Exceptional, conspicuous, outstanding, most usually in a negative fashion.
Example: this headline from Science Daily: Fruit Fly Sperm Makes Females Do Housework After Sex
Seriously. How freakin’ embedded in your culture do you have to be to project your heteronormist, traditional gender role shit onto FLIES, people?
Do fruit flies have a monogamous sex life? No.
Do [...]... Read more »
Isaac, R., Li, C., Leedale, A., & Shirras, A. (2009) Drosophila male sex peptide inhibits siesta sleep and promotes locomotor activity in the post-mated female. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 277(1678), 65-70. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2009.1236
Fangqiong Tang (Chinese Academy of Sciences) and coworkers have synthesized bright nanoparticles that can function as a sunscreen and a heat insulator. This news feature was written on November 29, 2009.... Read more »
Peng, B., Meng, X., Tang, F., Ren, X., Chen, D., & Ren, J. (2009) General Synthesis and Optical Properties of Monodisperse Multifunctional Metal-Ion-Doped TiO2 Hollow Particles . The Journal of Physical Chemistry C, 113(47), 20240-20245. DOI: 10.1021/jp906937e
Despite its common name ‘sea lavender’ is a member of the Plumbaginaceae Family, which means that it isn’t really a ‘lavender’ at all, as lavenders belong to the Lamiaceae Family. One of the plant’s unique characteristics is that it’s one of only a handful of the Limonium genera’s 120 species with a range limited to North America; the majority of the genera’s members show a much more global distribution. Here in Florida, the Obligate can be f........ Read more »
FIGUEROLA, J., & GREEN, A. (2002) Dispersal of aquatic organisms by waterbirds: a review of past research and priorities for future studies. Freshwater Biology, 47(3), 483-494. DOI: 10.1046/j.1365-2427.2002.00829.x
Leaf-cutting ants have the power to slice, dice, and pilfer the foliage of an entire grove of trees in a matter of days. With impressive efficiency, swarms of leaf-cutters clip and carry leafy material in vast quantities back to their subterrainean colony. There they process the clippings into compost piles, atop which the ants cultivate crops of fungi. The ants tend these fungal gardens and in return the fungi provide a constant source of food for the ant colony.
Leaf-cutter ants and their fun........ Read more »
Schultz, T., & Brady, S. (2008) From the Cover: Major evolutionary transitions in ant agriculture. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 105(14), 5435-5440. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0711024105
You know the Dead Sea? That hypersaline lake located between Israel and Jordan, were even the worst swimmer can remain buoyant? The lake that’s so salty that it’s supposed to be entirely dead, since no life can thrive in such salty conditions?
False! While you won’t find fish swimming around in the Dead Sea, there’s definitely [...]... Read more »
Oren A. (2008) Microbial life at high salt concentrations: phylogenetic and metabolic diversity. Saline systems, 2. PMID: 18412960
Existing as a bacteria is tough, especially on your own. For a pathogenic strain it's even worse, not only do they face the challenges of the environment, but the human body is full of cells whose main task within the body is to seek out and destroy them. For this reason many bacteria in the body tend to stick together to form multi-cellular-like biofilm structures which give them a better chance at surviving the body's antibacterial defenses.Biofilm formation, diagram taken from Davies lab webs........ Read more »
Alhede M, Bjarnsholt T, Jensen PØ, Phipps RK, Moser C, Christophersen L, Christensen LD, van Gennip M, Parsek M, Høiby N.... (2009) Pseudomonas aeruginosa recognizes and responds aggressively to the presence of polymorphonuclear leukocytes. Microbiology (Reading, England), 155(Pt 11), 3500-8. PMID: 19643762
Cold War shielded Eastern Europe from some exotic bird invasions
... Read more »
Chiron, F., Shirley, S., & Kark, S. (2009) Behind the Iron Curtain: Socio-economic and political factors shaped exotic bird introductions into Europe. Biological Conservation. DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2009.10.021
Once upon a time, we took a look at why creating black holes in particle colliders and using them to generate energy for our power grids was fraught with problems. However, if at sometime in the future we could scale up our lasers and use them to create a black hole with a mass energy [...]... Read more »
