Post List

  • January 22, 2010
  • 01:31 AM

Those naughty plants!

by Anastasia Bodnar in Biofortified

Many people, including me, are concerned about potential harm to crop biodiversity from gene flow. Most people’s concern focuses on transgenics. There is a certain probability, albeit small, that transgenes will end up in the progeny of non-transgenic plants, weedy relatives of the crop, or wild relatives that grow nearby due to pollen flow. Transgenes can also be moved from place to place by accidental or purposeful movement of seeds. How much transgene flow is actually happening is a sub........ Read more »

  • January 22, 2010
  • 01:11 AM

Friday Weird Science: Duck, duck, penis.

by Evil Monkey in Neurotopia

Sci is going to so some selfish Friday Weird Science today. Selfish, because this article isn't new, and was reported on by one of the GREATS. This guy. He (of course) did a completely brilliant job, and when he talked about it at SciOnline this past weekend, Sci was compelled to go and see the material for herself. And it's something to SEE. And so see it you shall.

The reason this is selfish is because Sci knows it's been reported on before. She wants to do it her ownself, as an excuse ........ Read more »

  • January 22, 2010
  • 12:11 AM

Nothing wrong with synthetic biology, It's just B-I-O-L-O-G-Y and the rest is silence

by Abhishek Tiwari in Fisheye Perspective

Recent issue of Nature magazine has few very interesting articles about synthetic biology and one of them is "Five hard truths for synthetic biology" written by Roberta Kwok. When I first read this article my first reaction was- nothing wrong with synthetic biology, it's just biology gets in the way of the engineering.Nothing to do with their heartsNothing to do with their headsNothing to do with their homesNothing to do with their bedsIt's just B-I-O-L-O-G-YCan't you seeIt's just BiologyBiology........ Read more »

  • January 22, 2010
  • 12:02 AM

A plethora of MRSA sequences

by Keith Robison in Omics! Omics!

The Sanger Institute's paper in Science describing the sequencing of multiple MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) genomes is very nifty and demonstrates a whole new potential market for next-generation sequencing: the tracking of infections in support of better control measures.MRSA is a serious health issue; a friend of mine's relative is battling it right now. MRSA is commonly acquired in health care facilities. Further spread can be combated by rigorous attention to disinfect........ Read more »

Simon R. Harris, Edward J. Feil, Matthew T. G. Holden, Michael A. Quail, Emma K. Nickerson, Narisara Chantratita, Susana Gardete, Ana Tavares, Nick Day, Jodi A. Lindsay.... (2010) Evolution of MRSA During Hospital Transmission and Intercontinental Spread. Science, 327(5964), 469-474. info:/10.1126/science.1182395

  • January 22, 2010
  • 12:00 AM

Synthetically Synchronized E.Coli Clocks

by Allison in Dormivigilia

Even E.Coli clocks "Twitter." Dr. Martin Fussenegger reviews in a recent Nature News & Views... Read more »

  • January 21, 2010
  • 10:06 PM

The Evolution of Iron-Clad Samurai Snails With Gold Feet

by Dr. M in Deep Sea News

It is told in the Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai
At the time of the attack on the castle at Shimabara, Tazaki Geki was wearing very resplendent armor.  Lord Katsuhige was not pleased by this, and after that every time he saw something showy he would say, “That’s just like Geki’s armor.” In the light [...]... Read more »

Yao, H., Dao, M., Imholt, T., Huang, J., Wheeler, K., Bonilla, A., Suresh, S., & Ortiz, C. (2010) Protection mechanisms of the iron-plated armor of a deep-sea hydrothermal vent gastropod. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107(3), 987-992. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0912988107  

  • January 21, 2010
  • 09:32 PM

Social networking for taxonomists

by Iddo Friedberg in Byte Size Biology

Despite our best attempts to remove species from the face of the Earth, there is still quite a bit of life out there and it is still quite diverse. Also, there are still quite a few people who want to document, describe and make the rest of us aware of the magnitude and diversity of [...]... Read more »

  • January 21, 2010
  • 09:25 PM

Actually, maybe economists did prove money can buy happiness…

by Michael Slezak in Good, Bad, and Bogus

A little while ago, I wrote a post about an article in Science about the relationship between “objective” measurements of “quality of life” and subjective measurements of “life-satisfaction”. The article found a very high correlation between these measurements leading the authors to claim that there was now “objective verification” of the subjective measurements often used [...]... Read more »

  • January 21, 2010
  • 09:20 PM

Spine Immobilization in Penetrating Trauma: More Harm Than Good?

by Rogue Medic in Rogue Medic

Also posted over at Paramedicine 101. Go check out the rest of what is there.A recent study points out some of the problems with EMS (Emergency Medical Services) treatment in some places. Each medical director, or state medical director, is permitted to ignore the evidence that some treatments are harmful. They can use ignorance as an excuse for continuing harmful practices. Rather than ignorance, those familiar with the research will claim that somebody might benefit. Their battle cry is What i........ Read more »

Haut, E., Kalish, B., Efron, D., Haider, A., Stevens, K., Kieninger, A., Cornwell, E., & Chang, D. (2010) Spine Immobilization in Penetrating Trauma: More Harm Than Good?. The Journal of Trauma: Injury, Infection, and Critical Care, 68(1), 115-121. DOI: 10.1097/TA.0b013e3181c9ee58  

  • January 21, 2010
  • 09:03 PM

Avoiding the REDD monster

by CJA Bradshaw in ConservationBytes

A short post about a small letter that recently appeared in the latest issue of Conservation Biology – the dangers of REDD.
REDD. What is it? The acronym for ‘Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation’, it is the idea of providing financial incentives to developing countries to reduce forest clearance by paying them to keep them [...]... Read more »

Oscar Venter, James E.M. Watson, Erik Meijaard, William F. Laurance, & Hugh P. Possingham. (2010) Avoiding Unintended Outcomes from REDD. Conservation Biology, 24(1), 5-6. DOI: 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2009.01391.x  

  • January 21, 2010
  • 08:01 PM

Sperm of a feather clump together

by aimee in misc.ience

I’m gobsmacked.  And highly amused, as well (it’s the immature part of me, apologies).

