Even a brilliant dog may not be able to count as high as the number of feet she has. In a cheese cube counting challenge, dogs struggled to prove they have any number sense at all. Embarrassingly for the dogs, some wolves took the exact same test and passed it. This may be a hint about what dogs lost when they moved to a cushy life of domestication.
At the Wolf Science Center in Austria, Friederike Range and her colleagues raise both wolves and dogs by hand, then train them to take part i........ Read more »
Range F, Jenikejew J, Schröder I, & Virányi Z. (2014) Difference in quantity discrimination in dogs and wolves. Frontiers in psychology, 1299. PMID: 25477834
If you should ever get this question, the answer is rather short: “according to recent findings, birds are descended from maniraptoran theropod dinosaurs.” Makes sense, right?... Read more »
Xu, X., Zhou, Z., Dudley, R., Mackem, S., Chuong, C., Erickson, G., & Varricchio, D. (2014) An integrative approach to understanding bird origins. Science, 346(6215), 1253293-1253293. DOI: 10.1126/science.1253293
Otters don’t tend to be very visible to us, but they are more abundant than we might perceive them to be. Otters mostly live in isolation of one another, yet they manage to remotely communicate to one another without the aid of modern technology that we so often depend upon for communication.
On this blog, I previously wrote how otters communicate with one another using their spraints (faeces). They use them to mark their territory and to leave messages for other otters. As part of the rese........ Read more »
Kean, E., Chadwick, E., & Müller, C. (2014) Scent signals individual identity and country of origin in otters. Mammalian Biology - Zeitschrift für Säugetierkunde. DOI: 10.1016/j.mambio.2014.12.004
Bipolar disorder appearing again on this blog this week? It's just the way that the papers fall...With a title like: 'Increased uric acid levels in bipolar disorder subjects during different phases of illness' I was hardly likely to pass up the opportunity to discuss the paper by Umberto Albert and colleagues  and their suggestion that there may be a lot more to see when it comes to "a purinergic dysfunction associated with BD [bipolar disorder]".I lost the defuser gun when I mispla........ Read more »
Albert U, De Cori D, Aguglia A, Barbaro F, Bogetto F, & Maina G. (2014) Increased uric acid levels in bipolar disorder subjects during different phases of illness. Journal of affective disorders, 170-175. PMID: 25462413
As December rolls into its second half, and the days warm up - or cool down - depending on where you are situated on the globe, we wanted to say thank you for joining us in 2014 - we are continually blown away with the popular and supportive community we have around us at Do You Believe in Dog? here on the blog, on Facebook and also on Twitter. Taking our lead from Companion Animal Psychology, we decided to jump into some statistics (because hey, we are scientists!) to see wh........ Read more »
Scanlon Eileen. (2013) Scholarship in the digital age: Open educational resources, publication and public engagement. British Journal of Educational Technology, 45(1), 12-23. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bjet.12010
Stilgoe J., & J. Wilsdon. (2014) Why should we promote public engagement with science?. Public Understanding of Science, 23(1), 4-15. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0963662513518154
While the anti-vaccine movement enjoys the simple (and very wrong) answer to the cause of autism, there are people who want the actual truth. This drive had lead to a slew of causes (and risk factors) for autism in recent times. Now scientists have found that very small segments of genes called “microexons” influence how proteins interact with each other in the nervous system. In turn, this opens up a new line of research into the cause of autism.... Read more »
Irimia, M., Weatheritt, R., Ellis, J., Parikshak, N., Gonatopoulos-Pournatzis, T., Babor, M., Quesnel-Vallières, M., Tapial, J., Raj, B., O’Hanlon, D.... (2014) A Highly Conserved Program of Neuronal Microexons Is Misregulated in Autistic Brains. Cell, 159(7), 1511-1523. DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2014.11.035
Biostars is a site for asking, answering and discussing bioinformatics questions and issues. We are members of the community and find it very useful. Often questions and answers arise at Biostars that are germane to our readers (end users of genomics resources). Every Thursday we will be highlighting one of those items or discussions here […]... Read more »
Forrest Alistair R. R., Michael Rehli, J. Kenneth Baillie, Michiel J. L. de Hoon, Vanja Haberle, Timo Lassmann, Ivan V. Kulakovskiy, Marina Lizio, Masayoshi Itoh, & Robin Andersson. (2014) A promoter-level mammalian expression atlas. Nature, 507(7493), 462-470. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature13182
