Post List

  • December 29, 2009
  • 01:43 AM

More coverage of the GEBA "Phylogeny Driven Genomic Encyclopedia"

by Jonathan Eisen in The Tree of Life

Additional discussion of recent paper... Read more »

Wu, D., Hugenholtz, P., Mavromatis, K., Pukall, R., Dalin, E., Ivanova, N., Kunin, V., Goodwin, L., Wu, M., Tindall, B.... (2009) A phylogeny-driven genomic encyclopaedia of Bacteria and Archaea. Nature, 462(7276), 1056-1060. DOI: 10.1038/nature08656  

  • December 28, 2009
  • 05:42 PM

Antipodean Pharmaceuticals and their Mitochondrially Targeted Antioxidant

by Reason in Fight Aging!

You might recall the work of Skulachev's research group in producing an ingested antioxidant compound that targets the mitochondria and extends life span in mice. Similarly, mice genetically engineered to produce more naturally-occurring antioxidants in their mitochondria also live longer. By way of comparison, all other forms of antioxidant examined to date generally do nothing for life span, and may even harm your health and longevity. The plausible explanation for the effects of mitochondrial........ Read more »

Rodriguez-Cuenca S, Cochemé HM, Logan A, Abakumova I, Prime TA, Rose C, Vidal-Puig A, Smith AC, Rubinsztein DC, Fearnley IM.... (2009) Consequences of long-term oral administration of the mitochondria-targeted antioxidant MitoQ to wild-type mice. Free radical biology . PMID: 19854266_id  

  • December 28, 2009
  • 04:09 PM

Reinfection with 2009 influenza H1N1

by Vincent Racaniello in virology blog

In healthy individuals, the first encounter with a virus leads to a primary antibody response. When an infection occurs with the same or a similar virus, a rapid antibody response occurs that is called the secondary antibody response. Antibodies are critical for preventing many viral infections, including influenza. But reinfection may occur if we encounter the same [...]... Read more »

Perez CM, Ferres M, & Labarca JA. (2010) Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 Reinfection, Chile. Emerging infectious diseases, 16(1), 156-7. PMID: 20031070  

  • December 28, 2009
  • 02:18 PM

Closer (and Closer) to Nature

by Journal Watch Online in Journal Watch Online

Housing is encroaching on U.S. protected areas

... Read more »

Radeloff, V., Stewart, S., Hawbaker, T., Gimmi, U., Pidgeon, A., Flather, C., Hammer, R., & Helmers, D. (2009) Housing growth in and near United States protected areas limits their conservation value. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0911131107  

  • December 28, 2009
  • 01:52 PM

Shield Pennywort - Hydrocotyle

by Johnny in Ecographica

Shield pennywort represents but one of about a hundred different species that belong to the Genus Hydrocotyle, a.k.a the ‘water pennyworts.’ Though often found listed as members of the Apiaceae Family, the Hydrocotyle group is now included in the ‘Ivy Family’ (Araliaceae). The genus as whole enjoys a worldwide distribution; however, the Facultative Wet H. verticillata is native to the Americas where can be found occupying floodplains, swamps, ditches, and just about any........ Read more »

  • December 28, 2009
  • 11:03 AM

Plant-ant relationships: plants on top?

by Thomas Kluyver in Thomas' Plant-Related Blog

Ants disperse the seeds of several ‘ancient woodland species’ in the UK, such as dog’s mercury. These are woodland plants that take a long time to arrive when a new wood forms, so you tend to only find them in old woods. In the tropics, ‘ant plants’ take it even further: they house and sometimes [...]... Read more »

Willmer, P., Nuttman, C., Raine, N., Stone, G., Pattrick, J., Henson, K., Stillman, P., McIlroy, L., Potts, S., & Knudsen, J. (2009) Floral volatiles controlling ant behaviour. Functional Ecology, 23(5), 888-900. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2435.2009.01632.x  

  • December 28, 2009
  • 11:00 AM

Do bats REALLY eat mosquitoes?

by Cheshire in Cheshire

One of the debates a lot of entomologists have is whether bats actually have an impact on mosquito populations. Sure, we hear all the time that bats eat mosquitoes, but there are good reasons to doubt this. I’ve had this discussion with instructors before and there’s really no consensus.

