Post List

  • March 10, 2010
  • 09:53 PM

CNiFERS of Acetylcholine and Attention

by AndrewHires in Brain Windows

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  

  • March 10, 2010
  • 09:40 PM

Natural climate factors unlikely to put the brakes on greenhouse-gas-driven sea level rise this century

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

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

  • March 10, 2010
  • 05:41 PM

Prehistoric DNA reveals the story of a Pleistocene survivor, the muskox

by Laelaps in Laelaps

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  

  • March 10, 2010
  • 05:10 PM

Can We Rely on fMRI?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

Craig Bennett (of 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 [citation needed] 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:/

  • March 10, 2010
  • 05:00 PM

Disease hunting with whole genome sequences: the good news, and the bad news

by dgmacarthur in Genetic Future

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

  • March 10, 2010
  • 03:50 PM

Ancient DNA Isolated from Fossil Eggshells May Provide Clues to Eggstinction of Giant Birds

by GrrlScientist in Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

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,,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

  • March 10, 2010
  • 12:50 PM

Spent Hydrogen Regeneration in Ammonia Borane Derivatives

by Michael Long in Phased

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  

  • March 10, 2010
  • 12:20 PM

Immune response to brain infection may trigger Alzheimer's

by Mo in Neurophilosophy

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  

  • March 10, 2010
  • 12:04 PM

Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Organic Carbon (The Big Three)

by JL in Analyze Everything

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 »

  • March 10, 2010
  • 12:00 PM

Path Integration in Humans

by Jason Goldman in The Thoughtful Animal

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 »

Landau, B., Spelke, E., & Gleitman, H. (1984) Spatial knowledge in a young blind child. Cognition, 16(3), 225-260. DOI: 10.1016/0010-0277(84)90029-5  

  • March 10, 2010
  • 11:42 AM

Environmental news round up

by Elements Science in Elements Science

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 »

  • March 10, 2010
  • 11:40 AM

Body mass index (BMI) as a measure of obesity and health: a critical appraisal

by Travis Saunders, MSc in Obesity Panacea

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 »

  • March 10, 2010
  • 10:24 AM

Gills: How Fish Avoid the “Pruney Fingers” Effect

by agoldstein in WiSci

Gills may not have originated for breathing purposes, as has been assumed.... Read more »

  • March 10, 2010
  • 09:58 AM

Asteroid Strike Confirmed as Dinosaur Killer

by Brian Switek in Dinosaur Tracking

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  

  • March 10, 2010
  • 09:53 AM

Do Baby Einstein DVDs work? Exposing infants to educational dvds may affect their language development.

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 »

Richert, R., Robb, M., Fender, J., & Wartella, E. (2010) Word Learning From Baby Videos. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. DOI: 10.1001/archpediatrics.2010.24  

  • March 10, 2010
  • 08:37 AM

Variable Expressivity and Epistasis, or, Why You Don’t Have Autism

by Rick Scavetta in DNA Dude


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 »

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  

  • March 10, 2010
  • 08:00 AM

The impact of snorkeling on fish and macroalgae communities

by Rob Goldstein in Conservation Maven

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 »

  • March 10, 2010
  • 08:00 AM

Whatever happened to the audiophile?

by sciencebase in Sciencebase Science Blog

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:/

  • March 10, 2010
  • 08:00 AM

Rattling neuroethology’s windows

by Zen Faulkes in NeuroDojo

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 »

Bullock, T. (1999) Neuroethology has pregnant agendas. Journal of Comparative Physiology A: Sensory, Neural, and Behavioral Physiology, 185(4), 291-295. DOI: 10.1007/s003590050389  

  • March 10, 2010
  • 06:15 AM

Vaccinia virus in Brazil: What a long, strange trip

by iayork in Mystery Rays from Outer Space

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  

Essbauer, S., Pfeffer, M., & Meyer, H. (2010) Zoonotic poxviruses☆. Veterinary Microbiology, 140(3-4), 229-236. DOI: 10.1016/j.vetmic.2009.08.026  

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