Nguyen et al demonstrate a mammalian cell based system for optically measuring ACh levels in an intact brain. They coexpressed M1 muscarinic receptors with the genetically-encoded calcium indicator TN-XXL in HEK293 cells. ACh binding to the M1 receptor induced IP3-mediated calcium influx. This calcium rise was then picked up by the TN-XXL and reported as a change in CFP/YFP fluorescence. The crazy part is that they took this cell culture assay and implanted the cells into the brains of livin........ Read more »
Nguyen, Q., Schroeder, L., Mank, M., Muller, A., Taylor, P., Griesbeck, O., & Kleinfeld, D. (2009) An in vivo biosensor for neurotransmitter release and in situ receptor activity. Nature Neuroscience, 13(1), 127-132. DOI: 10.1038/nn.2469
The IPCC 2007 report projected a conservative sea level rise of about 18-59 cm by the year 2100.
Why conservative? Because it mainly accounted for things we know are happening and can measure well—like thermal expansion of the ocean and melting of land glaciers (see here for a discussion of the Kilimanjaro example). What it doesn’t [...]... Read more »
Jevrejeva, S., J. C. Moore, and A. Grinsted. (2010) How will sea level respond to changes in natural and anthropogenic forcings by 2100?. Geophysical Research Letters. info:/10.1029/2010GL042947
A muskox (Ovibos moschatus), photographed in Alaska. From Flickr user drurydrama.
Of all the mass extinctions that have occurred during earth's history, among the most hotly debated is the one which wiped out mammoths, saber-toothed cats, giant ground sloths, and the other peculiar members of the Pleistocene megafauna around 12,000 years ago. It was not the most severe mass extinction, not by a long shot, but unlike the end-Cretaceous catastrophe 65 million years ago there is no single "sm........ Read more »
Campos, P., Willerslev, E., Sher, A., Orlando, L., Axelsson, E., Tikhonov, A., Aaris-Sorensen, K., Greenwood, A., Kahlke, R., Kosintsev, P.... (2010) Ancient DNA analyses exclude humans as the driving force behind late Pleistocene musk ox (Ovibos moschatus) population dynamics. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0907189107
Craig Bennett (of Prefrontal.org) and Michael Miller, of dead fish brain scan fame, have a new paper out: How reliable are the results from functional magnetic resonance imaging?Tal over at the  blog has an excellent in-depth discussion of the paper, and Mind Hacks has a good summary, but here's my take on what it all means in practical terms.Suppose you scan someone's brain while they're looking at a picture of a cat. You find that certain parts of their brain are activated to ........ Read more »
Bennett CM, Miller MB. (2010) How reliable are the results from functional magnetic resonance imaging?. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. info:/
Lupski, J.R., et al. (2010). Whole-genome sequencing in a patient with Charcot-Marie-Tooth neuropathy. New England Journal of Medicine advance online 10.1056/nejmoa0908094Roach, J.C., & et al. (2010). Analysis of genetic inheritance in a family quartet by whole-genome sequencing. Science : 10.1126/science.1186802[Note that links to the papers may not yet be active.]Two new papers out today - the first ever studies to employ whole-genome sequencing for disease gene discovery - ........ Read more »
Lupski, J.R. (2010) Whole-genome sequencing in a patient with Charcot-Marie-Tooth neuropathy. New England Journal of Medicine. info:/10.1056/nejmoa0908094
Roach, J.C., & et al. (2010) Analysis of genetic inheritance in a family quartet by whole-genome sequencing. Science. info:/10.1126/science.1186802
tags: evolution, evolutionary biology, ancient DNA, aDNA, molecular biology, molecular ecology, archaeology, paleontology, fossil eggshell, extinct birds, giant moa, Dinornis robustus, elephant birds, Aepyornis maximus, Mullerornis, Thunderbirds, Genyornis, bpr3.org/?p=52,peer-reviewed research, peer-reviewed paper, journal club
Elephant bird, Aepyornis maximus, egg
compared to a human hand with a hummingbird egg balanced on a fingertip.
