Post List

  • January 18, 2011
  • 11:11 PM

Speciation and reticulation

by zacharoo in Lawn Chair Anthropology

Hey, "all you lovers out there," which is how Marvin Berry introduced "Earth Angel" at the Enchantment Under the Sea dance back in good-olde 1955. And by "lovers" I mean "geneticists."
Poring over the recent Neandertal nuclear genome paper (Green et al. 2010) for seminars, we're struck by two contradictory ideas. On the one hand, the authors demonstrate pretty convincingly that Neandertals and the more 'anatomically modern' humans of Europe and Asia interbred. This doesn't come from genetic com........ Read more »

Green, R., Krause, J., Briggs, A., Maricic, T., Stenzel, U., Kircher, M., Patterson, N., Li, H., Zhai, W., Fritz, M.... (2010) A Draft Sequence of the Neandertal Genome. Science, 328(5979), 710-722. DOI: 10.1126/science.1188021  

  • January 18, 2011
  • 11:04 PM

Z-RNA–binding domain Zα as ribosomal inhibitor: fishing for ribosomes

by Vasili Hauryliuk in stringent response

Feng at al. in NSMB show that Z-RNA (or DNA) binding domain Zα inhibits ribosomal function. Binds to the ribosome and inhibits it! Basically does what ribosome-binding antibiotics do - they bind, freeze the ribosome in some particular conformation and thus inhibit it. Viomycin can be a gerat example of that.Better still, Zα seems to bind ribosomes nondiscriminantly (both bacterial and mammalian), so using a column with immobilized Zα you could purify ribosomes from whatever cel........ Read more »

Feng S, Li H, Zhao J, Pervushin K, Lowenhaupt K, Schwartz TU, & Dröge P. (2011) Alternate rRNA secondary structures as regulators of translation. Nature structural . PMID: 21217697  

Ermolenko DN, Spiegel PC, Majumdar ZK, Hickerson RP, Clegg RM, & Noller HF. (2007) The antibiotic viomycin traps the ribosome in an intermediate state of translocation. Nature structural , 14(6), 493-7. PMID: 17515906  

  • January 18, 2011
  • 09:08 PM

Psycasm - Psychobabble goes live!

by Rift in Psycasm

So for a while it's just been talk and ideas floating in the ether. But today Psychobabble goes live!What is Psychobabble? It's a fortnightly podcast on the topic of experimental psychology. If you're interested in the way people think, the why's of behaviour, and the how's of the brain, then this is for you.By and large a search on iTunes for 'Psychology' or; (read more)

Source: Rift - Discipline: Psychology... Read more »

Watkins, C., Fraccaro, P., Smith, F., Vukovic, J., Feinberg, D., DeBruine, L., & Jones, B. (2010) Taller men are less sensitive to cues of dominance in other men. Behavioral Ecology, 21(5), 943-947. DOI: 10.1093/beheco/arq091  

Callison, C., Karrh, J., & Zillmann, D. (2002) The Aura of Tobacco Smoke: Cigars and Cigarettes as Image Makers. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 32(7), 1329-1343. DOI: 10.1111/j.1559-1816.2002.tb01439.x  

Naumann, L., Vazire, S., Rentfrow, P., & Gosling, S. (2009) Personality Judgments Based on Physical Appearance. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 35(12), 1661-1671. DOI: 10.1177/0146167209346309  

  • January 18, 2011
  • 08:13 PM

Episode 1 – First Impressions

by Rift in Psycasm

Welcome to episode 1 of Psychobabble! Wherein Rohan, Jess, Morgan and Nerisa discuss the art of first impressions. The discussion meanders from why snoring is bad when first meeting someone (no, really), why an attractive voice might be more important than an attractive face, how to change someone’s first impression, why blue eyed men like... Read more »

Watkins, C., Fraccaro, P., Smith, F., Vukovic, J., Feinberg, D., DeBruine, L., & Jones, B. (2010) Taller men are less sensitive to cues of dominance in other men. Behavioral Ecology, 21(5), 943-947. DOI: 10.1093/beheco/arq091  

Callison, C., Karrh, J., & Zillmann, D. (2002) The Aura of Tobacco Smoke: Cigars and Cigarettes as Image Makers. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 32(7), 1329-1343. DOI: 10.1111/j.1559-1816.2002.tb01439.x  

Naumann, L., Vazire, S., Rentfrow, P., & Gosling, S. (2009) Personality Judgments Based on Physical Appearance. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 35(12), 1661-1671. DOI: 10.1177/0146167209346309  

  • January 18, 2011
  • 08:00 PM

Visual Cues and Addiction

by Dirk Hanson in Addiction Inbox

Do smoking scenes in movies make smokers want to light up?
Smokers and former smokers will understand what I mean when I say that an addiction to smoking is like a pilot light that is always lit, always ready to whoosh into full flame with the application of a few milligrams of nicotine. And they will also understand that feeling, like a bolt sliding home, of instant identification that comes from seeing someone else smoking. Especially if you are not smoking, but wish to be.
It makes sense th........ Read more »

