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12 December 2013 1:00 pm ,
Vol. 342 ,
The iconic 125-year-old Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton near San Jose, California, is facing the threat of closure...
Recent results from the Curiosity Mars rover have helped scientists formulate a plan for the next phase of its mission...
A new, remarkably powerful drug that cripples the hepatitis C virus (HCV) came to market last week, but it sells for $...
In pretoothbrush populations, gumlines would often be marred by a thick, visible crust of calcium phosphate, food...
Evolutionary biologists have long studied how the Mexican tetra, a drab fish that lives in rivers and creeks but has...
Victorian astronomers spent countless hours laboriously charting the positions of stars in the sky. Such sky mapping,...
In an ambitious project to study 1000 years of sickness and health, researchers are excavating the graveyard of the now...
Stefan Behnisch has won awards for designing science labs and other buildings that are smart, sustainable, and...
- 12 December 2013 1:00 pm , Vol. 342 , #6164
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ScienceShot: Toxic Greens Protect Smurf-Tongued Lizards
10 February 2012 3:35 pm
Eating your greens is good for you, but if you're a bluetongue lizard, it might just save your life. New research finds that the toxic mother-of-millions plant (Bryophyllum spp.) protects some bluetongues (Tiliqua scincoides) from cane toad (Rhinella marina) toxins. Both the plant and the toad were introduced to different parts of Australia around 1935, both produce a similar toxin (bufadienolide) that can stop the heart, and both are consumed by bluetongues. When injected with non-lethal doses of bufadienolide, bluetongues from areas without mother-of-millions (inset) swam 50% slower than before they were injected, while those that live in areas with the plant only swam 20% slower, researchers report in a forthcoming issue of American Naturalist. That suggests that bluetongue lineages from mother-of-millions areas have built up a resistance to bufadienolide over time. The team hopes bufadienolide resistance will lessen the impact of another potential invader with similar toxins, the black-spined toad (Duttaphrynus melanostictus), on this native lizard.
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