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  • February 17, 2011
  • 05:30 AM

How to read a genome

by Becky in It Takes 30

What makes you the unique human being you are?  Partly it’s nurture — what your mother ate while she was pregnant with you, whether she smoked, how much you exercise, which drugs you take — and partly it’s nature.  The part that’s nature is sometimes clearcut — if your biological father and mother both had [...]... Read more »

  • February 16, 2011
  • 04:23 PM

Mark Burnett VS Charles Darwin in an Epic Battle of Immunity

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

On this, the eve of the 100th season of Survivor, I have myself contemplating the state of immunity.
Perhaps I’ve also been contemplating it since I’ve spent the last 3.5 weeks dealing with a nasty flu bug that has made its rounds to all members of my family.  This month of fitfull sleep, endless vomit and [...]... Read more »

  • February 16, 2011
  • 03:38 PM

Are cows magnetic sensors? Re-examining northern alignment

by Zen Faulkes in NeuroDojo

A couple of years ago, a paper by Begall and colleagues made a big splash by claiming that cows could detect, and align to, earth’s magnetic field. This report took on a life of its own. I heard it within the last week on one of the science podcasts I listen (though I can’t remember which one).

This paper got attention not only because this was an unusual claim, but for the way that they determined this. Instead of generating their own data, they looked at pictures of cows in Google Earth.
........ Read more »

Begall S, Cerveny J, Neef J, Vojtech O, & Burda H. (2008) Magnetic alignment in grazing and resting cattle and deer. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 105(36), 13451-13455. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0803650105  

Hert J, Jelinek L, Pekarek L, & Pavlicek A. (2011) No alignment of cattle along geomagnetic field lines found. Journal of Comparative Physiology A. DOI: 10.1007/s00359-011-0628-7  

  • February 16, 2011
  • 01:14 PM

Abort! Abort!

by Vasili Hauryliuk in stringent response

Sometimes things go so wrong that it is just easier to start all over again. Bacteria have these situations too - it's not just us, humans! - and the central dogma of molecular biology (DNA replication, transcription and translation) is no exception.In essence all the three steps of the central dogma share the very same basic topology: there is a message that gets read, there is a tool that reads it and there is a product. It looks like so:Say, in the case of translation mRNA (the mess........ Read more »

Borukhov S, Sagitov V, & Goldfarb A. (1993) Transcript cleavage factors from E. coli. Cell, 72(3), 459-66. PMID: 8431948  

Orlova M, Newlands J, Das A, Goldfarb A, & Borukhov S. (1995) Intrinsic transcript cleavage activity of RNA polymerase. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 92(10), 4596-600. PMID: 7538676  

Kassavetis GA, & Geiduschek EP. (1993) RNA polymerase marching backward. Science (New York, N.Y.), 259(5097), 944-5. PMID: 7679800  

Richter R, Rorbach J, Pajak A, Smith PM, Wessels HJ, Huynen MA, Smeitink JA, Lightowlers RN, & Chrzanowska-Lightowlers ZM. (2010) A functional peptidyl-tRNA hydrolase, ICT1, has been recruited into the human mitochondrial ribosome. The EMBO journal, 29(6), 1116-25. PMID: 20186120  

Antonicka H, Ostergaard E, Sasarman F, Weraarpachai W, Wibrand F, Pedersen AM, Rodenburg RJ, van der Knaap MS, Smeitink JA, Chrzanowska-Lightowlers ZM.... (2010) Mutations in C12orf65 in patients with encephalomyopathy and a mitochondrial translation defect. American journal of human genetics, 87(1), 115-22. PMID: 20598281  

  • February 16, 2011
  • 11:44 AM

Demythologizing Arctotherium, the Biggest Bear Ever

by Laelaps in Laelaps

Quite a few years back, so long ago that I can’t really remember much more than the fact that I once visited it, my parents took me to Space Farms Zoo and Museum. Tucked away in northern New Jersey, the roadside attraction is not so much a zoo or a museum as a throwback to [...]... Read more »

  • February 16, 2011
  • 09:11 AM

Tip of the Week: Melina II for promoter analysis

by Mary in OpenHelix

One of the most frequently-asked questions we get when we are out doing workshops is: how do I find motifs in promoters, and what can I do with them to find more information? Just last Friday we were asked this again at the workshops we did at USC. So for this week’s tip of the week I’m going to show one of the tools I recommend for that purpose–Melina II.  (I also recommended the MEME Suite and VISTA‘s rVISTA features as well, but for this tip I’ll focus on Melin........ Read more »

