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  • March 8, 2011
  • 11:01 AM

Bittersweet Adaptation: How Genes For Survival May Be Giving Us Diabetes

by A. Goldstein in WiSci

The famous phrase has it that evolution is a process of the “survival of the fittest.” However, it should be noted that this doesn’t imply some great evolutionary gymnasium, with species pumping and sculpting themselves into the most sexually appealing shapes of the day. Rather, the phrase means something more like “the survival of the [...]... Read more »

  • March 8, 2011
  • 10:11 AM

The Science of Dating: Pick-Up Lines

by Ben Good in B Good Science

As a bit of a break from my usual blogging routine, this weeks blogs will all be on a theme. The science of dating, moving from pick-up lines through to the biochemistry of long term relationships. I will go through the staggering amount of research in this area and attempt to find out if you can use … Read more... Read more »

BALE, C., MORRISON, R., & CARYL, P. (2006) Chat-up lines as male sexual displays. Personality and Individual Differences, 40(4), 655-664. DOI: 10.1016/j.paid.2005.07.016  

  • March 8, 2011
  • 09:05 AM

One snout to rule them all: Does migrating help weevils win the arms race of coevolution?

by Jeremy Yoder in Denim and Tweed

Natural selection and gene flow have a sort of love-hate relationship. Natural selection acts, on average, to make a population better fit to its environment. Gene flow, the movement of individuals and their genes, can counter the optimizing effect of selection if it introduces less-fit individuals from somewhere a different environment. On the other hand, not all new immigrants are necessarily less fit—sometimes they're better suited to their new environment than the locals.

This gets more c........ Read more »

  • March 8, 2011
  • 08:00 AM

Improving Detection of Genome Structural Variation

by Daniel Koboldt in Massgenomics

Large-scale structural variation (SV) is pervasive in the human genome, both in healthy individuals and in tumor cells. Numerous methods have been developed to detect such variants, most of which rely on the information provided by molecularly paired reads. Even the most sophisticated methods, however, still generate numerous false positives. A new study in Nature [...]... Read more »

  • March 8, 2011
  • 07:40 AM

ToxBank: a data warehouse for (computational) toxicology

by egonw in Chem-bla-ics

Last week I was in sunny Cascais, and in three days experienced -23oC and +18oC. The reason I was there was the kick-off meeting of the EU FP7 cluster SEURAT, which includes 'our' ToxBank project.

Data types we will host include many different types, including my favorite metabolomics. Don't ask me what this will practically mean, but some keywords we already know include RDF, OpenTox, and ToxML. With metabolomics, I hope to squeeze in metabolomics.

And that data warehousing for metabolo........ Read more »

Bais, H., Prithiviraj, B., Jha, A., Ausubel, F., & Vivanco, J. (2005) Mediation of pathogen resistance by exudation of antimicrobials from roots. Nature, 434(7030), 217-221. DOI: 10.1038/nature03356  

Walker, T., Bais, H., Halligan, K., Stermitz, F., & Vivanco, J. (2003) Metabolic Profiling of Root Exudates of . Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 51(9), 2548-2554. DOI: 10.1021/jf021166h  

  • March 8, 2011
  • 05:30 AM

Testing bacterial vulnerabilities

by Becky in It Takes 30

As regular readers of this blog know, I am not looking forward to living in a world without effective antibiotics at all.  (Well, I’m not insane.)  I was therefore interested in a recent paper (Wei et al. 2011.  Depletion of antibiotic targets has widely varying effects on growth.  PNAS doi:10.1073/pnas.1018301108) that takes a small step [...]... Read more »

Wei JR, Krishnamoorthy V, Murphy K, Kim JH, Schnappinger D, Alber T, Sassetti CM, Rhee KY, & Rubin EJ. (2011) Depletion of antibiotic targets has widely varying effects on growth. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 21368134  

  • March 8, 2011
  • 05:00 AM

One Long Bear Nap*

by Nsikan Akpan in That's Basic Science

The peculiar metabolic traits of bear hibernation... Read more »

Tøien Ø, Blake J, Edgar DM, Grahn DA, Heller HC, & Barnes BM. (2011) Hibernation in black bears: independence of metabolic suppression from body temperature. Science (New York, N.Y.), 331(6019), 906-9. PMID: 21330544  

