Life Sciences

  • Bee social or buzz off: Study links genes to social behaviors, including autism

    Thursday, Oct 18, 2018
    by Catherine Zandonella, Office of the Dean for Research

    Those pesky bees that come buzzing around on a muggy summer day are helping researchers reveal the genes responsible for social behaviors. A new study published this week found that the social lives of sweat bees — named for their attraction to perspiration — are linked to patterns of activity in specific genes, including ones linked to autism.

  • Ant-y social: Successful ant colonies hint at how societies evolve

    Thursday, Aug 23, 2018
    by Liz Fuller-Wright, Office of Communications

    Ants and humans live in large societies that allow for elaborate structures — nests, cities — filled with resources. Sometime in the distant past, individuals must have organized themselves into the first simple groups, precursors of these complex societies. But how?

    A team of researchers from Princeton University and Rockefeller University tackled this question by combining sophisticated mathematical models with detailed empirical observations of the clonal raider ant (Ooceraea biroi).

  • From 'sea of mutations,' two possible cancer links rise to the surface

    Wednesday, Aug 8, 2018
    by Molly Sharlach, Office of Engineering Communications

    By analyzing data from thousands of patients, Princeton researchers have identified genetic mutations that frequently occur in people with uterine cancer, colorectal cancer or skin cancer — an important step toward using genome sequences to better understand cancer and guide new treatments.

  • Data tools give microscopes unprecedented views of living and physical systems

    Wednesday, Aug 8, 2018
    by Steven Schultz, Office of Engineering Communications

    Techniques and tools for seeing fleeting arrangements of atoms during chemical reactions are advancing rapidly, allowing unprecedented insights into physical and living systems, according to experts in microscopy from around the world who gathered for a three-day conference at Princeton in July.

  • Modern Flores Island pygmies show no genetic link to extinct 'hobbits'

    Thursday, Aug 2, 2018
    by Liz Fuller-Wright, Office of Communications

    Two pygmy populations on the same tropical island. One went extinct tens of thousands of years ago; the other still lives there. Are they related?

    It’s a simple question that took years to answer.

    As no one has been able to recover DNA from the fossils of Homo floresiensis (nicknamed the “hobbit”), researchers had to create a tool for finding archaic genetic sequences in modern DNA.

  • Princeton researchers discover the ‘optimism’ of E. coli bacteria

    Monday, Jul 23, 2018
    by Liz Fuller-Wright, Office of Communications

    A team of researchers from across the Princeton University campus collaborated to determine how E. coli bacteria respond when they are deprived of three key nutrients: carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus.

    They were surprised to find that the bacteria had different strategies for dealing with each of the nutrient restrictions. Even more surprisingly, when carbon was limited, E. coli responded by building up its protein-production infrastructure, essentially preparing for a day when carbon would again be abundant.

  • Imaging in living cells reveals how ‘junk DNA’ switches on a gene

    Monday, Jul 23, 2018
    by Kevin McElwee for the Office of the Dean for Research

    Researchers have captured video showing how pieces of DNA once thought to be useless can act as on-off switches for genes.

    These pieces of DNA are part of over 90 percent of the genetic material that are not genes. Researchers now know that this "junk DNA" contains most of the information that can turn on or off genes. But how these segments of DNA, called enhancers, find and activate a target gene in the crowded environment of a cell's nucleus is not well understood.

  • Researchers use light to turn yeast into biochemical factories

    Thursday, Mar 22, 2018
    by Lonnie Shekhtman for the Office of Engineering Communications

    Scientists have recently learned how to use light to control specific groups of neurons to better understand the operation of the brain, a development that has transformed areas of neuroscience. Researchers at Princeton University have now applied a similar method to controlling the metabolism, or basic chemical process, of a living cell. In a series of experiments, they used light to control genetically modified yeast and increase its output of commercially valuable chemicals. The results offer scientists a powerful new tool to probe and understand the inner working of cells.

Subscribe to Life Sciences