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  • March 23, 2010
  • 10:52 AM

Shaping a Stem Cell’s Future

by Rob Mitchum in ScienceLife

Stem cells are a little like teenagers, full of potential but not sure what they’re going to be when they grow up. It’s that uncertain destiny that makes stem cells so exciting to scientists and physicians, who hope to someday use them for everything from spinal cord repair to organ regeneration. But corralling the uncertain [...]... Read more »

Kilian, K., Bugarija, B., Lahn, B., & Mrksich, M. (2010) Geometric cues for directing the differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107(11), 4872-4877. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0903269107  

  • March 23, 2010
  • 09:17 AM

Shocking control: wild gray wolves and shock collars

by DeLene Beeland in Wild Muse

The first time I heard someone discuss using shock collars as a control technique for wild wolves, I thought it must be a really bad joke. Only, it wasn’t. It fell squarely under the heading of “aversive conditioning” a school of thought aimed at devising ways to keep wolves where we humans want them to [...]... Read more »

Hawley, J., Gehring, T., Schultz, R., Rossler, S., & Wydeven, A. (2009) Assessment of Shock Collars as Nonlethal Management for Wolves in Wisconsin. Journal of Wildlife Management, 73(4), 518-525. DOI: 10.2193/2007-066  

  • March 23, 2010
  • 05:00 AM

Grassland conservation hits ranchers in the wallet

by Rob Goldstein in Conservation Maven

... Read more »

Dunn, B., Smart, A., Gates, R., Johnson, P., Beutler, M., Diersen, M., & Janssen, L. (2010) Long-Term Production and Profitability From Grazing Cattle in the Northern Mixed Grass Prairie. Rangeland Ecology , 63(2), 233-242. DOI: 10.2111/REM-D-09-00042.1  

  • March 22, 2010
  • 11:04 PM

Porcine circovirus DNA in rotavirus vaccine

by Vincent Racaniello in virology blog

The US Food and Drug Administration has recommended that administration of the Rotarix vaccine, which protects against rotavirus infection, be suspended. This action comes after an independent research group found that the vaccine contains DNA of porcine circovirus type 1.
Rotaviruses are the single leading cause of diarrhea in infants and young children. Each year rotavirus [...]... Read more »

  • March 22, 2010
  • 10:22 PM

Wealth and Longevity

by Reason in Fight Aging!

History teaches us that the wealth of a region and the longevity of its inhabitants go hand in hand. The societal and economic changes wrought across the 17th century in England, for example, show us that increased longevity leads to increased wealth, through more foresighted allocation of capital resources and the compounded effect of small gains, year after year. The converse is also true: increased wealth leads to increased longevity, a fact well illustrated by the passage of many Asian count........ Read more »

Yang S, Khang YH, Harper S, Davey Smith G, Leon DA, & Lynch J. (2010) Understanding the Rapid Increase in Life Expectancy in South Korea. American journal of public health. PMID: 20299661  

  • March 22, 2010
  • 09:25 PM

Predicting endangered carnivores: the role of environment, space and phylogeny

by Marc Cadotte in The EEB and flow

For conservation biology, there are several research thrusts that are of critical importance, and one of these is to find predictors of species' extinction risk. Oft-cited is the particular susceptibility of large-bodied organisms, with their large ranges and slow reproductive rates. But there should be other predictors too, especially within larger mammals. In a forthcoming paper in Global Ecology and Biogeography, Safi and Pettorelli use just a few variables to predict extinction risk in carni........ Read more »

  • March 22, 2010
  • 07:54 PM

Aeronautic ants

by Michael Bok in Arthropoda

The Neotropical arboreal ant, Cephalotes atratus, is a species of gliding ant. These ants live rain forest canopies where the workers spend a lot of time on exposed branches and leaves. If one these ants accidentally falls, or intentionally leaps from a branch to avoid predation, it is able to glide adeptly back [...]... Read more »

