‘Glue’ that makes plant cell walls strong could hold the key to wooden skyscrapers

21 Dec 2016

Molecules 10,000 times narrower than the width of a human hair could hold the key to making possible wooden skyscrapers and more energy-efficient paper production, according to research published today in the journal Nature Communications. The study, led by a father and son team at the Universities of Warwick and Cambridge, solves a long-standing mystery of how key sugars in cells bind to form strong, indigestible materials.

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How humans and wild birds collaborate to get precious resources of honey and wax

22 Jul 2016

By following honeyguides, a species of bird, people in Africa are able to locate bees’ nests to harvest honey.  Research now reveals that humans use special calls to solicit the help of honeyguides and that honeyguides actively recruit appropriate human partners. This relationship is a rare example of cooperation between humans and free-living animals.

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Missing link in epigenetics could explain conundrum of disease inheritance

07 Jul 2016

The process by which a mother’s diet during pregnancy can permanently affect her offspring’s attributes, such as weight, could be strongly influenced by genetic variation in an unexpected part of the genome, according to research published today. The discovery could shed light on why many human genetic studies have previously not been able to fully explain how certain diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and obesity, are inherited.

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Ageing affects test-taking, not language, study shows

12 May 2016

The ability to understand language could be much better preserved into old age than previously thought, according to researchers from the University of Cambridge, who found older adults struggle more with test conditions than language processing.

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Uninfected or asymptomatic? Diagnostic tests key to forecasting major epidemics

05 Apr 2016

Major epidemics such as the recent Ebola outbreak or the emerging Zika epidemic may be difficult to forecast because of our inability to determine whether individuals are uninfected or infected but not showing symptoms, according to a new study from the University of Cambridge. The finding emphasises the need to develop and deploy reliable diagnostic tests to detect infected individuals whether or not they are showing symptoms, say the researchers.

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