Some time ago I watched a documentary called Lord of the Ants (clips available online) about the brilliant Ed O. Wilson, a born Naturalist whom I've also had the pleasure of hearing in person, and I was struck by his enthusiasm for natural history and the traditional exploratory naturalist work. It fed my imagination and made me think about my own work as a biologist. I'm probably as far away as you can come from a field biologist, working as I do with online genome databases and DNA sequences,........ Read more »
Caporale, L. (2009) Putting together the pieces: evolutionary mechanisms at work within genomes. BioEssays, 31(7), 700-702. DOI: 10.1002/bies.200900067
Benjamin Franklin once quipped, "Where there's marriage without love there will be love without marriage." His affairs are well known in American history, however this founding father may have been stating a truth extending to evolutionary history as well.
Christopher Ryan (author of the forthcoming Sex at Dawn) offers some thoughts on the role of novelty in the sex lives of our favorite primate. He suggests that men are drawn to variety in sexual partners while women are drawn to variety in ........ Read more »
Kingan, S., Tatar, M., & Rand, D. (2003) Reduced Polymorphism in the Chimpanzee Semen Coagulating Protein, Semenogelin I. Journal of Molecular Evolution, 57(2), 159-169. DOI: 10.1007/s00239-002-2463-0
Dorus, S., Evans, P., Wyckoff, G., Choi, S., & Lahn, B. (2004) Rate of molecular evolution of the seminal protein gene SEMG2 correlates with levels of female promiscuity. Nature Genetics, 36(12), 1326-1329. DOI: 10.1038/ng1471
Podcasting is a relatively new addition to many classrooms and as such, research on it is somewhat limited. McGarr recently reviewed existing studies and identified three types of usage:
Substantial – delivering full lectures
Supplemental – reviewing and/or synthesizing material
Creative – having students create podcasts
Podcasting is interesting to me because although it uses new technology, it largely [...]... Read more »
McGarr, O. (2009) A review of podcasting in higher education: Its influence on the traditional lecture. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 25(3), 309-321. info:/
It's a cliché, but it's true - "schizophrenia genes" are the Holy Grail of modern psychiatry.Were they to be discovered, such genes would provide clues towards a better understanding of the biology of the disease, and that could lead directly to the development of better medications. It might also allow "genetic counselling" for parents concerned about their children's risk of schizophrenia.Perhaps most importantly for psychiatrists, the definitive identification of genes for a mental illness w........ Read more »
Purcell, S., & et Al. (2009) Common polygenic variation contributes to risk of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature08185
Shi, J., & et Al. (2009) Common variants on chromosome 6p22.1 are associated with schizophrenia. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature08192
by Vincent Racaniello in virology blog
The global battle to eradicate poliomyelitis is already 9 years behind schedule. To make matters worse, type 2 poliovirus, which was declared eradicated in 1999, has returned.
There are three serotypes of poliovirus, each of which causes poliomyelitis. The vaccine used by WHO in the global eradication effort is a trivalent preparation comprising all three serotypes. [...]... Read more »
Roberts, L. (2007) INFECTIOUS DISEASE: Vaccine-Related Polio Outbreak in Nigeria Raises Concerns. Science, 317(5846), 1842-1842. DOI: 10.1126/science.317.5846.1842
Jegede, A. (2007) What Led to the Nigerian Boycott of the Polio Vaccination Campaign?. PLoS Medicine, 4(3). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.0040073
For decades, the word “fingerprint” has been used to denote a set of unique characteristics, whether literally the complex patterns of arches, loops, and whorls on one’s fingertips or entirely figuratively and more recently, the notion of a genetic fingerprint based on an analysis of an individual’s DNA sequence.
Most recently though, scientists have turned to [...]Unique Urine Fingerprints is a post from: Sciencebase Science Blog
... Read more »
Bernini, P., Bertini, I., Luchinat, C., Nepi, S., Saccenti, E., Schäfer, H., Schütz, B., Spraul, M., & Tenori, L. (2009) Individual Human Phenotypes in Metabolic Space and Time. Journal of Proteome Research, 2147483647. DOI: 10.1021/pr900344m
The prospect of universal health coverage for all Americans is weighing heavily on lawmakers right now. But, if the current proposals pass Congress, Americans may be looking at an even “weightier” problem. New economic research suggests that having health insurance actually makes people fat, and that, in turn, increases health care spending.
