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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.

Small Business Owners Not Always Worried about Being Treated Fairly, MU Researcher Finds

Fairness is not always the most important priority for small retailers. In an international study, University of Missouri researchers found that some small retailers are less concerned about whether they are treated fairly by business suppliers than other factors, such as cash flow and company survival.

Plants Send Out Signals Attracting Harmful Bacteria, MU Study Finds

When bacteria attack plants, they often inject harmful proteins into the host plants’ cells to weaken and suppress natural defenses. However, in some plants, bacteria attack once they’ve recognized the plant cells as a potential host. Now, researchers at the University of Missouri have identified and replicated the process that allows the bacteria—known mostly for attacking tomatoes—to invade its host. This discovery could lead to natural anti-infective treatments that work with food-producing plants to enhance resistance to harmful bacteria in the field.

Remote Surveillance May Increase Chance of Survival for ‘Uncontacted’ Tribes, MU Study Finds

Lowland South America, including the Amazon Basin, harbors most of the last indigenous societies that have limited contact with the outside world. Studying these tribes, located deep within Amazonian rainforests, gives scientists a glimpse at what tribal cultures may have been like before the arrival of Europeans. Now, researchers at the University of Missouri have used satellite images to assess the demographic health of one particular village of isolated people on the border between Brazil and Peru. Remote surveillance is the only method to safely track uncontacted indigenous societies and may offer information that can improve their chances for long-term survival.

Uniting Community Development Efforts Could Benefit Members of Underserved Communities

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‘Tween’ Television Programming Promotes Some Stereotypical Conceptions of Gender Roles, MU Study Finds

The term “tween” denotes a child who is between the ages of 8 and 12 and is used to describe a preadolescent who is “in between” being a child and a teen. This demographic watches more television than any other age group and is considered to be a very lucrative market. Tween television programming consists of two genres: “teen scene” (geared toward girls) and “action-adventure” (geared toward boys). Researchers at the University of Missouri found that these programs could lead tweens to limit their views of their potential roles in society just as they begin to shape their future.

Genetic Pre-Disposition Toward Exercise and Mental Development May be Linked, MU Study Finds

University of Missouri researchers have previously shown that a genetic pre-disposition to be more or less motivated to exercise exists. In a new study, Frank Booth, a professor in the MU College of Veterinary Medicine, has found a potential link between the genetic pre-disposition for high levels of exercise motivation and the speed at which mental maturation occurs.

MU Researchers Find Rare Fossilized Embryos More Than 500 Million Years Old

The Cambrian Period is a time when most phyla of marine invertebrates first appeared in the fossil record. Also dubbed the “Cambrian explosion,” fossilized records from this time provide glimpses into evolutionary biology when the world’s ecosystems rapidly changed and diversified. Most fossils show the organisms’ skeletal structure, which may or may not give researchers accurate pictures of these prehistoric organisms. Now, researchers at the University of Missouri have found rare, fossilized embryos they believe were undiscovered previously. Their methods of study may help with future interpretation of evolutionary history.

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