Effects of starvation can be passed to future generations, through small RNAs apparently without DNA involvement

Evidence from human famines and animal studies suggests that starvation can affect the health of descendants of famished individuals. But how such an acquired trait might be transmitted from one generation to the next has not been clear. A new study, involving roundworms, shows that starvation induces specific changes in so-called small RNAs and that these changes are inherited through at least three consecutive generations, apparently without any DNA involvement. The study, conducted by Columbia Read more [...]

Tooth plaque provides unique insights into our prehistoric ancestors’ diet

An international team of researchers has found new evidence that our prehistoric ancestors had a detailed understanding of plants long before the development of agriculture.By extracting chemical compounds and microfossils from dental calculus (calcified dental plaque) from ancient teeth, the researchers were able to provide an entirely new perspective on our ancestors' diets. Their research suggests that purple nut sedge (Cyperus rotundus) -- today regarded as a nuisance weed -- formed an important Read more [...]

Gender quotas work in ‘tight’ cultures, says new resesarch

Quotas probably won't get more women into the boardroom in places like the U.S. and Canada.They have a better chance however in countries such as China or Germany where people place a higher value on obeying authority and conforming to cultural norms, say a pair of researchers at the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management. Their conclusions are published in the journal Organizational Dynamics and in a blog for the Harvard Business Review.It all comes down to a culture's "tightness" or Read more [...]

The rate at which groundwater reservoirs are being depleted is increasing

In what parts of the world and to what degree have groundwater reservoirs been depleted over the past 50 years? The Frankfurt hydrologist Prof. Petra D?ll has been researching this using the global water model WaterGAP. She has arrived at the most reliable estimate to date by taking into consideration processes which are important in dry regions of the world. The values calculated were compared with monitoring data from many different wells and data from the GRACE satellites. These satellites measure Read more [...]

Scientists track gene activity when honey bees do and don’t eat honey: Significant differences depending on diet

Many beekeepers feed their honey bees sucrose or high-fructose corn syrup when times are lean inside the hive. This practice has come under scrutiny, however, in response to colony collapse disorder, the massive -- and as yet not fully explained -- annual die-off of honey bees in the U.S. and Europe. Some suspect that inadequate nutrition plays a role in honey bee declines.In a new study, described in Scientific Reports, researchers took a broad look at changes in gene activity in response to diet Read more [...]