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Lipocalins for milk and pheromone transport
Lipocalins are proteins that bind to and transport small hydrophobic molecules such as lipids and steroids, and have been associated with biological processes such as milk production, pheromone transport and immune responses.
Light producing chemicals: how to make bioluminescence
The most remarkable luciferin in terms of its distribution is known as coelenterazine. This nitrogen-ring based molecule is found in nine separate groups, ranging from radiolarians to fish.
Flying through the air on a summer's evening or sparkling in the ocean you may see magical flashes of light that signal some of nature's most enchanting creatures, those that are bioluminescent.
Malodorous flowering plants
Several groups of angiosperms have flower structures that produce foul odours to attract pollinating insects. This strategy is convergent, being found in species as distantly related as the 'Titan arum' Amorphophallus titanium (a monocot) and the 'Corpse flower' Rafflesia (a eudicot).
Desert plants with succulent stems
Fleshy, succulent stems have evolved in several distantly related desert plant families, including cacti, certain species of Euphorbia and two genera of the family Asclepiadaceae, Hoodia and Stapelia.
Succulent desert plants
Classic examples of convergence in desert plants include the so-called 'stem succulent' cacti in the Americas and cactus-like Euphorbia species in Africa and South Asia, and also the striking similarity between 'leaf succulent' Agave and Yucca of the Americas and Aloe and its close relatives in Africa.
Olfaction: insights into convergence
Although olfaction is very widespread, there is abundant evidence for repeated convergence of key features, strongly suggesting that there really is an optimal solution to detecting smells.
Lysozymes are common antibacterial enzymes that protect our eyes and nose from infection, but some animals have recruited them for a rather different purpose...