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Bengaluru Wednesday, 17 January, 2018 - 11:06

Cancer, a dreaded disease, has been on a rampant spread over the past decade. Reports from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) estimated 14.5 lakh new cancer cases in 2016, and this number is likely to go up to 17.3 lakhs in 2020. Scientists around the world are uncovering new facets of this disease in a bid to understand its many faces and design the best and the most effective drugs against it. So far, we know that abnormal and uncontrollable growth of cells in our body leads to cancer. In advanced stages, these cancerous cells spread to different parts of the body through our blood or lymph, in a process called metastasis. In a new study, researchers from the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, led by Prof. Annapoorni Rangarajan, have made some astounding discoveries on the molecular mechanism behind the spread of cancer, which can help better understand and treat the disease.

But how exactly does metastasis happen? Cancerous cells from a tumour, called ‘circulating tumour cells’ or CTCs, enter the bloodstream or the lymph system and move throughout the body. With the help of proteins called integrins, these tumour cells adhere to the extracellular matrix – a collection of molecules that support the cell structure. Once they find a suitable place, they thrive and develop into another cancerous tumour. However, if these tumour cells are deprived of the matrix, they die a form of programmed cell death called anoikis. For cancer to thrive, the tumour cells must develop resistance to anoikis. But how do they develop resistance? That is what the researchers of this study have uncovered.

The scientists studied the roles of Akt – an enzyme that regulates the process of survival and metabolism in a cell, and AMP activated protein kinase (AMPK) – an enzyme that promotes the breakdown of complex molecules into simpler ones for the cell to utilise. They used human breast cancer cells and mice for the study. While Akt drives cell growth and multiplication, thus promoting tumor growth, AMPK was long thought of as a tumor suppressor because of its growth retarding effects. But, recent studies have shed light on how AMPK could also aid tumour growth, as it helps the cell survive when it is in need of energy or in an environment of reduced oxygen.

“It was about ten years ago, when a graduate student in the lab, Sravanth, made the first observation that AMPK is activated upon matrix-detachment”, reveals Prof. Rangarajan about the motivation behind this study. This surprising observation made the team question the role of AMPK in resisting anoikis, while most of the studies until then had always credited Akt for this phenomenon. “We were inquisitive to check the status of Akt in detached cells, and to our surprise, we found that Akt is markedly inactivated in detached cells”, she adds.

The researchers of the study observed that AMPK is activated in detached cells compared to adherent cells, whereas Akt is more activate in adherent cells compared to detached. When tumor cells detach from their primary site, they are marked for death. This is because they are anchorage-dependent cells and need to be attached to the extracellular matrix to grow and divide. When detached, they trigger the enzyme AMPK, which represses the enzyme Akt by a protein called PHLPP2. When the tumour cells re-attach to the matrix, the Akt enzyme is triggered. This represses AMPK via another protein called PP2Cα, therefore showing a double negative feedback loop that helps the tumor cells to adapt to matrix deprivation.

“Our study suggests that AMPK inhibition will help prevent cancer spread by metastasis. Currently, metformin, a first line anti-diabetic drug that ironically activates AMPK is being trialled in cancer treatment. Our study raises concerns on the use of AMPK-modulating agents before further detailed investigations. A side effect of metformin might actually promote cancer spread in some cases”, says Prof. Rangarajan about the study.

This study provides newer insights into developing AMPK and PHLPP2 inhibitors as potential drugs against cancer that can target the molecular mechanisms involved in the spread of cancer. As a next step, the researchers are pursuing studies to understand this complex mechanism better. “We have showed that AMPK activation upregulates the phosphatase PHLPP2 to inhibit Akt. However, the mechanism(s) by which AMPK does this is not known. We are currently pursuing this”, says Prof. Rangarajan, before signing off.

Section: General, Science, Health, Deep-dive Source:
Bengaluru Wednesday, 17 January, 2018 - 07:40

This has been taken down since it was brought to the notice of the Editorial team that the journal in which the study was published is listed as a predatory journal. The Editorial team regrets this error in judgement.

Section: General, Science, Ecology, Society, Policy Source:
Bengaluru Tuesday, 16 January, 2018 - 10:36

All of modern electronic devices work with binary language of just zeroes and ones. Transistors--tiny switches employed in most of these gadgets--play a crucial role in these devices. Over the years, transistors have gone from the size of a small phone, to millions of them fitting in a smartphone! They are ubiquitous and improving their form and performance is an active area of research. Now, scientists from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) have designed a novel transistor by combining two different types of transistors in to one.

