Female termites found to clone themselves via asexual reproduction

first_img © 2014 Phys.org (Phys.org) —A pair of researches with Kyoto University has found how the queen of one species of termite, Reticulitermes speratus, ensures her genetic lineage continues by creating duplicate copies of herself. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Toshihisa Yashiro and Kenji Matsuura describe the study they carried out that showed how queens in such colonies reproduce themselves. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Birds do it, bees do it; termites don’t, necessarily Explore further A soldier termite (Macrotermitinae) in the Okavango Delta. Credit: Wikipediacenter_img Scientists have known since 2009 that R. speratus queens created fatherless offspring which became queens themselves, but until now, the mechanism by which that came about has been a mystery. In this new effort, the researchers took a new look at the structure of the eggs laid by the queen to discover the difference between future queens and ordinary termites. Close inspection revealed tiny channels through the outer lining of the eggs called micropyles. The channels serve as an entry point for sperm, which the queen deposits on the eggs (after obtaining it from a male). Interestingly, the research pair found that the number of micropyles for any given egg appeared to be random, from one to more than thirty—the average was nine. Even more interesting was that the team soon learned that sometimes there were no micropyles at all in some eggs, which would of course mean that no sperm could enter to fertilize its contents—and the egg still matured and wound up in the creation of offspring. That offspring, because it had no DNA from a male, grew into a new queen. Such a process means that the females are fully in control of both sexual and asexual reproduction.Further study revealed that the queen only produces eggs with no microplyes when she gets older (females live on average for 11 years) thus, they serve as a means of queen replacement in a colony. This form of asexual reproduction called parthenogenesis is not unheard of in the animal kingdom—several other types of insects, lizards and even sharks use it as a form of reproduction. But this was the first time it’s been seen in termites as a form of self-cloning. The authors note that because the offspring that are born as clones eventually reproduce themselves too, and so on and on, the original queen can be considered genetically immortal. More information: Termite queens close the sperm gates of eggs to switch from sexual to asexual reproductionб Toshihisa Yashiro, PNAS, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1412481111AbstractMales and females are in conflict over genetic transmission in the evolution of parthenogenesis, because it enhances female reproductive output but deprives the males’ genetic contribution. For males, any trait that coerces females into sexual reproduction should increase their fitness. However, in the termite Reticulitermes speratus, queens produce their replacements (neotenic queens) parthenogenetically while using normal sexual reproduction to produce other colony members. Here, we show that termite queens produce parthenogenetic offspring in the presence of kings by closing the micropyles (sperm gates; i.e., openings for sperm entry) of their eggs. Our field survey showed that termite eggs show large variation in numbers of micropyles, with some having none. Microsatellite analysis showed that embryos of micropyleless eggs develop parthenogenetically, whereas those of eggs with micropyles are fertilized and develop sexually. Surveys of eggs among queens of different age groups showed that queens begin to lay micropyleless eggs when they are older and thus, need to produce their replacements parthenogenetically. In addition, we found clear seasonality in new neotenic queen differentiation and micropyleless egg production. This micropyle-dependent parthenogenesis is the first identification, to our knowledge, of the mechanism through which females control egg fertilization over time in diploid animals, implying a novel route of the evolution of parthenogenesis in favor of female interests without interference from males. Citation: Female termites found to clone themselves via asexual reproduction (2014, November 26) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2014-11-female-termites-clone-asexual-reproduction.html Journal information: Proceedings of the National Academy of Scienceslast_img read more

Carbon doped with nitrogen dramatically improves storage capacity of supercapacitors

