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Topics about "amino acid" include:

  1. Lysozyme
    Lysozymes are common antibacterial enzymes that protect our eyes and nose from infection, but some animals have recruited them for a rather different purpose...

Topics containing the search term "amino acid" are:

  1. Echolocation in bats
    How can bats navigate in total darkness amongst trees and branches, but still locate a tiny, fluttering insect with extraordinary acuity? All made possible through echolocation, an astonishing sensory mechanism…

  2. Agriculture in beetles
    Think of weevils and most likely you'll think of spoiled food. But some weevils have turned to farming...

  3. Foam nests in animals
    Nests crop up everywhere, but one made out of foam? Might not sound like a great idea, but it is. And no surprise, it has evolved several times...

  4. Pufferfish (and inflation)
    Pufferfish are some of the most extraordinary fish to have evolved, especially because of their capacity to swallow water and inflate themselves to something like a football. Not only that but some representatives can be deadly to the unwary diner...

  5. Collagen in animals and bacteria
    n-a

  6. Tetrodotoxin
    Not many foods served in a restaurant can kill you, but pufferfish is the exception. Tetrodotoxin, the toxin responsible for such culinary fatalities, reveals a fascinating story of convergent evolution...

  7. Saxitoxin synthesis: from molluscs to algae
    Saxitoxin has a similar molecular structure to tetrodoxin and a wide distribution amongst living organisms, with evidence that is has been recruited independently several times.

  8. Bats: Insights into convergence
    Bats show a fascinating array of convergences, from echolocation to flight to nectar feeding. Vampire bats can even detect infrared radiation, while others might be able to see into the ultraviolet end of the spectrum.

  9. Echolocation in toothed whales and ground-dwelling mammals
    Given the extraordinary powers of echolocation in bats, it is not surprising that this group has received the most attention. However, they are not the only mammals to have evolved echolocation. Who invented sonar millions of years before the Navy?

  10. Nuptial gifts in insects and spiders
    Male dance flies lure females with a dead insect. Not very romantic, you might think, but it certainly does the trick. Hence, such nuptial gifts have evolved in numerous other arthropods...

  11. Ink production in cephalopods and gastropods
    A series of striking convergences can be found in the sea-hares (Aplysia), a group of gastropods and only remotely related to the cephalopods.  Not only do they emit ink clouds (the colour is derived from ingested red algae), but they also employ chemical cues that assist in defense.

  12. Extremophiles: Archaea and Bacteria
    Surely, no organism can survive in boiling water or brines nine times the salinity of seawater? Wrong - some archaea and bacteria have independently evolved adaptations to such extreme environments...

  13. Trichromatic vision in mammals
    Who has not enjoyed the splash of colour in a market: gorgeous red peppers, the green of basil and what on earth are these purple vegetables over there? All thanks to trichromatic vision, another story of convergence.

  14. Venom in mammals (and other synapsids)
    Beware the venomous shrew! Yes, venomous. And convergent on some formidable lizards...

  15. Ancient opsins and vision in extinct animals
    Spectral tuning of the eye generally depends on key substitutions of amino acid sites in opsin proteins.

  16. Innate and adaptive immune systems
    A vile cough, soaring temperature? When attacked by nasty microbes, our immune system comes in handy. Surprisingly (or not), plants have come up with a very similar solution to dealing with pathogens, but independently...    

  17. Silk production and use in arthropods
    Remarkably, fossil silk is known, especially from amber of Cretaceous age. Material includes both silk with trapped insects, possibly from an orb-web, and strands with the characteristic viscid droplets that are the key in trapping prey.

  18. Biological uses of silk: from webs to ballooning
    What material is so versatile that it can be used for capturing prey, building nests, communication and even cleaning? The answer: that most remarkable of biomaterials - silk.

  19. Lysozyme
    Lysozymes are common antibacterial enzymes that protect our eyes and nose from infection, but some animals have recruited them for a rather different purpose...

  20. Enzymes: convergence on active sites and reaction types
    Enzymes make the world go round, each an evolutionary marvel - and convergent.

  21. Carbonic anhydrase in vertebrates, plants, algae and bacteria
    Carbonic anhydrase is extremely convergent and may have evolved as many as six times. The most familiar variants are α, β and γ carbonic anhydrases.

  22. Sap feeding and honey-dew production in insects
    Interestingly, it has now been shown that the saliva of the aphids has an analogue to the anti-coagulant properties of blood suckers, subverting the wound repair mechanism of the plant.

  23. Electric fish: insights into convergence
    Ever seen an electric eel in an aquarium? Don’t dare putting your hand in the tank...

  24. Agriculture: from ants to dugongs
    Human farmers tending their fields are a familiar sight. But don't forget about those fungus-farming termites or the fish with a garden of algae…

  25. Zinc in teeth
    On land, we find the employment of zinc to reinforce feeding structures in the fangs of spiders, and also in a variety of insect groups.

  26. Haemocyanin in arthropods and molluscs
    The degree of similarity between the active sites in arthropod and molluscan haemocyanin has been called “remarkable” and “startling”, but actually suggests that wherever in the universe life employs copper for aerobic respiration it will call upon haemocyanin.

  27. Elastic proteins
    What do rubber bands and fleas have in common?

  28. “Colour vision” in Firefly squid
    The Japanese firefly squid (Watasenia scintillans), which inhabits the deep ocean, has three visual pigments located in different parts of the retina that are likely to allow colour discrimination as they each have distinct spectral sensitivities.

  29. Camera eyes of cephalopods
    The remarkable similarity between the camera eyes of cephalopods and vertebrates is one of the best-known examples of evolutionary convergence.

  30. Taste in arthropods and mammals
    The ability to taste is obviously an essential component in the life of any animal, both to assess the potential quality of food, its nutrient capacities and also to detect toxins or other dangers.