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  • September 29, 2010
  • 01:08 PM

Bacterial Fossils

by Lab Rat in Lab Rat

Studying ancient bacteria can be a little difficult. Despite having wonderfully complex internal biochemistry and fascinating ecological interactions they are essentially, when you get down to it, a little soggy bag. Little soggy bags do not preserve all that well; when bacteria die they just break apart, and are often eaten by other scavenging bacteria which see them as just free nutrients.However some bacteria do fossilise, leaving behind perminant records of their existance. One of the ones........ Read more »

  • September 29, 2010
  • 12:54 PM

Shall we dance?…

by microbialmodus in Microbial Modus

… says the rhizobial bacteria to the leguminous plant root.  In response, the plant warmly embraces her partner, literally wrapping herself fully around the bacteria, and so the intricate and highly choreographed ballet begins. But how can a minuscule little bacterium communicate to a “higher plant” in a way to elicit such an overwhelming positive [...]... Read more »

  • September 29, 2010
  • 12:44 PM

New method for breakpoint detection

by Tara Cronin in BioMed Central Blog

Many diseases, including some cancers, are associated with specific chromosomal trans-locations, and a technique reported in Genome Medicine provides a new way to detect these anomalies. The presence or absence of a translocation may have implications for diagnosis,  prognosis, and therapy.The BCR-ABL1 fusion gene is a marker of chronic myeloid leukaemia. Anindya Dutta and colleagues used BCR-ABL1 as a model to test their novel high-throughput technique for interrogation of a specific chrom........ Read more »

  • September 29, 2010
  • 09:24 AM

Oxytocin Selectively Improves Social Skills

by APS Daily Observations in Daily Observations

Know someone who is socially inept? The remedy may be a healthy dose of “the love hormone” oxytocin. Research recently published in Psychological Science found that oxytocin improves social cognitive ... Read more »

Bartz J.A., Zaki J., Bolger N., Hollander E., Ludwig N.N., Kolevzon A., & Ochsner K.N. (2010) Oxytocin Selectively Improves Empathic Accuracy. Psychological science : a journal of the Association for Psychological Science/ APS. PMID: 20855907  

  • September 29, 2010
  • 08:52 AM

The evolution of the eukaryotes and our human story

by Hannah Waters in Culturing Science – biology as relevant to us earthly beings

“Taxonomy and classification are funny,” my father joked recently, “because the organisms being classified really don’t care what they are. We’re the only ones who care!” Well, at least I thought it was a good joke.  And it speaks to … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • September 29, 2010
  • 07:18 AM

Paleopathology: do ancient cancers hold lessons for modern cancers?

by Becky in It Takes 30

Jagesh Shah sent me this intriguing recent review, which gives an overview of the results in a field I never knew existed: paleopathology.  [I guess I kind of did know the field existed, from debates about whether Lincoln had Marfan syndrome and questions about whether "the royal disease" was hemophilia.  Still, I didn't know how [...]... Read more »

David AR, Zimmerman MR. (2010) Cancer: an old disease, a new disease or something in between?. Nat Rev Cancer., 10(10), 728-733. info:/20814420

  • September 29, 2010
  • 03:29 AM

Songbird Genome Contains Fossil Virus: May Suggest New Ways to Predict Human Pandemics

by GrrlScientist in GrrlScientist

Researchers have found a fossil virus hiding in the chromosomes of several songbird species. This virus is at least 19m years old and may help scientists learn how to predict human pandemics... Read more »

Gilbert C, & Feschotte C. (2010) Genomic Fossils Calibrate the Long-Term Evolution of Hepadnaviruses. PLoS Biology, 8(9). info:/

  • September 29, 2010
  • 01:55 AM

Insights into watermelon genetic diversity

by Jeremy in Agricultural Biodiversity Weblog

There’s no doubt that most of the time when we non-experts think of genetic diversity in DNA terms, we think about alterations in the actual DNA sequence. Change the genetic code and there’s a chance you change the nature of a gene and as a result change the outward appearance, the phenotype, of an organism. [...]... Read more »

