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The Effect of Different Concentrations of Iron on the Growth of Egeria (Elodea) Densa

Hu et al. | Jan 08, 2015

The Effect of Different Concentrations of Iron on the Growth of <em>Egeria (Elodea) Densa</em>

Minerals such as iron are essential for life, but too much of a good thing can be poisonous. Here the authors investigate the effect of iron concentrations on the growth of an aquatic plant and find that supplementing small amounts of iron can help, but adding too much can be bad for the plant. These results should help inform decisions on allowable iron concentrations in the environment, aquatic farming, and even home aquariums.

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Mutation of the Catalytic Cysteine in Anopheles gambiae Transglutaminase 3 (AgTG3) Abolishes Plugin Crosslinking Activity without Disrupting Protein Folding Properties

Pham et al. | May 02, 2014

Mutation of the Catalytic Cysteine in <em>Anopheles gambiae</em> Transglutaminase 3 (AgTG3) Abolishes Plugin Crosslinking Activity without Disrupting Protein Folding Properties

Malaria is a major public health issue, especially in developing countries, and vector control is a major facet of malaria eradication efforts. Recently, sterile insect technique (SIT), or the release of sterile mosquitoes into the wild, has shown significant promise as a method of keeping vector populations under control. In this study, the authors investigate the Anopheles gambiae transglutaminase 3 protein (AgT3), which is essential to the mating of the Anopheles mosquito. They show that an active site mutation is able to abolish the activity of the AgT3 enzyme and propose it as a potential target for chemosterilant inhibitors.

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What Can You See in the Dark? The Effects of Contrast, Light, and Age on Contrast Sensitivity in Low Light

Virostek et al. | Apr 25, 2014

What Can You See in the Dark? The Effects of Contrast, Light, and Age on Contrast Sensitivity in Low Light

Many of us take our vision for granted, but rarely do we measure how well we can see. In this study, the authors investigate the ability of people of different ages to read progressively fainter letters in dark light. They find that the ability to see in dim light drops drastically after age 30. The ability to read fainter letters worsens after age 30 as well. These findings should help inform lighting decisions everywhere from restaurants to road signs.

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Investigating KNOX Gene Expression in Aquilegia Petal Spur Development

Hossain et al. | Feb 03, 2014

Investigating KNOX Gene Expression in Aquilegia Petal Spur Development

Plants, and all other multi-cellular organisms, develop through the coordinated action of many sets of genes. The authors here investigate the genes, in a class named KNOX, potentially responsible for organizing a certain part of Aquilegia (columbine) flowers called petal spurs. Through the technique Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR), they find that certain KNOX genes are expressed non-uniformly in petal spurs, suggesting that they may be involved, perhaps in a cell-specific manner. This research will help guide future efforts toward understanding how many beautiful flowers develop their unique shapes.

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The Effect of Ethanol Concentration on Beta-Cell Development in Zebrafish

Payne et al. | Jan 15, 2014

The Effect of Ethanol Concentration on Beta-Cell Development in Zebrafish

Alcohol is known to cause various developmental diseases including Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Here the authors investigate the effect of ethanol on the development of zebrafish beta cells, the part of the pancreas associated with Type 1 Diabetes. They find that exposure to ethanol does adversely affect beta-cell development, suggesting that alcohol ingestion during pregnancy may be linked to diabetes in newborns.

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Isolation of Microbes From Common Household Surfaces

Gajanan et al. | Jan 27, 2013

Isolation of Microbes From Common Household Surfaces

Microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi live everywhere in the world around us. The authors here demonstrate that these predominantly harmless microbes can be isolated from many household locations that appear "clean." Further, they test the cleaning power of 70% ethanol and suggest that many "clean" surfaces are not in fact "sterile."

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