Inspiring Science

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78 posts · 92,099 views

A biology-focused blog where I write about whatever I happen to find interesting, from simple explanations of things that might be considered “basic science” to peer-reviewed research, both old and new. My goal is to communicate scientific ideas to non-scientists in a way that is enlightening, engaging or even inspirational. I hope the blog will be more than just my writing, though – discussion and discourse are the heart of learning, so please share your thoughts and questions in the comments.

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  • April 22, 2015
  • 03:18 PM

What Drove the Great Dying?

by sedeer in Inspiring Science

As long ago as forever and as far away as home, life was withering away wherever you looked. At the …Continue reading →... Read more »

Clarkson MO, Kasemann SA, Wood RA, Lenton TM, Daines SJ, Richoz S, Ohnemueller F, Meixner A, Poulton SW, & Tipper ET. (2015) Ocean acidification and the Permo-Triassic mass extinction. Science (New York, N.Y.), 348(6231), 229-32. PMID: 25859043  

  • April 16, 2015
  • 01:10 PM

Counting Chicks

by sedeer in Inspiring Science

It’s probably not a surprise that humans aren’t the only animals with a sense of numbers. While they’re probably not …Continue reading →... Read more »

  • December 10, 2014
  • 01:20 PM

DNA can survive atmosphere re-entry

by sedeer in Inspiring Science

On March 29, 2011, a TEXUS-49 rocket took off from northern Sweden for a short trip into space and back …Continue reading →... Read more »

  • July 7, 2014
  • 12:04 PM

The Bone-house Wasp

by sedeer in Inspiring Science

The newly discovered Bone-house wasp, Deuteragenia ossarium, builds a unique nest for its young. Unlike species which excavate their own …Continue reading →... Read more »

  • June 12, 2014
  • 06:23 PM

How Some Critters Evolved to Eat Poison

by sedeer in Inspiring Science

Since plants generally can’t move around, they have to rely on other strategies to cope with animals eager to turn …Continue reading →... Read more »

  • May 27, 2014
  • 02:05 PM

The give-and-take between mothers and their offspring

by sedeer in Inspiring Science

This is a story about a gene which makes nursing mice produce more nutritious milk while also making their offspring …Continue reading →... Read more »

Cowley M, Garfield AS, Madon-Simon M, Charalambous M, Clarkson RW, Smalley MJ, Kendrick H, Isles AR, Parry AJ, Carney S.... (2014) Developmental programming mediated by complementary roles of imprinted Grb10 in mother and pup. PLoS biology, 12(2). PMID: 24586114  

  • April 29, 2014
  • 11:42 AM

The Language of DNA

by sedeer in Inspiring Science

One of the striking things about the genetic code is the remarkable way it twists back on itself, combining redundancy …Continue reading →... Read more »

Goodman DB, Church GM, & Kosuri S. (2013) Causes and effects of N-terminal codon bias in bacterial genes. Science (New York, N.Y.), 342(6157), 475-9. PMID: 24072823  

  • April 7, 2014
  • 02:04 PM

Speciation in Reverse

by sedeer in Inspiring Science

I don’t usually advertise my Accumulating Glitches posts on here, but I decided to make an exception for today’s post. …Continue reading →... Read more »

Kleindorfer S, O'Connor JA, Dudaniec RY, Myers SA, Robertson J, & Sulloway FJ. (2014) Species collapse via hybridization in Darwin's tree finches. The American naturalist, 183(3), 325-41. PMID: 24561597  

  • April 2, 2014
  • 04:07 PM

Live 3-D X-ray video of a fly’s muscles in mid-flight

by sedeer in Inspiring Science

Flies are incredibly agile on the wing, pulling off twists and turns that outstrip anything we’ve accomplished. Their flight is …Continue reading →... Read more »

Walker, S., Schwyn, D., Mokso, R., Wicklein, M., Müller, T., Doube, M., Stampanoni, M., Krapp, H., & Taylor, G. (2014) In Vivo Time-Resolved Microtomography Reveals the Mechanics of the Blowfly Flight Motor. PLoS Biology, 12(3). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1001823  

  • March 5, 2014
  • 03:15 PM

Drug resistance evolves in inbred parasites

by sedeer in Inspiring Science

It all starts with a mosquito bite. When a hungry mosquito pierces someone’s skin to gorge herself, she also pumps …Continue reading →... Read more »

Miotto O, Almagro-Garcia J, Manske M, Macinnis B, Campino S, Rockett KA, Amaratunga C, Lim P, Suon S, Sreng S.... (2013) Multiple populations of artemisinin-resistant Plasmodium falciparum in Cambodia. Nature genetics, 45(6), 648-55. PMID: 23624527  

