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  • April 22, 2011
  • 12:40 PM
  • 1,554 views

Retroviruses and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

by Vincent Racaniello in virology blog

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as motor neuron disease or Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a fatal disorder of unknown etiology. The disease involves degeneration of motor neurons, leading to paralysis, respiratory failure, and death within five years. A viral etiology for ALS has been suggested but never proven. Retroviruses have been considered because they [...]... Read more »

  • April 22, 2011
  • 12:05 PM
  • 1,654 views

The earth has music for those who listen

by Laelaps in Laelaps

As Stephen Jay Gould once put it, we have an earful of jaw. The small, sound-conducting bones of our inner ears – the incus, malleus, and stapes – got their start as jaw bones in our distant ancestors, and the modification of bits of jaw into intricate ear components is one of the classic examples [...]... Read more »

  • April 22, 2011
  • 11:11 AM
  • 1,441 views

More on the photosynthetic fish

by Becky in It Takes 30

As I’ve mentioned before, the Silver lab (with help from the Megason lab) have been working on a quirky-but-cool project to induce zebrafish to accept cyanobacteria as an intracellular symbiont.  And stage one has gone surprisingly well: as Christina Agapakis points out in her blog post on the project, when they injected millions of cyanobacteria [...]... Read more »

Agapakis, C., Niederholtmeyer, H., Noche, R., Lieberman, T., Megason, S., Way, J., & Silver, P. (2011) Towards a Synthetic Chloroplast. PLoS ONE, 6(4). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0018877  

  • April 22, 2011
  • 10:46 AM
  • 1,428 views

Whole-Genome Sequencing for Cancer Patients

by Daniel Koboldt in Massgenomics

Two studies published in JAMA reveal the power of whole-genome sequencing improve the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. Both are from collaborations of the Genome Institute and the School of Medicine at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. First, Link and colleagues report the identification of a novel cancer susceptibility mutation (a 3-kbp deletion in [...]... Read more »

Link DC, Schuettpelz LG, Shen D, Wang J, Walter MJ, Kulkarni S, Payton JE, Ivanovich J, Goodfellow PJ, Le Beau M.... (2011) Identification of a novel TP53 cancer susceptibility mutation through whole-genome sequencing of a patient with therapy-related AML. JAMA : the journal of the American Medical Association, 305(15), 1568-76. PMID: 21505135  

Welch JS, Westervelt P, Ding L, Larson DE, Klco JM, Kulkarni S, Wallis J, Chen K, Payton JE, Fulton RS.... (2011) Use of whole-genome sequencing to diagnose a cryptic fusion oncogene. JAMA : the journal of the American Medical Association, 305(15), 1577-84. PMID: 21505136  

  • April 22, 2011
  • 10:19 AM
  • 1,440 views

A future for vesper bats? (vesper bats part XX - last in series)

by Darren Naish in Tetrapod Zoology



Over the course of the previous 19 - yes, 19 - articles we've looked at the full diversity of vesper bat species (see links below if there are any parts you've missed). If you've been following the series on an article-by-article basis, you'll hopefully now have a reasonable handle on the morphological, behavioural and ecological variation present within this enormous, fascinating group, and will also have some idea of how the many different kinds of vesper bats might be related to one another........ Read more »

Baerwald, E. F., D'Amours, G. H., Klug, B. J., & Barclay, R. M. R. (2008) Barotrauma is a significant cause of bat fatalities at wind turbines. Current Biology. info:/

  • April 22, 2011
  • 08:07 AM
  • 2,529 views

Schwann cells and N-WASp: it always comes down to actin

by Erin Campbell in the Node

Axons have such important jobs to do that they require their own support staff.  Schwann cells are responsible for ensheathing axons of the peripheral nervous system with myelin, which allows rapid conduction of action potentials.  The process by which Schwann cells do this was understood to involve cytoskeletal regulators, and a recent paper in Development [...]... Read more »

