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  • July 16, 2010
  • 12:53 AM

Friday Weird Science: If you’re happy and you know it, smell some pee!

by Scicurious in Neurotic Physiology

Sci actually considered blogging this paper as just a regular, run of the mill weekday paper…but it’s got urine sniffing.  And the idea of making up a song to a paper is one that Sci can never resist. So first, the paper.  And then, the song! Malkesman, et al. “The Female Urine Sniffing Test: A [...]... Read more »

Malkesman, O., Scattoni, M., Paredes, D., Tragon, T., Pearson, B., Shaltiel, G., Chen, G., Crawley, J., & Manji, H. (2010) The Female Urine Sniffing Test: A Novel Approach for Assessing Reward-Seeking Behavior in Rodents. Biological Psychiatry, 67(9), 864-871. DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2009.10.018  

  • July 15, 2010
  • 09:49 PM

New advancements in spider confusion

by Michael Bok in Arthropoda

The rather amusing cover of this month’s JEB caught my eye; I am always excited to find out about the outlandish and creative methods that scientists dream up in order to test their ideas. Yep, that’s a jumping spider holding a styrofoam ball, tethered to the ceiling. So what the heck could possibly be going [...]... Read more »

  • July 15, 2010
  • 05:35 PM

Gut flora and the human rainforest

by Katie Kline in EcoTone

Scientists have known for decades that the human intestinal tract is home to an abundance of diverse bacteria. This microbial rainforest is introduced incrementally to infants as they grow—primarily from their mothers during birth and breastfeeding and from everyday encounters. Many of these microbes aid in digestion and fight off pathogens, but until recently, researchers were not certain if phages, viruses that infect bacteria, were also present in the human gut.

... Read more »

Reyes, A., Haynes, M., Hanson, N., Angly, F., Heath, A., Rohwer, F., & Gordon, J. (2010) Viruses in the faecal microbiota of monozygotic twins and their mothers. Nature, 466(7304), 334-338. DOI: 10.1038/nature09199  

  • July 15, 2010
  • 03:46 PM

Rigged To Invade

by Journal Watch Online in Journal Watch Online

Oil spills aren’t the only threat from giant floating oil rigs. After a towed rig stranded on the remote Brazilian island of Tristan da Cunha in 2006, biologists were stunned to discover that it also carried a whole marine ecosystem of dozens of potentially invasive species. Researchers say the incident highlights the need for the […] Read More »... Read more »

Wanless, R., Scott, S., Sauer, W., Andrew, T., Glass, J., Godfrey, B., Griffiths, C., & Yeld, E. (2009) Semi-submersible rigs: a vector transporting entire marine communities around the world. Biological Invasions, 12(8), 2573-2583. DOI: 10.1007/s10530-009-9666-2  

  • July 15, 2010
  • 03:10 PM

Fossil primate Saadanius provides context for the ancient ape/Old World monkey split

by Laelaps in Laelaps

Imagine that there was no primate fossil record. No hominins, no Proconsul, Dryopithecus, no Eosimias, no Darwinius -- nothing. Now, given this dearth of fossil material, you could be excused for systematically organizing primates according to the stark divisions apparent between living species. Our species, while clearly a primate, would seem to stand by itself, [...]... Read more »

Zalmout, I., Sanders, W., MacLatchy, L., Gunnell, G., Al-Mufarreh, Y., Ali, M., Nasser, A., Al-Masari, A., Al-Sobhi, S., Nadhra, A.... (2010) New Oligocene primate from Saudi Arabia and the divergence of apes and Old World monkeys. Nature, 466(7304), 360-364. DOI: 10.1038/nature09094  

  • July 15, 2010
  • 02:14 PM

Creation science validates evolution, too

by Bjørn Østman in Pleiotropy

A method used by creation scientists validates evolution... Read more »

