Biological and health sciences

Overheated lizards

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The Professional is a member of CienciaPR
A study conducted by a group of puertorican scientists, guided by Dr. Manuel Leal studied how different body temperatures affects the running speed of the lizards in the dry forest in Puerto Rico. This article is part of the collaboration between Ciencia Puerto Rico and Diálogo Digital.

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Illuminating the "Gray City" and the World with her Science

Reyna I. Martínez De Luna's picture
Dra Lilliam Casillas
La Dra. Lilliam Casillas Martínez is Profesora en la Universidad de Puerto Rico, Humacao y fundadora del Observatorio Microbiológica Cabo Rojo.

This summer, while on the way Playa Sucia or Los Morrillos Lighthouse, many of us will drive by the Cabo Rojo salt flats. Salt extracted from the Cabo Rojo salt from salt flats—the oldest industry in Puerto Rico—is highly pure and has great commercial value, thus making it an important source of income. But, did you know that the salt flats or salterns, as they are also known, are also a large-scalen oversized Microbiology laboratory?

The Taino Inside: Science Helps to Decipher Our Origins

Greetchen Díaz-Muñoz's picture
Haplogrupo A de Puerto Rico
mtDNA can be classified in haplogroups which are specific for differents regions in the world. This figure shows the haplogroup A of PR.

Do you remember the stories about the native inhabitants of Puerto Rico that we were taught in school? Yes, the Taino Indians. They faded with the arrival of Spanish colonizers, according to the story. When exactly TaÌno ceased to exist? There is archaeological evidence indicating that the Tainos lived on the island longer than historians point, but there are still conflicting versions of both lines. Not only archaeologists and historians were interested in learning more about the Taino culture. A curious scientist that since he was a teenager was fascinated with stories about the Tainos, had in mind a number of questions, but mostly an effort to answer them.

Is autism preventable?

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No

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Por Aurora Rivera Arguinzoni
Many parents and physicians of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) say that their children have "recovered" from these disorders and argue that this kind of development disorders can be prevented.

Sea cucumbers and regeneration

Anonymous's picture
Holothuria glaberrima
Sea cucumber, Holothuria glaberrima.

Sea cucumbers are echinoderms commonly found in the coasts of Puerto Rico. Although they are called ìcucumbersî due to their morphology, they are not really plants, but animals. In Asia they are considered a delicacy, but in Puerto Rico they are not used as food. Instead, they are used by researchers to understand one of the biggest mysteries in biology: the process of regeneration. Certain organisms, like echinoderms, have regenerative capacities, and can grow new organs from scratch even as adults. Other organisms, such as mammals, have very limited regenerative capacities.

Metagenomics of the Puerto Rican Soil

Marcos Lopez's picture
El Yunque
El Yunque National Forest. One of the sampling sites of GeMS.

Although we are in a constant war to get rid of them, we have always lived in a world dominated by microbes. Interestingly, there is a new science field that aims to reveal the secrets of the microbial planet, but not as a tactic of war. Even though we donít pay a lot of attention to our microscopic friends, the microbial communities support all life of Earth, even ours. For this cause, understanding the characteristics of this unexplored microbial world may help us to solve many of the environmental, medical, biotechnological, energetical, and economical challenges of the world. The name of this new science is Metagenomics.

Development of the Neuronal Circuit

Marcos Lopez's picture
Neuron
Neuron cell (click image to zoom)

Did you know that in average humans have approximately 100 billion neurons in the brain? Neurons are cells of the nervous system that respond to electric stimulus and process and transmit information. If you though that neurons only reside in the brain, you are wrong because they are found also in the spinal cord and the peripheral nerves. The complex area of science that study neurons, their development and pathology is neuroscience.

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