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Bird Louse Study Shows How Evolution Sometimes Repeats Itself

Published: August 16, 2012.
Released by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign  

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Birds of a feather flock together and – according to a new analysis – so do their lice.

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More news from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

New Synthetic Tumor Environments Make Cancer Research More Realistic
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Tumors are notoriously difficult to study in their natural habitat - body tissues - but a new synthetic tissue environment may give cancer researchers the next-best look at tumor growth and behavior. University of Illinois researchers have developed a new technique to create a cell habitat of squishy fluids, called hydrogels, which can realistically and quickly recreate microenvironments found across biology.

Beyond Royal Jelly: Study Identifies Plant Chemical That Determines a Honey Bee's Caste
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- A closer look at how honey bee colonies determine which larvae will serve as workers and which will become queens reveals that a plant chemical, p-coumaric acid, plays a key role in the bees' developmental fate.

Study Links Physical Activity to Greater Mental Flexibility in Older Adults
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- One day soon, doctors may determine how physically active you are simply by imaging your brain. Physically fit people tend to have larger brain volumes and more intact white matter than their less-fit peers. Now a new study reveals that older adults who regularly engage in moderate to vigorous physical activity have more variable brain activity at rest than those who don't. This variability is associated with better cognitive performance, researchers say.

The Nonagenarian Athlete: Researchers Study Olga Kotelko's Brain
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- In the summer of 2012, Olga Kotelko, a 93-year-old Canadian track-and-field athlete with more than 30 world records in her age group, visited the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Illinois and submitted to an in-depth analysis of her brain. The resulting study, reported in the journal Neurocase, offers a surprising first glimpse of the potential effects of exercise on the brains and cognitive abilities of the "oldest old."

Rogue Supernovas Likely Flung into Space by Black Hole Slingshots
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Rogue supernovas that explode all alone in deep space present an astronomical mystery. Where did they come from? How did they get there? The likely answer: a binary black hole slingshot, according to a new study by Ryan Foley, a professor of astronomy and physics at the University of Illinois.

Study Links Cardiorespiratory Fitness, Thinner Gray Matter And Better Math Skills in Kids
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- A new study reveals that 9- and 10-year-old children who are aerobically fit tend to have significantly thinner gray matter than their "low-fit" peers. Thinning of the outermost layer of brain cells in the cerebrum is associated with better mathematics performance, researchers report in the journal PLOS ONE.

Study: Sequential Voting in Presidential Primaries Best System to Winnow Candidates
HAMPAIGN, Ill. -- As the race for the 2016 Democratic and Republican presidential nominations enters the early stages, voters have a large pool of candidates to consider, including 17 declared candidates on the Republican side alone.

Simple Intervention Can Moderate Anti-vaccination Beliefs, Study Finds
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- It might not be possible to convince someone who believes that vaccines cause autism that they don't. Telling skeptics that their belief is not scientifically supported often backfires - strengthening, rather than weakening, their anti-vaccine views. But researchers say they have found a way to overcome some of the most entrenched anti-vaccine attitudes: Remind the skeptics, with words and images, why vaccines exist.

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