Post List

  • April 6, 2010
  • 12:21 AM

Now starring in movies: human genes

by aimee in misc.ience

I do so love it when people make accessibly, entertaining, highly educational science stuff.
In the latest of such moves, researchers from EMBL and the Mitocheck Consortium (both in Europe) have built up a library of movies showing what happens to a human cell when a particular gene is switched off.  One at a time.
This is [...]

[Click on the hyperlinked headline for more of the goodness]... Read more »

Neumann, B., Walter, T., Hériché, J., Bulkescher, J., Erfle, H., Conrad, C., Rogers, P., Poser, I., Held, M., Liebel, U.... (2010) Phenotypic profiling of the human genome by time-lapse microscopy reveals cell division genes. Nature, 464(7289), 721-727. DOI: 10.1038/nature08869  

  • April 6, 2010
  • 12:08 AM

Now the expert talks about SMOUNDS

by Lorimer Moseley in BodyInMind

The five senses are usually studied in isolation and there is no doubt that this ‘divide and conquer’ method has given us very valuable insight into the way the brain processes sensory information. However, in our daily life, we combine inputs from all sensory channels to make sure we know what’s happening around us. If [...]... Read more »

  • April 5, 2010
  • 08:36 PM

Young Stars in the Centers of Galaxies

by Jon Voisey in Angry Astronomer

A long time ago, I trashed a Creationist article on Stellar Evolution. It was a fun time. I got one of the most ignorant trolls I've yet had on this site and even Phil Plait came over to gawk and point at the giant logical gaps. One of the claims that the author had made was that, because we shouldn't see young stars in very close quarters to black holes in the centers of galaxies (the nearest 1 parsec), and we do, that all of stellar evolution must be wrong and thus, God did it.Mollishka from A........ Read more »

Philip F. Hopkins, & Eliot Quataert. (2010) The Nuclear Stellar Disk in Andromeda: A Fossil from the Era of Black Hole Growth. MNRAS. arXiv: 1002.1079v2

  • April 5, 2010
  • 06:24 PM

Changes in DNA and Aging

by Reason in Fight Aging!

Do changes in nuclear DNA significantly affect the course of aging? A good question, one that is still open and energetically debated in the scientific community. How about epigenetic changes, mechanisms that alter the process of producing proteins from genetic blueprints without changing the genes themselves, such as those involving DNA methylation? Insofar as degenerative aging is concerned, are epigenetic changes cause, consequence of other, more fundamental changes, or a mix of both? Also go........ Read more »

Murgatroyd C, Wu Y, Bockmühl Y, & Spengler D. (2010) The Janus face of DNA methylation in aging. Aging, 2(2), 107-10. PMID: 20354272  

  • April 5, 2010
  • 03:26 PM

Watershed land use and nutrients

by JL in Analyze Everything

The widespread problems associated with cultural eutrophication are well-known.  Essentially, humans dump a lot of biotically important elements into water, and the resulting algal and bacterial dynamics render those waters pretty unfavorable for native species and desirable species (i.e., you get a lot of fish kills and stinky water).

A big source of those nutrients is agriculture.  Row-crop ... Read more »

Arbuckle, K.E., & Downing, J.A. (2001) The influence of watershed land use on lake N: P in a predominantly agricultural landscape. Limnology and Oceanography, 46(4), 970-975. info:/

  • April 5, 2010
  • 03:09 PM

Improved Mind Reading Through Matching Construal Levels

by Daniel Hawes in Ingenious Monkey | 20-two-5

Thinking about what's going on in other people's heads, is something we do practically all the time. But the truth is, we're not that good at it. Here's some research that tells you why, and what you can do about it...... Read more »

Tal Eyal, Nicholas Epley. (2010) How to Seem Telepathic : Enabling Mind Reading by Matching Construal. Psychological Science. info:/10.1177/0956797610367754

  • April 5, 2010
  • 02:47 PM

ResearchBlogCast: Bloggers dissect a paper on parenting in poison arrow frogs

by Dave Munger in News

We’re trying something new this week. Each week, in addition to all the great written blogs you can find on, we’re posting a podcast about science.
Each week, Research Bloggers Kevin Zelnio, Razib Khan, and I will choose a journal article to discuss in podcast form. We’ll make sure it’s an article that we or [...]... Read more »

