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  • January 25, 2011
  • 11:00 AM
  • 1,129 views

Viruses throw wrenches in the gears of the immune system

by Kevin Bonham in Food Matters

I've said it before, and I'll say it again - pathogens are devious little bastards:

Discovery of a Viral NLR Homolog that Inhibits the Inflammasome

In order to respond to a virus, a cell first has to recognize that it's there. There are a lot of ways the cell tries to do this - some receptors (like the TLRs I study) look for features that are unique to pathogens that are outside the cell. Others look for molecules (like DNA and RNA) that are shared between us and pathogens, but are in the wron........ Read more »

Gregory SM, Davis BK, West JA, Taxman DJ, Matsuzawa S, Reed JC, Ting JP, & Damania B. (2011) Discovery of a Viral NLR Homolog that Inhibits the Inflammasome. Science (New York, N.Y.), 331(6015), 330-4. PMID: 21252346  

  • January 25, 2011
  • 10:21 AM
  • 1,384 views

Linhenykus: A weird, one-fingered dinosaur

by Brian Switek in Dinosaur Tracking

When it was first described in 1993, Mononykus was one of the strangest dinosaurs known. It had the slender, light build of some of the “ostrich mimic” dinosaurs, yet it possessed two stubby, one-clawed hands and a few other subtle characteristics that placed it in a new group called the alvarezsaurs. Since that time, multiple [...]... Read more »

  • January 25, 2011
  • 09:05 AM
  • 1,595 views

Finding the middle road: Flowers evolve to work with multiple pollinators

by Jeremy Yoder in Denim and Tweed

"I’ve had a lot of jobs in my life: boxer, mascot, astronaut, baby proofer, imitation Krusty, truck driver, hippie, plow driver, food critic, conceptual artist, grease salesman, carny, mayor, grifter, body guard for the mayor, country western manager, garbage commissioner, mountain climber, farmer, inventor, Smithers, Poochie, celebrity assistant, power plant worker, fortune cookie writer, beer baron, Kwik-E-Mart clerk, homophobe, and missionary, but protecting people, that gives me the best f........ Read more »

  • January 25, 2011
  • 05:30 AM
  • 908 views

Teflon bacteria

by Becky in It Takes 30

Over the last 20 years or so we’ve been realizing that even bacteria don’t always live alone.  Instead, individual cells often stick to each other to make a biofilm, secreting a substance colloquially known as slime (also known to biologists as extracellular matrix).  Slime sounds wet, or sticky; but new work from Joanna Aizenberg’s lab [...]... Read more »

Epstein AK, Pokroy B, Seminara A, & Aizenberg J. (2011) Bacterial biofilm shows persistent resistance to liquid wetting and gas penetration. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 108(3), 995-1000. PMID: 21191101  

  • January 25, 2011
  • 01:00 AM
  • 676 views

To get a flu shot or to not get a flu shot, that is the question.

by Brooke N in Smaller Questions

Original antigenic sin - will getting the flu shot make you more susceptible to an epidemic?... Read more »

Kim, J., Skountzou, I., Compans, R., & Jacob, J. (2009) Original Antigenic Sin Responses to Influenza Viruses. The Journal of Immunology, 183(5), 3294-3301. DOI: 10.4049/jimmunol.0900398  

  • January 24, 2011
  • 11:26 PM
  • 836 views

Bloodsuckers or tick-pluckers? The case of the oxpecker

by Neil Losin in Day's Edge

Birds have some awesomely descriptive names. Like the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus varius), a North American woodpecker that specializes in drilling “sap wells” in trees to feed on their sugary phloem sap. Or the Brown Trembler (Cinclocerthia ruficauda), a Caribbean relative of the mockingbird that shakes its wings violently to communicate with other members of its [...]... Read more »

  • January 24, 2011
  • 11:00 PM
  • 1,505 views

Just because it looks like a duct, doesn’t mean it is the duct

by Janel Kopp in the Node

The Node’s staff has kindly given me the opportunity to write a background piece, placing into context the results of our studies described in the paper, “Sox9 ductal cells are multipotent progenitors throughout development but do not produce new endocrine cells in the normal or injured adult pancreas” (released today in Development; http://dev.biologists.org/lookup/doi/10.1242/dev.056499). For many [...]... Read more »

Janel L. Kopp, Claire L. Dubois, Ashleigh E. Schaffer, Ergeng Hao, Hung Ping Shih, Philip A. Seymour, Jenny Ma, & Maike Sander. (2011) Sox9 ductal cells are multipotent progenitors throughout development but do not produce new endocrine cells in the normal or injured adult pancreas . Development, 138(4), 653-665. info:/10.1242/dev.056499

  • January 24, 2011
  • 07:39 PM
  • 1,080 views

Ep 140: The Redback Spider invasion of New Zealand

by westius in Mr Science Show



Research published in Biological Invasions shows that Australian redback spiders are invading New Zealand and could become established in many urban areas around major ports.