  • January 18, 2011
  • 07:08 PM

"Perceptions of Promise: Biology, Society, Art" Explores the Social Dimensions of Life Science Technologies

by Matthew C. Nisbet in Age of Engagement

Despite the important role of the arts in enabling public expression, learning, and participation relative to science, there is an unfortunate tendency to think about the relationship in terms of "two cultures" divided. This metaphor has come to dominate discourse about science and society more ...Read More... Read more »

Nisbet, M., Hixon, M., Moore, K., & Nelson, M. (2010) Four cultures: new synergies for engaging society on climate change. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 8(6), 329-331. DOI: 10.1890/1540-9295-8.6.329  

  • January 18, 2011
  • 06:09 PM

A Different Path to Fat-Related Heart Disease

by Sanford- Burnham in Beaker

Fruit fly study demonstrates how lipotoxic cardiomyopathy might occur in genetically obese individuals, revealing potential therapeutic targets for fat-related heart disease.... Read more »

  • January 18, 2011
  • 03:58 PM

Leapin’ Blennies

by Kelsey in Mauka to Makai

In true science writer geekdom, I have spent the last week trying to figure out where the name “blenny” comes from. Of course, it comes from the suborder name Blenniodei (in the order Perciformes) and the family name Blenniidae…yada yada yada. But where does the blenn- come from? Most scientific names come from Latin, but [...]... Read more »

  • January 18, 2011
  • 03:45 PM


by Julia Whitty in Deep Blue Home

(Photo from here.)A 13-year-old western Pacific gray whale (Eschrichtius robustus) is shining some light on the travels of his kind.Flex—as he's called by researchers—was tagged on 4 October on his summer feeding grounds in the Okhotsk Sea off Sakhalin Island, Russia. (Sakhalin Island. Image courtesy NASA's Earth Observatory.)Western Pacific gray whales are among the most endangered whales on Earth, with a population of only 113 to 130 individuals. In contrast, the gray whales who mig........ Read more »

Saraux, C., Le Bohec, C., Durant, J., Viblanc, V., Gauthier-Clerc, M., Beaune, D., Park, Y., Yoccoz, N., Stenseth, N., & Le Maho, Y. (2011) Reliability of flipper-banded penguins as indicators of climate change. Nature, 469(7329), 203-206. DOI: 10.1038/nature09630  

  • January 18, 2011
  • 02:05 PM

Thrilled to have been selected for Open Lab 2011! Here is my post about jarringly awesome sex in earwigs:

by Dr. Carin Bondar in Dr. Carin Bondar - Biologist With a Twist

Size really does matter!  Well endowed male earwigs have their cake and eat it too…
Many animal species employ a polyandrous sexual system, where one female mates with many males and stores sperm in a specialized storage organ.  Since fertilization doesn’t take place immediately (in some cases females can store viable sperm for several weeks), males [...]... Read more »

  • January 18, 2011
  • 01:57 PM

The Emotional Depth of a Turnip—Do Men and Women Read Emotions Differently?

by Krystal D'Costa in Anthropology in Practice

She was clearly upset. The disgust on her face was apparent. As was her frustration when she shook her head at the man standing numbly beside her and said, "You have the emotional depth of a turnip!" The rest of us in the subway car did our best to look busy—headphones were put on, games were played on cell phones, even the morning newspaper made a few reappearances even though it was the evening rush hour.
I have to admit that I was somewhat amused by the situation because I'd recently direc........ Read more »

  • January 18, 2011
  • 01:56 PM

Perceptual Learning Stabilises Action: A Test of the Bingham Model

by Andrew Wilson in Notes from Two Scientific Psychologists

Bingham's perception-action model was initially inspired by perceptual judgement studies (using vision and proprioception). The HKB phenomena are movement phenomena, however; simply noting that the same qualitative pattern is seen in different judgement and action studies is a good first step but only suggestive, at best. We therefore next took simultaneous judgement & action measures from a movement task where we manipulated the feedback display (Wilson et al, 2005a). For instance, when the........ Read more »

Wilson, A., Snapp-Childs, W., & Bingham, G. (2010) Perceptual learning immediately yields new stable motor coordination. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 36(6), 1508-1514. DOI: 10.1037/a0020412  

  • January 18, 2011
  • 01:13 PM

Antisocial Personality Disorder: Demon Doctors

by Stas Sajin in Raving Psychology

This is my second article in the series on antisocial personality disorder, which because of my unduly sloth has not been completed yet. The first post can be found by clicking on the link below: 1. History of the Antisocial Personality Disorder – up to 20th century — Those diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder (APD), a [...]... Read more »