Severin Jessica, Jayson Harshbarger, Hideya Kawaji, Carsten O Daub, Yoshihide Hayashizaki, Nicolas Bertin, & Alistair R R Forrest. (2014) Interactive visualization and analysis of large-scale sequencing datasets using ZENBU. Nature Biotechnology, 32(3), 217-219. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nbt.2840
"Increased autistic characteristics found in adults with epilepsy without an ASD [autism spectrum disorder] diagnosis suggest that epilepsy syndromes may incorporate behavioral aspects of autism in the absence of some of its core cognitive features."Contrariwise, if you think we're alive you ought to speak to us.That was the intriguing finding reported by Sally Ann Wakeford and colleagues  who examined test performance on the Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ) and "systemizing ........ Read more »
Despite what you may think, the supposed “explosion” of children diagnosed with autism can directly attributed to better diagnosing techniques and — more importantly — the change of definition to make Autism spectrum disorders more broad. Thankfully more causes of autism have been found, none of them remotely related to vaccines and now scientists have found that chemical modifications to DNA’s packaging—known as epigenetic changes—can activate or repress genes involved in autism s........ Read more »
Gao, Z., Lee, P., Stafford, J., von Schimmelmann, M., Schaefer, A., & Reinberg, D. (2014) An AUTS2–Polycomb complex activates gene expression in the CNS. Nature, 516(7531), 349-354. DOI: 10.1038/nature13921
Ntziachristos, P., Tsirigos, A., Welstead, G., Trimarchi, T., Bakogianni, S., Xu, L., Loizou, E., Holmfeldt, L., Strikoudis, A., King, B.... (2014) Contrasting roles of histone 3 lysine 27 demethylases in acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. Nature, 514(7523), 513-517. DOI: 10.1038/nature13605
Today a commentary was published in BBS in which the gradual audiomotor evolution (GAE) hypothesis is proposed as an alternative interpretation to the auditory timing mechanisms discussed in the BBS target article by Ackermann et al. (2014). ... Read more »
Ackermann, H., Hage, S., & Ziegler, W. (2014) Brain mechanisms of acoustic communication in humans and nonhuman primates: An evolutionary perspective. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 1-84. DOI: 10.1017/S0140525X13003099
Merchant, H., & Honing, H. (2013) Are non-human primates capable of rhythmic entrainment? Evidence for the gradual audiomotor evolution hypothesis. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 7(274). info:/
This week’s video tip of the week closes out a series that began last month. I started to explore one gene co-expression tool, which led me to another tool for visualization, and so on. This week’s tool is the final piece that you need to know about if you want to create the kind of […]... Read more »
Wright Derek W., Anton J. Enright, & Tom C. Freeman. (2014) Visualisation of BioPAX Networks using BioLayout Express3D. F1000Research. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.12688/f1000research.5499.1
Smoot M. E., J. Ruscheinski, P.-L. Wang, & T. Ideker. (2010) Cytoscape 2.8: new features for data integration and network visualization. Bioinformatics, 27(3), 431-432. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bioinformatics/btq675
Your Christmas tree can kill you, but it can also save your life. The same holds true for mistletoe, ivy, and holly. Each is toxic, but each has uses in medicine. The least toxic Christmas plant is the most often thought of as poisonous – poinsettias really aren’t that bad, kids would have to eat 500 leaves to bring on the nastiest effects.... Read more »
Liu, B., Zhou, J., Li, Y., Zou, X., Wu, J., Gu, J., Yuan, J., Zhao, B., Feng, L., Jia, X.... (2014) Hederagenin from the leaves of ivy (Hedera helix L.) induces apoptosis in human LoVo colon cells through the mitochondrial pathway. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 14(1), 412. DOI: 10.1186/1472-6882-14-412
Tröger W, Galun D, Reif M, Schumann A, Stanković N, & Milićević M. (2014) Quality of life of patients with advanced pancreatic cancer during treatment with mistletoe: a randomized controlled trial. Deutsches Arzteblatt international, 111(29-30), 493. PMID: 25142075
Tsui, K., Wang, J., Wu, L., & Chiu, C. (2012) Molecular Mechanism of Isocupressic Acid Supresses MA-10 Cell Steroidogenesis. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 1-12. DOI: 10.1155/2012/190107
Earl, E., Altaf, M., Murikoli, R., Swift, S., & O'Toole, R. (2010) Native New Zealand plants with inhibitory activity towards Mycobacterium tuberculosis. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 10(1), 25. DOI: 10.1186/1472-6882-10-25
Humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) are known to employ group foraging techniques, however details on how individuals coordinate with each other still remain a mystery.
