An ancient rift among giraffes gives us clues on how to conserve them

Roland H. CC2.0

The number of giraffe subspecies, and the relationship between them, remains controversial. Research, published in BMC Evolutionary Biology, uses a new analysis of mitochondrial DNA to help resolve these questions, with implications for the conservation of these unique animals.


How to recognise a giraffe

Giraffes, unsurprisingly for such distinct animals, have long attracted considerable interest from we humans. Despite this we still lack a lot of basic knowledge about these animals.

For example, just how many species of giraffe are there? Currently, biologists recognise just one species of giraffe, but nine distinct subspecies. Some researchers have suggested that at least some of these subspecies should actually be classified as separate species.


Part of the reason for this confusion is the lack of …

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Canine epilepsy treatment – why more research still needs to be done


Research published today in BMC Veterinary Research has added to a growing body of literature that suggests the evidence-base in some areas of veterinary science is still poor, or even lacking.  In this guest post, researchers at the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) Canine Epilepsy Clinic describe some of the issues they encountered when conducting the first systematic review on the efficacy of antiepileptic drugs (AED) in the field of canine epilepsy, and discuss the need for trials that provide high quality evidence to achieve more reliable and objective results.

Epilepsy is not a specific disease but a chronic condition characterized by recurrent seizures, and is the most common chronic neurological condition found in dogs and humans.  It affects …

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BMC Gastroenterology at United European Gastroenterology Week 2014


BMC Gastroenterology is excited to be attending the United European Gastroenterology Week 2014 held in Vienna , 20-22 October.

In addition to attending the scientific sessions, Executive Editor Magdalena Morawska is very interested in meeting with researchers to discuss their work and possible involvement in the Editorial Board of the journal.

If you are attending the conference and would like to meet, please contact Executive Editor Magdalena Morawska.

We look forward to meeting you in Vienna!

BMC Sports Science, Medicine and Rehabilitation on the road



In March of next year BMC Sports Science, Medicine and Rehabilitation (BMC SSMR) will be two years old.  Since successfully incorporating with the journal  Sports Medicine, Arthroscopy, Rehabilitation, Therapy & Technology (SMARRT) in 2013, BMC SSMR is growing and attracting new research covering a broad and comprehensive range of areas in sports science and medicine, covering all aspects of sports medicine and the exercise sciences, including rehabilitation, traumatology, cardiology, physiology, nutrition and regenerative medicine.


Led by a team of internationally renowned Section and Associate Editors the journal has seen the publication of highly accessed articles, with topics ranging from ankle sprains to high-intensity intermittent efforts critical for performance in team sports.

Earlier this year, Professor Antonio Ignacio Cuesta-Vargas, Chair in …

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Cautious optimism as Irish childhood obesity rates plateau


Janas Harrington is a lecturer at University College Cork with an interest nutritional epidemiology and public health nutrition and Eimear Keane is a PhD student at the department of epidemiology and public health at University College Cork with a focus on trends and determinants of  childhood obesity.

Both are co-authors on a research article published in BMC Public Health that has found that although childhood obesity rates remain high in Ireland, there is evidence that they have stabilised and may be beginning to fall. In this guest post, they tell us more about their findings.

Childhood obesity has reached epidemic proportions worldwide. Current estimates indicate that between 15 and 32% of European children either …

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Living with schizophrenia, whoever you are

Svein Halvor Halvorsen, CC, Flickr

It’s World Mental Health Day 2014 and BMC Psychiatry discusses why we should all be thinking about “living with schizophrenia”.



You may not know it yet, but you have been living with schizophrenia.  So has the person sitting next to you, and the person next to them (you see where I’m going with this).  In fact, the global population are all living with schizophrenia, from those with the disorder and their caregivers, to clinicians or members of society as a whole.  We are all part of an attitude change taking place towards severe mental disorders, which is why the World Federation of Mental Health have chosen “living with schizophrenia” as the theme of this year’s World Mental Health Day.

We …

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Behind the image: Death Valley


“An endorheic basin in Death Valley, California. Although annualprecipitation rarely exceeds 100 mm/yr, a small number of plants are able to survive on the gravely slopes of the valley and on the muddy lakebed. Thousands of years ago this valley would have been far more wet and lushly vegetated.”

Ever since he was young, Benjamin Blonder, loved science, but only took to the outdoors at university. Here, an undergraduate on a whim, Benjamin took an ecology course and met an inspiring professor who encouraged his interest in the natural world.

This blossoming plant macroecologist showed off his mastery in photography and space and was recently announced Winner of Landscape ecology and ecosystems in this year’s BMC Ecology image competition.

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Peer review, tooth decay and great spider crabs – highlights of the BMC-Series: September 2014


Body size evolution in sloths • Parents’ experiences of neonatal intensive care units • Dental caries and the sugar intake goal • Ocean acidification and the great spider crab • Acetylcholinesterase against gastric cancer • Peer review


Evolutionary biologyBody size evolution in sloths.

The two living genera of sloths are both small-bodied and arboreal despite diverging approximately 30 million years ago. Using the data of 57 species of both living and fossil sloths, changes in body mass means and variance through evolution were examined. The evolution of sloth body size was shown to be complex and dominated by trended walks towards the large sizes of recently extinct forms. Researchers thereby demonstrated the importance in integration of fossil record data in …

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Reflections from BMC Pharmacology and Toxicology

Birthday cake

BMC Pharmacology and Toxicology is now two years old and we have come a long way since the merger of the journal’s predecessors BMC Clinical Pharmacology and BMC Pharmacology in August 2012 and as Executive Editor for the journal, I’m very pleased to see the progress we have made.

Since becoming part of the BMC series we have continued to uphold our principles of taking an open, inclusive and forward thinking approach to the dissemination of translational research in these fields. We are particularly delighted that we are being tracked for our first impact factor due in 2015.

The introduction of Toxicology content to the BMC series was an important addition to the journal and the series as a whole. This highly-cited

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Behind the image: Ant being attacked by a fly


In this Q&A we discover how mere curiosity, and a spur of the moment shot, led to the first scientific study of a never before seen species interaction.

Bernardo Segura is this year’s BMC Ecology image competition Behaviour category winner. Near to completing a Masters in wildlife conservation in Chile, he has a head crammed full of potential research ideas and a desire to pursue wildlife documentaries about Chilean nature. Here we find out more about the passionate naturalist who loves just being out in a field to observe nature.

Tell us a bit more about this image?

“This photo is very special to me, because it represents the value of photography in scientific research and it also has some …

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