Post List

  • January 5, 2011
  • 04:54 AM

Profiling hair color by DNA

by Razib Khan in Gene Expression

Hair Color of Unknown Offenders Is No Longer a Secret: The research findings demonstrate that on the basis of DNA information it is possible to determine with an accuracy of more than 90 percent whether a person has red hair, with a similarly high accuracy whether a person has black hair, and with an accuracy [...]... Read more »

Branicki W, Liu F, van Duijn K, Draus-Barini J, Pośpiech E, Walsh S, Kupiec T, Wojas-Pelc A, & Kayser M. (2011) Model-based prediction of human hair color using DNA variants. Human genetics. PMID: 21197618  

  • January 5, 2011
  • 04:50 AM

A Grand Unified Theory of Autism?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

A physicist famously wanted to find the grand unifying equation behind the laws of nature, in a form that you could put on a t-shirt.Neuroscientists Kamilla and Henry Markram have proposed a grand unifying theory of autism, and the key to it is in this picture. I wouldn't want to be seen wearing it quite yet, but if the theory pans out, I'm sure we could come up with a more torso-friendly diagram.So what does this mean? The Markrams call their idea the Intense World Theory. Essentially, they pro........ Read more »

  • January 5, 2011
  • 04:13 AM

Why are we less willing to help the victims of man-made disaster?

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Women at an Ethiopian refugee camp
People are more willing to donate money to help victims of natural, as opposed to man-made, disasters. Hanna Zagefka and her team found this is because people generally perceive victims caught up in man-made disasters to be more responsible for their predicament and to be less active in helping themselves, as compared with with victims of natural disasters. The findings have implications for the future design of fund-raising campaigns run by charities and NGO........ Read more »

Zagefka, H., Noor, M., Brown, R., de Moura, G., & Hopthrow, T. (2010) Donating to disaster victims: Responses to natural and humanly caused events. European Journal of Social Psychology. DOI: 10.1002/ejsp.781  

  • January 5, 2011
  • 03:00 AM

Intestinal stem cell regeneration

by Erin Campbell in the Node

Cancer and stem cells are two very loaded biology concepts, and more frequently can be found in the same discussion.  Stem cells within tumors are able to divide and provide the various differentiated cell types that a tumor requires to thrive.  And, identifying how a normal stem cell divides, or stops dividing, can help further [...]... Read more »

  • January 5, 2011
  • 02:45 AM

Invisible hairs cause baldness

by sciencebase in Sciencebase Science Blog

A topic close to my scalp: male-pattern baldness. Regular readers will be aware of my long, wavy locks from teenage years. But, as I got older, it all waved goodbye (my Dad’s joke! He’s even less than cranially hirsute too). Now, scientists in Pennsylvania reckon they have shown that faulty stem cells in the scalp [...]Invisible hairs cause baldness is a post from: Sciencebase Science Blog
... Read more »

  • January 5, 2011
  • 01:17 AM

Drug Abuse and Rat Playgrounds

by Scicurious in Neurotic Physiology

Sci is SO happy that friend of the blog Daniel Oppenheimer (who writes for the College of Natural Sciences at UT Austin, good going UT Austin!) passed me along a copy of this paper! It’s a paper I’ve been wanting a good look at for ages, one which almost every behavioral pharmacologist learns about, but [...]... Read more »

  • January 4, 2011
  • 11:09 PM

Study: To Improve Your Score, Try a Little Pre-Test Ancestor Worship

by David Berreby in Mind Matters

I admit I was creeped out by this new paper, from the European Journal of Social Psychology, which reports that people primed to think about their ancestors performed better on intelligence tests than did people who didn't. I'm just a little squicked that a study performed in Austria commends pride ...Read More
... Read more »

  • January 4, 2011
  • 11:02 PM

Oncogenesis Via Altered Enzyme Specificity, Part I

by Keith Robison in Omics! Omics!