  • March 7, 2011
  • 08:27 PM

The importance of the cardiac physical exam?

by Science Exploiter in Science Exploits

If it hasn't seemed apparent enough in the previous posts, I once again want to stress the importance of the physical exam.  By taking the time to thoroughly examine the patient, which includes a thorough history, tragic events like this can be avoided.Numerous things should happen during any physical exam, but the cardiovascular exam should include: visual examination, palpation, and auscultation; with most of the focus on the neck and chest. So what to do...Take a few blood pressures........ Read more »

Jauhar, S. (2006) The Demise of the Physical Exam. New England Journal of Medicine, 354(6), 548-551. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMp068013  

  • March 7, 2011
  • 07:46 PM

The Hyena Who Saw the Canyon

by Laelaps in Laelaps

“Has the Earth’s sixth mass extinction already arrived?” This question – the title of a review published in last week’s Nature – immediately sparked a flurry of news reports about an impending ecological catastrophe on a scale not seen in 65 million years. We are not witnessing a die-off as severe as any of the [...]... Read more »

M. Antón, A. Turner, M. J. Salesa, J. Morales. (2007) A complete skull of Chasmaporthetes lunensis (Carnivora, Hyaenidae) from the Spanish Pliocene site of La Puebla de Valverde (Teruel). Estudios Geológicos, 62(1), 375-388. info:/

Barnosky, A., Matzke, N., Tomiya, S., Wogan, G., Swartz, B., Quental, T., Marshall, C., McGuire, J., Lindsey, E., Maguire, K.... (2011) Has the Earth’s sixth mass extinction already arrived?. Nature, 471(7336), 51-57. DOI: 10.1038/nature09678  

  • March 7, 2011
  • 06:48 PM

Sperm from Space?

by Kristopher Hite in Tom Paine's Ghost

The interwebs are exploding right now with buzz about a paper published in the Journal of Cosmology authored by a NASA scientist - Richard B. Hoover. The title of the controversial paper published online late last Friday is Fossils of Cyanobacteria in CI1 Carbonaceous Meteorites.

Hoover claims to have found evidence of extra terrestrial life.  

This isn't a new claim.  This evidence comes by microscopic observation of a freshly fractured meteorite that landed on earth in 1864........ Read more »

Hoover, Richard B. (2011) fossils of cyanobacteria in C11 carbonaceous meteorites. Journal of Cosmology. info:/

  • March 7, 2011
  • 03:22 PM

A New Stem Cell Enters the Mix

by Sanford- Burnham in Beaker

The iPS cell approach to regenerative medicine is tantalizing because these cells could be derived from a patient’s own cells and are therefore less likely to face immune rejection. In the past few weeks, however, a slew of papers have indicated that the therapeutic potential of iPS cells might be limited by reprogramming errors and genomic instability. Now an alternative type of reprogrammed stem cell enters the mix. In PNAS, Dr. Evan Snyder and his collaborators outline a method to obtain a ........ Read more »

  • March 7, 2011
  • 12:00 PM

Gut Microbes and the Infant Brain: A Surprising Symbiosis

by Micah Manary in Small Things Considered

The ancient genes versus environment argument (i.e., nature versus nurture) about the development of the infant human brain has taken a swerve in a direction few thought possible. A recent paper by investigators from Sweden and Singapore reports on studies using a mouse model to demonstrate that the presence of the gut microbiota significantly influences the developing brain, influencing developmental pathways that affect both motor control and anxiety-related behaviors. The implications for hum........ Read more »

Heijtz RD, Wang S, Anuar F, Qian Y, Björkholm B, Samuelsson A, Hibberd ML, Forssberg H, & Pettersson S. (2011) Normal gut microbiota modulates brain development and behavior. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 108(7), 3047-52. PMID: 21282636  

  • March 7, 2011
  • 11:42 AM

Origins of Life – Darwin’s Little Warm Pond

by ogremkv in Cassandra's Tears

Origins of life is a tricky business.  We can’t know how it happened.  We weren’t there and chemical reactions and molecules just don’t fossilize well.  The point is not to show how it happened.  Likewise, the point is not (necessarily) … Continue reading →... Read more »