  • February 16, 2011
  • 09:05 AM

Principle interviewee: Erica Bree Rosenblum

by Jeremy Yoder in Denim and Tweed

Since her office is just down the hall from mine, I couldn’t very well write about Erica Bree Rosenblum’s latest scientific paper without talking to her about it in person. Rosenblum and her coauthor Luke Harmon weave together the stories of three lizard species’ evolutionary responses to the gypsum dunes of White Sands, New Mexico. As Rosenblum told me in our interview, the study both consummates work she began as a doctoral student and suggests new avenues of study at a striking and beau........ Read more »

  • February 16, 2011
  • 08:38 AM

Orgasms and women vocalizations during sex

by Hel in Substantia Innominata

Guys, I am sure this post will interest you it is about women vocalizations during sex. Is she faking or not? Whatever she is faking or really enjoys the intercourse, the fact is we are different about vocalizations. Some of us are quiet other scream like or worst than porn movie etc but what that [...]... Read more »

  • February 16, 2011
  • 07:00 AM

A Scientific Limit to (Male) Sexiness

by Sharon Neufeldt in I Can Has Science?

For most animal species, males must compete with one another to win the attention of a female. This competition can involve active sparring – for example, bighorn sheep will sometimes clash heads over a lady sheep. For other animals, such … Continue reading →... Read more »

Hine, E., McGuigan, K., & Blows, M. (2011) Natural selection stops the evolution of male attractiveness. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1011876108  

  • February 16, 2011
  • 06:50 AM

Human DNA in bacterial genomes? Yes? No? Maybe?

by Nicholas Loman in Pathogens: Genes and Genomes

Carl Sagan once said that “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”
and that basis I was primed for scepticism when I first glanced at this paper in mBio, which reports apparently human DNA sequences
(specifically from the Line 1 retrotransposon) within
a bacterial genome (that of the obligate human pathogen, Neisseria gonorrhoeae).
But the most exciting scientific reports are those that overturn one’s
assumptions and force one to reali........ Read more »

Mark T. Anderson, & H. Steven Seifert. (2001) Opportunity and Means: Horizontal Gene Transfer from the Human Host to a Bacterial Pathogen. mBio, 2(1). info:/

  • February 16, 2011
  • 06:04 AM

Female fruitfly fecundity

by Wellcome Trust in Wellcome Trust Blog

The frequency with which mating occurs has differing consequences for males and female fruitflies in terms of their fitness and lifespan. For males, the more mates they have, the better their chances of reproductive success. But for females, a shift to too much mating and reproduction may be costly in terms of lifespan, given the [...]... Read more »

Wigby S, Slack C, Grönke S, Martinez P, Calboli FC, Chapman T, & Partridge L. (2011) Insulin signalling regulates remating in female Drosophila. Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society, 278(1704), 424-31. PMID: 20739318  

  • February 15, 2011
  • 10:24 PM


by Jon Wilkins in Lost in Transcription


Snowflakes by jonfwilkins
For sketches of the 80 different snowflake types, see the referenced paper, which presents them taxonomically, or check out the key figures here and here.

Magono, C., & Lee, C. W. (1966). Meteorological Classification of Natural Snow Crystals Journal of the Faculty of Science, Hokkaido University, Japan, Ser. VII, 2 (4), 321-335

... Read more »

Magono, C., & Lee, C. W. (1966) Meteorological Classification of Natural Snow Crystals. Journal of the Faculty of Science, Hokkaido University, Japan, Ser. VII, 2(4), 321-335. info:other/

  • February 15, 2011
  • 08:31 PM

Deep sea carbon cycling: microbial action, and mystery

by Kevin Bonham in Food Matters

How excited was I to learn that the most recent issue of Nature Geoscience had a special focus on deep sea carbon cycling? I admit it, pretty excited. I was even more excited to learn that one of the 3 papers making up this special focus was about the microbial component of deep sea carbon cycling. This may not be something that you think about every day, but I do... well most days at least. The first two sentences of this paper explain why I find this topic so interesting.

