Biomedicine & Biotech

Even birds know when they're paired up with a mate that's "out of their league." New research from the journal Biology Letters demonstrates that unattractive, male, red-backed fairy-wrens spend more time guarding their female mates – while their sexy competitors spend more time seeking "extramarital" affairs.
A new study by a team of University of Washington researchers focusing on the mating habits of fruit flies reached a somewhat surprising discovery, concluding that "mate choice in fruit flies is rational and adaptive."    
In assessing the health of humans, plants or animals, when advanced age or decay occurs we can observe the physical changes as they happen. This, however, cannot be said when studying trees, because they rot from the inside out. But a new study employing sound waves is adding to our knowledge of how to evaluate tree health.
Perhaps the strangest medical phenomenon discovered in recent years is a link between the lone star tick and an allergy to red meat. The bite of a lone star tick exposes a person to a small carbohydrate called alpha-gal. In a handful of people, this exposure elicits an abnormal immune response that produces a type of antibody called IgE, which causes allergies. Because red meat also contains alpha-gal, people who have been sensitized to the carbohydrate from a tick bite can develop life-threatening anaphylaxis if they consume pork or beef. 
It is common knowledge that the information that makes us unique is held in our DNA. But, how does our DNA make our eyes brown - how does it make us who we are? In order to understand that, we have to walk through the journey of how the information held in DNA becomes protein. 
The UN Convention on Biodiversity meeting - typically dominated by environmental activists lobbying bloated quasi-world-government committees - recently met in Cancún and when we weren't talking about their enjoyment of catered dinners and $600 a night rooms in a resort town completely lacking in biodiversity, we were talking about the other hypocrisy in the environmental movement; claiming they care about science when they really want to ban all of it.
As amphibians, toads prefer a wet environment. Those that live in arid regions hide during dry spells underground, where the soil is moist, and they emerge from their shelter when the rain returns. But given that the subterranean soil they inhabit is already damp, how do the toads know when it's raining?
As if the starfish itself wasn't beautiful enough, now we have new research from Stanford University's School of Engineering revealing the beauty and wonderous efficiency of how this fascinating, five-pointed creature survives and grows in the sea.
Pandas are picky creatures. Now, it appears that pandas have yet another quirk: minimum area requirements. A new study published in Scientific Reports shows that they prefer about 115 square kilometers (44 square miles) of space. Even though smaller areas of habitat are available, pandas are less likely to live there. 
Despite 50,000 emergency visits for carbon monoxide poisoning each year in the U.S., there is no effective way to treat it. That could change, thanks to some very clever work being done at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.
The proliferation of coffee shops and energy drinks clearly shows that caffeine is in high demand. The stimulant is even added to some medicine. However, because only a handful of plants produce it, there has been some interest in creating caffeine synthetically.
Woe be unto the males who make this grave mistake. New research in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B reveals that males who choose to sit out during such scuffles may be subjected later to domestic abuse.