Post List

  • June 26, 2010
  • 08:03 PM

#evol2010 day 1: In which chromosomes invert and sources sink

by Jeremy Yoder in Denim and Tweed

The first day at Evolution 2010 has been a great one. The location in Portland is proving to be great in stereotypical ways: great beer from Rogue Ales, conference t-shirts by American Apparel. There's pretty good chatter on Twitter this year under the hashtag #evol2010, and in a first for Evolution meeting coverage, there will be daily wrap-up audiocasts (in which I'll be participating) at the blog Evolution, Development, and Genomics.

Amusingly, we're sharing the Oregon Convention Center with........ Read more »

  • June 26, 2010
  • 01:24 PM

The evolution of mutualistic relationships

by Lab Rat in Lab Rat

Although bacteria are often thought of as invading pathogens, not all bacterial interactions are necessarily to the detriment of the host. Some bacteria are able to establish mutualistic relationships which benefit both the bacteria and the organism in which it lives. An example can be seen in legumes, which have bacteria in specialised root nodules which carry out nitrogen fixation. The plant gains a source of nitrogen while the bacterium gains a safe space to live and a good source of carbohyd........ Read more »

  • June 26, 2010
  • 12:23 PM

Only the Brain is Worried about Getting Fat

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

One thing that virtually all women share is body image issues. No matter how thin or fat, short or tall, or muscular or slim, women dislike something about their body. According to a new study published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, even women who are seemingly well-adjusted with no overt body image issues have [...]... Read more »

Owens, T., Allen, M., & Spangler, D. (2010) An fMRI study of self-reflection about body image: Sex differences. Personality and Individual Differences, 48(7), 849-854. DOI: 10.1016/j.paid.2010.02.012  

  • June 26, 2010
  • 10:28 AM

Criminally photosynthetic: Myrionecta, Dinophysis and stolen plastids

by Psi Wavefunction in Skeptic Wonder

The microbial world is full of vicious beasts. Yes, much of microbial life is cute and cuddly in one way or another. But that doesn't stop many of them from making wolverines seem docile by comparison. There is an entire mafia out there built around...organ theft; including some multicellular players as well, in case you thought animals were saintly. Today we'll look at some famous thieving masterminds of the plastid black market, but keep in mind that there are many more fascinating rela........ Read more »

Park, M., Kim, S., Kim, H., Myung, G., Kang, Y., & Yih, W. (2006) First successful culture of the marine dinoflagellate Dinophysis acuminata. Aquatic Microbial Ecology, 101-106. DOI: 10.3354/ame045101  

Stoecker, D., Johnson, M., deVargas, C., & Not, F. (2009) Acquired phototrophy in aquatic protists. Aquatic Microbial Ecology, 279-310. DOI: 10.3354/ame01340  

  • June 26, 2010
  • 09:36 AM

Incorporating science into home gardening

by Katie Kline in EcoTone

Blanketing a home garden in pesticides poses a clear risk to the humans and animals who dine on it. But when the garden is compared to a human immune system, another problem becomes apparent: Just like antibiotics, pesticides wipe out the “good bugs” with the bad. These helpful predators and parasitoids are called natural enemies and they help to naturally control pests like aphids and caterpillars. Certain plants attract natural enemies and/or deter pests all together and can be used in pla........ Read more »

  • June 26, 2010
  • 01:34 AM

Ep 131: The Science of Sport at Altitude

by westius in Mr Science Show

Professor Chris Gore, head of Physiology at the Australian Institute of Sport, has had over 20 years experience in the science of sport at altitude, including the study of the physiological effects of altitude on the body and designing altitude training regimes for athletes.