The functioning of a typical transistor is analogous to a dam. There is a ‘source’ from where the water, or in this case, electrons are generated, and a ‘drain’ where the electrons flow into. A gate controls the flow of these electrons between the source and drain. When the gate is closed, a barrier is presented to the electrons and their flow is blocked. When a small voltage is applied to the gate, the height of the barrier reduces, allowing the electrons to hop across, causing a current to flow between the source and the drain. Lesser the amount of voltage required to open the gate, more efficient the transistor becomes.

“The transistor is a gate controlled switch, where the voltage value on the gate decides whether the switch is ‘on’ or ‘off’. For example, in modern transistors, when you apply 1 Volt to the gate, the transistor is turned ‘on’ and when you apply 0 V to the gate, the transistor is turned ‘off’. For an ideal switch, you need large ‘on’ current and ideally zero ‘off’ current. But, all transistors used in today's electronics have a non-zero ‘off’ current, the value of which depends on the ‘subthreshold swing’”, explains Prof. Navakanta Bhat, Chairman of the Centre for Nano Science and Engineering at IISc, and a co-author of the study.

The ‘subthreshold swing’ is the minimum voltage required for opening or closing the gate. Much like the dam, opening or closing the gates requires a minimum amount of energy to do so. “Steeper the subthreshold swing, or lower its value, the faster will be the fall of current and hence, lower will be the ‘off’ current for a given value of ‘on’ current,” remarks Prof. Bhat. The efficiency of such transistors, commonly called thermionic transistors, depend on the amount of voltage required to activate the gate. Thus, in the present the efficiency of such transistors has hit a fundamental bottleneck, since no matter how small they get, the required gate voltage remains fairly large.

“In the today's thermionic transistors, the best (i.e. minimum) value of subthreshold swing is 60mV/decade. In order to produce a ‘on’ current, the electrons from the source of the transistor have to overcome the energy barrier (controlled by the gate) and then go to the drain. Only those electrons that have energy more than the barrier height can contribute to the current. The energy distribution is governed by Boltzmann statistics and hence the limit of 60mV/decade”, explains Shubhadeep Bhattacharjee, a PhD student at CeNSE, who is also one of the researchers in this study.

Researchers over came this bottleneck with another type of transistors called tunnel field effect transistors (tunnel-FET). This type of transistors use a fundamental property of quantum particles, like electrons, called tunneling. According to Shubhadeep, “with this new method of transport (tunneling), the electrons need not attain energies higher than the barrier. Even if the energy is lower than the barrier height, they can ‘tunnel’ through the barrier, provided the tunneling distance controlled by gate is small. Hence we are no longer limited by Boltzmann statistics.” Thus tunnel FETs can increase the efficiency of transistors by decreasing the amount of gate voltage that is required.

However, tunnel FETs too have their own disadvantages, as the amount of current that flow between the source and the drain is very low compared to their thermionic counterparts. To overcome the shortcoming of both these technologies, the researchers of this study built a new device which combines the functioning of both thermionic and tunneling components into one transistor. To achieve this, the scientists used two gates, which could be controlled independently, in a single transistor, along with a new switching element – tunable Schottky barrier, a type of energy barrier to electrons formed at a metal-semiconductor junction.

The new hybrid device can switch between a conventional thermionic transistor and a modern tunnelling transistor, thus providing the benefits of both worlds, with very little of the disadvantages. “By having an independent control of the tunnel barrier height and the tunnel barrier width, we can combine both tunneling and thermionic components in single transistor”, remarks Shubhadeep. The new transistor also consumes much less power than the thermionic ones, and can produce much higher currents than many modern tunnelling transistors.

So where could these new transistors find their applications? “This work will open up the possibility of using new kind of transistor for building future electronic circuits that will have ultra-low power consumption. For instance, a smart watch a few years down the line, could potentially use transistors like this, and provide performance which is far superior compared to the state of the art smart phones available today”, says Prof. Bhat. The union of the transistors has really made the future of electronics exciting! 