A working paper recently [...]... Read more »
Finkelstein, E., Trogdon, J., Cohen, J., & Dietz, W. (2009) Annual Medical Spending Attributable To Obesity: Payer- And Service-Specific Estimates. Health Affairs. DOI: 10.1377/hlthaff.28.5.w822
Over the last few weeks, there has been some debate regarding the release of two recent studies that showed that curveballs may not be as damaging to our youth baseball pitchers as we had once thought. I tried to let this die down a bit before discussing it, as the general press really picked up on this and started a debate with absolutely no medical background. The New York Times discussed this recently and I even saw a couple of sportscasters on ESPN discussing this on TV........ Read more »
Dun S, Loftice J, Fleisig GS, Kingsley D, & Andrews JR. (2008) A biomechanical comparison of youth baseball pitches: is the curveball potentially harmful?. The American journal of sports medicine, 36(4), 686-92. PMID: 18055920
Taking a bit of a break from Rhizaria... haven't done Excavates in a while. From one obscure 'kingdom' to another... (although now I have this nagging feeling that I'm really neglecting unikonts - I haven't done amoebozoa or opisthokonts in ages...)And the creature behind (or rather, containing) Mystery Micrograph #01 is...(Leander & Keeling 2004 J Euk Microbiol; scalebar=5μm)Streblomastix strix, an oxymonad. 2 - cross-sectionRosie more or less got this one ^.^ (I guess one can't really exp........ Read more »
LEANDER, B., & KEELING, P. (2004) Symbiotic Innovation in the Oxymonad Streblomastix strix. The Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology, 51(3), 291-300. DOI: 10.1111/j.1550-7408.2004.tb00569.x
Poinar GO. (2009) Description of an early Cretaceous termite (Isoptera: Kalotermitidae) and its associated intestinal protozoa, with comments on their co-evolution. Parasites and Vectors, 12. info:/10.1186/1756-3305-2-12
In the first part "Unconscious Cognition 1- Simple Dissociation", we established two sets of assumptions for the zero awareness criterion. The exhaustiveness assumption where the direct measure D is a strictly monotonic function of conscious information c and a weakly monotonic function of unconscious information u and the indirect measure I is a weakly monotonic function of both c and u. Under these conditions, D(c,u)=0 necessitates c=0 and I(c,u)0 implies I(0,u)0 which in turn i........ Read more »
Schmidt, T. (2007) Measuring unconscious cognition: Beyond the zero-awareness criterion. Advances in Cognitive Psychology, 3(1), 275-287. DOI: 10.2478/v10053-008-0030-3
by David Gorski in Science-Based Medicine
I don’t recall if I’ve mentioned it on SBM before, but I went to the University of Michigan. In fact, I didn’t go there just for undergraduate studies or medical school, but rather for both, graduating with a B.S. in Chemistry with Honors in 1984 and from medical school in 1988. In my eight years [...]... Read more »
Harris, R., Zubieta, J., Scott, D., Napadow, V., Gracely, R., & Clauw, D. (2009) Traditional Chinese acupuncture and placebo (sham) acupuncture are differentiated by their effects on μ-opioid receptors (MORs). NeuroImage, 47(3), 1077-1085. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2009.05.083
If there's just one single point worth making about the biology of cancer, it would have to be "it's complicated".Cells in general, and animal cells in particular, are extremely intricate Rube-Goldberg-like mechanisms. Their correct functioning depends on the integrity of 20,000 or so genes (in the case of humans), and at least 5 times as many proteins whose form is specified by the genes. Damage to even one of a few thousand important genes can put a cell on the road to becoming cancerous. So t........ Read more »
Pedersen, I., Otero, D., Kao, E., Miletic, A., Hother, C., Ralfkiaer, E., Rickert, R., Gronbaek, K., & David, M. (2009) Onco-miR-155 targets SHIP1 to promote TNFα-dependent growth of B cell lymphomas. EMBO Molecular Medicine, 1(5), 288-295. DOI: 10.1002/emmm.200900028
From the Bushmen of the Kalahari to the Kalaallit of Greenland, you'll find that people everywhere frown in frustration and smile in delight. Or will you? The universality of human emotions and their expression in the face has become widely accepted in psychology. At the vanguard of this perspective is pioneering psychologist Paul Ekman, the co-creator of the facial action coding system (FACS) - a way of categorising and interpreting facial expressions according to which muscles are tensed. But ........ Read more »
Jack, R., Blais, C., Scheepers, C., Schyns, P., & Caldara, R. (2009) Cultural Confusions Show that Facial Expressions Are Not Universal. Current Biology. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2009.07.051
In the comments, Dheeraj has been arguing for Christianity as a civilizing force in human society. Now that's a big question with a lot of arguments on either side. But here's a new study that gives an interesting angle.The researchers studied women from the Kassena-Nankana of northern Ghana, going there first in 1995, and then back in 2003. What they found was that many of the people in this remote region are changing religions - they're abandoning traditional beliefs in favour of Christianity......... Read more »
