As an animal develops from an embryo, its cells take diverse paths, eventually forming different body parts — muscles, bones, heart. The cells are following a genetic blueprint, which consists of complex webs of interacting genes called gene regulatory networks.
Biologists at the California Institute of Technology have for the first time built a computational model of one of these networks. Their work is based on roughly a decade of research into how gene networks control development in sea-urchin embryos.
[Full Story: Sea Urchins Show The Inner Workings of Development]
Scientists are creating eye-popping new views of the moon in 3D with the help of a prolific NASA lunar probe currently orbiting Earth's nearest neighbor.
The new 3D moon pictures were assembled from photos snapped by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, which has been snapping high-resolution views of the moon's surface from lunar orbit since 2009. The spacecraft does not have a stereo camera aboard to take 3D anaglyph images of the moon, but scientists were able to stitch together photos of the same region— taken from different angles and orbits — to artificially create the three-dimensional lunar views.
[Full Story: Amazing 3D Moon Photos Created from NASA Lunar Orbiter Imagery]
Here's a defense for when your boss catches you watching kitten videos on the job: New research shows looking at cute images of baby animals may actually improve your work performance, inspiring more fine-tuned attention and careful behavior.
Perhaps unsurprisingly this new study comes from researchers in Japan, where kawaii (Japanese for "cute") reigns. From the characters of "Hello Kitty" and "Pokémon's" Pikachu, cute creatures stir positive feelings, researchers say, because they resemble babies with their big eyes and large heads.
[Full Story: I Can Haz Productivity? Why You Should Look at Cute Animals at Work]
Perhaps Wyoming should brand itself as the land of double rainbows.
On July 18, Texas native Jonathan Boening took this breathtaking photograph of a double rainbow while on vacation, driving toward Yellowstone National Park. "A fast-moving storm had just blown through the area," he told OurAmazingPlanet. "I was so utterly stunned when I saw it. I've never seen a full rainbow, much less two of them."
[Full Story: Another Double Rainbow Photographed in Wyoming]
The twitchy tentacles of a sundew can catapult prey into the carnivorous plant's sticky traps in a fraction of a second, researchers say.
These fast-moving snares are among the quickest seen yet in the plant kingdom, the scientists added.
[Full Story: How a Sneaky Sundew Hurls Insects Into Its Trap]
Anyone who wanted to see the Great Barrier Reef up close but got hindered by factors like finances or asthma has a new chance. Google just unveiled underwater views of the reef. Just in time, too, as environmentalists fight a mine proposal that they say could destroy it all.
For the first time, Google Maps is showing underwater, 360-degree panoramic views of the Great Barrier reef and five other well-known reefs around the world. The images were made in collaboration with the Caitlin Seaview Survey, a scientific study intended to reveal ocean life and address questions about the changes associated with rapidly warming and acidifying oceans.
[Full Story: Google Goes Diving on The Great Barrier Reef]
Despite their name, vampire squid are not deep-sea bloodsuckers. In fact, new research finds these mysterious creatures are garbage disposals of the ocean.
Using long, skinny tendrils called filaments, vampire squid capture marine detritus hovering in the water ― from crustacean eyes and legs to larvae poop ― then coat it in mucus before chowing down, according to the new findings.
[Full Story: Vampire Squid Are Sea's Garbage Disposals]
After an enormous iceberg called B-15 broke off from Antarctica's Ross Ice Shelf, it released chunks of ice — themselves massive icebergs — that wreaked havoc on emperor penguins that breed to the west.
But this doesn't appear to have been the case for a population of Weddell seals whose breeding sites were also in the icebergs' path, new research has found.
[Full Story: Antarctic Seals Survive Arrival of Massive Icebergs]
A female dolphin was born at a Hawaiian resort last week and amazing underwater video footage shows the baby's birth and first swim with her mom.
The 12-year-old dolphin mom, Keo, gave birth after about an hour of labor in a lagoon at the Dolphin Quest marine park, part of the Hilton Waikoloa Village. The video shows Keo's calf slowly emerging tail-first. Once she's born, the baby begins swimming a little erratically but soon glides easily alongside her mom. Dolphin Quest officials said the calf started nursing within four hours of birth.
[Full Story: Dolphin Birth Caught in Amazing Underwater Video]
NASA's Aqua satellite captured this image of a brilliantly colored phytoplankton bloom off the coast of Novaya Zemlya, a Russian island, on Aug. 24.
Phytoplankton are tiny plant-like cells that thrive in the presence of dissolved nutrients, carbon dioxide and sunlight. Any given bloom can include a wide range of species, but different species dominate the sea under different conditions.
[Full Story: Plankton Bloom Colors Sea Off Russian Island]