first_img More information: T. Lin et al. Nitrogen-doped mesoporous carbon of extraordinary capacitance for electrochemical energy storage, Science (2015). DOI: 10.1126/science.aab3798ABSTRACTCarbon-based supercapacitors can provide high electrical power, but they do not have sufficient energy density to directly compete with batteries. We found that a nitrogen-doped ordered mesoporous few-layer carbon has a capacitance of 855 farads per gram in aqueous electrolytes and can be bipolarly charged or discharged at a fast, carbon-like speed. The improvement mostly stems from robust redox reactions at nitrogen-associated defects that transform inert graphene-like layered carbon into an electrochemically active substance without affecting its electric conductivity. These bipolar aqueous-electrolyte electrochemical cells offer power densities and lifetimes similar to those of carbon-based supercapacitors and can store a specific energy of 41 watt-hours per kilogram (19.5 watt-hours per liter). This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. © 2015 Phys.org (Phys.org)—A team of researchers working in China has found a way to dramatically improve the energy storage capacity of supercapacitors—by doping carbon tubes with nitrogen. In their paper published in the journal Science, the team describes their process and how well the newly developed supercapacitors worked, and their goal of one day helping supercapacitors compete with batteries. Journal information: Science Like a battery, a capacitor is able to hold a charge, unlike a battery, however, it is able to be charged and discharged very quickly—the down side to capacitors is that they cannot hold nearly as much charge per kilogram as batteries. The work by the team in China is a step towards increasing the amount of charge that can be held by supercapacitors (capacitors that have much higher capacitance than standard capacitors—they generally employ carbon-based electrodes)—in this case, they report a threefold increase using their new method—noting also that that their supercapacitor was capable of storing 41 watt-hours per kilogram and could deliver 26 kilowatts per kilogram to a device.The new supercapacitor was made by first forming a template made of tubes of silica. The team then covered the inside of the tubes with carbon using chemical vapor deposition and then etched away the silica, leaving just the carbon tubes, each approximately 4 to 6 nanometers in length. Then, the carbon tubes were doped with nitrogen atoms. Electrodes were made from the resulting material by pressing it in powder form into a graphene foam. The researchers report that the doping aided in chemical reactions within the supercapacitor without causing any changes to its electrical conductivity, which meant that it was still able to charge and discharge as quickly as conventional supercapcitors. The only difference was the dramatically increased storage capacity.Because of the huge increase in storage capacity, the team believes they are on the path to building a supercapacitor able to compete directly with batteries, perhaps even lithium-ion batteries. They note that would mean being able to charge a phone in mere seconds. But before that can happen, the team is looking to industrialize their current new supercapacitor, to allow for its use in actual devices.center_img Graphene and metal nitrides improve the performance and stability of energy storage devices Explore further Citation: Carbon doped with nitrogen dramatically improves storage capacity of supercapacitors (2015, December 28) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2015-12-carbon-doped-nitrogen-storage-capacity.html Fabrication schematic of ordered mesoporous fewlayer carbon (OMFLC). Credit: Science (2015). DOI: 10.1126/science.aab3798last_img read more

Wall carvings in Saudi Arabia appear to offer earliest depiction of dogs

first_imgRock art at Shuwaymis appears to show two dogs leashed to a hunter. Credit: M. Guagnin et al., Journal Of Anthropological Archaeology, 5, 2017 (Phys.org)—A combined team of researchers from Max Planck University and the Saudi Commission for Tourism & National Heritage has documented what might be the oldest depictions of dogs by human beings. In their paper published in the Journal of Anthropological Archaeology , the team describes the wall engravings and the means by which they attempted to date them. The researchers note that the dogs depicted in the rock bear a striking resemblance to modern Canaan dogs, which still live a feral existence in the area. They also acknowledge that a lot more research is required before a consensus can be reached regarding the age of the engravings. Prior research has suggested that humans first arrived in what is now Saudi Arabia approximately 10,000 years ago. Those first visitors were believed to be hunter-gatherers—researchers have found images of them carved into stone walls in the area. Prior research has also found evidence that people in the area domesticated animals and became herders approximately 7000 to 8000 years ago. They, too, have been depicted in stone etchings, and researchers have also found the bones of some of their livestock. Now, it appears that during the time between these two periods, people may have domesticated dogs and used them to hunt other animals for food. This new evidence is part of a collection of stone carvings the team has been studying at two sites in Saudi Arabia: Jubbah and Shuwaymis.The stone carvings depict hunters, armed with bows, surrounded by dogs, some of which appear to be tethered to the waists of their human masters. It is not currently possible to directly date stone carvings, of course, so the researchers had to use other types of evidence. They noted the weathering of the rock, for example, which can be used as an approximate aging test. But more importantly, they noted the location of the engravings and the sequence of engravings in the area. Those depicting tamed, leashed dogs appear to occur in a general timeline from approximately 8000 years ago. If the age of the engravings can be confirmed, it would push back the earliest depiction of leashed dogs by approximately 3000 years. © 2017 Phys.org This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Journal information: Science Like humans, dogs found to have fitful sleep after negative experiences Citation: Wall carvings in Saudi Arabia appear to offer earliest depiction of dogs (2017, November 21) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2017-11-wall-saudi-arabia-earliest-depiction.html More information: David Grimm. Oldest images of dogs show hunting, leashes, Science (2017). DOI: 10.1126/science.358.6365.854 Maria Guagnin et al. Pre-Neolithic evidence for dog-assisted hunting strategies in Arabia, Journal of Anthropological Archaeology (2017). DOI: 10.1016/j.jaa.2017.10.003 , www.sciencedirect.com/science/ … ii/S0278416517301174 Explore furtherlast_img read more

