Clearly, I Can See You’ve Got Guts
Meet the glassfrog, a strange South American amphibian with a nearly transparent underbelly. The evolutionary significance of the clear abdomen is unknown, as light can be harmful to organ tissues (although the frogs get around that with a cool adaptation).
Robert Gonzalez has an interview with a glassfrog researcher at io9 highlighting their odd biological adaptations. I suppose the clear belly could be a survival technique to avoid being cut open by high school biology students?
Parthenogenesis, a form of asexual reproduction where embryos pop up without fertilization from a male, is actually not uncommon in vertebrates. Certain lizard species reproduce exclusively this way. But seeing an organism that usually reproduces sexually adapt this ability out of nowhere? That had never been confirmed … until now.
American copperhead and cottonmouth snakes, both common poisonous viper species, were recently observed by NC State researchers reproducing in precisely this way. Females birthed young whose DNA showed no input from a male snake. Many of these pregnancies can involve developmental defects, since it isn’t their biologically “preferred” way to reproduce, but it shows that if certain organisms are faced with the choice of adapting or dying … well, life finds a way.
Also be sure to check out this TED Ed video about sex determination throughout the animal kingdom. It’s a strange business.
(more at Nature News)
We have also been stimulated by a knowledge of the general nature of the unpublished experimental results and ideas of Dr. M. H. Wilkins, Dr. R. E. Franklin and their co-workers at King’s College, London.
- James Watson and Francis Crick, “A Structure for Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid”, published 59 years ago this week in Nature.
This is the recognition of Rosalind Franklin’s (and her collaborator Maurice WIlkins) crystallography work. Check out this unique look Rosalind Franklin’s legacy through the eyes of her sister.