Post List

  • October 2, 2010
  • 08:30 AM

Cell phones, cancer, and scientific oversimplification

by Melinda Moyer in Body Politic

I’ve always been a big fan of Michael Shermer’s Skeptic column in Scientific American, but this month I have to say I’m disappointed. In his piece (which is not yet online), titled “Can You Hear Me Now? Physics shows that cell phones cannot cause cancer,” Shermer argues that it is “virtually impossible” for cell phones to cause cancer because they “do not emit enough energy to break the molecular bonds inside cells.” While this latter stateme........ Read more »

  • October 2, 2010
  • 07:09 AM

The advantages of attractiveness… in the zoo

by Lucas in thoughtomics

An easy task: from the two parrots above, pick the one that you think is the most beautiful.
Made your pick? If you are like most people, you will prefer the Blue-and-yellow macaw on the left over the Red-bellied macaw on the right. This might seem like a trivial question of judging [...]... Read more »

  • October 2, 2010
  • 05:32 AM

Inhabitiveness: Its Definition, Location, and Adaptation, Together with the Importance of the having a Home

by John Wayland in The Darwin Tribune

At this time of year, as the weather turns colder and the nights become longer, one can't help but be thankful for our home. Some people never leave home, and some miss it terribly so. In contrast some don't, and do not care about their home, why is this? Today's article is concerned with the home, the importance of owning a home, and characteristics, even animal characteristics, that can be given to homeowners in order to understand what kind of home they might build and where. A........ Read more »

O.S. Fowler. (1818) Inhabitiveness: Its Definition, Location, and Adaptation, Together with the Importance of the having a Home. American Phrenological Journal and Miscellany, 55-61. info:/

  • October 2, 2010
  • 05:07 AM

How the penguin got its tuxedo | GrrlScientist

by GrrlScientist in GrrlScientist

Fossilised feathers from a giant, extinct penguin reveal this species' unusual coloration and offer clues to how modern penguin feathers evolved... Read more »

Clarke, J., Ksepka, D., Salas-Gismondi, R., Altamirano, A., Shawkey, M., D'Alba, L., Vinther, J., DeVries, T., & Baby, P. (2010) Fossil Evidence for Evolution of the Shape and Color of Penguin Feathers. Science. DOI: 10.1126/science.1193604  

  • October 2, 2010
  • 12:30 AM

Steric Transcriptional Control: Five weeks of work, few figures, and so many paths to follow

by Levi Simonson in Learnest Scribbler

This week marks my last week working for Chris Doe, before leaving for the foreign, zebrafish-filled waters of Judith Eisen's lab.  So, I recently gave an hour-long talk (scheduled for 15minutes) on my short (5-week) rotation through the Doe lab, which was fairly productive.  I'll try to recreate the general feeling of my presentation here. (below the fold).  Introduction:Cajal's illustration of the neuronal diversity in the chick cerebellumOne of the biggest questions asked in ........ Read more »

Grosskortenhaus, R., Pearson, B., Marusich, A., & Doe, C. (2005) Regulation of Temporal Identity Transitions in Drosophila Neuroblasts. Developmental Cell, 8(2), 193-202. DOI: 10.1016/j.devcel.2004.11.019  

Sato S, Burgess SB, & McIlwain DL. (1994) Transcription and motoneuron size. Journal of neurochemistry, 63(5), 1609-15. PMID: 7523596  

Thakar, R., Gordon, G., & Csink, A. (2006) Dynamics and anchoring of heterochromatic loci during development. Journal of Cell Science, 119(20), 4165-4175. DOI: 10.1242/jcs.03183  

  • October 1, 2010
  • 08:03 PM

Edinburgh hepatitis outbreak – Interview with Emeritus Professor Christopher Burrell

by thomastu in Disease Prone

Continuing on with our series of vaccine-preventable disease, this week I was honoured to get an E-mail interview with Emeritus Professor Christopher Burrell. Chris has a CV longer than my arm: Officer of the Order of Australia, Head of the Infectious Disesase Laboratories at the IMVS, Professor of Virology at the University of Adelaide, co-founder [...]... Read more »