The paper, The invasive Australian redback spider, Latrodectus hasseltii Thorell 1870 (Araneae: Theridiidae): current and potential distributions, and likely impacts, details recorded sightings of redback spiders in New Zealand, then used biological and climatic information to reveal where redbacks could establish. War........ Read more »

Cor J. Vink, José G. B. Derraik, Craig B. Phillips, & Phil J. Sirvid. (2010) The invasive Australian redback spider, Latrodectus hasseltii Thorell 1870 (Araneae: Theridiidae): current and potential distributions, and likely impacts . Biological Invasions. info:/

  • January 24, 2011
  • 04:35 PM
  • 1,442 views

One of the first published accounts of sexual selection in koala bears: What does it take for koala boys to get lucky?

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

Biologists don’t know a whole lot about sexual selection in Koala bears; however, there are clear reasons for our knowledge gap. First, these notoriously cute and cuddly little marsupials spend a good deal of their time high in the treetops chewing on Eucalyptus leaves (rather than engaging in complicated courtship battles). Indeed – in [...]... Read more »

Ellis, W., & Bercovitch, F. (2011) Body size and sexual selection in the koala. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. DOI: 10.1007/s00265-010-1136-4  

  • January 24, 2011
  • 03:16 PM
  • 591 views

Is a Deep throat a Sore throat ?

by db in Defectivebrain @ FOS



 One of the reasons that I blog on Streptococcus pyogenes so often is because it is such a fascinating and adaptable pathogen. It causes so many different diseases. Diseases as different as a sore throat, and necrotizing fasciitis (The flesh eating disease !).  It's even been implicated in tourettes syndrome. This is a hardy and adaptable pathogen, that primarily colonises the throat and the skin.
In a recent outbreak in japan, it was found S. pyogenes has apparently found a new nich........ Read more »

  • January 24, 2011
  • 12:00 PM
  • 1,334 views

Some Like it Hot

by Moselio Schaechter in Small Things Considered

by S. Marvin Friedman

How can thermophilic bacteria not only survive, but actually proliferate, at elevated temperatures that would be lethal to all other forms of life? After extensive research during the past five decades, this question has been answered in a general way, but the molecular basis for this unusual capability has not been clearly resolved. Thermophiles [I use this term to include both thermophiles (optimal growth temperatures of 50-70 °C) and hyperthermophiles (optimal gro........ Read more »

  • January 24, 2011
  • 11:12 AM
  • 2,796 views

The ecological consequences of industrial kelp harvesting

by Rob Goldstein in Conservation Maven

Kelp forests provide important habitat for numerous invertebrates, fish, birds and marine mammals. The ecological consequences of industrial harvest of this habitat has not been fully evaluated. Now a recent study has demonstrated that there is justified cause for concern. The study revealed that the removal of these habitats has multi-trophic effects...... Read more »

Lorentsen, S., Sjøtun, K., & Grémillet, D. (2010) Multi-trophic consequences of kelp harvest. Biological Conservation, 143(9), 2054-2062. DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2010.05.013  

  • January 24, 2011
  • 10:05 AM
  • 1,205 views

Why does sorafenib work in HCC but sunitinib does not?

by Sally Church in Pharma Strategy Blog

That was the question from a reader that greeted me in my inbox recently, it’s a good point.   Sorafenib has received FDA approval in this indication, while Pfizer terminated their phase III trial of sunitinib in HCC for futility … Continue reading →... Read more »

Nagai, T., Arao, T., Furuta, K., Sakai, K., Kudo, K., Kaneda, H., Tamura, D., Aomatsu, K., Kimura, H., Fujita, Y.... (2011) Sorafenib Inhibits the Hepatocyte Growth Factor-Mediated Epithelial Mesenchymal Transition in Hepatocellular Carcinoma. Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, 10(1), 169-177. DOI: 10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-10-0544  

