To detect detect intestinal schistosome infections, the World Health Organization recommends using the Kato-Katz technique, which analyzes slides of fecal matter. But the approach often misses people who are infected with only a low burden of parasites and, as a consequence, shed only a few eggs in fecal samples. Researchers have now analyzed the efficacy of other testing approaches in a setting with low parasite burden; their results appear in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases.
Pre-clinical animal research is typically based on single laboratory studies conducted under highly standardized conditions. But in a new PLOS Biology study publishing Feb. 22, researchers from the Universities of Bern and Edinburgh show that this near-universal practice may actually help to explain the poor reproducibility of pre-clinical animal research. Instead of standardized conditions, diversity may be better.
How do fish end up in isolated bodies of water when they can't swim there themselves? For centuries, researchers have assumed that water birds transfer fish eggs into these waters -- however, a systematic literature review by researchers at the University of Basel has shown that there is no evidence of this to date.
The antioxidant drug ebselen can prevent sexual transmission of Zika virus from male to female mice, according to new research published in PLOS Pathogens by Yogy Simanjuntak and colleagues at Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan. The results hint at a potential role for ebselen in preventing Zika spread among humans.
The majority of Californian Anna's Hummingbirds appear to have P. huitzilopochtlii feather mites on their tail flight feathers, according to a study published Feb. 14, 2018, in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Youki Yamasaki from Washington State University, US, and colleagues.
Digital dissection shows that two horseshoe crab appendages -- the pushing leg and the male pedipalp -- each have one more muscle than had been thought, according to a study published Feb. 14, 2018 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Russell Bicknell from University of New England, Australia, and colleagues.
It turns out that nobody knows when rabbits were domesticated. Despite a well-cited story of the domestic bunny's origins, a review published on Feb. 14 in Trends in Ecology and Evolution finds that historical and archaeological records and genetic methods all suggest different timeframes for its domestication. But the researchers involved in the study don't think this puzzle is a dead end. Instead, they believe it's an indication that domestication happens on a continuum.
Spoiling old dogs in their twilight years by retiring them to the sofa and forgiving them their stubbornness or disobedience, doesn't do our four-legged friends any good. Regular brain training and lifelong learning create positive emotions and can slow down mental deterioration in old age. Physical limitations, however, often do not allow the same sort of training as used in young dogs. Cognitive biologists from Vetmeduni Vienna propose computer interaction as a practical alternative.
The lion population of Zimbabwe's Savé Valley Conservancy shows low genetic diversity despite improved numbers, according to a study published Feb. 7, 2018 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Laura Tensen from the University of Johannesburg, South Africa, and colleagues based in the Savé Valley Conservancy.
The drum rolls of great spotted woodpeckers may be used to identify individuals, according to a study published Feb. 7, 2018 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Michal Budka from Adam Mickiewicz University, Poland, and colleagues.