With the rise of obesity in our society people will try almost anything to lose weight. This can include different diets, workout regiments and even surgery. The research and market exposure tackling such a topic is outstanding. However, a new study from the University of California purposes a different method to losing weight...texting?Subjects in the study were sent 3-5 text messages a day with friendly tips and reminders on nutrition and weight control. Furthermore, calls would be carried ou........ Read more »
Patrick K, Raab F, Adams MA, Dillon L, Zabinski M, Rock CL, Griswold WG, & Norman GJ. (2009) A text message-based intervention for weight loss: randomized controlled trial. Journal of medical Internet research, 11(1). PMID: 19141433
The aftermath of a landslide in Taiwan caused by very heavy rainfallOne of the most interesting aspects of the global landslide database that we maintain at Durham is the way in which it has highlighted the importance of rainfall intensity in the triggering of fatal landslides. Generally speaking, to kill people a landslide needs to move quickly rapid, and rapid landslides appear to be primarily (but note not always) triggered by intense rainfall events (indeed in the reports the term "cloudbur........ Read more »
Liu, S., Fu, C., Shiu, C., Chen, J., & Wu, F. (2009) Temperature dependence of global precipitation extremes. Geophysical Research Letters, 36(17). DOI: 10.1029/2009GL040218
As we know it, our molecular life as individuals starts with a fusion between a female oocyte and a male sperm cell. When our mother was born, she got already in her ovary that small not-matured oocyte that than contributed to our first half cell at the time of ovulation several years later. Conversely, it is believed that our father at the time of conception, just donate our second half cell by means of a sperm cell (randomly) produced de novo.
Now, Zhuoru Wu and her colleagues at the Universi........ Read more »
Wu, Z., Luby-Phelps, K., Bugde, A., Molyneux, L., Denard, B., Li, W., Suel, G., & Garbers, D. (2009) Capacity for stochastic self-renewal and differentiation in mammalian spermatogonial stem cells. The Journal of Cell Biology, 187(4), 513-524. DOI: 10.1083/jcb.200907047
You're mugged by a man with a patch over one eye. You describe him and his distinctive appearance to the police. They locate a one-eyed suspect and present him to you in a video line-up with five innocent "foils". If this suspect is the only person in the line-up with one eye, prior research shows you're highly likely to pick him out even if, in all other respects, he actually bears little resemblance to your mugger. So the challenge is: How to make police line-ups fairer for suspects who have a........ Read more »
Zarkadi T, Wade KA, & Stewart N. (2009) Creating Fair Lineups for Suspects With Distinctive Features. Psychological science : a journal of the American Psychological Society / APS. PMID: 19883492
In an effort to gain insight into the challenges posed by climate change, I just spent the last couple of hours watching the animated feature film “Ice Age 2 – The Meltdown.” The plot of the cartoon centers on a group of anthropomorphized prehistoric mammals (a mammoth, saber-toothed tiger, sloth and a halfwit saber-toothed squirrel) as they flee an impending flood and their certain extinction. Interestingly enough, the floodwaters in the movie purportedly result from a period ........ Read more »
Faith, J., & Surovell, T. (2009) Synchronous extinction of North America's Pleistocene mammals. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0908153106
I love aquatic insects! They do some amazing things and are incredibly interesting animals. That said, I feel like most people know very little about aquatic insects and the role they play in our world. Heck – some people don’t know that aquatic insects even exist! So, for my first From the Literature post, I [...]... Read more »
Eldakar OT, Dlugos MJ, Pepper JW, & Wilson DS. (2009) Population structure mediates sexual conflict in water striders. Science (New York, N.Y.), 326(5954), 816. PMID: 19892974
It is pretty hard to walk along the canal on a nice day in Ottawa and not see a herd of bicycles pass you along the way. Biking is becoming increasingly popular in both transportation and recreational settings. In China bicycling is the number one form of urban transportation.Due to these reasons bicycling injuries are becoming more and more common. However, most of these injuries can be avoided with just a few simple tips or minor adjustments to a bicyclist form or bike."Handlebar Palsy" is a t........ Read more »
Capitani D, & Beer S. (2002) Handlebar palsy--a compression syndrome of the deep terminal (motor) branch of the ulnar nerve in biking. Journal of neurology, 249(10), 1441-5. PMID: 12382163