Why You Should Try to Be a Little More Scarce

first_imgLuckily for us, according to experts, it’s possible to harness this concept and increase our appeal in things like negotiations and career advancement. So if you find yourself becoming overzealous over every little opportunity that comes your way, here are a few ways to keep things in balance: Read the whole story: The New York Times And while conventional wisdom tells us we should eagerly embrace every opportunity that comes our way, playing a little hard to get has its advantages. “What the scarcity principle says is that people are more attracted to those options or opportunities that are rare, unique or dwindling in availability,” Dr. Cialdini said. The reason behind this idea has to do with the psychology of “reactance”: Essentially, when we think something is limited to us, we tend to want it more. Back in college, I was always the first to raise my hand in class (a behavior that didn’t win me many friends, let me tell you). Now as a freelance writer, I’m no stranger to that same overeagerness when it comes to work — translated in prompt replies and more than the occasional emoji. Emails, tweets, Slack messages — you name it — being affable and amenable is kind of my thing. Study after study has shown that opportunities are seen to be more valuable as they become less available, meaning that people want more of what they can’t have, according to Robert Cialdini, a leading expert on influence and the author of “Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade.”last_img read more

Beer buddies ahoy

first_imgCome summer, and the papers are abuzz with how beer consumption in increasing in Delhi and surroundings. Indeed, beer is Delhi’s favourite drink. Which is why it is baffling to see that most people are content with prepackaged stuff that is available over the counter and not bother to check out the fresh beer that some city bars are pouring out. For the Capital, a microbrewery is nothing new. They have been around for some time. But strangely, they have failed to kick up the storm that they are supposed to. Instead of playing on their USP — selling fresh beer that is made right there is their premises — microbreweries are now attempting to be more inclusive in the effort to attract a larger clientele. Of course, survival is essential, but at the cost of their USP? My vote will go against that. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’ This thought revisited me when I visited the microbrewery Lemp Brewpub and Kitchen in Gurgaon. More so because Gurgaon is ‘supposedly’ a more cosmopolitan place with mostly a young crowd. Spread over a fairly large area, Lemp gives off a good vibe. When I entered, there was pulsating music but the bar had only a handful of people nursing their drinks. The seating is comfy and there is even space to create a dance floor on special nights. The menu is (like almost every place these days) a mish mash of Mediterranean, Chinese, Italian and Punjabi. And their food is quite good. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with Netflix But what you should focus on are the beers they make right there after an elaborate process that takes months. Pair them with the delicious wood-fired pizzas they have and you have a winning combo there.  But just in case you aren’t a beer lover who found yourself there thanks to friends, I’d say fret not. Just switch on the swish tablet and choose yourself some of the very nice cocktails that they make. I for one, was very happy with them. DETAILAt: Lemp Brewpub & Kitchen, 2nd Floor, Star Mall, Sector 30, South City 1, Gurgaon Timings: Noon to midnight Phone:  30146022 Meal for two: Rs 1,400 approxlast_img read more

