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  • October 20, 2010
  • 04:15 AM

Jean Baptiste Lamarck: Founder of Lamarckian Evolution

by John Wayland in The Darwin Tribune

From the outset of this post, it must be noted by The Editor, that this blog wholly acknowledges and supports Darwin's Theory of Evolution. Furthermore, this article is not intended to question Darwin's work or theory, or the masses of fossil evidence, and DNA evidence that further supports his theory. Ergo, any comments of an aggressive or distasteful nature shall be removed, especially if contributors attempt to bring the debate of religion vs science into this domain.This article shall e........ Read more »

  • October 20, 2010
  • 12:23 AM

Critiquing LaPlant et al, in Nature Neuroscience, Part 3: The spines and the depression

by Scicurious in Neurotic Physiology

Welcome to part 3 in the series of my coverage of LaPlant, et al. 2010. It’s been a long day, and Sci is TIRED. She just ran a 13 hour experiment, and boy is she wiped. But she is also DEVOTED. And also has her teeth well into this paper, and refuses to let go [...]... Read more »

LaPlant Q, Vialou V, Covington HE 3rd, Dumitriu D, Feng J, Warren BL, Maze I, Dietz DM, Watts EL, Iñiguez SD.... (2010) Dnmt3a regulates emotional behavior and spine plasticity in the nucleus accumbens. Nature neuroscience, 13(9), 1137-43. PMID: 20729844  

  • October 19, 2010
  • 11:28 PM

The Wednesday Post (20/10/2010)

by thomastu in Disease Prone

Love is the drug and I need to score It’s long been known that love acts as an intoxicant. As I look through my iTunes playlist, I find Fiona Apple telling me she wants me like a drug, Roxy Music needing to score some love, a girlshapedlovedrug messing with Gomez’s mind, and Cypress Hill loving [...]... Read more »

  • October 19, 2010
  • 05:33 PM

Evolution: The Curious Case of Dogs [Observations of a Nerd]

by Christie Wilcox in Food Matters

I'm going to be coming out with a new post in my Evolution series later this week, but in the meantime, for those of you haven't seen them, I'm reposting my first two Evolution posts, beginning with the one that started the series: The Curious Case of Dogs.

Man's best friend is much more than a household companion - for centuries, artificial selection in dogs has made them prime examples of the possibilities of evolution. A century and a half ago, Charles Darwin recognized how the incredibly di........ Read more »

Akey, J., Ruhe, A., Akey, D., Wong, A., Connelly, C., Madeoy, J., Nicholas, T., & Neff, M. (2010) Tracking footprints of artificial selection in the dog genome. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107(3), 1160-1165. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0909918107  

  • October 19, 2010
  • 05:24 PM

The pandemic Influenza keeps reassorting

by Atila Iamarino in Influenza A (H1N1) Blog – English

After more than a year of the Influenza A H1N1 episode, the virus is still being monitored all over the world, both the flu cases and genetics diversity of the virus. Following up the genetic diversity helps to understand if the vaccine is still efficient and helps identifying the possible appearance of new strains.
In Hong [...]... Read more »

Vijaykrishna, D., Poon, L., Zhu, H., Ma, S., Li, O., Cheung, C., Smith, G., Peiris, J., & Guan, Y. (2010) Reassortment of Pandemic H1N1/2009 Influenza A Virus in Swine. Science, 328(5985), 1529-1529. DOI: 10.1126/science.1189132  

  • October 19, 2010
  • 05:09 PM

The Illusion of the Curveball

by Brian Mossop in The Decision Tree

My latest post is up at Wired Playbook, describing the optical illusion we commonly refer to as the curveball: The average curveball hurls toward a batter at around 75 mph, accentuated by a 1500 rpm spin. From the moment the ball leaves the pitcher’s hand, it travels a smooth, consistent, parabolic arc. There’s no disjointed [...]... Read more »

  • October 19, 2010
  • 05:02 PM

How does your garden grow?

by microbialmodus in Microbial Modus

For a leaf-cutter ant, the answer to that question is not so much “silver bells and cockle-shells” as it is “one nutritious fungus and a variety of beneficial bacteria.”  It may not exactly be the stuff of nursery rhymes, but it’s certainly a fascinating three-way mutualism that makes for a great lesson in microbial ecology, [...]... Read more »

  • October 19, 2010
  • 12:29 PM

Boom boom boom, you knock me out right off of my feet…

by Rogue in Into Oblivion

I really like this song! For those who do not know (shame on you!), it is John Lee Hoocker, one of the best bluesmen ever. I could keep on talking about blues, but my guess is it is far better to let you listen to it So, let me go into something close to this [...]... Read more »

  • October 19, 2010
  • 12:25 PM

The Ames Room and the Bower Bird

by Andrew Wilson in Notes from Two Scientific Psychologists

Research showing how bower-birds exploit perspective structure when building their bowers demonstrates why it's important to consider the role of perception when explaining how humans respond to, say, the Ames Room... Read more »