  • April 22, 2011
  • 05:30 AM
  • 1,867 views

Life at zero growth rate - SGM series

by Lab Rat in Lab Rat

This is the third post in my latest SGM series.One of the first topics that I learnt in Biology was that there are two types of things; living things, and dead things. Living things are given a whole host of distinguishing characteristics (growth, reproduction and, my favourite, irritability) where as dead things are defined as everything else. Biology was usually defined as the study of living things.As I grew older, I found that there were many complications to this neat little classification......... Read more »

  • April 21, 2011
  • 09:44 PM
  • 2,064 views

Protected Sharks Still Eat Fish

by Chuck in Ya Like Dags?

mid the constant talk of lowered biodiversity, invasive species, habitat destruction, global climate change, and any other examples of how thoroughly we as a species have wrecked the planet, it’s always good to hear an actual success story in conservation. Obviously it’s never good news for a species to get to a point where it needs to be protected as an endangered species, but sometimes those protections come into play in time to not only preserve the species, but enable it to rebu........ Read more »

  • April 21, 2011
  • 05:55 PM
  • 1,705 views

The Oldest Toothache

by Laelaps in Laelaps

Edward Drinker Cope was not exactly known for his sunny disposition. One of the key players in the “Bone Wars” of the late 19th century, his long-running feud with fellow bone sharp Othniel Charles Marsh is the stuff of scientific legend. The two former friends tussled over everything from fossil sites to the naming rights [...]... Read more »

  • April 21, 2011
  • 03:55 PM
  • 2,255 views

Shrew poo and worm goo are science too

by Katie Kline in EcoTone

Last week I had the pleasure of being a speaker at Buck Lodge Middle School’s Career Day. Several public schools in Maryland, where Buck Lodge is located, and other states organize important events like these to get students thinking about future opportunities. Do you remember what it was like to be in middle school? To [...]

... Read more »

  • April 21, 2011
  • 02:24 PM
  • 1,081 views

That %&#@$%$ Semen-Antidepressant Study

by potto in terrible puny rightness

Attention ladies! Every once in a while, this story comes back into the news cycle and, every time, it just gets worse. In brief: some researchers conducted a study where they looked at the sexual practices and moods of female college students – 293 of them – and found that those women who were having [...]... Read more »

Gallup GG Jr, Burch RL, & Platek SM. (2002) Does semen have antidepressant properties?. Archives of sexual behavior, 31(3), 289-93. PMID: 12049024  

  • April 21, 2011
  • 02:00 PM
  • 1,751 views

Seedbanks are a trillion-dollar business with big problems

by Jeremy in Agricultural Biodiversity Weblog

If you consider genebanks as sources primarily of information — the genetic information contained in samples — then racks of sealed foil pouches and guarantees that 99% of the genetic diversity has been captured are probably deeply reassuring. There’s another side to storing biodiversity, though. Seedbanks (though often used interchangeably with “genebanks”) store a greater [...]... Read more »

David J. Merritt, & Kinsley W Dixon. (2011) Restoration Seed Banks—A Matter of Scale. Science. info:/

  • April 21, 2011
  • 01:13 PM
  • 1,780 views

Oh... Hi. I'm Acinetobacter baumannii.

by Brooke N in Smaller Questions

New series highlighting up-and-coming pathogenic microbes. This week: Acinetobacter baumannii.... Read more »

  • April 21, 2011
  • 01:06 PM
  • 1,719 views

Ariel Casts Out Caliban: Bonobos, "Killer-Apes" and Human Origins

by Eric Michael Johnson in The Primate Diaries

In place of a guest post this week I'm very pleased to announce my cover article in the latest edition of Times Higher Education.--------------------------------------------The concept of the 'killer-ape' offers a pessimistic reflection of humanity and its genesis, but the latest research shows that a primate species whose success is based on mutual aid and pleasure, not violence, is a better model for human origins. Eric Michael Johnson considers the better bonobos of our nature."Nature never i........ Read more »

Perelman, P., Johnson, W., Roos, C., Seuánez, H., Horvath, J., Moreira, M., Kessing, B., Pontius, J., Roelke, M., Rumpler, Y.... (2011) A Molecular Phylogeny of Living Primates. PLoS Genetics, 7(3). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1001342  