And all that Jazz

first_imgThe 3rd Delhi International Jazz Festival, organised by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) features 10 bands from 10 countries and 4 bands from India this year and kicked off Friday, 15 March. The festival will be held at Nehru Park, New Delhi from 15-18 March, 2013 and is the largest ever jazz festival, with performances across four days.The first 3 Day International Jazz Festival was conceived by ICCR as a gift to Delhi on its Centenary. The Festival is  a ‘tool of cultural contact’ spanning Asia, Africa, North America and Europe, the festival weaves together the message of music and culture. The festival is held within the lush green environs of Nehru Park with mesmerizing music playing under the stars, to delighted audiences. As part of the inclusive nature of the festival, entry is free. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’ ‘Every major city such as Montreal, London, Stockholm and Edinburgh has a world class Jazz Festival that is not just named after the city but almost defines its cultural ethos. With a truly International Jazz Festival Delhi has been included in this list to make it a truly world class city,’ said Dr. Suresh K Goel, Director General ICCR.‘The Delhi International Jazz Festival has put Delhi on the Jazz map of the World and made it a veritable International cultural destination. It has become an annual feature and has now been firmly established as an iconic event in Delhi’s cultural calendar. The festival at Nehru Park would have well-known names such as New Bone Quintet Band from Poland, Sindi & Mimi from South Africa, Ararat from Israel, Sachal Vasandani from the USA, Imany from France, Malcom Braff Trio from Switzerland etc,’ added Goel. The festival always had support from France and has participation from USA for the first time will also include well-known Indian bands such as Louiz Banks, Dhruv Ghanekar, Toshanbar and Radha Thomas ensemble.last_img read more

Freak show comes to town

first_imgKryder, mysterious and anonymous, with his dwarf sidekick – the classically-trained Dokta Kaotika – and a circus freak show entourage is all set to hit the city on Saturday at Kitty Su. Kyoas Entertainment brings this out-of-the-box producer to the Capital to give the party people a taste of the epic Miami monster anthem. Tiesto signed Kryder’s track (K2) to his Musical Freedom label and played it consistently in his sets during his North American tour. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’K2 was successfully promoted during the Miami Winter Music Conference, receiving massive support from the likes of Swedish House Mafia, as one of the key WMC tracks. Kryder has a deep, underground edge; progressive house overlaid with trance chords. Millennium Post caught up with the man himself before he gets busy. Here are excerpts from the conversation…When did you start with this career? Tell us about yourself!It started a long time ago as a hobby and with a genuine passion for dance music, I then took to DJing when I was 12 , landing my first residency when I was 15 ! At 17 I took a diploma in music tech in London, At 20 years old I moved to Ibiza for a season. I’ve been involved in dance music most of my life. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixHow has the journey been? Tell us about the best and the worst times so far.Best times are obviously getting to travel around the world and do something I love, meeting new people , playing to amazing crowds , worst times are not  experiencing it without the people you love.How do you like the music scene in India?This will be my first time in India so its hard for me to comment on that but I’ve heard great things !What songs top your own playlist right now? Define your music philosophy for us. I really like high energy house music I’m currently hammering my new track Aphrodite which is coming out soon on Axwells Axtone Records, plus a remix on a track called H8rs made with Tom Staar which will be out soon on size records, It always goes down well.How has the party music scene changed from the time you started?It’s got a lot bigger maybe that’s because I’m seeing it in different countries now but it’s also gone full circle it started off very underground in warehouses , then moved into big clubs and festivals and now people are throwing warehouse parties again !Do you see a change in the music trend across the world? After EDM what do you think is going to be the next big thing in music?Let me look into my crystal balls….. haa hopefully the whole EDM explosion will open up the doors for people to explore more underground and up coming artists and support smaller independent record labels.Is this the first time you are performing here in India? What are you expecting from the crowds?Yes this is my first time and I’m really looking forward to it, a few of my friends have played in India and have only said great things about the scene over there, so I’m very excited.last_img read more

