The Dodo and the Spotted Green Pigeon; solving a 200 year old mystery

Spotted Green Pigeon from Bulletin of the Liverpool Museums by Joseph Smit (2)

The Dodo, that remarkable flightless bird, has become an icon of extinction. However it was far from the only unique island bird to become extinct in the era of European exploration in the Indian and Pacific Oceans.

Of the many species lost in those times, the Spotted Green Pigeon is one of the most mysterious. It is known to us today from just a single museum specimen. Over 200 years after it was first described we are still unsure of where this pigeon lived, its relations to other birds or even if it was actually a unique species.


However new research, published today in BMC Evolutionary Biology, uses DNA taken from this one remaining specimen to not only resolve these …

Read more

Can a bounty of females save reptile species from climate change?


A new paper published in BMC Ecology today asks whether climate change could bias the sex ratio of certain reptiles, leading to potential extinction risk. In this guest blog, Lisa Schwanz, one of the authors, describes what they found.

As humans, we take for granted that roughly equal numbers of sons and daughters will be born into our populations every year. But, have you ever considered what problems would arise if we started producing 75% sons? Or 90% daughters?

While this is just a thought experiment for humans, it’s a reality for many reptile species around the world whose sex ratios are linked to climate. For most turtles and many lizards, the sex of an individual is determined …

Read more

Highlights of the BMC-series: June 2014


Genetic differences of island wolves • Black widow spider venom eQTL expression in the blood • Mobile phones support adherence to paediatric health Lipid metabolism in glioblastoma Capnography for intensive care

Ecology:  Genetic differences of island wolves

Variation in environment could explain genetic differences observed between mainland and island wolf populations, even over very short distances. Genetic analysis of faecal samples collected in coastal British Columbia revealed that wolves found in island archipelagos are genetically different from nearby populations living on the mainland, being significantly correlated to geographic distance between habitats. Despite wolves being seen swimming between landmasses, gene flow does not appear to be restricted by barriers such as water, further suggesting that genetic differentiation may …

Read more

BMC Family Practice at 43rd Annual Scientific Meeting of SAPC.


BMC Family Practice is excited to be attending the 43rd annual conference of the Society for Academic Primary Care, held at the University of Edinburgh, 9-11 July 2014.

In addition to attending the scientific sessions, Executive Editor Magdalena Morawska is very interested in meeting with researchers to discuss their work and interests. Please feel free to approach her if you are interested in getting involved with the journal and joining our Editorial Board.

We look forward to meeting you in Edinburgh!

Is sugar intake linked with breast cancer risk?

Mammography and breast density

Increased breast density is one of the risks in developing breast cancer, and new research published today in BMC Public Health suggests that sugar is associated with this issue. In this guest blog, the authors of the paper tell us more about their research and its implications.


Estimation of the proportion of densities in relation to fat. Densities are composed of epithelial and stromal cells. Image source: Caroline Diorio, Oncology Division, St Sacrement Hospital, Quebec City, Canada

Sugar consumption has tripled over the past 50 years. This excessive consumption seems to lead to several health problems, particularly chronic ones like diabetes, hypertension and cancer, including breast cancer. Considering that breast cancer is the most common …

Read more

Big questions and big data in plant biology at the FESPB/EPSO 2014 Congress

BMC Plant Biology logo

BMC Plant Biology is looking forward to an exciting few days of talks this week as the journal heads to Dublin, Ireland, for the Plant Biology Europe FESPB/EPSO 2014 Congress.

The meeting, jointly organised by the Federation of European Societies of Plant Biology and the European Plant Science Organisation, promises to showcase some exciting developments at the leading edge of plant biological research, with contributions from scientists representing more than 50 countries.

Themes covered in this year’s congress range from synthetic and systems biology to developments in bioenergy and food security – the latter of which includes a much-anticipated public lecture from Charles Godfray, Director of the Oxford Martin Programme on the Future of Food, entitled “The Challenge of …

Read more

Obesity and new findings with Interleukin-33 (IL -33)

By Victovoi, from Wikipedia


In recent weeks, reports and discussions on the prevalence and health effects of obesity in the UK and wider afield have been uppermost in the news.  An individual is considered obese when their Body Mass Index (BMI), a measurement obtained by dividing a person’s weight by the square of the person’s height, exceeds 30 kg/m2. A better measure of excess fat is waist circumference and, generally, men with a waist circumference of 94cm or more and women with a waist circumference of >80cm  are more likely to develop obesity-related health problems.

Obesity rates in the United Kingdom are the second highest in Europe, with roughly 60% of adults being overweight and 1 in 4 are obese. This information was provided …

Read more

Highlights of the BMC-series: May 2014


Winglessness in the ancient moa • Battle of the sexes starts in the oviduct • Undetected anorectal chlamydia • Single molecule tracking Health needs in the aftermath of 9/11 • 3D printing improves embryo screening

Evolution: Winglessness in the ancient moa

Limb loss by regressive evolution is widespread in nature e.g. whales, snakes and some salamanders. Loss of forelimbs is also found in the ratites: a diverse group of birds that includes the ancient giant moa, a species endemic to New Zealand that was driven to extinction by humans in the 15th century. One of the key genes essential to the development of forelimbs in most animals is tbx5. Here, Huynen and colleagues reconstruct, build and characterize tbx5 to …

Read more

BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders at EULAR 2014!

MSD logo

This year, the 15th Annual European Congress of Rheumatology (EULAR) is being held in Paris, on 11-14 June, and BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders will be attending.


EULAR is one of the major events in the calendar of world rheumatology and brings together researchers and clinicians from all areas of rheumatology.

If you would like to meet to discuss your work, the current state of your field, publishing in BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, or if you are interested in working with the journal as a member of our Editorial Board, then please feel free to contact Executive Editor Catia Cornacchia, who would be more than happy to meet.

Hope to see you in Paris!

An exciting opportunity to join the editorial board of BMC Surgery


Do you work in the surgery field, and have you thought about contributing to an editorial board? If so then this post is for you…

Regular readers of the BMC-series blog and followers of BMC Surgery will know that the journal recently underwent an editorial restructuring which we believe will allow us to better reflect the latest research that is happening in the field. For those that missed the news this blog, posted at the time of the restructure, will bring you up to speed.

As a part of this restructuring we introduced a Case Reports section to the journal, and we now have an exciting opportunity for an enthusiastic and motivated surgeon or surgical researcher to …

Read more