Post List

  • March 9, 2010
  • 12:46 AM

60,000 year old decorated ostrich eggshell canteens from Diepkloof, South Africa

by Julien Riel-Salvatore in A Very Remote Period Indeed

Sometimes, it's what a paper doesn't emphasize that's the most thought-provoking and has the most far-ranging implications. A case in point is the recent paper by Texier et al. (2010) on decorated (i.e., engraved/incised) ostrich eggshell fragments from the Middle Stone Age site of Diepkloof in South Africa. The paper provides a lot of information about the sequence of deposits at the site, as well as on their archaeological contents. They emphasize specifically the layers attributed to the Howi........ Read more »

  • March 8, 2010
  • 11:46 PM

Blood stem cells come in different types

by Mason Posner in A Fish Eye View

I love showing students new research that will ultimately lead to a revision in their textbooks.  Hey, something has got to make purchasing a new edition every two to three years seem worthwhile.  And it is even more fun when these research headlines come out as we are covering that very topic in class.  A [...]... Read more »

  • March 8, 2010
  • 11:15 PM

The Athlete Brain

by Allison in Dormivigilia

Recent progress in neuroscience suggests that athlete's are the masters of mind over matter, expending less brain energy while focusing more intently on motor procedural tasks compared to sedentary controls. ... Read more »

  • March 8, 2010
  • 10:42 PM

Brain Change Patterns in Developing Children

by Livia in Reading and Word Recognition Research

Accessibility Level: Intermediate-Advanced

What changes in the brain as children mature? Are there patterns in the way the changes occur? Do some regions mature more quickly than others?

Last time, we talked about a paper by Schlaggar et al that examined brain differences between children and adults during a word generation task. A study published in Cerebral Cortex by Brown and colleagues

... Read more »

  • March 8, 2010
  • 10:12 PM

The hidden global CO2 emissions of consumerism

by Phil Camill in Global Change: Intersection of Nature and Culture

It’s been easy for citizens of the developed, industrialized world to criticize China and India over their rapidly growing greenhouse gas emissions.  This was one of the major reasons why the Kyoto Protocol was never ratified in the United States.
As many have  pointed out, however, there are several flaws with this argument:

The per-capita C emissions [...]... Read more »

Steven J. Davis and Ken Caldeira. (2010) Consumption-based accounting of CO2 emissions . PNAS. info:/10.1073/pnas.0906974107

  • March 8, 2010
  • 08:04 PM

Sour Grapes

by Journal Watch Online in Journal Watch Online

Consumers place little value on 'eco-labeled' wines

... Read more »

Delmas, M.A., & L.E. Grant. (2010) Eco-labeling strategies and price-premium: The wind industry paradox. Business . info:/10.1177/0007650310362254

  • March 8, 2010
  • 05:42 PM

Shouldering: Penis Extraction in Rove Beetles

by Kelsey in Mauka to Makai

I don’t “have a thing” for critters with remarkable genitalia. (I swear.) But, while researching barnacle sex, I came across a paper about a male beetle with an intromittant organ (penis) so long and flexible that he has to sling it over his shoulder to keep it safe. Clearly, I couldn’t keep such information to [...]... Read more »

CLAUDIA GACK*, & KLAUS PESCHKE. (2005) ‘Shouldering’ exaggerated genitalia: a unique behavioural adaptation for the retraction of the elongate intromittant organ by the male rove beetle (Aleochara tristis Gravenhorst). Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 307-312. info:/

  • March 8, 2010
  • 05:21 PM

The MetaHIT catalogue 2010— your gut microbiome directory

by geekheartsscience in geek!