  • October 19, 2010
  • 12:00 PM

Emperor Tamarin

by beredim in Stem Cells Freak

pparently this strange looking primate took its name from a German emperor named Wilhem, due to their "remarkable" resemblance. At first this name was used a joke, but over the course of time it became its official common name... Read more »

  • October 19, 2010
  • 12:00 PM

Emperor Tamarin

by beredim in Strange Animals

pparently this strange looking primate took its name from a German emperor named Wilhem, due to their "remarkable" resemblance. At first this name was used a joke, but over the course of time it became its official common name... Read more »

  • October 19, 2010
  • 10:55 AM

An Oldie but a Goodie: Darwin’s ‘Survival of the Fittest’ meets the irresponsible Homo sapiens

by Dr. Carin Bondar in Dr. Carin Bondar - Biologist With a Twist

After writing this post back in April, I had the idea to send one of my video cameras to Jan and Ulrika in Finland so that they could get me some footage of this work. Now that I’m working on creating a ‘BIOMUSINGS‘ episode around it, I thought I’d remind you of this fantastic [...]... Read more »

  • October 19, 2010
  • 09:53 AM

If BPA exposure is so low, why should we be worried?

by Melinda Moyer in Body Politic

In response to my earlier post about bisphenol A in soda and beer, reader Skeptic had an insightful comment:
As someone involved in environmental health myself, I have been following the BPA controversy from north of the 49th parallel with some interest. I have often wondered whether the actual data supports regulation of BPA. The first study you cite, for example, hides this line in its discussion: “Thus, median and 95th percentile intake estimates were approximately two to three orders of ma........ Read more »

  • October 19, 2010
  • 09:05 AM

Butterfly, heal thyself! (Or thy kids, anyway.)

by Jeremy Yoder in Denim and Tweed

Using specific compounds to cure disease seems like a fairly advanced behavior—it's necessary to recognize that you're sick, then know what to take to cure yourself, then go out and find it. You might be surprised to learn, then, that one of the best examples of self-medication behavior in a non-human animal isn't another primate species, or even another vertebrate. It's none other than monarch butterflies. Female monarchs infected with a particular parasite prefer to lay eggs on host plants t........ Read more »

  • October 19, 2010
  • 08:58 AM

Genetics, Personalized Medicine, and Behavioral Intervention

by APS Daily Observations in Daily Observations

Personalized medicine — improving the fit between an individual patient and treatment plan — has become a major research focus in fields from cancer treatment to the psychopharmacology of mental ... Read more »

Reiss, D. (2010) Introduction to the Special Issue: Genetics, Personalized Medicine, and Behavioral Intervention—Can This Combination Improve Patient Care? . Perspectives on Psychological Science. info:/10.1177/1745691610383514

  • October 19, 2010
  • 08:15 AM

It Takes A Village

by Journal Watch Online in Journal Watch Online

Restoring urban streams bruised by decades of abuse is hard enough. Pulling off a restoration project that is backed both by informed, supportive neighbors and good science is even harder. But along College Creek in Ames, Iowa, researchers, government officials and local residents have teamed up to show just how it might be done.
A […] Read More »... Read more »

  • October 19, 2010
  • 08:09 AM

Mashing up banana wild relatives

by Jeremy in Agricultural Biodiversity Weblog

Over at the Vaviblog is a detailed discussion (though not nearly as detailed as the paper) of a new paper outlining a new theory for the origin of the cultivated banana. Edible bananas have very few seeds. Wild bananas are packed with seeds; there’s almost nothing there to eat. So how did edible bananas come [...]... Read more »

  • October 19, 2010
  • 08:00 AM

Banana domestication revisited

by Jeremy in The Vaviblog

Edible bananas have very few seeds. Wild bananas are packed with seeds; there’s almost nothing there to eat. So how did edible bananas come to be cultivated? The standard story is that some smart proto-farmer saw a spontaneous mutation and then propagated it vegetatively. Once the plant was growing, additional mutants would also be seen [...]... Read more »

  • October 19, 2010
  • 12:29 AM

Paging Dr. Monarch Mom

by Michael Gutbrod in A Scientific Nature

New research has shown that the ability to medicate exists outside of the realm of humanity.  There goes that God complex.  In the kingdom of life, there are few examples of behavior specifically directed at treating a disease or infection outside of the scribbling your doctor calls a prescription.  However, a new study out of [...]... Read more »

Lefèvre, T., Oliver, L., Hunter, M., & De Roode, J. (2010) Evidence for trans-generational medication in nature. Ecology Letters. DOI: 10.1111/j.1461-0248.2010.01537.x  

  • October 19, 2010
  • 12:19 AM

population genetics, evolution, and ocean ecosystems

by HeathO in Food Matters

I was trained as an Environmental Scientist long before I was at all interested in Microbes. So, I get excited when I come across microbial studies that are environmentally relevant. I get particularly nerd-cited when these studies take place in the ocean. A paper published in PNAS last week describes identifies what may be the [...]... Read more »

Coleman ML, & Chisholm SW. (2010) Ecosystem-specific selection pressures revealed through comparative population genomics. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 20937887  

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