Why we avoid taking stairs

first_imgClose proximity of a staircase to an escalator that seems so much faster and more convenient, discourages people from making the healthy decision of taking the stairs, says a study.To make sure that people take the stairs while shopping in a mall or in the metro station, you just have to make sure that the stairs are far, far away from the escalator, said the study published in the journal Environment and Behaviour.The study by researchers from Concordia University in Canada and Peking University in China looked at how location, height and traffic volume dictate pedestrian choices. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’“Environmental factors have been explicitly identified as having an impact on stair-climbing, including the visibility of the stairway and its width,” said study senior author John Zacharias from the University of Peking.“This study shows that staircase location is just as important, and should be factored in when planning new buildings.” The researchers monitored 13 stairways and 12 pairs of escalators in seven connected shopping centres in Montreal, Canada. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixA total of 33,793 pedestrians were counted ascending or descending over 35 days.When the researchers examined the data, they found that increasing the distance between a stairway and an escalator by 100 per cent, accounted for 71 per cent of variance when shoppers were going up, and 21 per cent of variance when they were going down. Overall, that is a 95 per cent increase in stair use, the study said.last_img read more

Believe it Washing dishes reduces stress

first_imgIf a look at the piling dishes in the kitchen sink after a long day gives you a headache, just take a deep breath and plunge into action. New research has found that washing dishes with full concentration may calm the mind and reduce your stress.The study looked at whether washing dishes could be used as an informal contemplative practice that promotes a positive state of mindfulness —a meditative method of focusing attention on the emotions and thoughts of the present moment. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’“I was particularly interested in how the mundane activities in life could be used to promote a mindful state and, thus, increase overall sense of well-being,” said one of the study’s authors Adam Hanley from Florida State University in the US.“We hypothesised that, relative to a control condition, participants receiving mindful dishwashing instruction would evidence greater state mindfulness, attentional awareness, and positive affect, as well as reduce negative affect and lead to overestimations of time spent dishwashing,” the researchers said. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixAfter conducting a study with 51 students, the researchers found that mindful dishwashers — those who focused on the smell of the soap, the warmth of the water, the feel of the dishes — reported a decrease in nervousness by 27 percent and an increase in mental inspiration by 25 percent. The control group, on the other hand, did not experience any benefits. Implications for these findings are diverse and suggest that mindfulness as well as positive affect could be cultivated through intentionally engaging in a broad range of activities, said the study was published in the journal Mindfulness.last_img read more

Morocco inaugurates tourist office in New Delhi

first_imgMohammed Sajid, Minister of Tourism and Air Transport of the Kingdom of Morocco, announced the opening of first tourism office in New Delhi, India, recently. Morocco in an endeavour to double its tourist footfall from India by 2019, has set up a full-fledged Moroccan National Tourism office in New Delhi as the first step towards promotion of Morocco as a desirable destination for Indians.”This office will help us in planning various strategic promotional and awareness programs to tap the robust tourism sector in India”, the minister said. He further stressed that Morocco is keen to enhance its cooperation with India in the tourism sector, in harmony with its new orientation towards emerging as a preferred destination outside the traditional asian tourist market.” Also Read – Add new books to your shelfMoroccan-Indian relations are getting stronger, as Morocco prepares to implement several measures to welcome more Indian tourists in 2019. Tourism remains a vital pillar of the Moroccan economy and the country’s second biggest employer after agriculture, while India is the fastest growing outbound market after China with UNTWO predicting 50 million travelers by 2020. With 7% GDP global growth rate, rising personal income levels and changing lifestyles and a huge middle class with the availability of low-cost airfares and diverse travel packages, India is rapidly Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsivebecoming one of the fastest growing outbound travel markets in the world. Indian tourists are among the world’s highest-spending globetrotters. Their spending power has been estimated to be four times that of the Chinese and Japanese. Mohammed Sajid, Minister of Tourism, Air Transport, Handicraft and Social Economy of the Kingdom of Morocco, is on an official visit to India, along with an important delegation including Adel El Fakir, Director General of the Moroccan National Tourism Office, Imad Barakka, Director General of Moroccan Society of Tourism Engineering, Zakaria Belghazi, Director General of Civil Aviation and Fatima Zahra Jabri, Head of the Department of Partnership in Royal Air Maroc.last_img read more