Section: General, Science, Technology Source:
Panaji Tuesday, 16 January, 2018 - 07:23

Movie buffs and science aficionados are gearing up for the third Science Film Festival of India (SFFI) organized by Vijnana Bharati along with Vidnyan Parishad, Goa. The four day festival will kick off on the 16th of January 2018 in Panaji, Goa, and will feature movie screenings, workshops, exhibitions and competitions showcasing science and technology.

The festival has screenings of several blockbuster movies throughout the four days. The 1971 thriller The Andromeda Strain, the 2016 animated movie Ice Age: Collision Course, the mystery sci-fi 2010, an adventure movie Abyss released 1989 and many more are on the list. Following the movie screening, viewers will also get a chance to interact with experts from various fields of science and technology to discuss and debate these science based movies. Not a movie bug? No problem, you can get involved in hands-on workshops on various topics like aeromodelling, MATLAB, mathematics, science, robotics, mobile game development and 3D modelling.

The festival will also feature an exhibition on Cosmic Egg -- a low cost inflatable planetarium, which will put on a show about our solar system and the story of an eclipse. SFFI 2018 will also see the launch of Fab Lab Show—a unique theatre scale science stage show involving 90 minutes of demonstrations of scientific content.

The Chief Minister of Goa, Mr. Manohar Parrikar, who also holds the portfolio of Science and Technology, will be the chief patron of the festival. Rajendra Talak, Vice Chairman of Entertainment Society of Goa, Dr. Madhavan Nair, Ex-Chairman of ISRO and Dr. Vijay Bhatkar, National President of Vijnana Bharati will preside over the festival.

So grab your popcorn, put on your thinking caps and head to the science film festival for a learning experience peppered with fun and entertainment.


Section: General, Science, Society, Events Source: Link
Exeter Monday, 15 January, 2018 - 07:45

Study throws light on how cryptic bush crickets use acoustic cues as reproductive barrier.

We are familiar with the crickets - loud, chirping black or brown coloured insects - that generally start their orchestra at dusk. These insects, usually males, produce chirping/trilling sound as a mode of communication to attract their mates. In a new study, researchers from the University of Exeter, UK and the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, have investigated  the divergent populations of bush crickets that have different mating calls and are predominantly found in South India.

“Bush crickets are usually larger and louder than other crickets, as they are broadband (energy spread across wide frequency range) callers. Often the loudest cricket calls that you hear at night from a distance are bush cricket calls” says Dr. Rochishnu Dutta, an ex-PhD scholar at the University of Exeter.

Bush crickets are a family of crickets that are sometimes indistinguishable from each other by just looking at them. These are also called cryptic bush crickets, and the members of these cryptic taxonomic groups often co-exist in nature. Hence, each member must evolve a mechanism that prevents it from breeding with other members of the family (also called isolating mechanisms) to maintain its unique identity. In this study, published in the journal PLOS One, the researchers have studied how bush crickets of the species Mecopoda elongata, found in South India, do it.

The researchers found that the male bush crickets of M. elongata have a set of five different songs, which they sing to attract females, that lack the ability of singing. However, the receptive females respond to the calling males by moving towards them. This movement indicates the receptivity of females, and this phenomenon is called ‘phonotaxis’.

The researchers found that the five mating calls of M. elongata can be broadly divided into two types: ‘chirpers’ that only have chirp component or ‘trillers’ that have trill (continuous chirp without gaps) component. The chirpers are identified as Chirper (that have single chirp) and Double Chirper (that have two short consecutive chirps). The trillers are ‘Two Part’, ‘Helicopter’ and ‘Train’ - the names indicating human perception of the sound these crickets actually produce. “One wing of bush cricket has ‘file’ while the other has ‘plectrum’. When one wing is moved over the other, these two structures meet and rub against each other which creates chirps”, says Dr. Dutta, talking about how these sounds are made. These songs differ in call period, gaps and duration in between chirps that keeps each song types acoustically distinct.

The researchers, using experiments in the laboratory, found that females of ‘Chirper’ song type recognize and prefer their own song type-specific call and completely avoid the other three trilling songs. They showed phonotaxis and mated with their own song type individuals significantly more number of times than that of ‘Double Chirper’. Although some females had a preference for ‘Double Chirpers’ call, this can be attributed to the weak tuning of ‘Chirper’ females and broad acceptance of a range of ‘Chirper’ call parameters, with which the ‘Double Chirper’ calls overlap. Besides, these two bush cricket populations occur in different geographical location in nature that makes inter-song type mating between ‘Chirper’ and ‘Double Chirper’ implausible.

