Post List

  • December 12, 2009
  • 12:58 AM

What an Unlearned Presidential Hopeful can teach us about Evolution

by Johnny in Ecographica

One of the common misconceptions about biological evolution is that the process pushes organisms towards a pinnacle of perfection in which the ‘most evolved species’ maintain dominance over ‘less evolved’ or ‘lower organisms.’ Often closely associated with this mistaken belief is the erroneous idea that, by virtue of braininess, our own species – Homo sapiens - currently holds sovereignty over evolution’s hypothetical pinnacle. These egocentric a........ Read more »

  • December 11, 2009
  • 09:41 PM

Are Cells From Old People Still Good For Therapeutic Use?

by Reason in Fight Aging!

Some nagging uncertainties remain on progress in stem cell medicine - and especially progress in reprogramming easily obtained somatic cells into patient-specific pluripotent stem cells. These uncertainties will be answered and addressed in the years ahead, but this one springs to mind today: it is possible that cells from older people may be altered or damaged in ways that prevent their effective use as-is in the sort of autologous stem cell therapies presently envisaged. That would be a setbac........ Read more »

Suhr, S., Chang, E., Rodriguez, R., Wang, K., Ross, P., Beyhan, Z., Murthy, S., & Cibelli, J. (2009) Telomere Dynamics in Human Cells Reprogrammed to Pluripotency. PLoS ONE, 4(12). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0008124  

  • December 11, 2009
  • 05:10 PM

Keeping the Faith

by Journal Watch Online in Journal Watch Online

Historical places of worship may harbor biodiversity

... Read more »

  • December 11, 2009
  • 01:42 PM

A Shot in the Arm

by Brian Koberlein in Upon Reflection

Cold and flu season has hit the Rochester area recently, as evidenced by the recent uptick in the number of students missing class on account of colds and flu. Fortunately there are ways to minimize your chances of getting a...... Read more »

  • December 11, 2009
  • 01:37 PM

Walking the line, using a microscope

by Bryan in Imaging Geek

Things need to get transported around inside of our cells. For example, proteins meant to detect extracellular signals like hormones must move to the cell surface; otherwise they won't work. Much of this cargo gets moved through small balloon-like structures called vesicles. Rather than drifting randomly, these "balloons" move along tracks in the cell called microtubules; long, filamentous proteins that form a skeleton within the cell. ike a train, these "balloons" require a motor to pull the........ Read more »

  • December 11, 2009
  • 12:07 PM

Mapping Bias in Short Read Alignment

by Daniel Koboldt in Massgenomics

A recent paper in Bioinformatics investigates the effect of read-mapping biases on detecting allele-specific expression (ASE) from RNA-Seq data.  The authors generated 16 million 36-bp cDNA reads in each of two HapMap individuals on the Illumina/Solexa platform.  When evaluating known SNPs for evidence of ASE, they observed that heterozygous SNPs exhibited a mapping bias favoring [...]... Read more »

Degner JF, Marioni JC, Pai AA, Pickrell JK, Nkadori E, Gilad Y, & Pritchard JK. (2009) Effect of read-mapping biases on detecting allele-specific expression from RNA-sequencing data. Bioinformatics (Oxford, England), 25(24), 3207-12. PMID: 19808877  

  • December 11, 2009
  • 11:45 AM

Making Cold Atoms Look Like Electrons

by Chad Orzel in Uncertain Principles

One of the things I forgot to mention in yesterday's post about why I like AMO physics is that AMO systems have proven to be outstanding tools for solving problems from other fields of physics. In particular, ultra-cold atoms have proven to be a fantastic venue for studying problems from condensed matter physics. There's a comprehensive review of the subject in this Reviews of Modern Physics paper, which is also freely available on the arxiv. I say "comprehensive review," but, of course, it's al........ Read more »

Bloch, I., & Zwerger, W. (2008) Many-body physics with ultracold gases. Reviews of Modern Physics, 80(3), 885-964. DOI: 10.1103/RevModPhys.80.885  

  • December 11, 2009
  • 11:20 AM

Nitric Oxide Synthase Isn't Just Used by Our White Blood Cells...

by Tim Sampson in The Times Microbial is proud to have J. Kandler, a microbiology graduate student at Emory University, present to us this interesting post on a defense feature common in our immune system, but being utilized by bacteria as well.After Halloween, I came across this spooky article in Science describing yet another way bacteria are dodging antibiotics. Don’t worry, there’s a silver lining! Gusarov and his colleagues may have found a new target for the antibiotic industry, bacterial nitric oxide synth........ Read more »