  • April 21, 2011
  • 01:06 PM
  • 971 views

Ariel Casts Out Caliban: Bonobos, "Killer-Apes" and Human Origins

by Eric Michael Johnson in The Primate Diaries in Exile

In place of a guest post this week I'm very pleased to announce my cover article in the latest edition of Times Higher Education.--------------------------------------------The concept of the 'killer-ape' offers a pessimistic reflection of humanity and its genesis, but the latest research shows that a primate species whose success is based on mutual aid and pleasure, not violence, is a better model for human origins. Eric Michael Johnson considers the better bonobos of our nature."Nature never i........ Read more »

Perelman, P., Johnson, W., Roos, C., Seuánez, H., Horvath, J., Moreira, M., Kessing, B., Pontius, J., Roelke, M., Rumpler, Y.... (2011) A Molecular Phylogeny of Living Primates. PLoS Genetics, 7(3). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1001342  

  • April 21, 2011
  • 11:41 AM
  • 1,029 views

Bird predation, sexual segregation and fission-fusion societies: the amazing noctules (vesper bats part XIX)

by Darren Naish in Tetrapod Zoology





I find myself astonished by the fact that I've done it. With the publication of this article I've succeeded in providing a semi/non-technical overview of all the vesper bats of the world... or, of all the major lineages, anyway. Obviously, it hasn't been possible to even mention all 400-odd vesper bat species, let alone all the 'species groups' suggested for the more speciose genera, but I think I've succeeded in discussing all extant genera, and at least some of the fossil ones too.

As yo........ Read more »

Dondini, G., & Vergari, S. (2000) Carnivory in the greater noctule bat (Nyctalus lasiopterus) in Italy. Journal of Zoology, 233-236. info:/

  • April 21, 2011
  • 11:24 AM
  • 691 views

Humans, kinda like rabbits

by zacharoo in Lawn Chair Anthropology

Population size and expansion... Read more »

Hawks, J., Wang, E., Cochran, G., Harpending, H., & Moyzis, R. (2007) Recent acceleration of human adaptive evolution. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 104(52), 20753-20758. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0707650104  

  • April 21, 2011
  • 10:04 AM
  • 1,421 views

MEK mutations confer resistance to MEK and BRAF inhibitors in melanoma

by Sally Church in Pharma Strategy Blog

The other day, we discussed resistance in melanoma and how COT can reactivate BRAF signalling through MAPK reactivation.  Previously, we reviewed how MEK inhibitors may potentially be useful when combined with BRAF inhibitors in overcoming resistance due to cross-talk.  There … Continue reading →
... Read more »

Wagle, N., Emery, C., Berger, M., Davis, M., Sawyer, A., Pochanard, P., Kehoe, S., Johannessen, C., MacConaill, L., Hahn, W.... (2011) Dissecting Therapeutic Resistance to RAF Inhibition in Melanoma by Tumor Genomic Profiling. Journal of Clinical Oncology. DOI: 10.1200/JCO.2010.33.2312  

  • April 21, 2011
  • 10:00 AM
  • 2,111 views

The many yous in you – what Lydia Fairchild has in common with a sponge and an anemone

by Ed Yong in Not Exactly Rocket Science

Lydia Fairchild was confused. She had applied for state benefits to look after her three children, but according to DNA tests, she was not their mother. It was ridiculous – she knew full well that the children were hers, but she was being taken to court nonetheless.
This happened in 2002, but Fairchild’s case has striking parallels with one that cropped up just this year, involving a Mediterranean sponge called Scopalina lophyropoda. French scientists Andrea Blanquer and Maria-J Uriz found t........ Read more »

  • April 21, 2011
  • 09:00 AM
  • 1,700 views

Good news for people with specific phobias: Cortisol may increase efficacy of exposure therapy.

by EcoPhysioMichelle in C6-H12-O6

Earlier this week I shared the story of my specific phobia of vomiting, and little did I know that an article would be published in PNAS the next day (open access!) about the efficacy of cortisol supplementation during exposure therapy for specific phobias.... Read more »

de Quervain, D., Bentz, D., Michael, T., Bolt, O., Wiederhold, B., Margraf, J., & Wilhelm, F. (2011) Glucocorticoids enhance extinction-based psychotherapy. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1018214108  

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