  • July 15, 2010
  • 02:05 PM

Determining the Fate of Carbon in a Mixotrophic Anemone

by Kevin Zelnio in Deep Sea News

It has been known for a long time that some anemones form symbiotic relationships with Zooxanthellae. For a while it was assumed that the anemones mainly persisted by utilizing carbon translocated from its symbionts, called autotrophy, but they can may supplement this by heterotrophic feeding on plankton. A study by . . . → Read More: Determining the Fate of Carbon in a Mixotrophic Anemone... Read more »

  • July 15, 2010
  • 09:49 AM

More Fecal Findings!

by avi_wener in American Biotechnologist

At the risk of developing a complex that all I talk about is fecal matter, for the second time this week I would like to bring your attention to another study that focuses on the gut and its microbial habitat. A couple of days ago I discussed the challenge of identifying the huge number of [...]... Read more »

Alejandro Reyes, Matthew Haynes, Nicole Hanson, Florent E. Angly, Andrew C. Heath, Forest Rohwer, & Jeffrey I. Gordon. (2010) Viruses in the faecal microbiota of monozygotic twins and their mothers. Nature, 334-338. info:/10.1038/nature09199

  • July 15, 2010
  • 09:10 AM

Tarbosaurus: A Predator and a Scavenger With a Delicate Bite

by Brian Switek in Dinosaur Tracking

Back in the 1990s, paleontologist Jack Horner proposed that Tyrannosaurus rex—popularly cast as the most fearsome predator of all time—was really a giant-sized scavenger. With its small arms, a large part of its brain devoted to analyzing smells, and a mouth full of rail-spike-sized teeth, the tyrant dinosaur seemed to be better-suited to processing the [...]... Read more »

  • July 15, 2010
  • 08:37 AM

The crisis: put down the pruning shears

by sarcozona in gravity's rainbow

Part of applying to graduate school is figuring out who I want to work with and what questions I want to try to answer.  To do this, I’m reading a lot of papers.  I’d hate for all this paper reading to keep me from blogging, so I’ve decided to share some of the more interesting [...]... Read more »

  • July 15, 2010
  • 08:00 AM

Not exactly breaking news: sex reduces anxiety!

by EcoPhysioMichelle in C6-H12-O6 (old)

Despite causing elevated levels of corticosteroids, physical activity results in an increase in mental health and brain function for most people. This phenomenon has recently been linked to the idea that exercise is mentally linked to personal reward.... Read more »

  • July 15, 2010
  • 06:08 AM

Detoxifying cassava

by Jeremy in Agricultural Biodiversity Weblog

Strategies that minimize one risk…may augment another risk… Peasant farmers are perfectly conversant with such linkages. The neglect of peasant agriculture by both donors and governments is among the deeper causes of current crises, along with the increasing inequality that deprives them of secure tenure to land and other resources, reducing benefits they can expect [...]... Read more »

  • July 15, 2010
  • 04:41 AM

Really fine grained genetic maps of Europe

by Razib Khan in Gene Expression

A few years ago you started seeing the crest of studies which basically took several hundred individuals (or thousands) from a range of locations, and then extracted out the two largest components of genetic variation from the hundreds of thousands of  variants. The clusters which fell out of the genetic data, with each point being [...]... Read more »

O'Dushlaine, C., McQuillan, R., Weale, M., Crouch, D., Johansson, �., Aulchenko, Y., Franklin, C., Polašek, O., Fuchsberger, C., Corvin, A.... (2010) Genes predict village of origin in rural Europe. European Journal of Human Genetics. DOI: 10.1038/ejhg.2010.92  

  • July 15, 2010
  • 03:00 AM

The Sound of the Sea

by The Twenty-first floor in The Twenty-first floor

Far from being "The Silent World", the oceans are alive with sound. Marine biologist Andrew Guerin discusses how sound is important to marine animals and what effect noise pollution from human endeavours may have on ocean ecosystems.... Read more »

Slabbekoorn, H., Bouton, N., van Opzeeland, I., Coers, A., ten Cate, C., & Popper, A. (2010) A noisy spring: the impact of globally rising underwater sound levels on fish. Trends in Ecology , 25(7), 419-427. DOI: 10.1016/j.tree.2010.04.005  

  • July 14, 2010
  • 06:05 PM

Fosmid cloning: Alive and kicking

by epibio in EpiCentral

Although advances in next-generation sequencing technology have replaced the need for clone libraries in many laboratories, fosmid libraries are still useful in a variety of functional genomics studies.