Gusarov I, Shatalin K, Starodubtseva M, & Nudler E. (2009) Endogenous nitric oxide protects bacteria against a wide spectrum of antibiotics. Science (New York, N.Y.), 325(5946), 1380-4. PMID: 19745150  

  • December 11, 2009
  • 11:15 AM

Obese, But Metabolic Healthy Individuals: at Lower Risk for Death

by Travis Saunders, MSc in Obesity Panacea

Very recently, an interesting study was published looking at the risk of early mortality among metabolically-healthy obese individuals – a topic we’ve covered on a number of occasions on Obesity Panacea. The authors of this landmark study published in the journal Diabetes Care are actually close friends of ours (Dr. Jennifer Kuk and Dr. Christopher Ardern), and both are alumni of Queen’s university. Now that the media frenzy surrounding their recent study has subsided, Dr. Kuk ........ Read more »

  • December 11, 2009
  • 10:54 AM

The Convergent Brains of Humans and Elephants

by Johnny in Ecographica

In recent evolution news, a research article published this month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has demonstrated that the brains of elephants and humans have followed similar adaptive paths.... Read more »

Goodman, M., Sterner, K., Islam, M., Uddin, M., Sherwood, C., Hof, P., Hou, Z., Lipovich, L., Jia, H., Grossman, L.... (2009) Phylogenomic analyses reveal convergent patterns of adaptive evolution in elephant and human ancestries. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 106(49), 20824-20829. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0911239106  

  • December 11, 2009
  • 10:48 AM

Understatement of the decade?

by Sally Church in Pharma Strategy Blog

At the American Society of Hematology meeting last weekend, I had the pleasure of listening to an enlightening education session on CML from Drs Brian Druker, John Goldman, Moshe Talpaz and Tim Hughes, all leading lights in the field. Prof...... Read more »

  • December 11, 2009
  • 10:02 AM

Non-native hydrogen bonds mediate structural transitions

by Michael Clarkson in Conformational Flux

A few weeks ago, I wrote that the goal of a structural biology research program ought to be to "characterize the conformation and energy of key, functionally-relevant members of the protein's structural ensemble and identify the pathways between them." The Nature paper last week, among other examples I mentioned in the preceding post, described functionally significant minor members of the native-state ensemble, and this is certainly an area where structural studies are making a l........ Read more »

Gardino, A., Villali, J., Kivenson, A., Lei, M., Liu, C., Steindel, P., Eisenmesser, E., Labeikovsky, W., Wolf-Watz, M., Clarkson, M.W.... (2009) Transient Non-native Hydrogen Bonds Promote Activation of a Signaling Protein. Cell, 139(6), 1109-1118. DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2009.11.022  

  • December 11, 2009
  • 08:30 AM

The negative impact of salvage logging on birds

by Rob Goldstein in Conservation Maven

Researchers in Spain measure the impacts of salvage logging on bird communities (it's not good)... Read more »

  • December 11, 2009
  • 04:00 AM

Study finds gender of author has no effect on peer-review process

by Rob Goldstein in Conservation Maven

A new study uses a creative experimental design to test whether changing the author gender effects the outcome of the peer review process...... Read more »

Borsuk, R., Aarssen, L., Budden, A., Koricheva, J., Leimu, R., Tregenza, T., & Lortie, C. (2009) To Name or Not to Name: The Effect of Changing Author Gender on Peer Review. BioScience, 59(11), 985-989. DOI: 10.1525/bio.2009.59.11.10  

  • December 11, 2009
  • 03:40 AM

Getting the timing right for song control

by kubke in Building Blogs of Science

Songbirds have evolved special areas in the brain that are used for song learning and song production. Two types of output connections from a cortical area known as HVC (proper name) each go to two ‘separate’ pathways. Some HVC neurons connect directly with neurons in a brain area called RA (robust nucleus of the archopallium), [...]... Read more »

  • December 11, 2009
  • 12:26 AM

Friday Weird Science: Creative Uses of the Stopwatch

by Evil Monkey in Neurotopia

For Sci, the weird science tends to come in spurts (heh heh...heh). There will be times when I am literally digging through Pubmed trying to find ANYTHING ODD AT ALL, and then there are times, like now, when people are tweeting and emailing and g-chatting and all but screaming in my ear with the weird. Got enough crazy sexual crap around here to last for WEEKS.