We know bats occasionally eat mosquitoes. They [...]... Read more »

  • December 28, 2009
  • 09:00 AM

Not All Mice Are Created Equal When it Comes to Gonorrhea

by Tim Sampson in The Times Microbial

Neisseria gonorrhoeae, the causative agent of the sexually transmitted infection, gonorrhea, is a Gram-negative diplococcus and an obligate human pathogen. An estimated 800,000 cases of gonorrhea occur each year in the United States (1). The most common sites of infection are the cervix and the male urethra, and symptomatic infection is characterized by a purulent exudate composed of numerous polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMNs) containing intracellular gonococci (3).

The development of whole ........ Read more »

  • December 28, 2009
  • 08:15 AM

Guidelines for genetic rescue: Interview with Philip Hedrick and Richard Fredrickson

by Rob Goldstein in Conservation Maven

We recently interviewed, Philip Hedrick and Richard Fredrickson, leaders in the field of conservation genetics. They had just published an article in which they outlined 10 guiding principles for genetic rescue - a practice that has been used to improve the condition of certain highly endangered species.... Read more »

  • December 28, 2009
  • 08:00 AM

The secret to long life? Don’t have kids (if you're a lizard)

by Zen Faulkes in NeuroDojo

It is a sad but true fact that you cannot have it all. This has been known in evolution for a long time, where people often talk about trade-offs.

In a new paper, Cox and Calsbeek test the trade-offs between survival and reproduction experimentally, using female anoles.

Female anoles (Anolis sagrei; pictured) lay one egg at a time, though they do so throughout the breeding season. Cox and Calsbeek captured almost 400 animals, and performed sterilizing surgery on half the females, and sham surg........ Read more »

  • December 28, 2009
  • 08:00 AM

The revenge of cell phones and cancer strikes back yet again in the never-ending controversy...

by Orac in Respectful Insolence

NOTE: Orac is on semi-vacation this week, trying very hard to recharge his Tarial cells. Actually, although he is at home, he is spending much of his time in his Sanctum Sanctorum (i.e., his home office) working on an R01 for the February submission cycle. Given that the week between Christmas and New Years Day tends to be pretty boring, both from a blogging and blog traffic standpoint, he's scaling back the new, original stuff and mixing in some "best of" reruns, as well as some more recent stu........ Read more »

Myung, S., Ju, W., McDonnell, D., Lee, Y., Kazinets, G., Cheng, C., & Moskowitz, J. (2009) Mobile Phone Use and Risk of Tumors: A Meta-Analysis. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 27(33), 5565-5572. DOI: 10.1200/JCO.2008.21.6366  

Deltour, I., Johansen, C., Auvinen, A., Feychting, M., Klaeboe, L., & Schuz, J. (2009) Time Trends in Brain Tumor Incidence Rates in Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden, 1974-2003. JNCI Journal of the National Cancer Institute. DOI: 10.1093/jnci/djp415  

  • December 28, 2009
  • 07:35 AM

A few bumps under the snowy slopes are better for environment

by Katie Kline in EcoTone

 Most people schussing down a ski slope probably don’t wonder if it’s been cleared or graded and why the answer makes a big difference to the surrounding environment. 
A new study out in December’s Ecological Applications finds that there is a big difference between a downhill ski slope that’s been cleared (cutting and removing shrubs and [...]

... Read more »

  • December 28, 2009
  • 04:30 AM

Improving habitat for fish with artificial structures in rivers

by Rob Goldstein in Conservation Maven

A new study from researchers at West Virginia University finds that dike structures in rivers can provide important habitat for native fish.