Marmion BP, Burrell CJ, Tonkin RW, & Dickson J. (1982) Dialysis-associated hepatitis in Edinburgh; 1969-1978. Reviews of infectious diseases, 4(3), 619-37. PMID: 6812192  

  • October 1, 2010
  • 07:35 PM

Grunting During a Tennis Shot May Provide a Competitive Advantage

by Michael Long in Phased

Scott Sinnett (University of Hawaii, United States) and Alan Kingstone (University of British Columbia, Canada) have scientifically tested whether or not a controversial tennis practice is distracting to the opponent. This news feature was written on October 1, 2010.... Read more »

  • October 1, 2010
  • 05:00 PM

Why young adults change their religious beliefs

by Tom Rees in Epiphenom

Your religious beliefs, like many aspects of personality, tend to crystallise in your late teens and early adulthood. It's a period of tremendous change but, once set, few people undergo and radical changes.

Even so, some kids change, while others do not. It's interesting to speculate on why that might be. What separates the changers from those who stay the same? Is it genetics, or is it environment?

A recent study has looked at this using data from two twin studies in Colorado, USA. The basic........ Read more »

  • October 1, 2010
  • 04:28 PM

Viagra: A Chemotherapy Adjunct

by Michael Long in Phased

Anindita Das, Rakesh Kukreja (Virginia Commonwealth University, United States) and coworkers have shown that Viagra enhances the efficacy of doxorubicin against prostate cancer, minimizes the damage done to healthy cells, and reduces the heart damage caused by doxorubicin, findings very likely to find their way into real-world clinical settings in the short-term. This news feature was written on October 1, 2010.... Read more »

Das, A., Durrant, D., Mitchell, C., Mayton, E., Hoke, N. N., Salloum, F. N., Park, M. A., Qureshi, I., Lee, R., Dent, P.... (2010) Sildenafil increases chemotherapeutic efficacy of doxorubicin in prostate cancer and ameliorates cardiac dysfunction. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1006965107  

  • October 1, 2010
  • 03:48 PM

Why we will never defeat the microbes

by Kevin Bonham in Food Matters

The best defense against pathogens is to never let them gain access to our delicious, gooey insides. Our skin is pretty good for this purpose: it’s pretty tough and mostly impermeable, and the only way most of our surface tissues can get infected is if that skin barrier is broken. But we can’t have skin [...]... Read more »

Winter, S., Thiennimitr, P., Winter, M., Butler, B., Huseby, D., Crawford, R., Russell, J., Bevins, C., Adams, L., Tsolis, R.... (2010) Gut inflammation provides a respiratory electron acceptor for Salmonella. Nature, 467(7314), 426-429. DOI: 10.1038/nature09415  

  • October 1, 2010
  • 03:19 PM

Cymbalta and Effexor: Hype Over Science

by CL Psych in Clinical Psychology & Psychiatry

Remember the hype around the serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)? Effexor and Cymbalta impact both serotonin and norepinephrine, so they should be more effective than SSRI’s in treating depression? Mind you, that’s not a high bar to clear - it’s not like SSRI’s are much better than placebo. So get the hell outta the way, Prozac and Paxil, because Cymbalta and Effexor will unleash their incredible efficacy onto the world of psychiatry. Doubt me? Read this 2009 articl........ Read more »

Schueler, Y., Koesters, M., Wieseler, B., Grouven, U., Kromp, M., Kerekes, M., Kreis, J., Kaiser, T., Becker, T., & Weinmann, S. (2010) A systematic review of duloxetine and venlafaxine in major depression, including unpublished data. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica. DOI: 10.1111/j.1600-0447.2010.01599.x  

  • October 1, 2010
  • 03:03 PM

The Ig Nobels have been announced!

by Christie Wilcox in Observations of a Nerd

Every year, the crew behind the Annals of Improbable Research honor research that "first makes people laugh, then makes them think." These awards, known as the Ig Nobels, honor some of the most entertaining research published in the past year. The competition is fierce, and the prizes highly coveted. But without further ado! This year, the winners are... Read the rest of this post... | Read the comments on this post...... Read more »

Tero, A., Takagi, S., Saigusa, T., Ito, K., Bebber, D., Fricker, M., Yumiki, K., Kobayashi, R., & Nakagaki, T. (2010) Rules for Biologically Inspired Adaptive Network Design. Science, 327(5964), 439-442. DOI: 10.1126/science.1177894  

Lianne Parkin, Sheila M Williams, Patricia Priest. (2009) Preventing winter falls: a randomised controlled trial of a novel intervention . Journal of the New Zealand Medical Association, 122(1298). info:/

Stephens, R., Atkins, J., & Kingston, A. (2009) Swearing as a response to pain. NeuroReport, 1. DOI: 10.1097/WNR.0b013e32832e64b1  

Pluchino, A., Rapisarda, A., & Garofalo, C. (2010) The Peter principle revisited: A computational study. Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, 389(3), 467-472. DOI: 10.1016/j.physa.2009.09.045  

Tan, M., Jones, G., Zhu, G., Ye, J., Hong, T., Zhou, S., Zhang, S., & Zhang, L. (2009) Fellatio by Fruit Bats Prolongs Copulation Time. PLoS ONE, 4(10). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0007595  

  • October 1, 2010
  • 12:26 PM

Sex, Evolution, and the Case of the Missing Polygamists

by Eric Michael Johnson in The Primate Diaries in Exile

The latest stop in the #PDEx tour is being hosted at Psychology Today by Sex at Dawn:There is no greater mystery in human evolution than the origins of our sexuality. Following the trail of clues available researchers have independently concluded that humans evolved through systems of monogamy, polygyny, as well as polyamory. However only one can be the culprit and, like a detective interrogating multiple suspects, the solution ultimately depends on which account you're willing to believe. Last ........ Read more »

  • October 1, 2010
  • 12:11 PM

Genetics of Human Gene Expression

by Daniel Koboldt in Massgenomics

Vivian Cheung and colleagues have published a landmark study on polymorphic cis- and trans-regulation of human gene expression that combines genetic association and transcriptome sequencing (RNA-Seq) to identify 1,000 polymorphic cis- and trans-regulators of gene expression.

Two key features distinguish this from other recent studies on genetics of gene expression (GOGE) in humans: first, linkage mapping [...]... Read more »

Cheung VG, Nayak RR, Wang IX, Elwyn S, Cousins SM, Morley M, & Spielman RS. (2010) Polymorphic cis- and trans-regulation of human gene expression. PLoS biology, 8(9). PMID: 20856902  

  • October 1, 2010
  • 12:02 PM


by sandygautam in The Mouse Trap

Image via Wikipedia I have written previously about CNV’s and how de novo CNV’s have been recently shown to correlate with disorders like autism and schizophrenia. I have also been militantly proposing that autism and psychosis are diametrically opposed disorders and have been gladdened to find that recent CNV data support that hypothesis.  I reportedRating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)... Read more »

Williams, N., Zaharieva, I., Martin, A., Langley, K., Mantripragada, K., Fossdal, R., Stefansson, H., Stefansson, K., Magnusson, P., & Gudmundsson, O. (2010) Rare chromosomal deletions and duplications in attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder: a genome-wide analysis. The Lancet. DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(10)61109-9  

  • October 1, 2010
  • 11:00 AM

Y Chromosome VII: Why Palindromes?

by Kele in Kele's Science Blog

Synopsis: Last time I discussed the existence of several very long palindromes on the Y chromosome. Why would they be there in the first place? Rozen et al. (2003) argue that the Y chromosome basically recombines with itself through gene conversion! But what’s the evidence for such a possibly game-changing assertion? Skaletsky et al. (2003) [...]... Read more »

Rozen, S., Skaletsky, H., Marszalek, J., Minx, P., Cordum, H., Waterston, R., Wilson, R., & Page, D. (2003) Abundant gene conversion between arms of palindromes in human and ape Y chromosomes. Nature, 423(6942), 873-876. DOI: 10.1038/nature01723  

Skaletsky, H., Kuroda-Kawaguchi, T., Minx, P., Cordum, H., Hillier, L., Brown, L., Repping, S., Pyntikova, T., Ali, J., Bieri, T.... (2003) The male-specific region of the human Y chromosome is a mosaic of discrete sequence classes. Nature, 423(6942), 825-837. DOI: 10.1038/nature01722  

  • October 1, 2010
  • 10:55 AM

To The Bat… Pond?

by Journal Watch Online in Journal Watch Online

Desert foxes and desert rats, leave a few sips for the desert bats. A study in Israel’s Negev Desert finds that even small temporary ponds may be critical to the survival of bats living in arid regions. The liquid insight highlights the importance of conserving desert ponds of all sizes, the authors say.
Dozens of […] Read More »... Read more »

  • October 1, 2010
  • 10:49 AM

Harmful algal blooms highlight risks from cascading ecological collapse

by Noam Ross in Noam Ross

A plankton bloom in the Baltic sea. Credit: ESA Harmful algal blooms (HABs) are scary things.   The occur when populations of algae explode in coastal environments.  The algae suck up the oxygen and release neurotoxins into the water, and even the local air.   Fisheries and beaches have to be shut down.  People have been killed.  HABs aren't predictable, but its clear that they more damaging and more common than they were in the past due to nutrient pollution ........ Read more »

HEISLER, J., GLIBERT, P., BURKHOLDER, J., ANDERSON, D., COCHLAN, W., DENNISON, W., DORTCH, Q., GOBLER, C., HEIL, C., & HUMPHRIES, E. (2008) Eutrophication and harmful algal blooms: A scientific consensus. Harmful Algae, 8(1), 3-13. DOI: 10.1016/j.hal.2008.08.006  

Miller, M., Kudela, R., Mekebri, A., Crane, D., Oates, S., Tinker, M., Staedler, M., Miller, W., Toy-Choutka, S., Dominik, C.... (2010) Evidence for a Novel Marine Harmful Algal Bloom: Cyanotoxin (Microcystin) Transfer from Land to Sea Otters. PLoS ONE, 5(9). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0012576  

  • October 1, 2010
  • 10:25 AM

Science or Sciencey [part 4]

by Daniel Simons in The Invisible Gorilla

The final part of a 4-part series examining what happens when science is used for marketing (using brain-training software as the central example). ... Read more »

Edwards JD, Delahunt PB, & Mahncke HW. (2009) Cognitive speed of processing training delays driving cessation. The journal of gerontology. Series A, Biological sciences and medical sciences, 64(12), 1262-1267. PMID: 19726665  

  • October 1, 2010
  • 09:16 AM

Frankenfish: Genetically Modified Salmon

by A. Goldstein in WiSci

Critics call them “frankenfish.” Advocates call them delicious. Either way, a genetically engineered salmon may be served up on your plate sooner than you think. In the United States, over 90% of corn, cotton, soybeans, and sugar beets we grow and consume are already genetically modified (GM). Therefore, the absence of GM animals may seem [...]... Read more »

Richt, J., Kasinathan, P., Hamir, A., Castilla, J., Sathiyaseelan, T., Vargas, F., Sathiyaseelan, J., Wu, H., Matsushita, H., Koster, J.... (2006) Production of cattle lacking prion protein. Nature Biotechnology, 25(1), 132-138. DOI: 10.1038/nbt1271  

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