An international team of scientists have produced a catalogue of genes from the micro-organisms that live in our gut (the gut microbiome), and it is the first published work from the MetaHIT (Metagenomics of the Human Intestinal Tract) project. “This gene catalogue contains virtually all of the prevalent gut microbial genes in our cohort, provides [...]... Read more »

Qin, J., Li, R., Raes, J., Arumugam, M., Burgdorf, K., Manichanh, C., Nielsen, T., Pons, N., Levenez, F., Yamada, T.... (2010) A human gut microbial gene catalogue established by metagenomic sequencing. Nature, 464(7285), 59-65. DOI: 10.1038/nature08821  

  • March 8, 2010
  • 05:20 PM

People who are more anxious go to church more often and are less anxious (or something...)

by Tom Rees in Epiphenom

Are religious people more, or less, anxious? The problem's not as simple as it sounds. In general, religion is supposed to make people less anxious. But, partly for this reason, the people who turn to religion are more anxious to start with. What's more, all religions may not be the same, and different aspects of religion might have different effects.It's a surprisingly under-researched topic, but a couple of new papers have looked into it. The one in this post is from Northern Ireland and I'll ........ Read more »

  • March 8, 2010
  • 03:45 PM

Life Without Serotonin

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

Via Dormivigilia, I came across a fascinating paper about a man who suffered from a severe lack of monoamine neurotransmitters (dopamine, serotonin etc.) as a result of a genetic mutation: Sleep and Rhythm Consequences of a Genetically Induced Loss of SerotoninNeuroskeptic readers will be familiar with monoamines. They're psychiatrists' favourite neurotransmitters, and are hence very popular amongst psych drug manufacturers. In particular, it's widely believed that serotonin is the brain's "happ........ Read more »

Smaranda Leu-Semenescu et al. (2010) Sleep and Rhythm Consequences of a Genetically Induced Loss of Serotonin. Sleep, 33(03), 307-314. info:/

  • March 8, 2010
  • 03:32 PM

How do researchers use online journals?

by Martin Fenner in Gobbledygook @ Nature Network

Last Monday I was listening to a very interesting presentation by Ian Rowlands, reader in scholarly communication in the Department of Information Studies at University College London. He and his colleagues are interested in how researchers find and use information, and how this has changed with the internet, especially for the Google Generation.... Read more »

  • March 8, 2010
  • 01:36 PM

Duck to avoid parasites

by Christie Wilcox in Observations of a Nerd

During the summer, strange formations can be found on some species of Goldenrod. The stems become enlarged and form a hardened golf-ball like object called a gall. Cut into this weird sphere and you'll quickly find what causes the plant to create such a strange object: the larvae of the Goldenrod Gall Fly. The Goldenrod Gall Fly (Eurosta solidaginis) is a parasite which uses the Goldenrod for protection and nutrition for a whole year while it grows and pupates. When it does, it can seriously dam........ Read more »

  • March 8, 2010
  • 10:08 AM

Brief Review of the P-CAPT Filter

by Brian Appleby in CJD Blogger

Following my last post regarding prion blood filtration, I was asked to cover the P-CAPT filter. Because leukoreduction only reduced prion infectivity by 72%, there is a need to develop other ways of eliminating prion infectivity in blood products. The P-CAPT Prion Capture Filter originated from a collaboration with Prometic, the American Red Cross, and several researchers. The majority of the initial research was performed by Luisa Gregori and colleagues in Bob Rohwer's lab, located at the Ve........ Read more »

Wiltshire, M., Thomas, S., Scott, J., Hicks, V., Haines, M., Cookson, P., Garwood, M., & Cardigan, R. (2009) Prion reduction of red blood cells: impact on component quality. Transfusion. DOI: 10.1111/j.1537-2995.2009.02500.x  

  • March 8, 2010
  • 10:05 AM

Exercise and Body Weight

by Travis Saunders, MSc in Obesity Panacea

Image by atomicjeep

I came across a very interesting article in the Ottawa Citizen this weekend, unpleasantly titled "For Canada's obese, exercise alone isn't going to cut it". The crux of the article is this - exercise will not help you lose weight. Every few months it seems that this issue pops up, including a cover article in TIME magazine last year, which Peter has previously dissected. This is a complicated issue, and given the sensational title, I wasn't expecting much from the Cit........ Read more »