To conduct my avian research, I've isolated and........ Read more »
Charlotte L. Oskam, James Haile, Emma McLay, Paul Rigby, Morten E. Allentoft, Maia E. Olsen, Camilla Bengtsson, Gifford H. Miller, Jean-Luc Schwenninger, Chris Jacomb, Richard Walter, Alexander Baynes, Joe Dortch, Michael Parker-Pearson, M. Thomas P. Gilb. (2010) Fossil avian eggshell preserves ancient DNA. Proc. R. Soc. B. info:/10.1098/rspb.2009.2019
Shin-Yuan Liu (University of Oregon, United States) and coworkers have addressed a challenge that is often brushed aside in hydrogen fuel cell research, but which is absolutely critical for practical, real-world applications. This news feature was written on March 10, 2010.... Read more »
Campbell, P. G., Zakharov, L. N., Grant, D. J., Dixon, D. A., & Liu, S.-Y. (2010) Hydrogen Storage by Boron−Nitrogen Heterocycles: A Simple Route for Spent Fuel Regeneration. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 132(10), 3289-3291. DOI: 10.1021/ja9106622
ALZHEIMER'S Disease is the most common form of dementia, affecting an estimated 30 million people worldwide. The cause of the condition is unknown, but the prime suspect is amyloid-beta (Aβ), a 42-amino acid peptide which accumulates within neurons to form insoluble structures called senile plaques that are thought to be toxic. Aβ is synthesized in all neurons; it is associated with the cell membrane, and is thought to be involved in cell-to-cell signalling, but its exact role has eluded resea........ Read more »
Soscia, S., Kirby, J., Washicosky, K., Tucker, S., Ingelsson, M., Hyman, B., Burton, M., Goldstein, L., Duong, S., Tanzi, R.... (2010) The Alzheimer's Disease-Associated Amyloid β-Protein Is an Antimicrobial Peptide. PLoS ONE, 5(3). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0009505
I'm a stoichiometry kind of guy (even if I've been relatively unsuccessful lately), and stoichiometry seems to revolve around N, P and C. And really, mostly just N&P. As a result, I've been thinking a lot about how the terrestrial and upstream watershed affects the N, P, and C in receiving waters. So, for instance, if you change the proportion of wetlands, how is the ratio of these nutrients ... Read more »
Saunders, T., McClain, M., & Llerena, C. (2006) The biogeochemistry of dissolved nitrogen, phosphorus, and organic carbon along terrestrial-aquatic flowpaths of a montane headwater catchment in the Peruvian Amazon. Hydrological Processes, 20(12), 2549-2562. DOI: 10.1002/hyp.6215
I know you’ve all been waiting for it. We’ve talked about putting ants on stilts, kidnapping baby gerbils, and hijacking a truck full of geese. All in the name of science. Ants and gerbils taught us about the limitations of the path integration system, but also how amazingly cool it is. The geese suggested that [...]... Read more »
Find out how climate change is affecting malaria, how ocean bacteria could be the key to producing clean fuels, how a tree purifies dirty water and more.... Read more »
Stelzer, R., Chittka, L., Carlton, M., & Ings, T. (2010) Winter Active Bumblebees (Bombus terrestris) Achieve High Foraging Rates in Urban Britain. PLoS ONE, 5(3). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0009559
Michael Lea. (2010) Bioremediation of Turbid Surface Water Using Seed Extract from Moringa oleifera Lam. (Drumstick) Tree. Wiley InterScience. DOI: 10.1002/9780471729259.mc01g02s16
Chaves, L., & Koenraadt, C. (2010) Climate Change and Highland Malaria: Fresh Air for a Hot Debate. The Quarterly Review of Biology, 85(1), 27-55. DOI: 10.1086/650284
Savage, D., Afonso, B., Chen, A., & Silver, P. (2010) Spatially Ordered Dynamics of the Bacterial Carbon Fixation Machinery. Science, 327(5970), 1258-1261. DOI: 10.1126/science.1186090
If you go to your physician's office and inquire about your weight status, he or she will measure your height and weight to derive your BMI (weight in kg divided by height in m squared). Then they will compare your BMI to that of established criteria to decide whether you are underweight (30 kg/m2) . Often times, this measure alone determines whether or not you receive lifestyle treatment. But how useful is this measure anyways? What does it tell you about your health? And finally, how helpful i........ Read more »
Ross R, & Janiszewski PM. (2008) Is weight loss the optimal target for obesity-related cardiovascular disease risk reduction?. The Canadian journal of cardiology. PMID: 18787733
Gills may not have originated for breathing purposes, as has been assumed.... Read more »
Fu, C., Wilson, J., Rombough, P., & Brauner, C. (2010) Ions first: Na uptake shifts from the skin to the gills before O2 uptake in developing rainbow trout, Oncorhynchus mykiss. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2009.1545
Kirk, R., & Lewis, J. (1993) An evaluation of pollutant induced changes in the gills of rainbow trout using scanning electron microscopy. Environmental Technology, 14(6), 577-585. DOI: 10.1080/09593339309385326
Sixty-five million years ago, life on Earth suffered one of the worst mass extinctions of all time. It was an event that killed creatures across the spectrum of life’s diversity, from tiny marine invertebrates to the largest dinosaurs, but what could have caused it?