  • September 29, 2010
  • 12:26 AM

The impacts of top predator declines...

by John Carroll in Chronicles of Zostera

(My best shark photo, sorry!)So I check out Underwater Times from time to time to see whats new in the underwater news world.  So when I happened upon this article from the United Arab Emirates, it reminded me of a Science paper that came out a few years back that is near and dear to my heart.  But first, the news article.  Essentially, sharks are a major fishery in the Arabian Gulf.  From 1985 to 2000, shark landings in the UAE ranged from 1350 to 1900 tons of sharks, and th........ Read more »

Myers RA, Baum JK, Shepherd TD, Powers SP, & Peterson CH. (2007) Cascading effects of the loss of apex predatory sharks from a coastal ocean. Science (New York, N.Y.), 315(5820), 1846-50. PMID: 17395829  

Stephen R. Fegley,* Charles H. Peterson, Nathan R. Geraldi and David W. Gaskill. (2009) Enhancing the Potential for Population Recovery: Restoration Options for Bay Scallop Populations, Argopecten irradians concentricus, in North Carolina. Journal of Shellfish Research, 28(3), 477-489. info:/10.2983/035.028.0309

  • September 28, 2010
  • 11:53 PM

Not Good Enough: Copenhagen Accord May Doom Coral Reefs

by Rick MacPherson in Deep Sea News

The left image represents an intact system at current CO2 levels; the center image shows coral decay with increased CO2; and the right image shows a devastated system with even higher CO2 emissions. O. Hoegh-Guldberg, et al (2007) Coral reefs under rapid climate change and ocean acidification, Science, 318(5857), p. 1741
When you’re in the biodiversity conservation . . . → Read More: Not Good Enough: Copenhagen Accord May Doom Coral Reefs... Read more »

Joeri Rogelj, Claudine Chen, Julia Nabel, Kirsten Macey, William Hare, MichielSchaeffer, Kathleen Markmann, Niklas Höhne, Katrine Krogh Andersen and Malte Meinshausen. (2010) Analysis of the Copenhagen Accord pledges and its global climatic impacts – a snapshot of dissonant ambitions. Environmental Research Letters, 5(4). info:/

  • September 28, 2010
  • 09:05 PM

The Wednesday Post - Bacteria ride the Trojan Worm

by James Byrne in Disease Prone

Niu et al., (2010) look at novel host-pathogen interactions and do their work in a nematode called Caenorhabditis elegans due to the ease of working with an invertebrate. C. elegans also has other advantages. We have a lot of genetic tools for manipulating the organism and in some pretty inspired Nobel Prize winning work we know the cell lineage of ALL the cells in the mature worm. This makes them a fantastic model organism for any kind of research, particularly modeling bacterial infection and........ Read more »

Niu Q, Huang X, Zhang L, Xu J, Yang D, Wei K, Niu X, An Z, Bennett JW, Zou C.... (2010) From the Cover: A Trojan horse mechanism of bacterial pathogenesis against nematodes. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 107(38), 16631-6. PMID: 20733068  

  • September 28, 2010
  • 07:05 PM

Cell culture: Oktoberfest

by Rogue in Into Oblivion

On September 18, the 200th edition of Oktoberfest was kicked off in Munich, Germany. Roasted chicken, weisswurst and tasty bretzels are all around, and of course, the beer! In this edition of Cell Culture, the whole beer journey is presented: from the foamy Mass to tourist’s liver. Michaeleen Doucleff writes a must-read report about it. [...]... Read more »

Doucleff M. (2010) Cell culture: Oktoberfest. Cell. info:/10.1016/j.cell.2010.09.007