  • April 5, 2010
  • 01:00 PM

A Most Lively Virus

by Merry Youle in Small Things Considered

Morphologically speaking, the viruses of mesophilic and moderately thermophilic bacteria and archaea are a dull bunch. Of 5,100 surveyed, 97% are ho-hum head-and-tail phages—icosahedral heads with helical tails. The remainder were tailless icosahedra or filaments, except for two spindle-shaped oddballs. If you'd like more structural excitement, best to go virus hunting in geothermally-heated aquatic environments above 80 ºC—the hot springs, mud holes, and deep-sea hydrothermal vents—and b........ Read more »

Häring M, Vestergaard G, Rachel R, Chen L, Garrett RA, & Prangishvili D. (2005) Virology: independent virus development outside a host. Nature, 436(7054), 1101-2. PMID: 16121167  

  • April 5, 2010
  • 12:00 PM

But is it grammar?

by Mark D. in The Ideophone

Finally, some commentaries on Evans & Levinson 2009 — a recent BBS paper that argues for linguistic diversity and against Universal Grammar— are trickling down the blogosphere. Nigel Duffield's "Roll up for the mystery tour" argues that "Universal Grammar ... walks free from the courtroom", based on the crucial point that "facts about attained, endstate grammars bear only tangentially on theories of UG". Which leads me to wonder: is it grammar?... Read more »

  • April 5, 2010
  • 10:45 AM

Use of Multiple Proteases for Improved Protein Digestion

by gkobs in Promega Connections

One of the approaches to identify proteins by mass spectrometry includes the separation of proteins by gel electrophoresis or liquid chromatography. Subsequently the proteins are cleaved with sequence-specific endoproteases. Following digestion the generated peptides are investigated by determination of molecular masses or specific sequence. For protein identification the experimentally obtained masses/sequences are compared with theoretical [...]... Read more »

  • April 5, 2010
  • 10:41 AM

The Social Brain and the Human Condition

by Robert Deyes in Promega Connections

The plans had been made, details finalized and all expenses paid. I was to travel to the south coast of England to complete my training for the British Sub-Aqua Club Sports Diver certificate. I boarded a train from London’s Waterloo station down to the quiet seaside resort of Bournemouth where I was received [...]... Read more »

Cole SW, Hawkley LC, Arevalo JM, Sung CY, Rose RM, & Cacioppo JT. (2007) Social regulation of gene expression in human leukocytes. Genome biology, 8(9). PMID: 17854483  

Panksepp J. (2003) Neuroscience. Feeling the pain of social loss. Science (New York, N.Y.), 302(5643), 237-9. PMID: 14551424  

Eisenberger NI, Lieberman MD, & Williams KD. (2003) Does rejection hurt? An FMRI study of social exclusion. Science (New York, N.Y.), 302(5643), 290-2. PMID: 14551436  

Lieberman MD, & Eisenberger NI. (2009) Neuroscience. Pains and pleasures of social life. Science (New York, N.Y.), 323(5916), 890-1. PMID: 19213907  

  • April 5, 2010
  • 10:22 AM

Time-averaged fossil communities may imply false stability

by Ian Randall in The Palaeo Pad

The ecological information which can be gleaned from the fossil record is controlled by the processes of accumulation involved, according to a paper by the University of Chicago, which is to be published in the May issue of The American Naturalist.... Read more »

  • April 5, 2010
  • 10:09 AM

Matryoshka dolls in biology, the connection between flowers, stem cells and fat and more, in my Picks of the Week from RB

by Alejandro Montenegro-Montero in MolBio Research Highlights

Another week has gone by and some very interesting molbio blog posts have been aggregated to Every week [see my opening post on the matter], I'll select some blog posts I consider particularly interesting in the field of molecular biology [see here to get a sense of the criteria that will be used], briefly describe them and list them here for you to check out.Note that I'm ... Read more »

Craddock, N., Hurles, M., Cardin, N., Pearson, R., Plagnol, V., Robson, S., Vukcevic, D., Barnes, C., Conrad, D., Giannoulatou, E.... (2010) Genome-wide association study of CNVs in 16,000 cases of eight common diseases and 3,000 shared controls. Nature, 464(7289), 713-720. DOI: 10.1038/nature08979  

Cleveland, L., & Grimstone, A. (1964) The Fine Structure of the Flagellate Mixotricha paradoxa and Its Associated Micro-Organisms. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences (1934-1990), 159(977), 668-686. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.1964.0025  