A new study by Susan Parks, assistant professor of biology in the College of Arts and Sciences, in collaboration with a consortium of other researchers examined the importance of specific auditory cues that these whales emit... Read more »
Parks SE, Cusano DA, Stimpert AK, Weinrich MT, Friedlaender AS, & Wiley DN. (2014) Evidence for acoustic communication among bottom foraging humpback whales. Scientific reports, 7508. PMID: 25512188
I am the league's director, Silas Ramsbottom.Upon reading the paper published by Ramaekers and colleagues  talking about the use of folinic acid in cases of schizophrenia as a function of the presence of "Auto-antibodies against folate receptor alpha (FRα)", I raised a little smile. Not only because the authors suggested that there may be quite a lot more to see in this area on top of some already interesting discussions about the folate cycle and schizophrenia, but also because of the ........ Read more »
Ramaekers VT, Thöny B, Sequeira JM, Ansseau M, Philippe P, Boemer F, Bours V, & Quadros EV. (2014) Folinic acid treatment for schizophrenia associated with folate receptor autoantibodies. Molecular genetics and metabolism. PMID: 25456743
Upon viral entry and release of the viral genome, viral RNA and DNA can be recognised by Toll-like Receptors (TLR), which once stimulated induce the expression of specific genes such as Interferon that are part of the antiviral response. TLR mediated signalling pathways predominantly signal through interferon regulatory factors (IRF) as well as Nuclear Factor-κB (NF-κB) and AP-1, eliciting the induction of the Interferon type-1 response and the expression of inflammatory cytokines as........ Read more »
Moy, R., Gold, B., Molleston, J., Schad, V., Yanger, K., Salzano, M., Yagi, Y., Fitzgerald, K., Stanger, B., Soldan, S.... (2014) Antiviral Autophagy Restricts Rift Valley Fever Virus Infection and Is Conserved from Flies to Mammals. Immunity, 40(1), 51-65. DOI: 10.1016/j.immuni.2013.10.020
Shi CS, & Kehrl JH. (2008) MyD88 and Trif target Beclin 1 to trigger autophagy in macrophages. The Journal of biological chemistry, 283(48), 33175-82. PMID: 18772134
van der Vaart, M., Korbee, C., Lamers, G., Tengeler, A., Hosseini, R., Haks, M., Ottenhoff, T., Spaink, H., & Meijer, A. (2014) The DNA Damage-Regulated Autophagy Modulator DRAM1 Links Mycobacterial Recognition via TLR-MYD88 to Autophagic Defense. Cell Host , 16(1), 141. DOI: 10.1016/j.chom.2014.06.003
Mah LY, O'Prey J, Baudot AD, Hoekstra A, & Ryan KM. (2012) DRAM-1 encodes multiple isoforms that regulate autophagy. Autophagy, 8(1), 18-28. PMID: 22082963
Meijer AH, & van der Vaart M. (2014) DRAM1 promotes the targeting of mycobacteria to selective autophagy. Autophagy. PMID: 25484076
Wang RC, Wei Y, An Z, Zou Z, Xiao G, Bhagat G, White M, Reichelt J, & Levine B. (2012) Akt-mediated regulation of autophagy and tumorigenesis through Beclin 1 phosphorylation. Science (New York, N.Y.), 338(6109), 956-9. PMID: 23112296
Narayanan A, Amaya M, Voss K, Chung M, Benedict A, Sampey G, Kehn-Hall K, Luchini A, Liotta L, Bailey C.... (2014) Reactive oxygen species activate NFκB (p65) and p53 and induce apoptosis in RVFV infected liver cells. Virology, 270-86. PMID: 24418562
Baer A, Austin D, Narayanan A, Popova T, Kainulainen M, Bailey C, Kashanchi F, Weber F, & Kehn-Hall K. (2012) Induction of DNA damage signaling upon Rift Valley fever virus infection results in cell cycle arrest and increased viral replication. The Journal of biological chemistry, 287(10), 7399-410. PMID: 22223653
Narayanan A, Popova T, Turell M, Kidd J, Chertow J, Popov SG, Bailey C, Kashanchi F, & Kehn-Hall K. (2011) Alteration in superoxide dismutase 1 causes oxidative stress and p38 MAPK activation following RVFV infection. PloS one, 6(5). PMID: 21655261
Liang Q, Chang B, Brulois KF, Castro K, Min CK, Rodgers MA, Shi M, Ge J, Feng P, Oh BH.... (2013) Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus K7 modulates Rubicon-mediated inhibition of autophagosome maturation. Journal of virology, 87(22), 12499-503. PMID: 24027317
Zhao Q, Liang D, Sun R, Jia B, Xia T, Xiao H, & Lan K. (2014) Kaposi's Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus-Encoded RTA Impairs Innate Immunity via Ubiquitin-mediated Degradation of MyD88. Journal of virology. PMID: 25320320