Costanzo, G., Pino, S., Ciciriello, F., & Di Mauro, E. (2009) Generation of Long RNA Chains in Water. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 284(48), 33206-33216. DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M109.041905  

  • March 7, 2011
  • 11:12 AM

Tyrannosaurus: Hyena of the Cretaceous

by Brian Switek in Dinosaur Tracking

Of all the organisms scientists have found in the fossil record, Tyrannosaurus rex is the most prominent ambassador for paleontology. No dinosaur hall is complete without at least some fragment of the tyrant dinosaur, and almost anything about the dinosaur is sure to get press coverage. We simply can’t get enough of old T. rex. [...]... Read more »

  • March 7, 2011
  • 10:47 AM

The GABA Neuron’s Gas Station Attendant

by Rob Mitchum in ScienceLife

Cells are often described as factories, a metaphor that adequately describes the swarm of specialized tasks constantly underway in each of the human body’s 100 trillion cells. The factory floor of the cell is so busy and complex that scientists are still discovering new machinery responsible for important jobs, with no clear end in sight. [...]... Read more »

  • March 7, 2011
  • 08:22 AM

Lending A Helping Trunk

by Shermin de Silva in Maximus

Asian elephants join the short list of species demonstrating the ability to comprehend and conquer a cooperative problem-solving task.... Read more »

Joshua M. Plotnik, Richard Lair, Wirot Suphachoksahakun, and Frans B. M. de Waal,. (2011) Elephants know when they need a helping trunk in a cooperative task. Proceedings Of The National Academy of Sciences. info:/10.1073/pnas.1101765108

Seed, A., Clayton, N., & Emery, N. (2008) Cooperative problem solving in rooks (Corvus frugilegus). Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 275(1641), 1421-1429. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2008.0111  

  • March 7, 2011
  • 07:53 AM

Personalised therapy for prostate cancer – is it possible?

by Sally Church in Pharma Strategy Blog

Recently, while in San Francisco for the AACR special conference on the PI3K-mTOR pathway in cancer, I was particularly struck by several important learnings that have since make me think more deeply about oncology drug development going forward: With targeted … Continue reading →
... Read more »

Goldstein, A., Zong, Y., & Witte, O. (2011) A Two-Step Toward Personalized Therapies for Prostate Cancer. Science Translational Medicine, 3(72), 72-72. DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3002169  

Ateeq, B., Tomlins, S., Laxman, B., Asangani, I., Cao, Q., Cao, X., Li, Y., Wang, X., Feng, F., Pienta, K.... (2011) Therapeutic Targeting of SPINK1-Positive Prostate Cancer. Science Translational Medicine, 3(72), 72-72. DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3001498  

  • March 7, 2011
  • 07:00 AM

March 7, 2011

by Erin Campbell in HighMag Blog

Look all the way down to your toes and you’ll appreciate the feat (pun absolutely intended!) that your neurons accomplish in relaying signals over long distances to your brain. A recent paper discusses the interactions between the first sets of motor and sensory axons that find their way into limbs during development. During development, motor and sensory axons align together as they project into a developing limb. A group recently showed how motor and sensory axons are mutually dependent o........ Read more »

  • March 7, 2011
  • 03:14 AM

an ancient origin for the human eye

by alison in bioblog

We understand a fair bit, these days, about the evolution of the complex, 'camera-type' vertebrate eye. Not that this has stopped creationsists (most recently the 'intelligent design' camp as represented by the Discovery Institute) from arguing that the eye is...... Read more »

Passamaneck YJ, Furchheim N, Hejnol A, Martindale MQ, & Luter C. (2011) Ciliary photoreceptors in the cerebral eyes of a protostome larva. EvoDevo, 2(1), 6. PMID: 21362157  

  • March 7, 2011
  • 12:19 AM

When invasion isn’t such a bad thing…

by John Carroll in Chronicles of Zostera

New species get introduced into novel habitats almost like clockwork in the modern era.  These are termed introduced or exotic species.  Typically, these introductions are the effect of anthropogenic activity.  Sometimes, these species become nuisances – spreading in their new habitats via natural processes, and creating problems for native species.  These nuisance exotics are called invasive . . . → Read More: When invasion isn’t such a bad thing…... Read more »

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