There's a bit of an involved story I've been meaning to put together & now another paper with a similar theme showed up. After some thought, I realized that the second story should go first.Oncogenes are genes which when added to a cell can transform it to a cancerous state. A number of different classes of proteins can be oncogenic, but quite a few are either transcription factors or enzymes. I'm going to focus here on enzumes.Oncogenic enzymes somehow have an enzymatic activity which promot........ Read more »

  • January 4, 2011
  • 10:21 PM

Genetic modification of insects part 4

by Joe Ballenger in Biofortified

Using Mosquitoes to Conquer Disease Through Vaccination One of the things I’ve been talking about here on Biofortified is the concept of a ‘pest’, which is a completely anthropocentric term. Different insects can be pests at one part of their life cycle and be totally cool in another. It’s one of those weird science paradoxes which make the field of entomology so much fun. In my last series of posts I discussed a Continue reading...... Read more »

  • January 4, 2011
  • 09:53 PM

The Cost of Christmas

by Jon Wilkins in Lost in Transcription

So, if you haven't already, you'll probably soon receive the credit card bill with all of your Christmas purchases on it. Was it worth it? Well, was it, punk?

If you're like most people, some of your presents were probably intended to impress someone. The question is, what's the best kind of present for that? Should I give the girl from math class diamond earrings, or new batteries for her calculator? Should I give my boss a mug, or a gift certificate to Glamour Shots?

Fortunately, Science!™........ Read more »

Sozou, P., & Seymour, R. (2005) Costly but worthless gifts facilitate courtship. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 272(1575), 1877-1884. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2005.3152  

  • January 4, 2011
  • 06:00 PM

What does a positive-incentive carnivore compensation program look like?

by DeLene Beeland in Wild Muse

It was October 2007, and I was half-living out of my car while circumnavigating the 6,845-square mile Mexican gray wolf reintroduction area straddling New Mexico and Arizona. I was interviewing stakeholders in the wolf reintroduction project for my master’s thesis. Short on cash, I was camping out and couch-surfing for the two months my project [...]... Read more »

LISA NAUGHTON-TREVES, REBECCA GROSSBERG, ADRIAN TREVES. (2003) Paying for Tolerance: Rural Citizens’ Attitudes toward Wolf Depredation and Compensation. Conservation Biology, 17(6), 1500-1511. info:/

  • January 4, 2011
  • 04:51 PM

Happy New Year, Self-Repair, Bananas, and Remembering the Future!

by Paul Vallett in Electron Cafe

Happy new year! I hope 2011 brings us everything 2010 promised but failed to deliver. Namely jetpacks and first contact. But in the meantime we will have to enjoy these other exciting discoveries! Self-repairing solar cells. One of the advantages that plants have over man-made solar cells is that whenever one of the dye molecules [...]... Read more »

  • January 4, 2011
  • 03:51 PM

Around the web: cognitive sex differences

by Kate Clancy in Laboratory for Evolutionary Endocrinology

A dissection and link round-up about cognitive sex differences.... Read more »

  • January 4, 2011
  • 02:47 PM

John Everett, part 4.4: Has this happened before?

by csoeder in Topologic Oceans

Last time we looked at Dr. Everett’s testimony, we examined his claim that, because carbon dioxide levels have been higher in the past, increasing levels are not alarming now. His argument is flawed, because although CO2 levels have changed, they usually change only very slowly. Now, they’re changing abruptly. Graphs of Deep Time can be [...]... Read more »

Lee R. Kump, Timothy J. Bralower, & Andy Ridgwell. (2009) Ocean acidification in deep time. Oceanography, 22(4), 94-107. info:/

Pelejero C, Calvo E, & Hoegh-Guldberg O. (2010) Paleo-perspectives on ocean acidification. Trends in ecology , 25(6), 332-44. PMID: 20356649  

  • January 4, 2011
  • 02:25 PM

The Real Drugs Crisis: The top secret database worth $35,000,000,000 in blood money, that you didn’t even know existed

by Neurobonkers in Neurobonkers

A look at how the rapidly increasing fake medicines market could be prevented with open data and how the problem is inextricably linked to the underground generic pills trade.... Read more »