Koretke KK, Lupas AN, Warren PV, Rosenberg M, & Brown JR. (2000) Evolution of two-component signal transduction. Molecular biology and evolution, 17(12), 1956-70. PMID: 11110912  

Zhang, Q., Raoof, M., Chen, Y., Sumi, Y., Sursal, T., Junger, W., Brohi, K., Itagaki, K., & Hauser, C. (2010) Circulating mitochondrial DAMPs cause inflammatory responses to injury. Nature, 464(7285), 104-107. DOI: 10.1038/nature08780  

Kilian, K., Bugarija, B., Lahn, B., & Mrksich, M. (2010) Geometric cues for directing the differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107(11), 4872-4877. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0903269107  

  • April 5, 2010
  • 08:00 AM

Forecasting the impact of climate change on fisheries

by Rob Goldstein in Conservation Maven

... Read more »

  • April 5, 2010
  • 06:49 AM

The many lives of an inverted genomic region

by Razib Khan in Gene Expression

About five years ago Kari Stefansson published an interesting paper, A common inversion under selection in Europeans. The basic thrust of the results was that a particular genomic region in Europeans exhibited a pattern of variation whereby there was one variant which was inverted in relation to the modal type. They labelled them “H2″ and [...]... Read more »

Donnelly, M., Paschou, P., Grigorenko, E., Gurwitz, D., Mehdi, S., Kajuna, S., Barta, C., Kungulilo, S., Karoma, N., & Lu, R. (2010) The Distribution and Most Recent Common Ancestor of the 17q21 Inversion in Humans. The American Journal of Human Genetics, 86(2), 161-171. DOI: 10.1016/j.ajhg.2010.01.007  

  • April 5, 2010
  • 06:00 AM

Article review: Preparing for clinical clerkship during medical school

by Michelle Lin in Academic Life In Emergency Medicine

Do you remember the sheer terror you felt, when you first started your medical school clinical rotations? Your first two years were probably spent in classrooms and small-group labs discussing anatomy, pharmacology, pathology, etc.Then BAM! You are thrown into the deep end of the pool. You are now on a clinical team of medical professionals taking care of actual patients!Some students fare better than others during this abrupt transition period. This commentary in Academic Medicine provides a fr........ Read more »

  • April 5, 2010
  • 03:30 AM

Monday Pets: The Gambler

by Jason Goldman in The Thoughtful Animal

So I’m in Las Vegas, gambling capital of the world. And I was reminded of the Kenny Rogers song, The Gambler. And of this video of Kenny Rogers singing The Gambler with the muppets. Because the muppets make everything better.

Figure 1: Isn’t the whole guy dying and turning into a ghost thing a little much [...]... Read more »

van den Bos R, Lasthuis W, den Heijer E, van der Harst J, & Spruijt B. (2006) Toward a rodent model of the Iowa gambling task. Behavior research methods, 38(3), 470-8. PMID: 17186757  

  • April 4, 2010
  • 07:28 PM

Crunching The Data on Human Brain Evolution

by Luke Jostins in Genetic Inference

Lee, S., & Wolpoff, M. (2003). The pattern of evolution in Pleistocene human brain size Paleobiology, 29 (2), 186-196 DOI: 10.1666/0094-8373(2003)0292.0.CO;2

There has been a bit of debate around the biology blogoverse recently about the evolution of human brain size. It started off as an “idle speculation” type argument, but then took a satisfying swerve into [...]... Read more »

  • April 4, 2010
  • 03:43 PM

You either believe in it all, or you don’t

by Tom Rees in Epiphenom

Many people believe in fate. When bad or good things happen, they tend to think they happened for a reason – even for events that are entirely random (winning the lottery, for instance). Often, people think that these things happen because some guiding hand or supernatural force caused them.So the question is, why are these delusions so common? Do we humans have an inbuilt predisposition (a cognitive bias) that leads us to anthropomorphize events? That’s one explanation that’s been suggest........ Read more »

  • April 4, 2010
  • 02:02 PM

Ecosystem services from agriculture

by Paul Spraycar in Beyond Climate Change

The agricultural sector stands to benefit from the use of markets to create value for the non-commodity benefits they provide to society. Researchers writing in Ecological Economics identify specific actions to be taken to shape the form and function of markets for ecosystem services provided by agriculture.To facilitate effective interactions between buyers and sellers, market actors must address issues of regulation, market design, program coordination (e.g., with other incentives for providin........ Read more »

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