New Scientist

Termite gut microbes can help turn toxic wood into biofuels

By James Urquhart Formosan-termit “Coptotermes formosanus” invasive termite, nicknamed the super-termite because of its destructive habits; Shutterstock ID 1078415000; purchase_order: PHOTO; job: 22 June 2021 Online; client: NS; other:Shutterstock / Dan Olsen Termites are renowned for devouring wood. Now, bacteria in one termite species’ guts have been shown to break down toxic creosote, which is…

Galapagos tortoises use their self-destructing cells to avoid cancer

By Claire Ainsworth A Galapagos giant tortoiseShutterstock/FOTOGRIN Galapagos giant tortoises are long-lived in part because their cells are surprisingly sensitive to certain forms of stress. As well as informing research into human medicine, the finding reveals how animals have evolved different ways to resist cancer and ageing. “There’s lots of different ways to get to…

Climate change to blame for monarch butterfly’s recent decline

By Adam Vaughan A female monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) laying eggs on a milkweed plantCorry Anne / Alamy Climate change has been the biggest cause of the precipitous decline of the monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) in North America in recent years, say researchers who fear parts of its breeding range will become inhospitable under future…