The study concludes that ‘Chirper’ individuals are not only isolated from individuals of the four song types in terms of long distance communication but also mate among themselves. The ‘Chirper’ females’ song preference explains this existing reproductive barrier and as such the ‘Chirper’ can be regarded as a separate cryptic species of Mecopoda elongata.

So, the next time you hear the call of a bush cricket from your garden, find out whether it is a ‘chirp’ or a ‘trill’ and appreciate the acoustic acuity and the secret life of crickets.

Section: General, Science, Ecology Source:
Kharagpur Friday, 12 January, 2018 - 14:56

Scientists from Indian Institute of Khragpur (IIT KGP) have developed a novel method to estimate the biomass and pigment concentration of algae, without ever having to touch or disturb the organism, which could help algae using industries, like pharmaceutical and food industries, with quick tests of their yield.

Algae are a diverse class of photosynthetic organisms, commonly forming the lowest level of the food chain. Apart from being the food source for many aquatic and marine life forms, algae have also been used for production of pigments and various medical applications. Recent developments in processing methods have found new uses for these ancient organisms. Today, one of the primary uses for algae is in producing bio fuels, apart from which they are also used in pollution controlling agents, bioremediation and production of certain polymers.

Two important factors that are required to deduce the yield of fuels or other usable products from a colony of algae are biomass and the pigment concentration of the said colony. This often involves and intrusive or destructive testing methods, which requires collecting samples from the colony. To avoid such intrusive measures, scientists from IIT KGP have developed optical based testing method to determine the two properties.

Using a technique called diffuse reflectance spectroscopy (DRS), which involves analyzing the infra-red and visible radiations scattered from a sample using a spectrometer. For their experiment, the scientists used two species of algae; Chlorella Vulgaris and Nostoc muscorum, and a mixed culture of the two species. Visble to near infra red (VisNIR) light is scattered off of samples of the two cultures, which is then sent through a spectrometer, which splits the emerging light into its constituent frequencies. Next, using partial least squares regression (PLSR) algorithm, the spectrum is analyzed to reveal the biomass and pigment concentration of the cultures. The analysis of the spectra also revealed culture specific spectral signatures, allowing the scientists to identify the specific culture based on the spectra it produced. The amount of carotenoids, a type of organic pigment present in all photosynthetic organisms, like plants and algae, was also deduced using the PLSR method on the spectra.

This new method of testing for pigments, according to the scientists, has the “potential for developing a new approach for estimating pigment concentrations in algae samples without consuming the sample”. And if commercialized, could reduce the time and effort required to convert algae into a viable industry resource.

Section: General, Science, Technology Source: Link
Kharagpur Friday, 12 January, 2018 - 10:28

Scientists from the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur have developed a model to select the ideal combinations of temperature and pressure conditions to inactivate fruit-degrading enzymes during the processing of mango pulp.

It is hard to miss why the mango is considered the king of all fruits – its delectable taste, delicious aroma, and desirable colour, are all essential qualities that make the global demand for mangoes so high. Processed mango pulp is one such mango-based product which is very popular due to its diverse culinary applications and availability throughout the year. However, in order to make these products last longer, processed mango pulps are often required to be subjected to extensive preservation processes like sterilisation of microbes and inactivation of spoilage-causing enzymes naturally present in the mango. Some of the key spoilage causing enzymes includes pectin methylesterase, which degrades natural pectins—a type of polysaccharides present in cell walls of some fruits, and spoils the texture of the fruit pulp, as well as enzymes like polyphenol oxidase and peroxidase which cause browning of the pulp, and spoil the colour and flavour of the fruit products.

In order to tackle the action of these enzymes, various thermal processing techniques have been used so far. These thermal processing techniques often involve subjecting the mango pulp to temperatures of up to 100˚C for several minutes. Although thermal techniques are very effective in killing microbes and inactivating the spoilage-causing enzymes, they also affect the quality of several other desirable components of the fruit, like its flavour, aroma and natural pigments. Thus, scientists have been exploring several other processing techniques to supplement thermal processing, and the technique of high pressure processing seems especially promising. Although it is known to inactivate the enzymes as well as kill harmful microbes, without adversely affecting the desirable compounds in mango, there needs to be much more research on how this technique actually affects the activity of mango pulp enzymes

Scientists at IIT-Khargpur have now studied the effect of a combination of thermal and pressure based processing techniques on enzyme inactivation in mango pulps. The scientists studied the inactivation kinetics of the enzymes where they measured the change in the rate of enzyme activity with changes in temperature and pressure, and developed a model to measure the efficiency of the thermal and high-pressure processing techniques.

