Research News & Multimedia

MU Research of Zebrafish Neurons May Lead to Better Understanding of Birth Defects like Spina Bifida

The zebrafish, a tropical freshwater fish similar to a minnow and native to the southeastern Himalayan region, is well established as a key tool for researchers studying human diseases, including brain disorders. Using zebrafish, scientists can determine how individual neurons develop, mature and support basic functions like breathing, swallowing and jaw movement. Researchers at the University of Missouri say that learning about neuronal development and maturation in zebrafish could lead to a better understanding of birth defects such as spina bifida in humans.

CALENDAR ITEM: 21st International Symposium on Radiopharmaceutical Sciences to be Held at MU

than 500 world-renowned researchers and scholars will present the latest advancements in radiopharmaceutical science, or the field of nuclear medicine that focuses on imaging and treatment for many diseases including cancer.

CALENDAR ITEM: Human Behavior and Evolution Society Conference to Take Place at MU

than 350 interdisciplinary researchers and scholars who are experts in a range of disciplines in the social, behavioral and biological sciences on campus to explore human evolution and its many facets.

Honesty Can Keep Companies’ Stock Prices Up During Hard Times

— Honesty is the best policy, and a new study from the University of Missouri finds that companies can benefit when they publicly accept the blame for poor performance. Researchers found companies that performed poorly yet blamed other parties — such as the government, competitors, labor unions or the economy — experienced a significant blow to their stock and had difficulty recovering. Companies that accepted blame and had a plan to address their problems stopped the decline in their share prices after their announcement, but those companies that blamed others continued to experience falling share prices for the entire year following their public explanation.

Genetic Maps Help Conservation Managers Maintain Healthy Bears

Last year, researchers at the University of Missouri published a study on genetic diversity in American black bears in Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma and determined that conservation management is needed to maintain healthy populations in the region. Now, those scientists have expanded the study to include black bears throughout North America. They discovered that black bears in Alaska are more closely related to bears in the eastern regions of the U.S. and Canada than those located in western regions. Details from the study revealed ancient movement patterns of black bears and provide detailed “genetic maps” that could help conservation management officials maintain healthy bear populations throughout North America.

Snacking on Protein Can Improve Appetite Control and Diet Quality in Teens

Although eating high-protein, afternoon snacks can aid appetite control in adults, little information exists to guide parents on what types of snacks might benefit their adolescent children. Now, MU researchers have found that afternoon snacking, particularly on high-protein-soy foods, reduces afternoon appetite, delays subsequent eating and reduces unhealthy evening snacking in teenagers.

Atmospheric Release of BPA May Reach Nearby Waterways

Water contamination by hormone-disrupting pollutants is threatening water quality around the world. Existing research has determined that harmful concentrations of Bisphenol-A (BPA), a chemical used in consumer products such as plastic food storage and beverage containers, have been deposited directly into rivers and streams by municipal or industrial wastewater. Now, researchers from the University of Missouri and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) have assessed Missouri water quality near industrial sites permitted to release BPA into the air. As a result, scientists now believe that atmospheric releases may create a concern for contamination of local surface water leading to human and wildlife exposure.

Genetic Sequencing of Cats Could Lead to Better Treatments for Cats and Their Humans

Within the last few months, scientists have completed the first-ever genetic sequencing of a cat. Now, scientists at the University of Missouri are searching for ways to fund the genetic sequencing of more cats through a project called “99 Lives.” Leslie Lyons, the Gilbreath-McLorn Endowed Professor of Comparative Medicine in the MU College of Veterinary Medicine, says cats suffer from many of the same genetic diseases as humans, and if scientists can sequence the genes of more cats, they can gain a better understanding of how to treat these diseases in cats and in humans.

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