Friday coffee break

Every Friday at Nothing in Biology Makes Sense! our contributors pass around links to new scientific results, or science-y news, or videos of adorable wildlife, that they’re most likely to bring up while waiting in line for a latte.

From Sarah: Safer sex is also good for the environment, as endangered species condoms will remind you.

The Center for Biological Diversity marked this year’s Earth Day by distributing 100,000 free Endangered Species Condoms around the country. The Center collaborated with artist Roger Peet to create special editions of the colorful condom packages featuring a suite of species — from the dwarf seahorse to the polar bear — threatened by the world’s growing human population.

From Devin: The inside scoop on NIH grant review.

During each meeting, Council members review more than 1,000 applications. While they do not discuss the vast majority of them, they must vote whether to concur with the study section recommendations. For most applications, this is done en bloc.

From C.J.: The last Pinta Island giant tortoise, Lonsome George, died this week.

The rarest animal in the world is no more. Lonesome George, the last of the Pinta Island tortoises, was found dead on Sunday. But a small hope remains for his subspecies, as its genes have survived.

“He was an iconic animal for the Galápagos,” says Robert Silbermann, chief executive of the Galapagos Conservation Trust.

And from Jeremy: In tomatoes, the same receptor protein activates defensive responses against both leaf fungus and root worms.

We found that the extracellular plant immune receptor protein Cf-2 of the red currant tomato (Solanum pimpinellifolium) has acquired dual resistance specificity by sensing perturbations in a common virulence target of two independently evolved effectors of a fungus and a nematode. The Cf-2 protein, originally identified as a monospecific immune receptor for the leaf mold fungus Cladosporium fulvum, also mediates disease resistance to the root parasitic nematode Globodera rostochiensis pathotype Ro1-Mierenbos.

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