Monthly Archives: March 2013

Cowabunga, dude!: the hidden secrets of the western painted turtle genome

eastern painted turtle

There is something amazingly captivating about turtles: those slow, long-living, hard-shelled creatures, which look very much like how you’d expect a miniature version of some dinosaur to look. They have inspired artists for many years, and continue to do so, from the Mock Turtle in Lewis Caroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, through the impressive, world-carrying… Read more »




JBS Haldane famously remarked that the Creator appears to be inordinately fond of beetles – with over 400,000 species described, they make up over a quarter of all known animal species. This enthusiasm has not been shared by genomicists. Only a single beetle genome has been completed, that of the red flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum…. Read more »


Cell wall degrading enzymes in a new class of their own

Carbohydrate active enzymes are typically found in fungi including white rot, brown rot and plant pathogenic fungi. These micro-organisms degrade the complex matrix of the plant cell wall containing lignin, hemicelluloses, cellulose, polysacchariades and pectin. Since 1998, the CAZy database has carefully curated data on five families of carbohydrate active enzymes: glycoside hydrolases (GH), glycosyltransferases… Read more »


Clever camouflage and "riotously coloured floral genitalia": it's the winners of the BMC Ecology Image Competition

Stick insect camouflaged on its host, Redwood

BMC Ecology is delighted to announce the winning images in its very first Ecology Image Competition. We were truly overwhelmed by the positive response to the competition, which received more than 200 individual entries from researchers across the world. In an accompanying Editorial, guest judge Dr Yan Wong and the journal’s Editorial Board outline what… Read more »


Microorganisms and salt, a conference in Storrs, CT

Halophiles 2013

Guest blog post by Bonnie Baxter and R. Thane Papke Halophiles 2013: The International Congress on Halophilic Microorganisms is a multidisciplinary international conference, with a strong history of regular triennial meetings since 1978. As the title implies, our research passions are found at the interface of salt and microorganisms, and our motivation for organizing such… Read more »