Sex and Sexual Selection

Why bother with sex? What's the point of gamete production, fusion and gametes and recombination of homologous chromosomes when we could pass on our genome directly to the next generation in an asexual manner? Despite the high social value humans place on sex, there are a number of reasons that would suggest it's not worth … Continue reading Sex and Sexual Selection

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Aging

So why do we age? Aging - the deterioration of the body (soma) and diminished reproductive output over time - is a phenomenon that has puzzled evolutionary biologists for decades. Mechanistic causes show the how, through the soma wearing out from oxidative stress, cellular signalling breakdown etc., but assessing the why brings us to question … Continue reading Aging

Space

The search for life on Mars is being targeted towards fallen meteorites, with comparable extraterrestrial specimens sourced from Australia’s Nullarbor Plain being examined by UQ researchers as substrates for initial colonisation of terrestrial rock-consuming microorganisms. The unique habitat of these meteorites, which are initially sterile when they pass through the planet's atmosphere, provide a refuge for … Continue reading Space

Quantum Technology

In an unorthodox integration between biomedical diagnostics and quantum physics, UQ physicists have developed precision sensors that have the capability to detect and track single unlabelled biomolecules, providing insights into the body’s nanomachinery.  Research article: Evanescent single-molecule biosensing with quantum-limited precision   Aided by the launch of a $31.9M Centre of Excellence for Engineered Quantum Systems (EQUS), UQ Physics Professor Warwick … Continue reading Quantum Technology

Natural Disasters

  Dr Teresa Ubide from UQ’s School of Earth and Environmental Sciences warned of the instability of Bali’s Mount Agung volcano approximately 2 months before its eruption, citing increased frequency of tremors as evidence of rising magma.  After more than 1600 people died from Mt Agung's last eruption in 1963, advances in seismic monitoring techniques allowed for extensive forewarning and evacuation procedures to … Continue reading Natural Disasters

Extinction

The resurrection of extinct species (de-extinction) is close to becoming a reality outside the realm of Hollywood fantasy, but the question remains whether this would be an ecologically beneficial venture. Research out of UQ’s Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions suggests that de-extinction strategies under finite conservation funding could drain resources from the conservation of existing … Continue reading Extinction

Turtles

A study comprising researchers from UQ’s School of Veterinary Science has found that elevated concentrations of industrial & agricultural chemicals in the blood of Great Barrier Reef turtles are causing inflammation & liver dysfunction in coastal populations. Researchers found that green turtles had cobalt levels in their blood four to 25 times higher than the undisturbed … Continue reading Turtles