Caterpillars treated to stunt the growth of their future hind wings developed into butterflies with abnormally large front wings. At least that's what two Duke University (Durham, NC) biologists have discovered. And they also found that dung beetles treated to stunt the growth of their horns sprouted larger eyes. The discoveries represent more than biological curiosities, Professor of Zoology Fred Nijhoust and postdoctoral fellow Douglas Emlen report. It constitutes, they say, the first clear demonstration that living organisms arise not only through the direct read-out of some genetic recipe, but also through more subtle and mysterious processes of competition between growing body parts for resources. Such tradeoffs, the researchers feel, may make inherited changes in some traits or structures appear genetic, when they are not. In their experiments, the scientists performed tiny incisions in caterpillars to remove one or both of the small, fleshy discs that would develop into the hind wings once the caterpillars underwent metamorphosis. Instead, the emerging butterflies had abnormally enlarged front wings. In the case of the beetles, the adult males with reduced horn size had correspondingly enlarged compound eyes. "These experiments demonstrate that the control of how big an organ or tissue grows doesn't lie entirely within that organ or tissue," Nijhout explains. The scientists plan further experiments with the hope of discovering that insects will provide lessons about development in higher animals. E-mail Dennis@dukenews.duke.edu.
Samsung's Galaxy line of smartphones used to fare quite well in the repairability department, but last year's flagship S5 model took a tumble, scoring a meh-inducing 5/10. Will the newly redesigned S6 lead us back into star-studded territory, or will we sink further into the depths of a repairability black hole?
In 2003, the world contained just over 500 million Internet-connected devices. By 2010, this figure had risen to 12.5 billion connected objects, almost six devices per individual with access to the Internet. Now, as we move into 2015, the number of connected 'things' is expected to reach 25 billion, ultimately edging toward 50 billion by the end of the decade.
NASA engineer Brian Trease studied abroad in Japan as a high school student and used to fold fast-food wrappers into cranes using origami techniques he learned in library books. Inspired by this, he began to imagine that origami could be applied to building spacecraft components, particularly solar panels that could one day send solar power from space to be used on earth.
Biomedical engineering is one of the fastest growing engineering fields; from medical devices and pharmaceuticals to more cutting-edge areas like tissue, genetic, and neural engineering, US biomedical engineers (BMEs) boast salaries nearly double the annual mean wage and have faster than average job growth.
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