Internet addiction is a murky and controversial disorder that is the subject of intense debate over whether it should be included in the new DSM-V. Here are the proposed diagnostic criteria as developed by Dr. Kimberly Young:Do you feel preoccupied with the Internet (think about previous online activity or anticipate next online session)?Do you feel the need to use the Internet with increasing amounts of time in order to achieve satisfaction?Have you repeatedly made unsuccessful efforts to contr........ Read more »
Zhou, Y., Lin, F., Du, Y., Qin, L., Zhao, Z., Xu, J., & Lei, H. (2009) Gray matter abnormalities in Internet addiction: A voxel-based morphometry study. European Journal of Radiology. DOI: 10.1016/j.ejrad.2009.10.025
Last month an interesting review was published in the journal Trends in Cognitive Sciences arguing that ‘predictive representations of temporal regularities constitute the core of auditory objects in the brain.’ A possible consequence of this argument is that auditory sensory memory and (temporal) predictions are simply two sides of the same coin. The authors (among which István Winkler and Sue Denham that collaborated with our Amsterdam group in the EmCAP project; see earlier blogs), revi........ Read more »
Winkler, I., Denham, S., & Nelken, I. (2009) Modeling the auditory scene: predictive regularity representations and perceptual objects. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 13(12), 532-540. DOI: 10.1016/j.tics.2009.09.003
A recent study proved what we all already know… that healthy living really does improve long-term health. A lot. The US-based study found that not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight (BMI <30), exercising regularly (3.5 hours/week) and eating a balanced diet (high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, low in meat) reduced the risk of [...]... Read more »
Ford, E., Bergmann, M., Kroger, J., Schienkiewitz, A., Weikert, C., & Boeing, H. (2009) Healthy Living Is the Best Revenge: Findings From the European Prospective Investigation Into Cancer and Nutrition-Potsdam Study. Archives of Internal Medicine, 169(15), 1355-1362. DOI: 10.1001/archinternmed.2009.237
In human weight loss studies, response to a given restriction of calories does not produce the same level of weight loss in every subject. Though genetic factors clearly have some role per monozygotic twin and gene manipulation studies, even then there are differences. Epigenetics is a likely candidate to explain these observations.
So, Bouchard et [...]... Read more »
Bouchard L, Rabasa-Lhoret R, Faraj M, Lavoie M, Mill J, Pe´russe L, & Vohl M. (2009) Differential epigenomic and transcriptomic responses in subcutaneous adipose tissue between low and high responders to caloric restriction. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. info:/10.3945/ajcn.2009.28085
Koza RA, Nikonova L, Hogan J, Rim JS, Mendoza T, Faulk C, Skaf J, & Kozak LP. (2006) Changes in gene expression foreshadow diet-induced obesity in genetically identical mice. PLoS genetics, 2(5). PMID: 16733553
Earlier, in Heterolobosea I, I promised brain-eating amoebae with a split morphology disorder. Having a bit of a morphology fetish, I find the latter topic fascinating, so bear with me as we get into some gory details of cell biology, which I strive to make at least somewhat readable to sane human beings. As always, please let me know if anything is unclear, or *gasp* inaccurate...Fundamentals of cellular morphologyMost organisms strive to have some semblance of shape (including bacteria). To cr........ Read more »
Dingle AD, & Fulton C. (1966) Development of the flagellar apparatus of Naegleria. The Journal of cell biology, 31(1), 43-54. PMID: 5971974
Fulton C, & Walsh C. (1980) Cell differentiation and flagellar elongation in Naegleria gruberi. Dependence on transcription and translation. The Journal of cell biology, 85(2), 346-60. PMID: 6154711
González-Robles, A., Cristóbal-Ramos, A., González-Lázaro, M., Omaña-Molina, M., & Martínez-Palomo, A. (2009) Naegleria fowleri: Light and electron microscopy study of mitosis. Experimental Parasitology, 122(3), 212-217. DOI: 10.1016/j.exppara.2009.03.016
Outka DE, & Kluss BC. (1967) The ameba-to-flagellate transformation in Tetramitus rostratus. II. Microtubular morphogenesis. The Journal of cell biology, 35(2), 323-46. PMID: 4861775
WALSH, C. (2007) The role of actin, actomyosin and microtubules in defining cell shape during the differentiation of Naegleria amebae into flagellates. European Journal of Cell Biology, 86(2), 85-98. DOI: 10.1016/j.ejcb.2006.10.003
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