  • March 8, 2010
  • 09:42 AM

Finding the Next Generation of Antibiotics

by Sara Klink in Promega Connections

Mention the word penicillin and it conjures up images of mold growing on bacterial culture plates and Dr. Alexander Fleming observing that the mold had killed the surrounding bacteria, ushering in the age of antibiotics. Bacterial infections could easily be treated with penicillin or any one of the bewildering array of new antibiotics continually being [...]... Read more »

  • March 8, 2010
  • 08:53 AM

Non-inherited antibiotic resistance, jumping viruses 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 »

Balaban NQ, Merrin J, Chait R, Kowalik L, & Leibler S. (2004) Bacterial persistence as a phenotypic switch. Science (New York, N.Y.), 305(5690), 1622-5. PMID: 15308767  

  • March 8, 2010
  • 08:35 AM

A Review of the Chicxulub impact extinction link

by CM in The Iapetus Beat

There's a new Science paper by Schulte and others espousing the link between the Chicxulub impact event and the mass extinction at the end of the Cretaceous (K), ~65.5 million years ago, and it has received significant media attention. The forty-one (!) pro-bolide scientists review the theory and evidence that has accumulated since the seminal Alvarez paper in 1980 which proposed a link between an extraterrestrial impact and the extinction and the Hildebrand et alia (1991) study which reporte........ Read more »

  • March 8, 2010
  • 08:30 AM

A Role for the Host-Microbe Interface in Obesity

by Tim Sampson in The Times Microbial

by TimOur bodies are home to 10 times more bacterial cells than human cells. With such sheer numbers, we have developed an intricate balance with the mutualists living on our skin and in our guts. Their mere presence is vital for protection from pathogenic species; but at the same time, our immune system must keep their numbers in check to prevent overgrowth. Those bacteria within our guts perform important roles in fermenting carbohydrates and producing essential nutrients like vitamin K and bi........ Read more »

Vijay-Kumar, M., Aitken, J., Carvalho, F., Cullender, T., Mwangi, S., Srinivasan, S., Sitaraman, S., Knight, R., Ley, R., & Gewirtz, A. (2010) Metabolic Syndrome and Altered Gut Microbiota in Mice Lacking Toll-Like Receptor 5. Science. DOI: 10.1126/science.1179721  

  • March 8, 2010
  • 08:27 AM

Tumors From Stem Cells?

by Rick Scavetta in DNA Dude

One of the most striking features about tumors is that they have many, many mutations, all over the genome. To make things more complicated, not every cell in a tumor will have the same set of mutations. A tumor is a very heterogeneous (mixed) bunch of cells.
The presence of so many mutations led researchers to [...]... Read more »

KLONISCH, T., WIECHEC, E., HOMBACHKLONISCH, S., ANDE, S., WESSELBORG, S., SCHULZEOSTHOFF, K., & LOS, M. (2008) Cancer stem cell markers in common cancers – therapeutic implications. Trends in Molecular Medicine, 14(10), 450-460. DOI: 10.1016/j.molmed.2008.08.003  

  • March 8, 2010
  • 07:41 AM

When the Sturtian happened

by Callan Bentley in Mountain Beltway

Last Friday, I spent the evening riding up to New York on a bus. To pass the time, I had my iPod and a new paper by Francis Macdonald and colleagues in Science. The paper examines the timing of one of the episodes of “Snowball Earth” glaciation. There’s some important new data in this paper, [...]... Read more »

Macdonald, F., Schmitz, M., Crowley, J., Roots, C., Jones, D., Maloof, A., Strauss, J., Cohen, P., Johnston, D., & Schrag, D. (2010) Calibrating the Cryogenian. Science, 327(5970), 1241-1243. DOI: 10.1126/science.1183325  

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