Xu et al.1 present the first report of a host-specific restriction system associated with S-modification of DNA (phosphorothioation), instead of methylation. The authors observed that the enteropathogenic Salmonella enterica serovar Cerro 87, which possesses S-modified DNA, restricts DNA isolate........ Read more »

  • July 14, 2010
  • 06:00 PM

Bad science journalism the fault of chickens or eggs?

by Lucas in thoughtomics

News sites left and right are picking up a story that “Scientists solved the chicken or egg problem”. Google News aggregated 164 news articles at the time of writing, with more being added every minute. The typical introduction runs like this:
It is the age-old question that has stumped the finest minds for thousands of years. [...]... Read more »

Freeman, C., Harding, J., Quigley, D., & Rodger, P. (2010) Structural Control of Crystal Nuclei by an Eggshell Protein. Angewandte Chemie International Edition, 49(30), 5135-5137. DOI: 10.1002/anie.201000679  

  • July 14, 2010
  • 05:04 PM

Designer Genes

by Jessica Harvey in Berkeley Science Review Blog

Synthetic biology is a promising field of research that aims, in part, to engineer organisms to produce medicines and biofuels. Its allure lies in using biological building blocks and pathways, already exquisitely designed by nature, to produce essential materials for human use (instead of trying to re-invent everything ourselves from scratch). Continue reading →... Read more »

Gibson, D., Glass, J., Lartigue, C., Noskov, V., Chuang, R., Algire, M., Benders, G., Montague, M., Ma, L., Moodie, M.... (2010) Creation of a Bacterial Cell Controlled by a Chemically Synthesized Genome. Science, 329(5987), 52-56. DOI: 10.1126/science.1190719  

  • July 14, 2010
  • 04:21 PM

Scientists closely examine causes of frog abnormalities

by Katie Kline in EcoTone

urrently, research on the possible causes of limb deformities in amphibians is expansive, with evidence supporting parasite infection, chemical contaminants, UVB radiation and amputation as possible factors. However, as Mari Reeves from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and colleagues explained in an article in the August issue of Ecological Monographs, the most likely cause of amphibian abnormalities is a combination of several stressors.

... Read more »

Reeves, M., Jensen, P., Dolph, C., Holyoak, M., & Trust, K. (2010) Multiple stressors and the cause of amphibian abnormalities. Ecological Monographs, 80(3), 423-440. DOI: 10.1890/09-0879.1  

  • July 14, 2010
  • 03:33 PM

Why fireflies flash

by Kent in Uncommon Ground

OK. So you probably already know that fireflies flash to attract mates, but did you know that some of them flash synchronously?1An entire forest can seem to flash at the same time. In a very cool paper in last week's...... Read more »

  • July 14, 2010
  • 03:10 PM

Y Chromosome I: A Brief History

by Kele in Kele's Science Blog

This first post in my Y chromosome series will briefly discuss the history of Y chromosome research. The general outline is derived from the introduction of Skaletsky et al. (2003). I will hopefully fill in the numerous missing parts as the series continues. Anyway…... Read more »

Painter, T. (1921) The Y-Chromosome in Mammals. Science, 53(1378), 503-504. DOI: 10.1126/science.53.1378.503  

Skaletsky, H., Kuroda-Kawaguchi, T., Minx, P., Cordum, H., Hillier, L., Brown, L., Repping, S., Pyntikova, T., Ali, J., Bieri, T.... (2003) The male-specific region of the human Y chromosome is a mosaic of discrete sequence classes. Nature, 423(6942), 825-837. DOI: 10.1038/nature01722  

STERN C. (1957) The problem of complete Y-linkage in man. American journal of human genetics, 9(3), 147-66. PMID: 13469791  

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