Swanger, Andrew J. (1998) Japanese scientists conducted biological research experiments. World War II, 13(2), 62. info:/

  • January 18, 2011
  • 01:09 PM

RNAi in the Nucleus ~ It’s no longer limited to the cytoplasm

by Linda in the Node

Hot off the press from the holidays is an article from PNAS that’s worth a gander if you’re into RNAi. We know RNAi associated with epigenetics is possible in the nucleus (Somehow, siRNAs could trigger the methylation and silencing of genes in the nucleus.) However, one soy bean group was able to provide evidence for [...]... Read more »

Hoffer, P., Ivashuta, S., Pontes, O., Vitins, A., Pikaard, C., Mroczka, A., Wagner, N., & Voelker, T. (2010) Posttranscriptional gene silencing in nuclei. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 108(1), 409-414. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1009805108  

Guang, S., Bochner, A., Pavelec, D., Burkhart, K., Harding, S., Lachowiec, J., & Kennedy, S. (2008) An Argonaute Transports siRNAs from the Cytoplasm to the Nucleus. Science, 321(5888), 537-541. DOI: 10.1126/science.1157647  

Heinrichs, A. (2008) Gene expression: Argonaute on the move. Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology, 9(9), 666-666. DOI: 10.1038/nrm2473  

  • January 18, 2011
  • 12:31 PM

Nextera™ sample prep enables breakthrough study of copy-number variation

by epibio in EpiCentral

The study of copy-number variation (CNV) in humans has contributed to our understanding of genetic uniqueness, as well as disease. Until recently, it was difficult to assess the number of repeated DNA sequences in the genome. In a recent publication, researchers at the 1000 Genomes Project and collaborators have invented new methods to study and find repetitive DNA sequences in the human genome, and have found that CNVs occur in only 7%-9% of human genes. They used the new techniques to compare ........ Read more »

  • January 18, 2011
  • 11:53 AM

Are petro-states more aggressive?

by Henrik Karlstrøm in STS Guru

Discussing an interesting but seriously flawed article on the link between resources, political stability and aggresion... Read more »

  • January 18, 2011
  • 11:36 AM


by rattitude in Caring Carnivore

Labelling alerts consumers to qualities of the food that are not apparent from its intrinsic appearance.  these qualities are referred to variously as imperceptible, intrinsic or unobservable--and may include statuses such as 'organic' or 'genetically modified'. Concern about these qualities is termed "ethical preference". In the absence of labelling or other information that informs ethical choices, consumer are likely to feel less trust in the product. (Michalopoulos et al, 2008).Understa........ Read more »

  • January 18, 2011
  • 10:52 AM

Eocene Florida Plant Remains = Rethink Local Geology A Little

by Greg Laden in Greg Laden's Blog

Sometimes interesting scientific evidence shows up in unexpected places. Years ago, there had been discussion of the possibility that immediate post glacial climate in the North Atlantic coastal region was unusually warm, but the evidence was spotty. Then, I was looking through material taken from a geotechnical boring placed to assess the geology of a part of Boston Harbor where a new tunnel was being planned, and found a large fragment of a clam embedded in clay. The clay was deposited duri........ Read more »

Jarzen, David, & Klug, Curtis. (2010) A preliminary investigation of a lower to middle Eocene palynoflora from Pine Island, Florida, USA . Palylnology, 34(2), 164-179. info:/10.1080/01916121003737421

  • January 18, 2011
  • 10:35 AM

Bushbuck: two species where there was one

by davesbrain in Dave Hubble's ecology spot

Back in the day, the bushbuck was considered a single species, Tragelaphus scriptus, found in various habitats across much of sub-Saharan Africa. Recently however, genetic studies have indicated that T. scriptus is actually a complex of two distinct species, the Kéwel (T. scriptus) and the Imbabala (T. sylvaticus). This evidence shows that these two bushbuck species are more closely related to other tragelaphines than to each other; the Imbabala being closest to the Bongo (T. eurycerus) and Sit........ Read more »

Moodley, Y., Bruford, M., Bleidorn, C., Wronski, T., Apio, A., & Plath, M. (2009) Analysis of mitochondrial DNA data reveals non-monophyly in the bushbuck (Tragelaphus scriptus) complex. Mammalian Biology - Zeitschrift fur Saugetierkunde, 74(5), 418-422. DOI: 10.1016/j.mambio.2008.05.003  

  • January 18, 2011
  • 10:14 AM

Using Fear to Flirt: The “Scary Movie Effect”

by Rob Mitchum in ScienceLife

The Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street movies aren’t typically thought of as mating strategies. But putting on a scary movie is a trick as old as drive-in theaters for encouraging one’s date to jump in fright and snuggle in just a little bit closer. Birds, so far as we know, aren’t into [...]... Read more »

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