The Hydra, a small freshwater invertebrate, is an advantageous model organism for regenerative biologists. Named after the serpent from Greek mythology that grew two new heads for each one cut off, this tiny, jellyfish-like creature holds within its genomic code the key to biological immortality.
An international team of researchers has identified a cause for chronic bad breath (halitosis), with the help of gene knockout mice from the UC Davis Mouse Biology Program. The results are published Dec. 18 in the journal Nature Genetics.
Melvin M. Green, distinguished professor emeritus of molecular and cellular biology, was a geneticist and member of the National Academy of Sciences. Green co-founded the historic UC Davis Genetics Department (now part of the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology). He passed away on Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017, at the age of 101.
To encourage students to gain hands-on experience, Assistant Professor Rebecca M. Calisi, Department of Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior in the College of Biological Sciences, launched the Calisi Lab Undergraduate Research Program. Relying heavily on philanthropic support, the program employs students as researchers in animal science, neuroendocrinology and reproductive behavior. Calisi’s goal is to make sure students don’t sacrifice research opportunities to make ends meet.
With funding from the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, Associate Professor Bruce Draper, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, is studying zebrafish (Danio rerio) to learn about the genetics of sexual reproduction in vertebrates. Draper’s research, published in PLOS Genetics with postdoc and Dena Leerberg, ’17 Ph.D., may advance discoveries into the origins of ovarian cancer.
While the definitive causes remain unclear, several genetic and environmental factors increase the likelihood of autism spectrum disorder, or ASD, a group of conditions covering a “spectrum” of symptoms, skills and levels of disability.
When it comes to plant rhythms, Stacey Harmer, a professor of plant biology at the University of California, Davis, is hip to the groove. Her research, which appeared in the August 5, 2016 journal of Science, describes how sunflowers track the sun, beginning each morning with their heads facing east, slowly swinging west throughout the day and then resetting eastward at night.
Taking advantage of advances in genetic technologies, researchers led by Alex Nord, assistant professor of neurobiology, physiology and behavior with the Center for Neuroscience at the University of California, Davis, are gaining a better understanding of the role played by a specific gene involved in autism. The collaborative work appears June 26 in the journal Nature Neuroscience.