The effects of altitude have been known for some time, however their effects on sport became prominent during the 1968 Mexico Olympics, which were held at over 2000 metres. At these games, endurance sports suffered w........ Read more »

  • June 26, 2010
  • 12:24 AM

Why Red Ink and Rain Can Ruin Your Grade

by David Berreby in Mind Matters

One of the eerier themes in psychology papers is the extreme susceptibility of people's thoughts and acts to incidental details in their surroundings. For instance, this paper from a recent European Journal of Social Psychology (I was led to it by this recent news story), in which people rated some paragraphs, supposedly from a student essay. Those who used red ink found more errors, and gave lower grades, than those who'd used blue.
Pretty disturbing -- like this Canadian study publis........ Read more »

Redelmeier, D., & Baxter, S. (2009) Rainy weather and medical school admission interviews. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 181(12), 933-933. DOI: 10.1503/cmaj.091546  

  • June 25, 2010
  • 10:55 PM

Real Men Kill Themselves Quietly

by Ultimo167 in Strong Silent Types

Oliffe et al. (2010) think that suicidal men either choose the path of connection or the path of escape, and if the latter, then that means those men have been adversely affected by masculine ideals.... Read more »

  • June 25, 2010
  • 10:24 PM

Another Illustration as to Why There Will Be Many, Many Genetic Contributions to Longevity

by Reason in Fight Aging!

As I mentioned not so long ago, there will most likely prove to be a great many subtle and overlapping genetic variants of human longevity. However, very few of them will be important in the sense that they will lead to ways to significantly increase human life span through new medicine. The effective way to greatly increase human longevity is to learn to repair the biochemical damage of aging, not to tinker with metabolism to slow down the rate at which damage occurs. In any case, here is an ex........ Read more »

Michal Jazwinski S, Kim S, Dai J, Li L, Bi X, Jiang JC, Arnold J, Batzer MA, Walker JA, Welsh DA.... (2010) HRAS1 and LASS1 with APOE are associated with human longevity and healthy aging. Aging cell. PMID: 20569235  

  • June 25, 2010
  • 07:42 PM

Night of the Living Dead Stars

by Professor Astronomy in Professor Astronomy

Image Credit: NASA / Spitzer / JPL-Caltech

White dwarfs, the slowly cooling remains of stars that have completed their life cycles, often seem to be the zombies of the night sky, devouring anything that happens to stray within their grasp.  In an article that will be appearing in an upcoming issue of the Astrophysical Journal, astronomers Patrick Dufour, Mukremin Kilic and collaborators discuss a recently-discovered white dwarf that seems to have devoured a dwarf planet.  Its name:&........ Read more »

P. Dufour, M. Kilic, G. Fontaine, P. Bergeron, F. -R. Lachapelle, S. J. Kleinman, & S. K. Leggett. (2010) The Discovery of the Most Metal-Rich White Dwarf: Composition of a Tidally Disrupted Extrasolar Dwarf Planet. The Astrophysical Journal. arXiv: 1006.3710v1

  • June 25, 2010
  • 06:24 PM

The Bacterial Raindance

by James Byrne in Disease Prone

I wanted to follow up the piece last week about the oil spill and potential benefits to bacterial populations there to another bacterium that may have a larger role in the normal functioning of our environment then previously suggested. Still, I promise to include a disease this week though. I love it when bacteria appear [...]... Read more »

Morris, C., Sands, D., Vinatzer, B., Glaux, C., Guilbaud, C., Buffière, A., Yan, S., Dominguez, H., & Thompson, B. (2008) The life history of the plant pathogen Pseudomonas syringae is linked to the water cycle. The ISME Journal, 2(3), 321-334. DOI: 10.1038/ismej.2007.113  

Christner, B., Morris, C., Foreman, C., Cai, R., & Sands, D. (2008) Ubiquity of Biological Ice Nucleators in Snowfall. Science, 319(5867), 1214-1214. DOI: 10.1126/science.1149757  

  • June 25, 2010
  • 06:19 PM

How does learning to read affect speech perception?

by Greg Hickok in Talking Brains

Sigh... It depends on what you mean by "speech perception" (still). I just read, with much anticipation, a paper in the current issue of J. Neuroscience by Pattamadilok et al. titled "How Does Learning to Read Affect Speech Perception?" I was really excited because as I've pointed out before, there is evidence indicating that the ability to perform certain "speech perception" tasks (e.g., syllable discrimination/identification) seems to be dependent on the ability to read. Assuming that illit........ Read more »

Pattamadilok C, Knierim IN, Kawabata Duncan KJ, & Devlin JT. (2010) How does learning to read affect speech perception?. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 30(25), 8435-44. PMID: 20573891  

