A reply to Walck & Dixon from Brian Forde-Lloyd, Nigel Maxted and Luigi Guarino.
In Walck and Dixon’s opinion (Nature 462: 721, 2009) it’s ‘time to future-proof plants in storage’, but how novel and useful is this idea? Few would argue with the principle that we need to maximise the range of genetic diversity conserved ex [...]... Read more »
The latest study from Boston University has college students everywhere popping open a brewski and saying "I told you so." Researchers found that getting drunk the night before a test had no effect on the student's performance, although it left them feeling rotten on test day.
What college student hasn't chosen to blow off last minute studying in favor of a few drinks? Binge drinking is common on U.S. campuses, and the effects of such behavior on the student's performance are poorly understood......... Read more »
Howland, J., Rohsenow, D., Greece, J., Littlefield, C., Almeida, A., Heeren, T., Winter, M., Bliss, C., Hunt, S., & Hermos, J. (2010) The effects of binge drinking on college students' next-day academic test-taking performance and mood state. Addiction, 105(4), 655-665. DOI: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2009.02880.x
Even though the first dinosaurs had evolved by 228 million years ago, it was not until the early Jurassic (about 201 million to 176 million years ago) that they were established as the dominant large vertebrates on land. It was during this time that various groups of dinosaurs diversified and began to be adapted in [...]... Read more »
Joseph J. W. Sertich, Mark A. Loewen. (2010) A New Basal Sauropodomorph Dinosaur from the Lower Jurassic Navajo Sandstone of Southern Utah. PLoS One, 5(3). info:/10.1371/journal.pone.0009789
This month in the New England Journal of Medicine, James Lupski and colleagues sequenced the complete genome of an individual with familial Charcot-Marie Tooth (CMT) disease. The “individual” is Lupski himself - he not only led the study, but served as patient zero. From conversations with some of my colleagues at Baylor, it’s clear that [...]... Read more »
Lupski JR, Reid JG, Gonzaga-Jauregui C, Rio Deiros D, Chen DC, Nazareth L, Bainbridge M, Dinh H, Jing C, Wheeler DA.... (2010) Whole-Genome Sequencing in a Patient with Charcot-Marie-Tooth Neuropathy. The New England journal of medicine. PMID: 20220177
For people in the conservation/restoration community, trying to deal with climate change is a tough assignment. Years and years of training and conventional wisdom preaches the value of restoring habitat to a 'pristine' state. In the U.S., that usually translates into Pre-European settlement. However, the reality is that the pre-settlement environment may simply no longer exist. Even if those... Read more »
Seavy, N., Gardali, T., Golet, G., Griggs, F., Howell, C., Kelsey, R., Small, S., Viers, J., & Weigand, J. (2009) Why Climate Change Makes Riparian Restoration More Important than Ever: Recommendations for Practice and Research. Ecological Restoration, 27(3), 330-338. DOI: 10.3368/er.27.3.330
Conservation scientists and practitioners generally hold the assumption that all invasive species are bad for ecosystems and merit eradication. So, what do you do when a really bad invasive species happens to be good for the conservation of threatened birds?... Read more »
TABLADO, Z., TELLA, J., SÁNCHEZ-ZAPATA, J., & HIRALDO, F. (2010) The Paradox of the Long-Term Positive Effects of a North American Crayfish on a European Community of Predators. Conservation Biology. DOI: 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2010.01483.x
The immune system is, by its nature, destructive. Its function is to eliminate problems. Because it’s so destructive, there are many layers on control that constantly check and limit the response. Equally, there are controls that try to ensure that the response doesn’t start until it’s needed.
How does the immune response know when [...]... Read more »
Zhang, Q., Raoof, M., Chen, Y., Sumi, Y., Sursal, T., Junger, W., Brohi, K., Itagaki, K., & Hauser, C. (2010) Circulating mitochondrial DAMPs cause inflammatory responses to injury. Nature, 464(7285), 104-107. DOI: 10.1038/nature08780
A visionary approach to ecological monitoring would use automated web crawlers to look at the flow of information across the Internet and detect early warning signals of impending environmental problems before they become catastrophic...... Read more »
Galaz, V., Crona, B., Daw, T., Bodin, Ö., Nyström, M., & Olsson, P. (2010) Can web crawlers revolutionize ecological monitoring?. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 8(2), 99-104. DOI: 10.1890/070204
Today’s tip is on Genomicus. Genomicus is a great tool to visualize gene duplication, synteny and genome evolution. The search and display interfaces are quite straightforward, and there are lots of great features (viewing ancestral gene information, links out to resources, different views of phylogenies, etc) in the tool. This video is only a short introduction. You can delve deeper into the tool with the help and documentation, including an 11 minute video.
