Researchers identify gene that makes plants and fungi play nice — we’ll use it to make better crops

“The resulting plants would grow larger and need less water and fertilizer, for instance,” say the authors.

A parasite worth three times its weight in gold is disappearing — and with it hundreds of thousands of jobs

The gold rush for a unique Himalayan fungus seems to be running out.

This fungus senses gravity using a gene it borrowed from bacteria

Don’t mind me, just borrowing some genes to make gravity-sensing crystals. Sorry, what?

Drug-resistant candida outbreaks in the UK despite hospital efforts to control it

The CDC deemed this fungus a “serious global health threat.”

Fungus-derived molecule enables axon regrowth — potentially treating brain and spinal chord injuries

Broken axons are like a broken router — no connection.

Farmer ants still struggle with undomesticated crops, study finds

Starving your crops might seem counterintuitive, but these ants have a pretty good reason for it.

Lichens actually comprise a threesome, not a partnership

The more the merrier.

White Nose Bat Syndrome spreads deeper into the U.S. — first case confirmed west of the Rockies

The first case of white nose syndrome, a disease that has wreaked havoc on bat populations in the eastern U.S. has been identified west of the Rockies. The disease’s spread threatens to drastically impact bat populations there, altering ecosystems throughout the country.

Fungi eat yummy minerals from rocks using acid and mechanical force

Fungi were thought to have a minimal impact on minerals’ bioweathering. A recent study suggests that fungi are a lot more aggressive than meets the eye. These use acid to access precious nutrients like iron and burrow deep into rocks using mechanical force to further their reach.

Oldest fungus fossil set the stage for life on land 440 million years ago

An early land lover, the Tortobu might have been a key part of the land ecosystem that eventually grew to foster complex land life.

Fungus turns frogs into sex zombies, but then kills off whole species

A new study of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), a deadly fungus which affects amphibians worldwide, found that it spreads by making males’ mating calls more attractive to females. The pathogen alters the reproductive habits of different species of amphibians, explaining why frogs and related species continue to disappear across the globe.

Agricultural behaviors recorded in bees for the first time

Cristiano Menezes of the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation has discovered farming behaviors in bees, adding them to the list of social insects that practice agriculture.

Crops farmed by leafcutter ants show signs of domestication: Leafcutter ants became farmers 50 million years before humans

Leafcutter ants in South America grow fungus as crops, this has been known for quite a while. But their crops show clear signs of domestication, which means that when it comes to farming, the ants might have beaten us by some 50 million years. Ant farmers When people started growing crops, they unwittingly made changes to the plants’ genome. For

How many germs you can find in your home: about 9,000 different species

After they analyzed dust samples collected from 1,200 US households, researchers at University of Colorado at Boulder identified over 9,000 different species of microbes, bacteria and fungus. The exact makeup depends on where the home is located, the gender of the people living inside and whether or not pets are present.

Nature’s toupee: fungus weaves astonishing hair-ice

For over a century since it was described, a peculiar type of ice known as hair-ice or ice wool has been puzzling scientists. Now, the mystery seems to have been solved. The uncanny fine hairs of ice, which are only 0.02 mm thick and can grow to 20 cm in length, are actually caused by a fungus.

Fungal Disease Kills 5 million North American bats in only Seven Years

In just 7 years, a disease called white-nose syndrome has killed more than 5 million North American bats, almost wiping out entire colonies. The disease has been reported in caves and mines of 25 states throughout the Northeastern U.S. and no treatment or practical way of halting the disease has been proposed. The disease is caused by a fungus, Pseudogymnoascus destructans, which colonizes

Zombie ant fungi ‘know’ brains of their hosts

A while ago, we were telling you about the infamous “zombie ant fungus” – a parasitic fungus that reproduces by manipulating the behavior of ants. It’s one of the most gruesome acts in nature – the parasite fungi infect tropical ants, literally taking control of their actions, ultimately leading the infected ant to march to its death at a mass grave near

Hundreds of amphibian species all over the world killed by fungus infection, but there may yet be hope

Since the 1990s, biologists have witnessed a sudden demise of amphibian species. So far, hundreds of species have become extinct after becoming plagued by a wretched fungus. From mountain lakes to meadow puddles, no matter the continent, frogs are dying everywhere – a demise that might spell an ecological meltdown. There may still be hope yet, according to a recent study which

Microwave technique makes bread last for 120 days, without chemical or other preservatives

About one in three breads is thrown away because it gets too tough and infected, and thus inedible, because of mold. Scientists at an American company have found a way to keep bread fresh for up to two months after they zapped it in a sophisticated microwave array. This killed the bacteria and fungi that lead to mold formation. Typically,

Hyper-parasite defends ant colonies from zombie-ant fungus

Last year, we reported on one of the most gruesome and horrific acts that goes on in nature; it seems so unreal, like if some sort of SciFi monstrous scenario transcended into the realm of reality, that one has a hard time wrapping his head around it. Yes, as some of you might have read previously, I’m talking about the zombie-ant fungus