Doctor, H., Phillips, J., & Sakeah, E. (2009) The Influence of Changes in Women's Religious Affiliation on Contraceptive Use and Fertility Among the Kassena-Nankana of Northern Ghana. Studies in Family Planning, 40(2), 113-122. DOI: 10.1111/j.1728-4465.2009.00194.x
Addai, I. (1999) Does Religion Matter in Contraceptive Use among Ghanaian Women?. Review of Religious Research, 40(3), 259. DOI: 10.2307/3512371
Rees, TJ. (2009) Is Personal Insecurity a Cause of Cross-National Differences in the Intensity of Religious Belief?. Journal of Religion and Society. DOI: http://moses.creighton.edu/JRS/2009/2009-17.html
Is risk management overlooked as an important source of competitive advantage? That is the question sought answered by Donald Lessard and Rafael Lucea in their recent paper on Embracing risk as a core competence: The case of CEMEX. While the case itself is not that interesting, what the paper does highlight is that instead of [ ... ]... Read more »
Lessard, D., & Lucea, R. (2009) Embracing risk as a core competence: The case of CEMEX. Journal of International Management, 15(3), 296-305. DOI: 10.1016/j.intman.2009.01.003
Kendra Reid and Robert Kennedy (University of Michigan) have begun to unravel the biochemical basis of one of the physiological changes observed in diabetics which has thus far evaded characterization. This news feature was written on August 16, 2009.... Read more »
Reid, K. R., & Kennedy, R. T. (2009) Continuous Operation of Microfabricated Electrophoresis Devices for 24 Hours and Application to Chemical Monitoring of Living Cells. Analytical Chemistry, 81(16), 6837-6842. DOI: 10.1021/ac901114k
I did my undergraduate degree at Auburn University, which is both a fantastic research institution and (in my exceedingly biased opinion), the crown jewel of Southern college football. I have spent many autumn Saturdays crammed in Jordan-Hare Stadium with 87,000 other people (keep in mind that the entire population of the town is around 40,000), and never ceased to be amazed at such a huge aggregation of humans, all there just to watch a game. The conservation biologist in me always f........ Read more »
Mondol, S., Karanth, K., & Ramakrishnan, U. (2009) Why the Indian Subcontinent Holds the Key to Global Tiger Recovery. PLoS Genetics, 5(8). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1000585
During the first two terms of my final year at university I took on a dry project based on bacterial genetics. In retrospect this was quite a cheap move since it avoids so many of the problems involved in normal lab work, but in my defence it was the project that interested me most and I really wanted some computing experience before making PhD applications. My work was based on bacterial endosymbionts of insects, which have been of recent interest due to their extremely small genomes. Bacteria........ Read more »
Nakabachi A, Yamashita A, Toh H, Ishikawa H, Dunbar HE, Moran NA, & Hattori M. (2006) The 160-kilobase genome of the bacterial endosymbiont Carsonella. Science (New York, N.Y.), 314(5797), 267. PMID: 17038615
Gil, R., Silva, F., Pereto, J., & Moya, A. (2004) Determination of the Core of a Minimal Bacterial Gene Set. Microbiology and Molecular Biology Reviews, 68(3), 518-537. DOI: 10.1128/MMBR.68.3.518-537.2004
Thao, M., Moran, N., Abbot, P., Brennan, E., Burckhardt, D., & Baumann, P. (2000) Cospeciation of Psyllids and Their Primary Prokaryotic Endosymbionts. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 66(7), 2898-2905. DOI: 10.1128/AEM.66.7.2898-2905.2000
I actually read this paper months ago, but I found a reference to it in my TODO list and just read it again...
A method for the simultaneous estimation of selection intensities in overlapping genes
Sabath, Landan and Graur. PLoS ONE
Inferring the intensity of positive selection in protein-coding genes is important since it is used to shed [...]... Read more »
Sabath, N., Landan, G., & Graur, D. (2008) A Method for the Simultaneous Estimation of Selection Intensities in Overlapping Genes. PLoS ONE, 3(12). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0003996
Imagine a strong crowd, as you see in a Manchester United versus Liverpool football match and you wished to concentrate on a particular person. How would you do it? Make him wear a fluorescent shirt and dye his hair (don’t do it in the middle of the crowd, I can’t guarantee your safety).Purdue University researchers have been successful in focusing at the cell of interest among a background of equally noisy and boisterous biomolecules and other metabolically active cells. Currently, research........ Read more »
Wei, Q., Song, H., Leonov, A., Hale, J., Oh, D., Ong, Q., Ritchie, K., & Wei, A. (2009) Gyromagnetic Imaging: Dynamic Optical Contrast Using Gold Nanostars with Magnetic Cores. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 131(28), 9728-9734. DOI: 10.1021/ja901562j
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