SCIENCE IN THE NEWS DAILY
Amber Preserves Insect Pollen Carriers
from BBC News Online
What may be the earliest direct example of insect pollination has been identified by scientists. The evidence is seen in 100-million-year-old amber blocks from Spain that include tiny invertebrates whose bodies are coated with pollen grains.
The role of insects in fertilising plants was one of the great steps in the evolution of life on Earth. Today, most flowering plants, including many food crops, could not reproduce without the insect transport of pollen.
The discovery is reported in the American journal, the Proceedings of the National Academy of the Science (PNAS). Amber, the fossilised remnant of tree resin, is a wonderful preservation medium, freezing in time the exquisite detail of insects that got caught up in the once sticky mess. The translucent pieces described by the researchers in their PNAS paper come from the Basque Country.
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PODCAST & VIDEO: 3D Printing Replacement Body Parts
Regenerative medicine, a fledgling field with the aim of regrowing parts from a person’s own cells, is being amplified with 3D-printing technology, which can now use organic materials to create scaffolds that cells need to grow into their final forms. Richard Wysk, a professor of industrial and systems engineering at North Carolina State University, discusses the latest successes with this research, and the timeline for creating more complicated structures.
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