Credit: Phil Myers (photographer, copyright holder), Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan.  More info here and here.  (I tried to find a picture of sperm in question, but nothing seemed to be (c)-free)

Research published in Nature this week has shown something incredible [...]

[Click on the hyperlinked headline for more of the goodness]... Read more »

  • January 21, 2010
  • 06:30 PM

Research in the Slow Lane

by Journal Watch Online in Journal Watch Online

Conservation biologists take a long time to submit papers

... Read more »

  • January 21, 2010
  • 06:17 PM

Searching for Rugged Enzymes Adapted to Switchgrass Processing

by Michael Long in Phased

Philip Hugenholtz (Joint Bioenergy Institute and Joint Genome Institute, California) and coworkers have discovered a rugged enzyme that will be useful towards an industrial-scale breakdown of switchgrass into synthetically-useful molecules, rendering switchgrass into a practical, renewable carbon source. This news feature was written on January 21, 2010.... Read more »

Allgaier, M., Reddy, A., Park, J. I., Ivanova, N., D'haeseleer, P., Lowry, S., Sapra, R., Hazen, T. C., Simmons, B. A., VanderGheynst, J. S.... (2010) Targeted Discovery of Glycoside Hydrolases from a Switchgrass-Adapted Compost Community. PLoS ONE, 5(1). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0008812  

  • January 21, 2010
  • 06:11 PM

Disentangling syntax and intelligibility -- Or how to disprove two theories with one experiment

by Greg Hickok in Talking Brains

I both love and hate a recent paper by Angela Friederici, Sonja Kotz, Sophie Scott, & Jonas Obleser titled Disentangling syntax and intelligibility in auditory language comprehension. The paper is in the "Early View" section of Human Brain Mapping. Here's why I love it. There are a number of claims in the literature on the neuroscience of language that I disagree with. One is Sophie Scott's claim that speech recognition is a left hemisphere function that primarily involves anterior temporal re........ Read more »

  • January 21, 2010
  • 05:59 PM

Long-term deployment affects mental health of army wives

by geekheartsscience in geek!

Prolonged deployment in Iraq is associated with more mental health diagnoses in U.S. Army wives, a new study published free in the New England Journal of Medicine has found.
Current military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan have involved frequent and long-term deployment of the military in these areas. Previous studies have shown considerable mental health problems [...]... Read more »

Mansfield, A., Kaufman, J., Marshall, S., Gaynes, B., Morrissey, J., & Engel, C. (2010) Deployment and the Use of Mental Health Services among U.S. Army Wives. New England Journal of Medicine, 362(2), 101-109. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa0900177  

  • January 21, 2010
  • 02:40 PM

Fasting and Workouts: does it work out?

by mc in begin to dig (b2d)

There is growing interest in intermittent fasting and athletic performance - or how can i train if i'm not eating? In the past year there have been a couple of cool studies looking at athletic performance and the effects of the Ramdam fast on same. The Ramadan fast is, to the best of my knowledge, a total break in eating for part of a day: from sun up to sun down, no food. Since this is the time of day most athletes train, one might think going without food would make training impossible, o........ Read more »

  • January 21, 2010
  • 01:00 PM


by Lab Rat in Lab Rat

The first signs of life on earth appeared about 4.5 Ga (1 Ga is an American billion, ie. 109 years) ago. It's not yet completely certain exactly how this life arose; hot volcanic mineral springs have been suggested, as have the more traditional lightning-struck primordial soups and (rather wonderfully) radioactive beaches. At any rate something happened (and there was certainly plenty of time for it to happen in) which lead to a little membrane-bound ball with internal nucleic acids which, cruci........ Read more »

  • January 21, 2010
  • 12:54 PM


by Richard Grant in Faculty of 1000

The distribution and uptake of antivirals and vaccination was in the news quite a bit before Christmas. H1N1 swine flu didn’t turn out to be the Armageddon some commentators were forecasting, but I don’t think it’s overstating the case to say that we dodged a bullet there. In cases like this we might expect the [...]... Read more »

  • January 21, 2010
  • 11:50 AM

Single cells in the monkey brain encode abstract mathematical concepts

by Mo in Neurophilosophy

OUR ability to use and manipulate numbers is integral to everyday life - we use them to label, rank, count and measure almost everything we encounter. It was long thought that numerical competence is dependent on language and, therefore, that numerosity is restricted to our species. Although the symbolic representation of numbers, using numerals and words, is indeed unique to humans, we now know that animals are also capable of manipulating numerical information.

One study published in 1998, f........ Read more »

  • January 21, 2010
  • 10:58 AM

Neury Thursday: GABA and dopaminergic regulation of olfaction

by Allison in Dormivigilia

Regulation of olfaction by GABA and dopaminergic neuromodulatory systems and related molecular machinery... Read more »

Kiyokage, E., Pan, Y., Shao, Z., Kobayashi, K., Szabo, G., Yanagawa, Y., Obata, K., Okano, H., Toida, K., Puche, A.... (2010) Molecular Identity of Periglomerular and Short Axon Cells. Journal of Neuroscience, 30(3), 1185-1196. DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3497-09.2010  

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