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News releases

Feb 1, 2016 Topography shapes biodiversity, and not only through temperature

Topografie-Biodiversität

A warming climate is likely to drive species to higher, cooler altitudes. A new study highlights a less obvious, yet crucial way in which their new habitat could differ from the one they leave behind.

Jan 28, 2016 Improved harvest for small farms thanks to naturally cloned crops

Abstract

As hybrid plants provide a very high agricultural yield for only one generation, new hybrid seeds need to be produced and used every year. However, natural cloning via seeds might enable the efficiency of such plants to be passed on unchanged. For the first time in experi-ments, researchers from the University of Zurich have now demonstrated that this nearly 80-year-old idea actually works. This may open up fresh possibilities for both seed producers and small farms in the Third World.

Jan 26, 2016 Alzheimer-type brain pathology after transplantation of dura mater

Abeta-Plaques Alzheimer

Up to now Alzheimer’s disease has not been recognised as transmissible. Now researchers at the University of Zurich and the Medical University Vienna demonstrated Alzheimer-type pathology in brains of recipients of dura mater grafts who died later from Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

Jan 12, 2016 Fungus attacks new type of grain thanks to an evolutionary trick

Mehltau

For the past few years, mildew has been able to infect triticale grain, which up to then had been resistant to this fungal disease. So how was the pathogen able to spread to a different host plant? Researchers from the University of Zurich have shown that the new pathogen is a genetic mix of existing mildew forms.

Jan 6, 2016 Last meal reflects spiral-shaped intestine

Abstract

A last meal provides new insights: The fossilized food remains of the extinct predatory fish Saurichthys reflect its spiral-shaped intestine. The spiral valve in fossils from Southern Switzerland is similar to that of sharks and rays. Paleontologists from the University of Zurich have thus closed a gap in the knowledge concerning the evolution of the gastrointestinal tract in vertebrates.

Jan 4, 2016 Meltwater from the Greenland ice sheet releasing faster

Abstract Firn

The firn layers of the Greenland ice sheet might store less meltwater than previously assumed. Researchers from the USA, Denmark and the University of Zurich fear that this could lead to increased release of the meltwater into the oceans.

Dec 21, 2015 Empathy with strangers can be learned

Empathie

We can learn to empathize with strangers. Surprisingly positive experiences with people from another group trigger a learning effect in the brain, which increases empathy. As researchers from the University of Zurich reveal, only a handful of positive learning experiences already suffice for a person to become more empathic.