In 2011, we launched the Royal Society’s first fully open access journal, Open Biology, which specialises in biology at the cellular and molecular level. Over the past four years, the journal has demonstrated the Society’s support for open access publishing and offers a valuable opportunity for researchers at various stages of their career to participate, and make their findings widely accessible to the scientific community.

In celebration of Open Access Week, we showcase a small selection of the high-quality and thought-provoking open access articles published in Open Biology.


plant_robotClocking plant rhythms with robots and supercomputing

Scientists have made fresh discoveries about the processes that govern plants’ internal body clocks and help them adjust to changing seasons, triggering the arrival of flowers in spring. Using nifty robots to measure the activity of 10 genes in the plant’s biological clock, researchers found a very reliable timer and unraveled how the genes work together to run the plant’s complex clockwork.


insulinGetting fat at the right time

Lipids are important building blocks of all cells. As cells replicate they must increase the manufacture of lipids. Cancer cells boost their lipid making abilities to keep up with their unrelenting division. But how do cells make sure they don’t make too many lipids if they aren’t replicating, or make enough if they are? This research shows that the same “timer” that controls division also controls lipid production, and that insulin slows down this timer to increase lipid levels. It also suggests cancer genes break the timer to boost lipid production.


salmonellaThe effects of antibiotics misuse has led to aggressive resistant strains

This article reports, for the first time, an increase in bacterial virulence generated by exposure to sub-lethal concentrations of cefotaxime, an antibiotic widely used to treat bacterial infections. The results represents an alert for the misuse of antibiotics since these practices may lead not only to the selection of antibiotic-resistant strains but also to the generation of more aggressive infections.


brain lobesAre abzymes the key link between autoimmune diseases as a cause of schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia (SCZ) remains one of the most relevant problems of psychiatry. It is believed that damage to brain cells in SCZ patients induces autoimmune responses. However, the importance of immunological changes leading to the loss of tolerance to autoantigens in SCZ has not been established. This study presents the first analysis of anti-DNA antibodies and DNase abzymes in the blood of SCZ patients. The results indicate that some schizophrenia patients may show signs of typical autoimmune processes and support the assumption that autoimmunity could partake in the cause of the illness.


The weird and wonderful world of sea squirtshuxley_only

In 1851, the great biologist and philosopher Thomas Huxley published two landmark papers with the Royal Society on pelagic tunicates, the cousins of the well-known sea squirts. The novel anatomical observations and evolutionary hypotheses made by Huxley, would have a lasting influence on the biology of this intriguing group of animals, which were later found to be close relatives of vertebrates. More than 150 years after Huxley’s papers, tunicates are still at the forefront of molecular biological research, as they provide original and crucial insights into the process of animal evolution, as argued in this review.

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