  • September 28, 2010
  • 06:38 PM

A Filter for Finding “All Studies on Animal Experimentation in PubMed”

by Laika in Laika's Medliblog

For  an introduction to search filters you can first read this post. Most people searching PubMed try to get rid of publications about animals. But basic scientists and lab animal technicians just want to find those animal studies. PubMed has built-in filters for that: the limits. There is a limit  for “humans” and a limit for “animals”. [...]... Read more »

  • September 28, 2010
  • 12:24 PM

Giraffes – Necks for food or necks for sex?

by Laelaps in Laelaps

The neck of a giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) is a marvelous thing. Comprised of only seven vertebrae* – no more than in your neck – the towering feat of natural engineering is at once stunning and ridiculous. How could such a structure have evolved? This question is not just a throw-away. For the past century and [...]... Read more »

  • September 28, 2010
  • 10:55 AM

Chemistry of the Great Big Blue: Sewage

by Bluegrass Blue Crab in Southern Fried Science

"Warning! Stormwater discharge area may be contaminated by discharge from pipe. Swimming is not recommended within 200 feet of this sign during active discharge"
You live on a rural island. You poop. You flush. Does your island have a sewage treatment plant? Is your plant large enough to deal with the influx of tourists that increases [...]... Read more »

  • September 28, 2010
  • 10:09 AM

Pivar's pure fantasy published

by Bjørn Østman in Pleiotropy

Bogus paper published in serious journal... Read more »

Pivar, S. (2010) The origin of the vertebrate skeleton. International Journal of Astrobiology, 1-21. DOI: 10.1017/S147355041000025X  

  • September 28, 2010
  • 09:56 AM

Targeting GPCR – Gbeta/gamma with small molecules, Pharm 551A: Bonacci et al., 2006


Our understanding of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) has been greatly aided by their relative tractability in terms of pharmacological targeting. These receptors are fairly easy to express in cells and their signaling pathways are amenable to high throughput screening (HTS) … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • September 28, 2010
  • 09:41 AM

Deriving Inhibitory Peptides from Globular Protein–Protein Interactions

by Nir London in Macromolecular Modeling Blog

There are several forms of peptide-protein interactions, one of which are globular PPIs mediated by a dominant linear peptide at the interface. To what extent could peptides extracted from a globular protein monomer be used to inhibit the interaction to its partner? In this work, we have investigated the possibility of deriving peptides from the interface of globular proteins to design inhibitors that would compete with their native interaction.

... Read more »

  • September 28, 2010
  • 06:33 AM

The Cretaceous birds and pterosaurs of Cornet: part II, the pterosaurs

by Darren Naish in Tetrapod Zoology

It's always been clear that pterosaurs were present in the Cornet assemblage (for the background on Cornet and its archosaur fossils, you need to have read part I).

However, exactly what sort of pterosaurs are present at Cornet has been somewhat uncertain: the Late Jurassic ctenochasmatoid Cycnorhamphus, ornithocheirids and the Early Cretaceous Asian dsungaripterid Dsungaripterus were all reported from the assemblage during the 1980s (e.g., Jurcsák & Popa 1984) but, as with the birds, the........ Read more »

  • September 28, 2010
  • 12:15 AM

Transfer of transgenic crop toxins to aquatic ecosystems potentially widespread in the industrial Corn Belt of the U.S.

by Phil Camill in Global Change: Intersection of Nature and Culture

Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are back in the news.  A few days ago, NPR featured a couple of blog posts (here and here) considering whether the new GMO “supersized” salmon will be harmful to aquatic ecosystems.
A concern with GMOs is that—like the early adoption of pesticides—potential risks are being borne by the environment and consumers [...]... Read more »

Jennifer L. Tank, Emma J. Rosi-Marshall, Todd V. Royer, Matt R. Whiles, Natalie A. Griffiths, Therese C. Frauendorf, and David J. Treering. (2010) Occurrence of maize detritus and a transgenic insecticidal protein (Cry1Ab) within the stream network of an agricultural landscape. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. info:/10.1073/pnas.1006925107

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