  • February 11, 2014
  • 06:52 PM

Dying for sex

by sedeer in Inspiring Science

Unfortunately, I’ve been too busy to attend to Inspiring Science this week. Rather than putting out a rushed post, I …Continue reading »... Read more »

Fisher DO, Dickman CR, Jones ME, & Blomberg SP. (2013) Sperm competition drives the evolution of suicidal reproduction in mammals. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 110(44), 17910-4. PMID: 24101455  

  • January 29, 2014
  • 01:06 PM

Why are there so many plant species in tropical forests?

by sedeer in Inspiring Science

I decided to try communicating graphically instead of verbally this time. I haven’t done this sort of thing very much, …Continue reading »... Read more »

  • January 23, 2014
  • 05:37 PM

We’re getting closer to a malaria vaccine

by sedeer in Inspiring Science

Malaria hardly needs an introduction. With over 200 million people infected, it takes the life of an African child every …Continue reading »... Read more »

  • January 15, 2014
  • 05:18 PM

Why you can’t stop – Eating & Addiction

by sedeer in Inspiring Science

Everyone knows sugar-rich, fatty foods are unhealthy, but we keep eating them. The diet industry is booming, but so are …Continue reading »... Read more »

  • October 30, 2013
  • 06:50 AM

Controlling development by the numbers

by sedeer in Inspiring Science

Genes have to be carefully coordinated to switch on at just the right moment in development in order to make …Continue reading »... Read more »

Lavanya Katikala, Hitoshi Aihara, Yale J. Passamaneck, Stefan Gazdoiu, Diana S. José-Edwards, Jamie E. Kugler, Izumi Oda-Ishii, Janice H. Imai, Yutaka Nibu, & Anna Di Gregorio. (2013) Functional Brachyury Binding Sites Establish a Temporal Read-out of Gene Expression in the Ciona Notochord. PLOS Biology, 11(10). info:/10.1371/journal.pbio.1001697

  • October 23, 2013
  • 11:23 AM

How much sugar is too much?

by sedeer in Inspiring Science

Everyone knows that too much sugar is bad for you, but how much is too much? According to a study …Continue reading »... Read more »

Ruff JS, Suchy AK, Hugentobler SA, Sosa MM, Schwartz BL, Morrison LC, Gieng SH, Shigenaga MK, & Potts WK. (2013) Human-relevant levels of added sugar consumption increase female mortality and lower male fitness in mice. Nature communications, 2245. PMID: 23941916  

  • October 16, 2013
  • 09:21 AM

DNA nanotechnology (Part II)

by sedeer in Inspiring Science

In the previous post, I introduced DNA nanotechnology and talked a bit about some of the 2-D structures that researchers …Continue reading »... Read more »

Zhang C, Tian C, Li X, Qian H, Hao C, Jiang W, & Mao C. (2012) Reversibly switching the surface porosity of a DNA tetrahedron. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 134(29), 11998-2001. PMID: 22800434  

  • October 9, 2013
  • 05:57 PM

DNA nanotechnology (Part I)

by sedeer in Inspiring Science

The phrase “DNA nanotechnology” has a thoroughly futuristic ring. sounds like something from a science-fiction novel, but what does it …Continue reading »... Read more »

Aldaye FA, Palmer AL, & Sleiman HF. (2008) Assembling materials with DNA as the guide. Science (New York, N.Y.), 321(5897), 1795-9. PMID: 18818351  

  • October 2, 2013
  • 09:26 AM

Talkin’ ’bout Evolution

by sedeer in Inspiring Science

Unfortunately, I haven’t had time to write anything for Inspiring Science this week, so instead I decided to link to …Continue reading »... Read more »

Shulha HP, Crisci JL, Reshetov D, Tushir JS, Cheung I, Bharadwaj R, Chou HJ, Houston IB, Peter CJ, Mitchell AC.... (2012) Human-specific histone methylation signatures at transcription start sites in prefrontal neurons. PLoS biology, 10(11). PMID: 23185133  

Hernando-Herraez I, Prado-Martinez J, Garg P, Fernandez-Callejo M, Heyn H, Hvilsom C, Navarro A, Esteller M, Sharp AJ, & Marques-Bonet T. (2013) Dynamics of DNA methylation in recent human and great ape evolution. PLoS genetics, 9(9). PMID: 24039605  

  • September 25, 2013
  • 04:38 PM

Skin bacteria regulate the immune response

by sedeer in Inspiring Science

The skin is one of our body’s first lines of defense, but it’s also home to a rich community of …Continue reading »... Read more »

Chehoud C, Rafail S, Tyldsley AS, Seykora JT, Lambris JD, & Grice EA. (2013) Complement modulates the cutaneous microbiome and inflammatory milieu. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 110(37), 15061-6. PMID: 23980152  

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