The scientists found several interesting results, most important of which was that the enzyme inactivation induced by a combined pressure-temperature treatment was a very complex phenomenon, and depended on several factors like the enzyme in question, the type of food matrix of the pulp, and the type of sugar present in the pulp. The model developed by them might help fruit processing companies select the ideal pressure-temperature combinations for efficiently decreasing the activity of harmful enzymes in the fruit pulp. The scientists also suggested that similar studies of the effect of pressure-temperature treatments must be conducted in other fruits as well, in order to fully understand the efficacy of these processing methods for different fruits.

Section: General, Science Source: Link
Bengaluru Thursday, 11 January, 2018 - 14:24

Around 500 all weather roads, listed in the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana’s (PMGSY) monitoring data as being ‘complete’, and has been paid for, have never been built in reality, finds a new study. This study, by researchers from the Princeton University, New Jersey, USA, and the Paris School of Economics, Paris, France, has suggested that political corruption, and not a lack of resources as thought, is the main reason for the lack of roads connecting remote areas in India.

The Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) is a central government funded scheme started in 2000 by the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The scheme was aimed to provide good road connectivity to unconnected villages across the country. Of around 172,000 villages that were meant to be connected under the scheme, reports suggest that only 82% of the work has already been completed, with the rest estimated to be completed by 2019.

However, this study has found gaping inaccuracies in the status of the scheme, with many roads never being built! The study suggests that political corruption, due to local politicians favouring road contractors within their own social networks, is the reason behind this. "Our results indicate that corruption in this program directly harmed the 857,000 villagers whom the missing roads were meant to serve," said Jacob N. Shapiro, the lead author of the study, in a press release.

Although, political corruption, by its very nature, can be very hard to prove, the researchers studied the phenomenon by looking at proxies for political corruption. For example, the researchers looked at surnames of the current Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) and the contractor who was awarded the road-building contract. As Indian surnames are linked to caste, religion and geographic prominence, surnames were considered as a good proxy for estimating the chosen politician’s social networks.

The study also observed that although the PMGSY scheme was well designed to check political corruption by keeping the contractor selection decisions away from local politicians (MLAs, MPs), these local politicians were still able to sway decisions in their favour. The study suggests this could be because the social networks of the politician could also include connections with the regional bureaucracy that awards the contracts. Here again, the increased likelihood of corruption was seen when a district-level official overseeing the PMGSY scheme shared his surname with the elected politician. However, when a bureaucrat was up for promotion and was facing a heightened scrutiny, there was noticeably less corruption.

So, what can help? The researchers say putting the power to decide on contracts back into the hands of elected representatives could improve the situation. “If voters held their politicians responsible for the services delivered under PMGSY, the MLAs would have an incentive to limit corruption", the researchers opined.

Section: General, Science, Society Source: Link
Bengaluru Thursday, 11 January, 2018 - 08:00

The Himalayas, famous for their lofty mountains, is also a biodiversity hotspot. There are more than 900 species of birds present in the Himalayan region; 30 of which are found nowhere else in the world. In such a diverse mountain range, scientists from the Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, Rheinische Friedrich Wilhelms-Universität Bonn, Germany, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Cornell University, and Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca NY USA have studied the characteristics of one such Himalayan songbird called the Green-backed tit. The study found that males and females of these tits have different body and beak characters.

The Green- backed tit (Parus monticolus) is a small songbird distributed across the Himalayas to Taiwan, including China. As the name suggests, they have green wing feathers and a black breast stripe running vertically from the throat to their belly, similar to their sister species, the European great tits (Parus major). They are cavity nesting birds, which make their nests in tree holes. During the breeding season, females incubate their eggs in the nests while males venture out to find food.

Differences in breast stripes and beak sizes are known to exist between males and females of the well-studied European great tits. But how different are they in Green-backed tits? Can we identify the sex of these birds by just looking at their breast stripes and beak shapes? The researchers of this study have answered these questions by studying a western Himalayan population of Green- backed tits.

