tuberculosis. Image credit: Ray Butler / Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Dr. Kenneth Locey and Dr. Jay Lennon, both from the Indiana University’s Department of Biology, combined microbial, plant and animal community datasets from different sources, resulting in the largest compilation of its kind.
Altogether, these data represent over 5.6 million microscopic and nonmicroscopic species from 35,000 locations across all the world’s oceans and continents, except Antarctica.
“Our study… Read more

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