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Normal and malformed leaves oft the Australian pitcher plant.

Climate change may challenge organismal responses through not only extreme cues. An uncommon combination of benign cues – warm and short days – can also trigger reactions such as misregulations of leaves.

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The Venus flytrap has a unique arrangement of its vascular tissue (centre). This network enables the plant to process fast stimuli, similar to the nervous system of animals. Now it has been possible to investigate these stimuli without contact using novel magnetic field detectors (right).

The carnivorous Venus flytrap can generate magnetic fields that are almost as strong as those in humans. Researchers from Mainz and Würzburg have demonstrated this with a new, non-invasive measuring technique.

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Fins of the Australian lungfish

The Australian lungfish replaces the Mexican axolotl as holding the record for the "largest genome in the animal kingdom". Its genome shows the evolutionary innovations that made living on land possible.

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Open trap of Dionaea muscipula with potential prey. Middle: basal part of a trigger hair, where action potentials are elicited in the sensory cells upon touch stimulation. During the late phase of the action potential, potassium ions need to be reimported into the sensory cells via KDM1 to enable the generation of consecutive action potentials.

The display of a smartphone reacts to finger pressure. The carnivorous Venus flytrap, on the other hand, even notices when a lightweight like a fly lands on it. Special genes make this possible.

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The longer the sword of the male (bottom), the greater the chances of its bearer being interested by a female (top). In the swordtail fish (Xiphophorus hellerii), scientists have now identified the genetic basis of sword growth. (Image: Georg Schneider / University of Würzburg)

In many species all over the animal kingdom, males have eye-catching characteristics. Although often impractical, they are beneficial in finding a mate. Scientists have now mapped the genetic bases of such a male ornament in a fish.

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Sphingolipid expansion microscopy (ExM) of tenfold expanded cells infected with chlamydia. The bacterial membranes are marked green; the inner and outer membranes of the bacteria can be distinguished (c). Under (a) confocal laser scanning and under (b) structured illumination microscopy (SIM). Scale bars: 10 and 2 microns in the small white rectangles respectively.

For the first time ever, expansion microscopy allows the imaging of even the finest details of cell membranes. This offers new insights into bacterial and viral infection processes.

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The Würzburg Highly Cited Researchers 2020: Hermann Einsele, Rainer Hedrich, Andreas Rosenwald, Jörg Vogel, Frank Würthner, and the Citation Laureate Laurens Molenkamp.

Their work is most frequently cited in publications of other scientists. Five researchers from the University of Würzburg are therefore again included in the Highly Cited Researchers 2020 List.

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Super-resolution images made in Würzburg: Expansion microscopy ExM can be used to precisely depict fine structures of the brain whose shape changes during learning and memory processes. Pyramid cells from the hippocampus of the mouse line Thy1-eGFP can be seen.

Three experts for super-resolution microscopy jointly want to obtain better images of functioning and pathologically altered nerve cells. The European Research Council ERC is funding them with eleven million euros.

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Breeding system of the sugarcane shot-hole borer Xyleborus affinis in a glass tube with artificial culture medium. At the end of a tunnel you can see a mother beetle with larvae. The tunnel walls are covered with a whitish-coloured layer of food and weed fungi.

Ambrosia beetles are fascinating: they practice agriculture with fungi and they live in a highly developed social system. Biologist Peter Biedermann has now discovered new facts about them.

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Photo of a Venus flytrap with an insect inside.

The carnivorous Venus flytrap snaps shut when a prey touches it twice within 30 seconds. In the journal Nature Plants researchers report on how this plant's short-term memory and counting system works.

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A cancer shredder

09/29/2020
To fight cancer by a newly developed substance shredding carcinogenic aurora proteins: This is the aim of a new study by scientists at universities in Würzburg and Frankfurt.

Researchers at the universities of Würzburg and Frankfurt have developed a new compound for treating cancer. It destroys a protein that triggers its development.

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