  • June 25, 2010
  • 03:41 PM

You're only allowed one left hand

by Carl in The motor chauvinist

In previous posts I’ve asked how we know where our hands are and how we combine information from our senses. Today’s paper covers both of these topics, and investigates the deeper question of how we incorporate this information into our representation of the body.Body representation essentially splits into two parts: body image and body schema. Body image is how we think about our body, how we see ourselves; disorders in body image can lead to anorexia or myriad other problems. Body schema, ........ Read more »

  • June 25, 2010
  • 02:52 PM

Functional metagenomics reveals mechanisms of antibiotic resistance

by epibio in EpiCentral

The CopyControl™ Fosmid Library Production Kit has established itself as the molecular tool of choice in studying many facets of environmental metagenomics. Donato et al. at the University of Wisconsin-Madison explored several antibiotic resistance genes from soil microbes in an apple orchard. The study focused on Streptomyces bacteria, long known to be a reservoir of multiple antimicrobial resistance markers. Older techniques, such as cultivation of microbes from soil and determining resista........ Read more »

  • June 25, 2010
  • 02:49 PM

The Incredible Edible Electric Potato

by Brandon Miller in Clean

Sometimes a blog entry writes itself. I mean, potato power? Spud lights? How much fun can we have? Anyway, here's the story: Proffessor Haim Rabinowitch and his colleagues at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have reported a ten-times increase...... Read more »

  • June 25, 2010
  • 01:50 PM

Teaching Jell-O Microfluidics

by Brandon Miller in Biomicrofluidics

One of the tastiest things I can think of is Jell-O—and just in time to celebrate the Second Annual Jell-O Mold Competition, comes a bit of research from the ACS journal, Analytical Chemistry. The article, "Using Inexpensive Jell-O Chips for...... Read more »

  • June 25, 2010
  • 01:33 PM

Passing the Smell Test

by Journal Watch Online in Journal Watch Online

Dogs that have been trained to detect an invasive weed are better at finding the plants than humans, a new report says.
Invasive plant managers often face the tough task of wiping out an entire species from an area. But small or rare plants can elude notice, thwarting efforts at eradication. To track down those […] Read More »... Read more »

  • June 25, 2010
  • 01:05 PM

A Great History Of The Evidence For Dark Matter.

by Joseph Smidt in The Eternal Universe

In the paper Dark Matter: A Primer Garrett and Dudagives give a nice historical background to the accumulating evidence for dark matter.  Lets go through the history they lay out.

1.  J. H. Oort:  Astronomers have come to tust what is known as the mass to light ratio, M/L, that does a good job telling you what the mass of luminous matter should be based off of the luminosity of that matter.  

... Read more »

Katherine Garrett, & Gintaras Duda. (2010) Dark Matter: A Primer. Eprint. arXiv: 1006.2483v1

  • June 25, 2010
  • 11:28 AM

How did they get there? The colonization of a hydrothermal vent after volcanic eruption

by Hannah Waters in Culturing Science – biology as relevant to us earthly beings

To some people, a volcanic eruption means “Ahh!  Run!  Hot Lava!”  But to others, it means “SCIENCE!”  To those studying hydrothermal vent communities, that is (and a wide berth of geologists). Hydrothermal vents are cracks in the seafloor formed when tectonic plates spread apart, which spew out hot, mineral-rich water from the interior of the [...]... Read more »

Mullineaux, L., Adams, D., Mills, S., & Beaulieu, S. (2010) Larvae from afar colonize deep-sea hydrothermal vents after a catastrophic eruption. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107(17), 7829-7834. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0913187107  

  • June 25, 2010
  • 11:23 AM

Grow More Fat and Improve Metabolic Health: Insights from TZD Treatmen

by Travis Saunders, MSc in Obesity Panacea

By now, readers of Obesity Panacea have hopefully learned that excess weight is not directly predictive of health risk, and that excess fat mass is not in itself unhealthy. Recall that approximately 30% of individuals who are classified as obese by their body weight turn out to be metabolically healthy, and in fact seem not to get much metabolic benefit (or may even get worse) when they lose weight. Also consider that individuals who have NO fat tissue (e.g. lipodystrophy) have extremely elevat........ Read more »

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