Mukhopadhyay S, Panda PK, Sinha N, Das DN, & Bhutia SK. (2014) Autophagy and apoptosis: where do they meet?. Apoptosis : an international journal on programmed cell death, 19(4), 555-66. PMID: 24415198
We’ve all seen the PSA’s trying to show the effects of meth use and in particular, what it does to your teeth. Typically, when it comes to drug use, people will not look at the long term side effects from their addiction instead thinking in the short term. This is unfortunate because as it turns out, methamphetamine users are three times more at risk for getting Parkinson’s disease than non-illicit drug users with even worse news for women, new research shows.... Read more »
Curtin K, Fleckenstein AE, Robison RJ, Crookston MJ, Smith KR, & Hanson GR. (2014) Methamphetamine/amphetamine abuse and risk of Parkinson's disease in Utah: A population-based assessment. Drug and alcohol dependence. PMID: 25479916
Rory Wilson recalls some nervous waterbirds.
"I've seen pelicans in Galapagos, in the port," the Swansea University biologist says. One set of birds was standing by the fish-gutting area and waiting for scraps, while another group stood out of the fray in some nearby bushes. Although both sets of pelicans acted the same, a closer look at the birds waiting for fish scraps revealed that they were quaking slightly. The tips of their wings trembled.
Wilson thinks the tremor in the pelicans... Read more »
Wilson, R., Grundy, E., Massy, R., Soltis, J., Tysse, B., Holton, M., Cai, Y., Parrott, A., Downey, L., Qasem, L.... (2014) Wild state secrets: ultra-sensitive measurement of micro-movement can reveal internal processes in animals. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 12(10), 582-587. DOI: 10.1890/140068
It’s time to search out Christmas gifts! Let brain research guide you in your giving. We now know why women are often better at picking out gifts, and we know that you expect people to like your homemade gifts more than you should. We have learned that we give gifts to make ourselves feel good, and that too many gifts can screw your kids up for life. But most importantly, it actually is the thought that counts! Merry Christmas.... Read more »
Dunn, E., Huntsinger, J., Lun, J., & Sinclair, S. (2008) The Gift of Similarity: How Good and Bad Gifts Influence Relationships. Social Cognition, 26(4), 469-481. DOI: 10.1521/soco.2008.26.4.469
Moll, J., Krueger, F., Zahn, R., Pardini, M., de Oliveira-Souza, R., & Grafman, J. (2006) Human fronto-mesolimbic networks guide decisions about charitable donation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 103(42), 15623-15628. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0604475103
My name's Buttercup. You've met Baron von Shush."Our study demonstrated that serum TRX [thioredoxin] levels were associated with ASD [autism spectrum disorder], and elevated levels could be considered as a novel, independent diagnosis indicator of ASD." So was the conclusion reported by Qing-biao Zhang and colleagues  looking at serum levels of TRX in 80 children diagnosed with an ASD compared against "100 sex and age matched typically developing children".I'll freely admi........ Read more »
Zhang QB, Gao SJ, & Zhao HX. (2014) Thioredoxin: A novel, independent diagnosis marker in children with autism. International journal of developmental neuroscience : the official journal of the International Society for Developmental Neuroscience. PMID: 25433158
What’s that over there!? The next time you are around people, count how many people are on their phone? Distractions invade every aspect of our lives. Status updates, text messages, email notifications all threaten to steal our attention away from the moment. While we fight the urge to check the phone, our brains are making constant judgment calls about where to focus attention. The brain must continually filter important information from irrelevant interference.... Read more »
Ahrens, S., Jaramillo, S., Yu, K., Ghosh, S., Hwang, G., Paik, R., Lai, C., He, M., Huang, Z., & Li, B. (2014) ErbB4 regulation of a thalamic reticular nucleus circuit for sensory selection. Nature Neuroscience. DOI: 10.1038/nn.3897
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