Circulation of........ Read more »

  • February 15, 2011
  • 06:58 PM

Going upstream in the scientific process, literally.

by Brian Mossop in The Decision Tree

My latest post for Wired Playbook reports on a new idea that two UK researchers have proposed for keeping tabs on which Olympic athletes are using performance-enhancing drugs. Rather than having the athletes pee in a cup or get blood drawn just before competition, the researchers believe that searching for drug metabolites in the wastewater [...]... Read more »

  • February 15, 2011
  • 05:46 PM

The Grand Challenge of Aerosolised Vaccines

by Connor Bamford in The Rule of 6ix

Despite the development of effective vaccines, many human populations are currently at the mercy of numerous endemic viral pathogens. Measles virus is one such pathogen that, in 2008, was responsible for 164,000 deaths; the worst effected areas are South-East Asia and Africa (WHO stats can be found here). You might find this surprising as there is currently a very good measles vaccine in use – in fact you probably received at some point during childhood and are protected from future in........ Read more »

Lin, W., Griffin, D., Rota, P., Papania, M., Cape, S., Bennett, D., Quinn, B., Sievers, R., Shermer, C., Powell, K.... (2011) Successful respiratory immunization with dry powder live-attenuated measles virus vaccine in rhesus macaques. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1017334108  

  • February 15, 2011
  • 03:54 PM

Fishy Business: Omega-3 Supplements

by Richard Masters in Elements Science

Richard Masters delves into the world of Omega 3 supplements which are conquering the world of nutrition and finds the evidence far from conclusive.

Related posts:Fish oil “not useful” in treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease
Hold homeopaths to account
Health round up
... Read more »

Lespérance, F., Frasure-Smith, N., St-André, E., Turecki, G., Lespérance, P., & Wisniewski, S. (2010) The Efficacy of Omega-3 Supplementation for Major Depression. The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. DOI: 10.4088/JCP.10m05966blu  

  • February 15, 2011
  • 03:08 PM

State of the Field: Satellite tagging sharks

by WhySharksMatter in Southern Fried Science

Modern shark researchers have access to a variety of high-tech tools. Acoustic tags with noises specific to each individual shark signal a receiver (or network of receivers) every time the shark passes nearby. Some tags have three-dimensional accelerometers, allowing researchers to study the small scale movement patterns and behaviors of sharks. Others, which [...]... Read more »

  • February 15, 2011
  • 01:12 PM

Lying moths use the threat of getting eaten to help their sex lives

by Matt Soniak in

It’s a love story as old as time itself: boy Asian corn borer moth (Ostrinia furnacalis) meets girl Asian corn borer moth; girl secretes sex pheromones; boy goes through his courtship ritual, a little song-and-dance routine where he rubs his wings against his thorax to produce a soft, whispering sound. It’s a sweet little love [...]... Read more »

  • February 15, 2011
  • 01:09 PM

Humans draw the LINE at Gonorrhea. Not that it helps.

by Iddo Friedberg in Byte Size Biology

The day after Valentine’s Day. Ah! What better day in the year can we find to discuss gonorrhea? In the US alone 700,000 people are infected each year, and 5 million are infected worldwide. In most infected men gonorrhea causes urethral discharge and pain while urinating. The reason is that Neisseria gonhorrea have little hair-like structures called fimbriae. This makes them very sticky and they stick to the urethra’s walls. Then you get inflammation, urethritis and urinatio........ Read more »

Mark T. Anderson, & H. Steven Seifert. (2011) Opportunity and Means: Horizontal Gene Transfer from the Human Host to a Bacterial Pathogen. mBio, 1-4. info:/10.1128/​mBio.00005-11

  • February 15, 2011
  • 12:44 PM

Do allergies lower the risk of low and high grade Glioma?

by Sally Church in Pharma Strategy Blog

It’s not often that having multiple allergies is a good thing, but that certainly seems to be the case if a recent study published in Cancer, Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention is accurate.  I was tempted to create a new category … Continue reading →
... Read more »

McCarthy, B., Rankin, K., Il'yasova, D., Erdal, S., Vick, N., Ali-Osman, F., Bigner, D., & Davis, F. (2011) Assessment of Type of Allergy and Antihistamine Use in the Development of Glioma. Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers , 20(2), 370-378. DOI: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-10-0948  

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