Kyle Hartman and Jennifer Titus tested the benefit of these artificial habitat features by looking at dikes that were installed in the Kanawha River in West Virginia as mitigation to offset negative impacts from a project to increase barge traffic on the waterway.... Read more »

  • December 28, 2009
  • 12:48 AM

Monkey Pay Per View

by Evil Monkey in Neurotopia

As humans, we know how important social interactions are. Aside from the importance of immediate family members, we also like to socialize with new people, unrelated people, and generally just people. There are several other species which are also known to be very social, and I'm not talking about bees. In mammals, the size of the frontal cortex, which is very important for higher informational processing, actually varies according to how high the group size of the species generally is. For ........ Read more »

  • December 27, 2009
  • 10:34 PM

“Filling the gaps in the tree of life” and “Stochasticity in gene expression” in my Picks of the Week from RB.

by Alejandro Montenegro-Montero in MolBio Research Highlights

Another week has gone by and some very interesting molbio blog posts have been aggregated to Every week [see my opening post on the matter], I'll select some blog posts I consider particularly interesting in the field of molecular biology [see here to get a sense of the criteria that will be used], briefly describe them and list them here for you to check out.Note that I'm ... Read more »

Wu, D., Hugenholtz, P., Mavromatis, K., Pukall, R., Dalin, E., Ivanova, N., Kunin, V., Goodwin, L., Wu, M., Tindall, B.... (2009) A phylogeny-driven genomic encyclopaedia of Bacteria and Archaea. Nature, 462(7276), 1056-1060. DOI: 10.1038/nature08656  

Maamar H, Raj A, & Dubnau D. (2007) Noise in gene expression determines cell fate in Bacillus subtilis. Science (New York, N.Y.), 317(5837), 526-9. PMID: 17569828  

  • December 27, 2009
  • 08:43 PM

Ready, Set, Migrate

by Journal Watch Online in Journal Watch Online

Climate conditions will move faster across flatter areas

... Read more »

Loarie, S., Duffy, P., Hamilton, H., Asner, G., Field, C., & Ackerly, D. (2009) The velocity of climate change. Nature, 462(7276), 1052-1055. DOI: 10.1038/nature08649  

  • December 27, 2009
  • 05:26 PM

Reaction Times and IQ Tests

by Greg Laden in Greg Laden's Blog

The following is a guest post by Stephanie Zvan. In this post, Zvan addresses a recent study of "reaction times" and IQ measurements two study groups distinguished by race. I'll let the post speak for itself, but it is worth nothing that in the ongoing discussion of race and intelligence, the complaint is commonly made that critiques of mainstream psychometrics do not pay much attention to the recent literature. This would be a case of that not happening. Read the rest of this post... | Read........ Read more »

  • December 27, 2009
  • 03:24 PM

The Genetics of Living To 100

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

Is there a gene for long life?Boston-based group Sebastiani et al say they've found not one but two, in RNA Editing Genes Associated with Extreme Old Age in Humans and with Lifespan in C. elegans.They took 4 groups of "oldest old" people: from New England, Italy, and Japan, and American Ashkenazi Jews. All were aged 90 or more, and many of them were 100, centenarians. As control groups, they used random healthy people who weren't especially old. The total sample size was an impressive 2105 old v........ Read more »

Sebastiani P, Montano M, Puca A, Solovieff N, Kojima T, Wang MC, Melista E, Meltzer M, Fischer SE, Andersen S.... (2009) RNA editing genes associated with extreme old age in humans and with lifespan in C. elegans. PloS one, 4(12). PMID: 20011587  

  • December 27, 2009
  • 01:16 PM

Sexy Snails and Expensive Males

by Johnny in Ecographica

What are males good for? ... mitochondrial genomes of a freshwater snail species in order to compare the rates at which genetic mutations accumulate during sexual and asexual reproduction.
... Read more »

Neiman, M., Hehman, G., Miller, J., Logsdon, J., & Taylor, D. (2009) Accelerated Mutation Accumulation in Asexual Lineages of a Freshwater Snail. Molecular Biology and Evolution. DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msp300  

  • December 27, 2009
  • 11:15 AM

Intrinsic plasticity: the 'other' learning mechanism

by Björn Brembs in

A quote from Nobel Laureate Eric Kandel in the December 11 issue of Science reminded me of a short article by David Glanzman covering a remarkable paper on pan-neuronal (aka 'intrinsic') plasticity and its involvement in learning and memory. Here is the quote:Q: Synaptic plasticity is a central concept in your work on memory. You've been working with Aplysia since 1962. What else do you think we can learn from these lowly snails? With almost all kinds of synaptic changes, there is a parallel ch........ Read more »

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