‘Bionic mushroom’ can generate electricity without using fossil fuels

digitaltrends.com – Researchers at the Stevens Institute of Technology in New Jersey have come up with an unexpected way to produce electricity without fossil fuels: A mushroom covered with bacteria. The mushroom provides a safe environment for special cyanobacteria that generate electricity when light is shone on them.

Source: Sudeep Joshi, Ellexis Cook, Manu S. Mannoor. Bacterial Nanobionics via 3D Printing. Nano Letters, 2018.

Study finds link between brain activity and depressed mood

upi.com – Researchers have identified a common pattern of brain activity linked to feelings of low mood, particularly in people who have a tendency toward anxiety.

Source: Lowry A. Kirkby, et al. An Amygdala-Hippocampus Subnetwork that Encodes Variation in Human Mood. Cell, 2018.

Frogs regrow ‘paddle-like’ limbs when placed in a bioreactor

digitaltrends.com – Frogs have partially regrown amputated limbs thanks to a bioreactor developed by a team of researchers at Tufts University. By jump-starting tissue repair, the bioreactor was shown to help the amphibians regenerate a bigger, more complete appendage than they usually do in the wild.

Source: Celia Herrera-Rincon, et al. Brief Local Application of Progesterone via a Wearable Bioreactor Induces Long-Term Regenerative Response in Adult Xenopus Hindlimb. Cell Reports, 2018.

Study: Neanderthals No More Violent Than Modern Humans

geek.com – Neanderthals have gotten a bad rap. Having emerged some 400,000 years ago, in what is now Western Europe and Southwest and Central Asia, the hunter-gatherers weathered several glacial periods before going extinct about …

Source: Judith Beier, Nils Anthes, Joachim Wahl, Katerina Harvati. Similar cranial trauma prevalence among Neanderthals and Upper Palaeolithic modern humans. Nature, 2018.

Climate change may be dissolving the ocean floor

nbcnews.com – "Even at places on our planet where we have never set foot... there is a trace of human activity."

Source: Olivier Sulpis, et al. Current CaCO 3 dissolution at the seafloor caused by anthropogenic CO 2. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2018.

Global Warming May Be Damaging Sperm

science20.com – A new study in Nature Communications suggests that climate change could pose a threat to male fertility by increasing the number and severity of heat waves which damage sperm.The authors contend that climate change is already having an impact on species populations, including climate-related extinctions in recent years.

Source: Kris Sales, et al. Experimental heatwaves compromise sperm function and cause transgenerational damage in a model insect. Nature Communications, 2018.

Primates of the Caribbean: Ancient DNA reveals history of mystery monkey

sciencedaily.com – Analysis of ancient DNA of a mysterious extinct monkey named Xenothrix -- which displays bizarre body characteristics very different to any living monkey -- has revealed that it was in fact most closely related to South America's titi monkeys (Callicebinae). Having made their way overwater to Jamaica, probably on floating vegetation, their bones reveal they subsequently underwent remarkable evolutionary change.

Source: Roseina Woods, Samuel T. Turvey, Selina Brace, Ross D. E. MacPhee, Ian Barnes. Ancient DNA of the extinct Jamaican monkey Xenothrix reveals extreme insular change within a morphologically conservative radiation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2018.

Exposure to pesticides makes bees less social, reduces colony size

upi.com – Exposure to pesticides can reduce the size of bee colonies and cause the insect to become less social.

Source: James D. Crall, et al. Neonicotinoid exposure disrupts bumblebee nest behavior, social networks, and thermoregulation. Science, 2018.