This week in animal research 140815
Oxford University researchers have announced the successful completion of the first trial of a vaccine against RSV in adult humans, which indicated that the vaccine was safe and could induce a robust immune response (though this Phase 1 study did not evaluate its ability to protect against RSV).
By turning on a single gene in specific neural cells in the embryonic mouse brain, researchers have made more neurons grow in the neocortex — a region that evolved to be much larger in primates than in other mammals.
Video: Unique octopus sex caught on camera: https://youtu.be/HbUKu1lz9pQ
What has 16 legs, two beaks and has been caught on camera for the first time? Two octopuses having face-to-face sex. This is just one of the unusual behaviours of the larger Pacific striped octopus that have now been documented. These creatures also have some strange hunting tactics, such as capturing shrimp by tapping them on the back, as shown in the video above.
Two Brazilian frog species use sharp spines protruding from around their noses and mouths to deliver toxins in their skin to predators — the first evidence of a venomous frog.
Video: Footage of neurons firing in fruit fly:
The video shows neural activity not just in the brain, but throughout the entire central nervous system (CNS), including the fruit-fly equivalent of a mammalian spinal cord.
"Frances Oldham Kelsey, the Canadian doctor who played a central role in preventing the drug thalidomide being distributed in the US, has died at 101."
New hope for the endangered Isfahan mouflon : cloning. Poaching has driven Isfahan mouflon close to extinction in Iran, but interspecies cloning might save the day. A domestic sheep has given birth to a baby mouflon in a rare successful example of interspecies cloning.