News

From the College of Natural Sciences

Researchers Discover Why It's So Hard to Grow an Extra Finger

Researchers Discover Why It's So Hard to Grow an Extra Finger

The fact that most humans have five digits on each hand and foot is due in part to a complex developmental pathway called Hedgehog. If something goes wrong in this process during development, say a mutation in a critical gene that affects its expression, a person might be born with extra fingers or toes, a condition known as polydactyly. New research shows that for at least one part of the pathway, there is a sort of failsafe mechanism that seems to make it harder for mistakes to happen.

Improved Method for Isotope Enrichment Could Secure a Vital Global Commodity

Improved Method for Isotope Enrichment Could Secure a Vital Global Commodity

Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have devised a new method for enriching a group of the world’s most expensive chemical commodities, stable isotopes, which are vital to medical imaging and nuclear power, as reported this week in the journal Nature Physics.

How Electric Fish Evolved Their Shocking Skills Independently at Six Different Times

How Electric Fish Evolved Their Shocking Skills Independently at Six Different Times

New research demonstrates that the six electric fish lineages, all of which evolved independently, used essentially the same genes and developmental and cellular pathways to make an electricity-generating organ for defense, predation, navigation and communication.

You Probably Ate Fungus Today

You Probably Ate Fungus Today

That salad you had for lunch. Yeah, it had fungi in it.

That celery stick you barely nibbled that came with your basket of wings last night. It had fungi in it too.

Head Room: McDonald Observatory

Head Room: McDonald Observatory

Take a trip out to Fort Davis, under some of the darkest skies in North America, and meet the telescopes that are making astronomical history. Learn more at McDonald Observatory's websiteVideo by Jeff Mertz.

$2.4 Million Grant Expands UT Austin’s Freshman Research Initiative

$2.4 Million Grant Expands UT Austin’s Freshman Research Initiative

Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) has awarded a $2.4 million grant to The University of Texas at Austin to expand its Freshman Research Initiative, a program that gives students the opportunity to take part in advanced research projects early in their academic careers.

Variety in Diet Can Hamper Microbial Diversity in the Gut

Variety in Diet Can Hamper Microbial Diversity in the Gut

Scientists from The University of Texas at Austin and five other institutions have discovered that the more diverse the diet of a fish, the less diverse are the microbes living in its gut. If the effect is confirmed in humans, it could mean that the combinations of foods people eat can influence the diversity of their gut microbes.

Head Room: The UT Austin Greenhouses

Head Room: The UT Austin Greenhouses

Take a glimpse into two of UT's biggest and brightest (literally!) greenhouses. The BOT greenhouse holds a number of exotic plants for taxonomic study, while the Welch greenhouse hosts a variety of rich and important agricultural projects. As these horticulturalists make clear, no two greenhouses are ever the same!

Erin Dolan Appointed First Director of the Texas Institute for Discovery Education in Science

Erin Dolan Appointed First Director of the Texas Institute for Discovery Education in Science

Erin Dolan has been appointed the first Executive Director of the Texas Institute for Discovery Education in Science (TIDES), a newly formed institute for education innovation in the College of Natural Sciences (CNS) at The University of Texas at Austin. The institute was proposed in the CNS 2013 Strategic Plan as a way to enhance the college’s leading role in STEM education.

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University of Texas at Austin Unveils Cognitive Computing Course Based on IBM Watson

University of Texas at Austin Unveils Cognitive Computing Course Based on IBM Watson

IBM Watson LogoThe University of Texas at Austin's Department of Computer Science is partnering with IBM to launch a new cognitive computing course titled “Automated Question Answering” that gives students unprecedented access to one of IBM’s most prized innovations: Watson. The University of Texas at Austin is one of seven universities offering the new course this fall.