And a good thing, too, cause it's all about premature ejaculation, and don't we all wish we could last for weeks...


So we........ Read more »

Waldinger, M., Quinn, P., Dilleen, M., Mundayat, R., Schweitzer, D., & Boolell, M. (2005) A Multinational Population Survey of Intravaginal Ejaculation Latency Time. The Journal of Sexual Medicine, 2(4), 492-497. DOI: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2005.00070.x  

  • December 10, 2009
  • 06:23 PM

Last Plant Standing

by Journal Watch Online in Journal Watch Online

Coastal vegetation may not offer much protection against tsunamis

... Read more »

Feagin, R., Mukherjee, N., Shanker, K., Baird, A., Cinner, J., Kerr, A., Koedam, N., Sridhar, A., Arthur, R., Jayatissa, L.... (2009) Shelter from the storm? Use and misuse of coastal vegetation bioshields for managing natural disasters. Conservation Letters. DOI: 10.1111/j.1755-263X.2009.00087.x  

  • December 10, 2009
  • 06:18 PM

The Semantic Biochemical Journal experiment

by Duncan Hull in O'Really?

There is an interesting review [1] (and special issue) in the Biochemical Journal today, published by Portland Press Ltd. It provides (quote) “a whirlwind tour of recent projects to transform scholarly publishing paradigms, culminating in Utopia and the Semantic Biochemical Journal experiment”. Here is a quick outline of the publishing projects the review describes and [...]... Read more »

Attwood, T., Kell, D., McDermott, P., Marsh, J., Pettifer, S., & Thorne, D. (2009) Calling International Rescue: knowledge lost in literature and data landslide!. Biochemical Journal, 424(3), 317-333. DOI: 10.1042/BJ20091474  

Fink, J., Kushch, S., Williams, P., & Bourne, P. (2008) BioLit: integrating biological literature with databases. Nucleic Acids Research, 36(Web Server). DOI: 10.1093/nar/gkn317  

Pafilis, E., O'Donoghue, S., Jensen, L., Horn, H., Kuhn, M., Brown, N., & Schneider, R. (2009) Reflect: augmented browsing for the life scientist. Nature Biotechnology, 27(6), 508-510. DOI: 10.1038/nbt0609-508  

Pettifer, S., Thorne, D., McDermott, P., Marsh, J., Villéger, A., Kell, D., & Attwood, T. (2009) Visualising biological data: a semantic approach to tool and database integration. BMC Bioinformatics, 10(Suppl 6). DOI: 10.1186/1471-2105-10-S6-S19  

  • December 10, 2009
  • 02:15 PM

Emotional words distract, but only when you're searching for meaning

by Dave Munger in Cognitive Daily

I attended an unusual middle school. It was designed on an "open concept," with the idea that there should be no walls between classrooms. Social pressure would keep the noise levels down, because if kids got too loud, then their peers in other classes would encourage them to hush up. This actually worked most of the time, but one day one of the English teacher's classes was getting out of hand, and after trying several ways to get their attention, she resorted to something a big more dramatic. ........ Read more »

Huang, Y., Baddeley, A., & Young, A. (2008) Attentional capture by emotional stimuli is modulated by semantic processing. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 34(2), 328-339. DOI: 10.1037/0096-1523.34.2.328  

  • December 10, 2009
  • 01:53 PM

The monolingual sniffer dog and the lonely rabbi

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

The current global order has thrown up yet another bewildering language problem: the monolingual sniffer dog!
I glean the following from a recent NYT article about Rabbis in Montana: with all the concerns about homeland security, the US has an expanding need for sniffer dogs. Training sniffer dogs locally is costly (the article quotes US$ [...]... Read more »

Piller, Ingrid, & Pavlenko, Aneta. (2007) Globalization, gender, and multilingualism. Helene Decke-Cornill and Laurenz Volkmann (Eds.), Gender Studies and Foreign Language Teaching. Tübingen: Narr, 15-30. info:/

join us!

Do you write about peer-reviewed research in your blog? Use to make it easy for your readers — and others from around the world — to find your serious posts about academic research.

If you don't have a blog, you can still use our site to learn about fascinating developments in cutting-edge research from around the world.

Register Now

Research Blogging is powered by SMG Technology.

To learn more, visit