Yanoviak SP, Munk Y, Kaspari M, & Dudley R. (2010) Aerial manoeuvrability in wingless gliding ants (Cephalotes atratus). Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society. PMID: 20236974  

  • March 22, 2010
  • 06:00 PM

Dynamics conservation in the Ras superfamily

by Michael Clarkson in Conformational Flux

The proposition that general fold architecture is preserved within a family of evolutionarily-related proteins is not controversial. The amino acid sequence of a protein determines its structure, and countless studies have substantiated the idea that proteins with similar sequences will adopt similar folded conformations. Because structure and dynamics are intrinsically linked, one could reasonably assume that many features of a protein's dynamics get conserved along with the fold. A growing num........ Read more »

  • March 22, 2010
  • 04:29 PM

Multidrug and extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis

by C. Julian in The Swarm

In memoriam of Sir John Crofton (1912–2009), The greatest disaster that can happen to a patient with tuberculosis is that his organisms become resistant to two or more of the standard drugs... The development of drug resistance may be a tragedy not only for the patient himself but for others. For he can infect other people with his drug-resistant organisms... 

The World Health Organization (WHO)... Read more »

World Health Organization. (2010) Multidrug and extensively drug-resistant TB (M/XDR-TB): 2010 Global report on surveillance and response. WHO. info:other/978 92 4 159919 1

  • March 22, 2010
  • 02:02 PM

Time’s Up

by Merry Youle in Small Things Considered

Holins are the smallest known biological timers. Timers, not clocks. Timers tick along, then go off after the specified interval. These small, phage-encoded proteins time the length of lytic infections of some phages. When they go off, the game is over and the host cell lyses. This is important work. The phage that gets the timing right...... Read more »

Wang IN, Smith DL, & Young R. (2000) Holins: the protein clocks of bacteriophage infections. Annual review of microbiology, 799-825. PMID: 11018145  

  • March 22, 2010
  • 02:02 PM

Time’s Up

by Merry Youle in Small Things Considered

Holins are the smallest known biological timers. Timers, not clocks. Timers tick along, then go off after the specified interval. These small, phage-encoded proteins time the length of lytic infections of some phages. When they go off, the game is over and the host cell lyses. This is important work. The phage that gets the timing right...... Read more »

Wang IN, Smith DL, & Young R. (2000) Holins: the protein clocks of bacteriophage infections. Annual review of microbiology, 799-825. PMID: 11018145  

  • March 22, 2010
  • 02:00 PM

Making a PML map

by Maria Hodges in Wood for the trees

I’ve been to a few conferences recently and I’ve witnessed a divide opening up between the scientists that use high-throughput methods and everybody else. A recent paper on the ‘PML interactome' is a nice example of how assembling the data in one place gives a very good overview of the situation and provides some functional clues too.... Read more »

  • March 22, 2010
  • 12:00 PM

Dispatches from Antarctica – Farewell Weddell Sea

by Kevin Zelnio in Deep Sea News

David Honig is a graduate student in marine science at Duke University in the lab of Dr. Cindy Van Dover. He is participating in LARISSA, a 2 month multinational expedition to study the causes and consequences of the ice shelf collapse. He will be posting regular updates on the expedition exclusively for [...]... Read more »

Domack, E., Ishman, S., Leventer, A., Sylva, S., Willmott, V., & Huber, B. (2005) A Chemotrophic Ecosystem Found Beneath Antarctic Ice Shelf. Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union, 86(29), 269-276. DOI: 10.1029/2005EO290001  

H. Niemann1, D. Fischer, D. Graffe, K. Knittel1, A. Montie, O. Heilmayer, K. Nöthen, T. Pape, S. Kasten, G. Bohrmann.... (2009) Biogeochemistry of a low-activity cold seep in the Larsen B area, western Weddell Sea, Antarctica. Biogeosciences Discussions, 2383-2395. info:other/

