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  • March 24, 2010
  • 01:46 PM

More on future-proofing germplasm collections

by Jeremy in Agricultural Biodiversity Weblog

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 »

Walck, J., & Dixon, K. (2009) Time to future-proof plants in storage. Nature, 462(7274), 721-721. DOI: 10.1038/462721a  

  • March 24, 2010
  • 01:12 PM

Drinking Doesn't Decimate Test Scores

by Christie Wilcox in Observations of a Nerd

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  

  • March 24, 2010
  • 11:18 AM

Seitaad ruessi, the “Sand Monster” of the Navajo Sandstone

by Brian Switek in Dinosaur Tracking

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

  • March 24, 2010
  • 10:08 AM

Whole Genome Sequencing Diagnostics

by Daniel Koboldt in Massgenomics

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  

  • March 24, 2010
  • 10:00 AM

Riparian Restoration: More important than ever with climate change

by JL in Analyze Everything

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  

  • March 24, 2010
  • 08:00 AM

When an invasive species is good for conservation...

by Rob Goldstein in Conservation Maven

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 »

  • March 24, 2010
  • 06:15 AM

DAMPs and PAMPs: The enemy within

by iayork in Mystery Rays from Outer Space

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  

  • March 24, 2010
  • 05:01 AM

"Can web crawlers revolutionize ecological monitoring?" researchers ask

by Rob Goldstein in Conservation Maven

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  

  • March 24, 2010
  • 01:01 AM

Tip of the Week: Genomicus and genome evolution

by Trey in OpenHelix

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 »

  • March 23, 2010
  • 08:27 PM

Aging and Degeneration of the Innate Immune System

by Reason in Fight Aging!

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  

  • March 23, 2010
  • 06:00 PM

Hands Off My Bone!

by Jason Goldman in The Thoughtful Animal

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

  • March 23, 2010
  • 06:00 PM

How native-like is a cold-denatured structure?

by Michael Clarkson in Conformational Flux

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 »

  • March 23, 2010
  • 04:00 PM

Carbon Nanotubes for Successful Late-Stage Chemotherapy

by Michael Long in Phased

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 »

  • March 23, 2010
  • 02:07 PM

Does gene function predict molecular evolutionary rate?

by stajich in The Hyphal Tip

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 »

  • March 23, 2010
  • 01:18 PM

Famous Footprints Yield New Insights Into How Fossil Humans Walked

by Laelaps in Laelaps

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 »

  • March 23, 2010
  • 10:52 AM

Shaping a Stem Cell’s Future

by Rob Mitchum in ScienceLife

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  

  • March 23, 2010
  • 09:17 AM

Shocking control: wild gray wolves and shock collars

by DeLene Beeland in Wild Muse

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  

  • March 23, 2010
  • 05:00 AM

Grassland conservation hits ranchers in the wallet

by Rob Goldstein in Conservation Maven

... 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  

  • March 22, 2010
  • 11:04 PM

Porcine circovirus DNA in rotavirus vaccine

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 »

  • March 22, 2010
  • 10:22 PM

Wealth and Longevity

by Reason in Fight Aging!

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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