A number of hypotheses have been forwarded over the years, most of [...]... Read more »
Schulte, P., Alegret, L., Arenillas, I., Arz, J., Barton, P., Bown, P., Bralower, T., Christeson, G., Claeys, P., Cockell, C.... (2010) The Chicxulub Asteroid Impact and Mass Extinction at the Cretaceous-Paleogene Boundary. Science, 327(5970), 1214-1218. DOI: 10.1126/science.1177265
by Nestor Lopez-Duran PhD in Child-Psych
A few weeks ago I wrote a study that showed that exposing premature babies to Mozart music may lead to metabolic changes that facilitate weight gain and better medical outcomes. That study is an example of one credible and positive outcome that came out of the “Mozart effect’ craze. Unfortunately, most of the other claims, [...]... Read more »
Variable expressivity and epistasis go hand in hand when talking about genetic disorders. Knowing what they mean will help you really understand the kind of complications researchers are up against. In this article I’ll illustrate these concepts using a recently published paper on the causes of autism as an example.
One of the genetic risk factors [...]... Read more »
Veltman, J., & Brunner, H. (2010) Understanding variable expressivity in microdeletion syndromes. Nature Genetics, 42(3), 192-193. DOI: 10.1038/ng0310-192
Girirajan, S., Rosenfeld, J., Cooper, G., Antonacci, F., Siswara, P., Itsara, A., Vives, L., Walsh, T., McCarthy, S., Baker, C.... (2010) A recurrent 16p12.1 microdeletion supports a two-hit model for severe developmental delay. Nature Genetics, 42(3), 203-209. DOI: 10.1038/ng.534
A new study on snorkelers in the Mediterranean sea finds a rare piece of good news about human impacts on the marine environment.
Joachim Clauedet and fellow researchers looked at snorkeling within the Cerbère Banyuls Natural Marine Reserve in the French Mediterranean and found that the activity had no observable effect on the structure of fish or macroalgae communities.... Read more »
Claudet, J., Lenfant, P., & Schrimm, M. (2010) Snorkelers impact on fish communities and algae in a temperate marine protected area. Biodiversity and Conservation. DOI: 10.1007/s10531-010-9794-0
Back in the 1970s my parents had friends who had stacks of hi-fi separates with gold contact wiring and speaker stands on metal spikes. They were only playing Perry Como on vinyl, but that was their idea of fun, so good luck to them. When the CD emerged on to the market with its claims [...]Whatever happened to the audiophile? is a post from: Sciencebase Science Blog
... Read more »
Jerald Hughes. (2009) Emergent quality standards for digital entertainment experience goods: the case of consumer audio. Int. J. Services and Standards, 5(4), 333-353. info:/
As I’ve written recently, I don’t feel all that at home and comfortable in the field of neuroscience. I feel much more at home in the discipline of neuroethology, which investigates the neural bases of naturally occurring animal behaviour. It is populated by people who still appreciate diversity.
Having said that neuroethology is my intellectual home, I would like to rattle the windows in my own house a bit.
Neuroethology has a bunch of great people working on cool stories. And yet it is n........ Read more »
Krishna, milking a cow
Vaccinia virus is a widespread virus whose natural host remains unknown. It turns out to be pretty good at jumping across species.
Vaccinia, of course, is the vaccine against smallpox. Even though smallpox is eliminated in the wild,1 vaccinia is still very widely used in research and even, to some extent, in [...]... Read more »
Moussatché N, Damaso CR, & McFadden G. (2008) When good vaccines go wild: Feral Orthopoxvirus in developing countries and beyond. Journal of infection in developing countries, 2(3), 156-73. PMID: 19738346
Alzhanova, D., Edwards, D., Hammarlund, E., Scholz, I., Horst, D., Wagner, M., Upton, C., Wiertz, E., Slifka, M., & Früh, K. (2009) Cowpox Virus Inhibits the Transporter Associated with Antigen Processing to Evade T Cell Recognition. Cell Host , 6(5), 433-445. DOI: 10.1016/j.chom.2009.09.013
DRUMOND, B., LEITE, J., DAFONSECA, F., BONJARDIM, C., FERREIRA, P., & KROON, E. (2008) Brazilian Vaccinia virus strains are genetically divergent and differ from the Lister vaccine strain. Microbes and Infection, 10(2), 185-197. DOI: 10.1016/j.micinf.2007.11.005
Abrahão, J., Guedes, M., Trindade, G., Fonseca, F., Campos, R., Mota, B., Lobato, Z., Silva-Fernandes, A., Rodrigues, G., Lima, L.... (2009) One More Piece in the VACV Ecological Puzzle: Could Peridomestic Rodents Be the Link between Wildlife and Bovine Vaccinia Outbreaks in Brazil?. PLoS ONE, 4(10). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0007428
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