1. Gauley, A. (2021) ‘The domestication of wheat: genetic changes for improved crops’, Biological Sciences Review, 33 (4), pp.26-29.
Plant biologist Adam Gauley explains how humans have exerted selective pressure on wheat to alter its biology. This article links to your units on Genetic Information, Variation and Relationships Between Organisms and Energy Transfers In and Between Organisms, and supports your study of genetic diversity and adaptation and energy and ecosystems. Look out for the discussion questions in this article.
2. Brasier, M. (2020) ‘Searching for ocean giants: Antarctic blue whales and their food’, Biological Sciences Review, 33 (2), pp.15-19.
Antarctic blue whales are the world’s largest living animals. They obtain their energy from shrimp-like crustaceans called krill. Marine biologist Madeleine Brasier joined a group of scientists, led by the Australian Antarctic Program, to investigate where the whales go to feed and the importance of their faeces to marine food webs.
3. Donald, C. (2020) ‘Why climate change is bad for our health’, Biological Sciences Review, 33 (2), pp.2-5.
The Earth’s climate has changed throughout history. Human activities have intensified these changes to our global environment. A particular concern is how climate conditions influence our interactions with disease-transmitting insects. Virologist Claire Donald looks at why climate change may increase the risk of mosquito-transmitted disease.
4. Raymond-Harling, H. (2020) ‘Outside the box: how iridescent blue plants may have hacked photosynthesis’, Biological Sciences Review, 32 (4). pp.7-10.
For most plants, light is crucial for survival. Without light, they cannot photosynthesise. PhD student Helena Raymond-Harling tells the story of the peacock begonia and how its iridescent blue leaves proved to be a stunning side-effect of modified chloroplasts.
5. Wallis, K. (2019) ‘Uncoupling mitochondria turns up the heat’, Biological Sciences Review, 32 (1), pp.30-33.
In eukaryotes, including animals and plants, the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) largely reflects the actions of mitochondria and chloroplasts. The energy usually transferred into the phosphate bonds of ATP can, alternatively, lead to the production of heat. This is accomplished through the actions of special proteins called uncouplers. Senior teaching fellow Katrine Wallis explains this remarkable process.
6. Wright, R. (2019) ‘Marine bacteria and the plastisphere’, Biological Sciences Review, 31 (4), pp.2-5.
It is estimated that over 8 million tonnes of plastics are being added to the oceans each year. PhD student Robyn Wright explores potential microbiological solutions to the problem.
7. McKenna, M. (2017) ‘How do you get your energy? Taking a closer look at ATP synthase’, Biological Sciences Review, 29 (4), pp.22-26.
Biochemist Michael McKenna discusses techniques borrowed from physicists that are being used to look inside proteins, and describes how this has helped us to figure out how adenosine triphosphate – our body’s energy currency – is produced.
8. Carey, A.M. and Cogdell, R. (2014) ‘The real green revolution’ Biological Sciences Review, 26 (4), pp.30-33.
Professor of botany Richard Cogdell and post-doctoral researcher Anne-Marie Carey explain how we are hoping to learn from photosynthesis to use solar energy to make carbon-based fuels.
9. Butler, R. and Sheffield, L. (2012) ‘Plastids’, Biological Sciences Review, 24 (3), pp.16-21.
You will know what chloroplasts are – after all, our lives depend on the photosynthesis they carry out. But chloroplasts are just one example of plastids. This article outlines how these extraordinary organelles are constructed, explains how they can switch from on form to another, and reviews the many essential functions they carry out.
10. Haworth, C. (2010) ‘Photosynthesis’, Biological Sciences Review, 23 (1), pp.20-21.
Photosynthesis is the process by which photoautotrophs use light energy to convert carbon dioxide into carbohydrates.