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Cockroaches: Pests and Pets

Cockroaches often get a bad reputation; they’re dirty, invade people’s homes, and spread disease. But because they’re generally attracted to unsanitary, damp conditions, cockroaches actually find most homes uninviting. They’re seldom found in clean living areas. And in fact, of the 4,500 species of cockroaches found worldwide, only 30 are associated with human dwellings, and … Continue reading »

3D Printing… Organs

Using 3D printers to create human organs for transplants is becoming more of a reality and less of a sci-fi story. If you’re fascinated by techie gadgets, you’re probably well-aware of the 3D printer industry, and that there’s a wide range of 3D printers available that make objects by printing out, and building upon, successive … Continue reading »

Sustainability and Eating Insects

While many cultures around the world regularly eat insects, people in North America and Europe are generally still squeamish when it comes to plopping a mealworm in their mouth. But insects are a much more sustainable source of animal “meat” than beef, chicken, and pork – insects take up less space, eat less food to … Continue reading »

Invasion of the Jellyfish

In recent years, the number of jellyfish “blooms” (large groups of jellyfish congregating in a relatively small area) appears to be increasing, and these blooms impact both local marine ecosystems and human life as well. This is clear by the many news stories jellyfish blooms have featured in lately, including killing thousands of farmed salmon, … Continue reading »

Fossilized Mosquito with a Belly Full of Blood

While it’s unlikely that Jurassic Park and its cloned dinosaurs will become a reality any time soon, researchers did recently discover a 46 million-year-old fossilized mosquito with a meal of blood trapped within it. Although DNA did not survive, other blood components did, and so this highly unlikely discovery can help us better understand the … Continue reading »

What Has Gene Therapy Done For You Lately?

“Gene therapy” might sound like science fiction, but the field has actually made real, tangible progress over the last few years. Gene therapy refers to using DNA to treat a disease or condition (usually a genetic one). Most often, the DNA specifically goes into a patient and replaces a non-functional gene with a working one. … Continue reading »

Asian Giant Hornets – Their Venom Dissolves Skin

The title about says it all. Asian giant hornets (Vespa mandarinia) are pretty terrifying – they’re the largest hornets in the world, reaching around 5 cm (2 inches) in length, or about the size of a person’s thumb. And they can kill a person if they get stung enough. They live in parts of Asia … Continue reading »

Assassins of the Bug World

When thinking of fierce little critters, poisonous spiders often come to mind. Their fear-inducing image is all over right now for the spooky Halloween season. But there’s actually a group of insects that hunts spiders – the aptly-named assassin bugs. And how they accomplish this feat is quite amusing – the assassin bugs will often … Continue reading »

Dating Corpses: How Microbes Can Help

Decomposition is a fascinating area of research, if you have the stomach for it. Biologists often pursue it to help make us better forensics tools, since if we understand how a body changes as it decomposes, we can get a better idea of when a person (or other animal) died. In other words, it’s all … Continue reading »