Some curse them, throw stones at them, beat them, and even kill them, while a few pet them and form a special bond! Domestic dogs, or Canis lupus familiaris, are known to be our 'best friends'. Yet, nearly 70-80% of the 90 crore dogs globally, about 70 crores, are free-ranging and include stray and feral dogs. How do they survive and thrive in the dangerous streets without our active care? It turns out, just like us, they have a 'family' that makes it possible.
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A recent study by researchers at the Indian Institute of Science, Education and Research (IISER) Kolkata, has resulted in the development of a novel molecular ‘switch’ that turns on in the presence of specific proteins.
The brain is an extremely delicate organ that, like a glass artefact, needs many layers to protect it from injury. Besides the skull, the brain has three protective tissue layers called meninges. They form a protective covering around the entire central nervous system, including the brain and the spinal cord, and help to regulate different functions of the brain.
A team of scientists from Academy of Scientific and Innovative Research (AcSIR), Council of Scientific and Industrial Research-National Chemical Laboratory (CSIR-NCL) and Indian Institute of Science, Education and Research Kolkata (IISER Kolkata) have studied the formation of 2 Dimensional Covalent Organic Frameworks (COF)- organic solids bound together by covalent bonding, to understand the science behind the underlying structure.
‘Riboswitches’ like the name suggests are like on and off switches for genes. These are present in all living things, from the smallest bacteria to the largest trees. Scientists from the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Kolkata have sequences the genomes of 2785 bacteria to understand their function and origin.
Forests are home to a wide variety of plants and animals. But what decides the distribution of this rich flora and fauna? How do some species of trees end up in selected pockets of the forest? In a recent study, scientists have examined this connectedness in patchy shola forests of the Western Ghats and have given some insights into what dictates tree distributions in such patchy forests and what connects these patches. This study, the researchers say, provides key details on the micro and macro ecology of the forests.
When Charles Darwin put forth his theory of natural selection, he argued that all species of life evolved by adapting to their environments to survive. Most of such adaptations are evident in those life forms living in their natural habitat. But what about those that are locked up in laboratories and used as ‘model organisms’ in experiments to understand biological systems? How are their natural habitats and what kind of adaptations have they developed to survive in these habitats? A series of studies by scientists have now thrown some light on these questions in the life of zebrafish, a commonly used fish in laboratories.
Corruption and bribe is a social evil in our society and needs to be weeded out to achieve progress. Though giving and taking bribe are illegal, instances of both are rampant. What can be done to address this? A new study by researchers at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research may provide some clues towards this. Using game theory, they have shown how legalizing the act of giving bribe can help victims to blow the whistle on corrupt officers and thus, help reduce corruption.