  • March 22, 2010
  • 11:15 AM

Reconstructing full-glacial Europe

by Jeremy in Voltage Gate

When Charles Lyell first used the term Pleistocene in 1839 to replace the "long and awkward" use of Newer Pliocene (preceded by, of course, the Older Pliocene), it was done in the interest of streamlining the terminology, but the split of Newer and Older Pliocene was based on the fossil evidence of the time. Lyell designated the split of the Pliocene by recognizing a higher percentage of extant snails and other mollusks found in strata from this Newer Pliocene or, now, Pleistocene period. About ........ Read more »

  • March 22, 2010
  • 11:00 AM

New tool aims to help coral reefs survive climate change

by Rob Goldstein in Conservation Maven

Scientists have developed a practical method for assessing the resilience of coral reefs to climate change and for prioritizing local actions to help reefs survive. Jeff Maynard and fellow scientists tested the method in Keppel Bay of the southern Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and found that it can be a useful tool for conservation planning...... Read more »

  • March 22, 2010
  • 10:49 AM

How do I Describe Thee? Let Me Count the Ways

by Isobel Maciver in Promega Connections

Did you know that the microorganisms living in and on the human body (most on the skin, in the gut, and in the mouth) outnumber all our human cells by a factor of ten? But read on before you grab the hand sanitizer and schedule a colonic, these “germs” may be an integral [...]... Read more »

Fierer, N., Lauber, C., Zhou, N., McDonald, D., Costello, E., & Knight, R. (2010) Forensic identification using skin bacterial communities. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1000162107  

  • March 22, 2010
  • 10:39 AM

Aphids have mutualistic viruses!

by Cheshire in Cheshire

Aphids can be a pain in the ass to gardeners and farmers. Although they look pretty harmless, they’re to plants what mosquitoes are to people and more. They transmit some pretty serious diseases which cause millions of dollars in damage per year. They’re also famous for their fecundity-they’re parthenogenic and their daughters are actually born [...]... Read more »

  • March 22, 2010
  • 09:30 AM

Aquatic Invasive Species and the Effectiveness of Education and Outreach

by JL in Analyze Everything

Apparently my friends from Notre Dame are continuing to publish at a feverish rate, because I keep stumbling onto their papers.  The latest is by Rothlisberger, Chadderton, McNulty and Lodge, and is all about aquatic invasive species (full cite is below), and I think this paper really throws into question the value of education and outreach.

There are a lot of big questions out there regarding ... Read more »

Rothlisberger, J.D., Chadderton, W.L., McNulty, J., & Lodge, D.M. (2010) Aquatic invasive species transport via trailered boats: What is being moved, who is moving it, and what can be done. American Fisheries Society, 35(3), 121-132. info:/

  • March 22, 2010
  • 09:06 AM

Dominant transposases, becoming famous for your lab mistakes and more, in my Picks of the Week from RB.

by Alejandro Montenegro-Montero in MolBio Research Highlights

Another week has gone by and some very interesting molbio blog posts have been aggregated to Every week [see my opening post on the matter], I'll select some blog posts I consider particularly interesting in the field of molecular biology [see here to get a sense of the criteria that will be used], briefly describe them and list them here for you to check out.Note that I'm ... Read more »

Christodoulou, F., Raible, F., Tomer, R., Simakov, O., Trachana, K., Klaus, S., Snyman, H., Hannon, G., Bork, P., & Arendt, D. (2010) Ancient animal microRNAs and the evolution of tissue identity. Nature, 463(7284), 1084-1088. DOI: 10.1038/nature08744  

  • March 22, 2010
  • 08:58 AM

Branch Lengths and Species

by Bob O'Hara in Deep Thoughts and Silliness

Some creationists have become terribly excited by a recent paper and accompanying New Scientist article It'll come as no surprised that they have failed to understand the paper, and I'm confident that explaining the paper in a post won't...... Read more »

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