  • January 4, 2011
  • 02:17 PM

Legend of the Killer Storks

by Laelaps in Laelaps

What makes a monster? Godzilla, Medusa, Frankenstein’s monster, Fáfnir, the ALIEN, – all these fictional fiends have disparate origins, attributes, and motivations, but they are tied together by their disregard for what we perceive as the natural order. Each is an aberrant creation – something from an earlier age, or something corrupted – that disrupts [...]... Read more »

  • January 4, 2011
  • 11:37 AM

Mr. Sandman Bring Me a...Smart Kid?

by Amy Webb in The Thoughtful Parent

As parents we know that sleep is important for our kids and ourselves. One of the biggest struggles many parents face is getting their little ones to sleep through the night consistently. Many times, we may think this is a selfish goal since that means we will get more sleep too, but new research is showing once again that nighttime sleep is important for young children's cognitive development. This study appeared in a recent edition of the journal Child Development and was conducted by research........ Read more »

  • January 4, 2011
  • 10:51 AM

NAR Database issue…get it while it’s hot!

by Mary in OpenHelix

Ok, it’s hot now–but it’s something we refer back to all year long, actually. For people who don’t know about the NAR Database Issue, since the mid-90s Nucleic Acids Research has been collecting bioinformatics databases and tools that are of use to a huge range of researchers. We’ve watched it grow over the years and we’ve even graphed it. We’ll have to update that graph with the new data point for this year.  But here’s the graph as we published ........ Read more »

Williams, J., Mangan, M., Perreault-Micale, C., Lathe, S., Sirohi, N., & Lathe, W. (2010) OpenHelix: bioinformatics education outside of a different box. Briefings in Bioinformatics, 11(6), 598-609. DOI: 10.1093/bib/bbq026  

Gaudet, P., Bairoch, A., Field, D., Sansone, S., Taylor, C., Attwood, T., Bateman, A., Blake, J., Bult, C., Cherry, J.... (2010) Towards BioDBcore: a community-defined information specification for biological databases. Nucleic Acids Research, 39(Database). DOI: 10.1093/nar/gkq1173  

Roberts, R., Chang, Y., Hu, Z., Rachlin, J., Anton, B., Pokrzywa, R., Choi, H., Faller, L., Guleria, J., Housman, G.... (2010) COMBREX: a project to accelerate the functional annotation of prokaryotic genomes. Nucleic Acids Research, 39(Database). DOI: 10.1093/nar/gkq1168  

  • January 4, 2011
  • 10:26 AM

A Giant From New Mexico: Titanoceratops

by Brian Switek in Dinosaur Tracking

Many unknown dinosaurs await discovery in rock formations all over the world, but some new species are hiding in plain sight. One such animal, described in an in-press Cretaceous Research paper, had one of the largest heads of any dinosaur. As recounted in the study by Yale paleontologist Nicholas Longrich, in 1941 the partial skeleton [...]... Read more »

  • January 4, 2011
  • 09:05 AM

Mutualist matchmaking made simple

by Jeremy Yoder in Denim and Tweed

Back in September, I wrote about a new economic model of mutualism that proposed mutualists could keep their partner species from cheating—exploiting the benefits of a mutualistic relationship without returning the favor—without explicitly punishing them, so long as failure to play nice led to a reduction in mutualistic benefit [$a]. Now the same research group has published an elaboration of the economic approach to mutualism in the January issue of The American Naturalist, which suggests t........ Read more »

Archetti, M., Úbeda, F., Fudenberg, D., Green, J., Pierce, N., & Yu, D. (2011) Let the right one In: A microeconomic approach to partner choice in mutualisms. The American Naturalist, 177(1), 75-85. DOI: 10.1086/657622  

Weyl, E., Frederickson, M., Yu, D., & Pierce, N. (2010) Economic contract theory tests models of mutualism. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA, 107(36), 15712-6. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1005294107  

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