These Rodents See Red

HHMI Bulletin | August 2007

Some lab mice can see the world in a whole new light, thanks to HHMI investigator Jeremy Nathans and his colleague Gerald H. Jacobs. Their findings provide insight into the remarkable plasticity of mammalian brains, and shed light on a plausible means by which humans may have acquired the ability to see many colors.  read in full issue (pdf)

Protein-Pairing Method May Yield New Drug Targets

HHMI Bulletin | February 2006

Using robots and other high-throughput technologies, the researchers screened more than 32,000 protein combinations, identifying 2,846 unique pairwise interactions in their study. Even so, says Fields, “We’ve only scratched the surface of what’s out there.”   read in full issue (pdf)

Coats of Different Color: Desert Mice Offer New Lessons on Survival of the Fittest

UANews | May 2003

Rock pocket mice are common denizens of the Sonoran desert regions around Tucson, but you’ll probably never see one in the wild. The small rodents are strictly nocturnal, finding refuge from the daytime desert heat in their underground burrows. By night, they gather seeds, their only source of food and water, and do their best to elude owls, their main predators. Now, these inconspicuous animals may have gained some celebrity as a textbook example of adaptation by natural selection, thanks to a team of University of Arizona evolutionary biologists.  read story

Ecologists Reveal War Triangle Among Aphids, Wasps and Bacteria

UANews | August 1992

If you were a modern day Gulliver exploring the natural world, you might very well encounter miniscule Lilliputians and giant Brobdingnagians like the ones of make-believe. It should be obvious which are which—gnats and mites, elephants and whales. But nature’s stories can be even more fantastic than those from literature, and with careful scrutiny, your point of view can turn inside-out, making it surprisingly difficult to discern just who is Lilliputian and who is Brobdingnagian. read story

UA Biologist Offers a Solution to the ‘Freeloaders Paradox’

UANews | October 2002

Freeloaders, it seems, show up everywhere in nature, not just at the company picnic. Pine bark beetles, upon discovering a suitable tree to lay their eggs, emit a pheromone to muster thousands more beetles to the find. Most of the beetles that arrive collaborate to infect the tree with fungi that will kill it. A few freeloaders, though, may accept the airborne invitation without participating in the attack, instead lingering to lay their eggs in the tree which the others have invested their energies to prepare. read story