“There is a lot of literature on European great tits, where breast stripes are linked to their behavior. The birds with broader breast stripes are usually socially dominant and we can see these birds displaying their breast stripes during dominance interactions. Yet, we still don’t know how these stripes are useful. But we can definitely say that breast stripes are important”, says Dr. Sahas Barve from the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Cornell University, USA

The researchers measured breast stripe characteristics like color and width in the Green-backed tits. The birds were classified as ‘male’ and ‘female’ based on these characteristics. Genetic tests from these individuals later proved that the predictions were correct 97.9 % of the time. The male birds have a characteristic dark and broad breast stripe, while the females have an ashy thin breast stripe, the study found.

Do these breast stripes play a role in mating and dominance interactions? “We really don’t know what signals these stripes provide to the receiver bird”, says Dr. Barve.  “Breast stripes are definitely dimorphic but they did not correlate with body size of the males. In other words, big males don’t have big breast stripes. So breast stripes might not be a signal of male physical quality and females might not choose males based on the stripes”, he adds.

In addition to the difference in breast stripes, the study also found a difference in beak lengths between males and females. Bird beaks are known to constantly grow and provide information on what the birds eat. But, the size reduces based on the diet and usage of beaks. Interestingly, the researchers found that the males of the Green-backed tit had longer beaks in winters than in summers, while the females had a constant beak length across seasons.

“These birds are cavity nesting birds and the males feed the females during breeding season. In winter, males and females feed independently and males had longer beaks than females suggesting they are feeding on insects. In summer, which is the breeding season, the male feeds the females because of which his beak sufferers double the wear and tear, leading to the shortening of beak than the female, who incubates her eggs”, reasons Dr. Barve about this observed difference.

Although Green backed tits are classified as “least concerned” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), they are still exposed to habitat loss due to human activities. “Like all other Himalayan birds, they suffer from habitat loss due to anthropogenic activities. They are mountain birds not specialized for other habitats. They are currently common birds but that doesn’t mean we should be complacent and not protect the species”, says Dr. Barve, about the need for studies like this. “In my opinion, it is important to keep the common birds common. Sometimes there is almost no point in trying to save the last 3 individuals of a species, instead of investing on saving them when they are common”, he adds.

The Himalayas, being the crown of India, may not be as majestic if it lost its feathered beauties, after all!  

Section: General, Science, Ecology Source:
Bengaluru Wednesday, 10 January, 2018 - 17:38

Dr. Vivek Nityananda, a research associate from the Newcastle University presented a lecture titled, “Stereovision and prey detection in the praying mantis”, on the 10th of January 2018 at the Indian Institute of Science. An alumnus of the Center for Ecological Sciences at IISc, Dr. Nityananda was introduced to the audience by his doctoral guide, Prof. Rohini Balakrishnan. The research that he presented to the audience was conducted at the Newcastle University, UK, conducted as a part of research undertaken by Prof. Jenny Read’s group and funded by the Leverhulme trust.

Stereovision refers to the ability of an organism to perceive depth or see objects in 3 dimensions. This kind of vision has evolved independently over evolutionary time in different groups of animals like primates, owls, toads and others. Mantises are the only known invertebrates to possess stereovision. In the highly interactive talk Dr. Nityananda provided the audience with 3D viewing glasses to follow the experiments that the mantises were subjected to. To understand the function and the mechanism of evolution of stereovision in mantises, the researchers placed “3D glasses” on the insects and studied how they reacted to different stimuli.

The experiments presented aimed to understand whether stereovision in mantises served the purpose of range finding, understanding size constancy and detecting camouflage. Mantises as well as humans were subjected to the same kind of experiments.--providing different kinds of stimuli like correlated stimuli, anticorrelated stimuli, uncorrelated stimuli and luminance flipped stimuli the responses of mantises and humans were compared to understand how the mechanism of stereovision works in mantises.

On the latter types of stimuli while human eyes failed, mantises were more successful in detecting the objects presented to them. The study presented by Dr. Nityananda open avenues to a lot of other questions yet to be explored related to the mechanism of eyesight in living beings . The findings of this study also raise other ecological questions about how camouflage works in the wild.

The presentation gave the audience an interesting insight into the world of these agile predators and how even though the end goal might be the same, evolution has shaped different organisms into having different strategies for their survival.

Section: General, Science, Ecology, Events Source: