Post List

  • December 11, 2009
  • 10:54 AM
  • 524 views

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
  • 1,059 views

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
  • 739 views

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
  • 900 views

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
  • 565 views

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
  • 436 views

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
  • 918 views

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...

*rimshot!*

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
  • 447 views

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
  • 1,619 views

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
  • 1,329 views

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
  • 1,206 views

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:/

  • December 10, 2009
  • 01:41 PM
  • 739 views

Step away from the cookie jar! Over-confidence in self-control leads us to temptation

by Christian Jarrett in BPS Research Digest

Christmas is just around the corner and you're getting organised. You buy a couple of boxes of chocolates to put in storage for enjoyment over the festive break. It's after lunch, you're not particularly hungry, and you seen no obvious problems with the plan. Later that night, however, the munchies kick in and before you know it you're raiding the cupboard, tearing open the box and gorging yourself. According to a new paper by Loran Nordgren and colleagues, such situations arise because of our i........ Read more »

  • December 10, 2009
  • 01:26 PM
  • 747 views

Bacterial evolution: negative to positive?

by Lab Rat in Lab Rat

The most commonly used distinction in bacterial populations is that of Gram negative and Gram positive bacteria. They are named after the method used to distinguish them: the Gram stain (developed by Hans Christian Gram). Gram positive bacteria have larger peptidoglycan cell walls, and therefore retain the crystal violet stain, whereas Gram negative bacteria have two membranes with a thin peptidoglycan wall between them, do not retain the crystal violet stain, and pick up the safranin counter-st........ Read more »

  • December 10, 2009
  • 01:21 PM
  • 1,833 views

Blood: Clot, Flow and Slip

by Arunn in nOnoScience (a.k.a. Unruled Notebook)

By 2020 seventy percent of the heart patients of the World, a study suggests, would be in India. The cause seems genetic. The gene that codes the enzyme called PON1 is defective in Indians and predisposes them to heart ailments and diabetes. Coupled with degenerating lifestyle – eating habits – leads to such a dire [...]... Read more »

  • December 10, 2009
  • 12:55 PM
  • 1,042 views

#ASH09 Update: Multiple Myeloma

by Sally Church in Pharma Strategy Blog

In the past, single agent and double agent regimens have been a mainstay in the treatment of multiple myeloma, yet the five year survival rate has remained steadfastly low around 3-4 years, on average. Typically, younger and fitter patients do...... Read more »

Soucy, T., Smith, P., Milhollen, M., Berger, A., Gavin, J., Adhikari, S., Brownell, J., Burke, K., Cardin, D., Critchley, S.... (2009) An inhibitor of NEDD8-activating enzyme as a new approach to treat cancer. Nature, 458(7239), 732-736. DOI: 10.1038/nature07884  

  • December 10, 2009
  • 10:05 AM
  • 791 views

Picky eating, not genetics, splits leaf beetles

by Jeremy Yoder in Denim and Tweed

Many different factors can conspire to create reproductive isolation between populations and, ultimately, separate species. Disentangling them is often tricky, but a study recently published in PNAS takes a crack, and demonstrates that two populations of leaf beetles are divided by food preferences, not genetics [$-a]

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N........ Read more »

  • December 10, 2009
  • 09:00 AM
  • 1,638 views

Yet another bad day for the anti-vaccine movement

by Orac in Respectful Insolence

Arguably, the genesis of the most recent iteration of the anti-vaccine movement dates back to 1998, when a remarkably incompetent researcher named Andrew Wakefield published a trial lawyer-funded "study" in the Lancet that purported to find a link between "autistic enterocolitis" and measles vaccination with the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) trivalent vaccine. In the wake of that publication was born a scare over the MMR that persists to this day, 11 years later. Although peer reviewers forced the........ Read more »

  • December 10, 2009
  • 08:30 AM
  • 757 views

Avoiding disease outbreaks when reintroducing endangered wildlife

by Rob Goldstein in Conservation Maven

Scientists have tested a method for reducing parasitic infections in wildlife reintroductions. Using guppies (Poecilia reticulata) as a model species, they found that pre-exposing individuals to parasites and then curing them prior to reintroduction reduces infection after being released... Read more »

  • December 10, 2009
  • 08:00 AM
  • 536 views

Shocking affairs of zebra finches revealed!

by Zen Faulkes in NeuroDojo

We never get tired of finding out who’s cheating on who, if the headlines are any indication. Finding out how much cheating is going on in the animal kingdom was revolutionized with the introduction of DNA fingerprinting, and led to major rethinking of sexual behaviour, particularly among birds.

Go back before the introduction of DNA technology, and the general consensus was the most bird species were monogamous, at least during a breeding season. There were all kinds of good reasons that........ Read more »

Griffith, Simon C., Holleley, Clare E., Mariette, Mylene M., Pryke, Sarah R., & Svedin, Nina. (2010) Low level of extrapair parentage in wild zebra finches. Animal Behaviour. info:/10.1016/j.anbehav.2009.11.031

  • December 10, 2009
  • 05:41 AM
  • 1,309 views

Trans-Splicing: a Patchy Story

by Lucas in thoughtomics


There’s a lot that can happen before the information inside a gene gets translated into a protein. For example, RNA transcripts that are derived from sequences that are located far away from each other on the genome can be fused in a process called trans-splicing. Trans-splicing has been observed in several eukaryotic species, including Hydra’s [...]... Read more »

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