There is also a recent (adva........ Read more »
Muffato, M., Louis, A., Poisnel, C., & Roest Crollius, H. (2010) Genomicus: a database and a browser to study gene synteny in modern and ancestral genomes. Bioinformatics. DOI: 10.1093/bioinformatics/btq079
Much of the discussion of the age-related decline of the immune system that can be found in the Fight Aging! archives is focused on the adaptive immune system. But the innate immune system also becomes damaged and dysfunctional with age. Here is a quick summary of the functional difference between these two components of the immune system: The immune system protects organisms from infection with layered defenses of increasing specificity. Most simply, physical barriers prevent pathogens such as ........ Read more »
Hajishengallis G. (2010) Too Old to Fight? Aging and its Toll on Innate Immunity. Molecular oral microbiology, 25(1), 25-37. PMID: 20305805
Figure 1: Zooky stole his bone.
I know that I wrote about dogs yesterday. I don’t usually like to focus too much on any one particular animal two days in a row. But. This paper was too cool to put off.
Different dog growls mean different things, right? Probably. But can you tell the difference?
Here’s a dog [...]... Read more »
Farago, T., Pongracz, P., Range, F., Viranyi, Z., & Miklosi, A. (2010) ‘The bone is mine’: affective and referential aspects of dog growls. Animal Behaviour, 917-925. info:/10.1016/j.anbehav.2010.01.005
A protein has several different levels of structure. The primary structure is the arrangements of atoms and bonds, and it is formed in the ribosome by the assembly of amino acids as directed by an RNA template. The secondary structure is the local topology, the helices and strands, and this forms mostly because of the release of energy through the formation of hydrogen bonds. The tertiary structure is the actual fold of the protein, the way helices, strands, and loops are arranged in space. The ........ Read more »
Babu, C., Hilser, V., & Wand, A. (2004) Direct access to the cooperative substructure of proteins and the protein ensemble via cold denaturation. Nature Structural , 11(4), 352-357. DOI: 10.1038/nsmb739
Shan, B., McClendon, S., Rospigliosi, C., Eliezer, D., & Raleigh, D. (2010) The Cold Denatured State of the C-terminal Domain of Protein L9 Is Compact and Contains Both Native and Non-native Structure. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2147483647. DOI: 10.1021/ja908104s
Ren'an Wu, Hanfa Zou (Chinese Academy of Sciences), and coworkers have used carbon nanotubes to kill the cancer cells that commonly linger after chemotherapy, which are a major threat to successful treatment. This news feature was written on March 23, 2010.... Read more »
Li, R., Wu, R., Zhao, L., Wu, M., Yang, L., & Zou, H. (2010) P-Glycoprotein Antibody Functionalized Carbon Nanotube Overcomes the Multidrug Resistance of Human Leukemia Cells. ACS Nano, 4(3), 1399-1408. DOI: 10.1021/nn9011225
Gene sequences evolve at different rates due to different constraints, either due to chromosome position, functional constraint, and status as a single-copy or multi-copy gene. In a recent paper, Allen Rodrigo (the new NESCent director by the, way, congrats!) the authors hypothesize that correlation in branch lengths of gene trees suggest they operate in the [...]... Read more »
Li WL, & Rodrigo AG. (2009) Covariation of branch lengths in phylogenies of functionally related genes. PloS one, 4(12). PMID: 20041191
A comparison of three-dimensional scans of hominin footprints. Top) A footprint made by an experimental subject using a normal, "extended" gait. Middle) A footprint made by an experimental subject using a "bent-knee, bent-hip" gait. Bottom) A Laetoli footprints. From Raichlen et al., 2010.
About 3.6 million years ago, at a spot now in Laetoli, Tanzania, a pair of hominins trudged through the ashfall dumped onto the landscape by a nearby volcano. We don't know for certain what they looked l........ Read more »
Raichlen, D., Gordon, A., Harcourt-Smith, W., Foster, A., & Haas, W. (2010) Laetoli Footprints Preserve Earliest Direct Evidence of Human-Like Bipedal Biomechanics. PLoS ONE, 5(3). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0009769
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
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
... 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
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 »
Tischer I, Bode L, Apodaca J, Timm H, Peters D, Rasch R, Pociuli S, & Gerike E. (1995) Presence of antibodies reacting with porcine circovirus in sera of humans, mice, and cattle. Archives of virology, 140(8), 1427-39. PMID: 7544971
Fenaux M, Opriessnig T, Halbur PG, Xu Y, Potts B, & Meng XJ. (2004) Detection and in vitro and in vivo characterization of porcine circovirus DNA from a porcine-derived commercial pepsin product. The Journal of general virology, 85(Pt 11), 3377-82. PMID: 15483254
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
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