Thursday, 20 November 2008

Females are definitely the chattier sex, even in monkeys!

London, Nov 20 (ANI): Women might be tired of carrying the load of being stereotyped as the talkative sex, but according to a group of researchers, the label might indeed be true at least in the case of female-centric monkey groups.

The research team at Roehampton University in London, who observed a female-centric group of macaques, noticed that the gossipy nature of the monkeys might add weight to the theory that human language evolved to forge social bonds.

A large number of scientists reckon that language replaced grooming as a less time-consuming way of preserving close bonds in ever-growing societies.

Researchers Nathalie Greeno and Stuart Semple hypothesised that if this was true then in species of animals with large social networks, such as macaques, vocal exchanges should be just as important as grooming.

The scientists listened to a group of 16 female and eight male macaques, the most widespread primate genus apart from humans, living on Cayo Santiago island off Puerto Rico for three months.

They counted the grunts, coos and girneys friendly chit-chat between two individuals while ignoring calls specifically used when in the presence of food or a predator.

Female macaques were found to make 13 times as many friendly noises as males. They were also more likely to chat to other females than males.

“The results suggest that females rely on vocal communication more than males due to their need to maintain the larger social networks,” New Scientist quoted Greeno, as saying.

The study has been published in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior.

The scientists believe this is because female macaques form solid, long-lasting bonds. They stay in the same group for life, and rely on their female friends to help them look after offspring.

In contrast males who rove between groups throughout their life chatted to both sexes equally.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Stem Cells from Monkey Teeth Can Stimulate Growth and Generation of Brain Cells

By Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Emory University
Nov 11, 2008 - 11:43:31 AM

Rhesus monkey dental stem cells show the ability to produce different types of cells, illustrating the potential for cell therapy and regenerative medicine.

( - ATLANTA — Researchers at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Emory University, have discovered dental pulp stem cells can stimulate growth and generation of several types of neural cells. Findings from this study, available in the October issue of the journal Stem Cells, suggest dental pulp stem cells show promise for use in cell therapy and regenerative medicine, particularly therapies associated with the central nervous system.

Dental stem cells are adult stem cells, one of the two major divisions of stem cell research. Adult stem cells have the ability to regenerate many different types of cells, promising great therapeutic potential, especially for diseases such as Huntington’s and Parkinson’s. Already, dental pulp stem cells have been used for regeneration of dental and craniofacial cells.

Yerkes researcher Anthony Chan, DVM, PhD, and his team of researchers placed dental pulp stem cells from the tooth of a rhesus macaque into the hippocampal areas of mice. The dental pulp stem cells stimulated growth of new neural cells, and many of these formed neurons.

“By showing dental pulp stem cells are capable of stimulating growth of neurons, our study demonstrates the specific therapeutic potential of dental pulp stem cells and the broader potential for adult stem cells,” says Chan, who also is assistant professor of human genetics in Emory School of Medicine.

Because dental pulp stem cells can be isolated from anyone at any age during a visit to the dentist, Chan is interested in the possibility of dental pulp stem cell banking. “Being able to use your own stem cells for therapy would greatly decrease the risk of cell rejection that we now experience in transplant medicine,” says Chan.

Chan and his research team next plan to determine if dental pulp stem cells from monkeys with Huntington’s disease can enhance brain cell development in the same way dental pulp stem cells from healthy monkeys do.

For more than seven decades, the Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Emory University, has been dedicated to conducting essential basic science and translational research to advance scientific understanding and to improve the health and well-being of humans and nonhuman primates. Today, the center, as one of only eight National Institutes of Health–funded national primate research centers, provides leadership, training and resources to foster scientific creativity, collaboration and discoveries. Yerkes-based research is grounded in scientific integrity, expert knowledge, respect for colleagues, an open exchange of ideas and compassionate, quality animal care.

Within the fields of microbiology and immunology, neuroscience, psychobiology and sensory-motor systems, the center’s research programs are seeking ways to: develop vaccines for infectious and noninfectious diseases, such as AIDS and Alzheimer’s disease; treat cocaine addiction; interpret brain activity through imaging; increase understanding of progressive illnesses such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s; unlock the secrets of memory; determine behavioral effects of hormone replacement therapy; address vision disorders; and advance knowledge about the evolutionary links between biology and behavior.