  • January 24, 2011
  • 08:00 AM
  • 1,799 views

Conservation and the Concept of Species in a Biodiversity Crisis (Part 1)

by Southern Fried Scientist in Southern Fried Science

In The Mass Extinction of Scientists Who Study Species, Dr. Craig McClain argues that we are loosing a fundamental unit of biological science – the Taxonomist. He’s right, of course. Taxonomy is a shrinking field. Entire phyla sit, unstudied, as the expertise necessary to understand them retires and expires. With few to train the [...]... Read more »

Jody Hey. (2001) The mind of the species problem. TRENDS in Ecology and Evolution, 16(7), 326-329. info:/

  • January 24, 2011
  • 08:00 AM
  • 1,098 views

From the Editor’s Desk: The Grand Challenge of Ocean Acidification and Fisheries

by Kevin Zelnio in Deep Sea News

Anthropogenic climate change has been hypothesized for centuries (discussed in Le Treut 2007) before the careful measurements of scientists in the mid-20th century. From 1833 to 1997, Stanhill (2001) calculated that the climate change science doubled every 11 years. The impact of carbon dioxide concentrations in the ocean was recognized early on with measurements and . . . → Read More: From the Editor’s Desk: The Grand Challenge of Ocean Acidification and Fisheries... Read more »

Carpenter KE, Abrar M, Aeby G, Aronson RB, Banks S, Bruckner A, Chiriboga A, Cortés J, Delbeek JC, Devantier L.... (2008) One-third of reef-building corals face elevated extinction risk from climate change and local impacts. Science (New York, N.Y.), 321(5888), 560-3. PMID: 18653892  

Doney SC, Fabry VJ, Feely RA, & Kleypas JA. (2009) Ocean acidification: the other CO2 problem. Annual review of marine science, 169-92. PMID: 21141034  

Hall-Spencer J, Allain V, & Fosså JH. (2002) Trawling damage to Northeast Atlantic ancient coral reefs. Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society, 269(1490), 507-11. PMID: 11886643  

  • January 24, 2011
  • 08:00 AM
  • 1,289 views

Scanning salmon smelling streams

by Zen Faulkes in NeuroDojo

You could be forgiven for thinking that there’s no way you could get a useful brain scan of a fish.

First all, if you pay attention to brain scanning, you have probably heard a story about fish in fMRI machines that has become the stuff of scientific legend. The salmon in question being scanned for brain activity was deceased. Pushing up daisies. Size feet under. Joined the choir invisible. In a word, dead.

Yet a brain scan revealed statistically significant brain activity.

Bennett and col........ Read more »

Bandoh H, Kida I, & Ueda H. (2011) Olfactory responses to natal stream water in sockeye salmon by BOLD fMRI. PLoS ONE, 6(1). info:/10.1371/ journal.pone.0016051

  • January 24, 2011
  • 07:00 AM
  • 1,184 views

January 24, 2011

by Erin Campbell in HighMag Blog

When we first learned about the cell cycle in high school, we learned about the stunning simplicity of certain proteins that cycle in order to promote progression through the cell cycle. In reality, that picture is quite complex, with many layers of regulation that affect those cycling proteins. A recent paper from the Nurse lab pares down all of that complexity to show us that the simplicity really has been there all along. The cell cycle is the sequence of events that leads to a cell&rsq........ Read more »

  • January 24, 2011
  • 05:00 AM
  • 788 views

"With the Help of My Friends": Parasites Traveling in Packs.

by Nsikan Akpan in That's Basic Science

Curious Social Behavior in Trypanosomes ... Read more »

Oberholzer, M., Lopez, M., McLelland, B., & Hill, K. (2010) Social Motility in African Trypanosomes. PLoS Pathogens, 6(1). DOI: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1000739  

  • January 24, 2011
  • 05:00 AM
  • 773 views

"With the Help of My Friends": Parasites Traveling in Packs.

by Nsikan Akpan in That's Basic Science

Curious Social Behavior in Trypanosomes ... Read more »

Oberholzer, M., Lopez, M., McLelland, B., & Hill, K. (2010) Social Motility in African Trypanosomes. PLoS Pathogens, 6(1). DOI: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1000739  

  • January 24, 2011
  • 04:51 AM
  • 529 views

changing the culture of science education at research universities

by alison in bioblog

That's the attention-grabbing title of a new paper in Science magazine's 'education forum' section (Anderson et al. 2011). Most readers will know that science education is a subject dear to my heart, & a topic that Marcus & I write on from...... Read more »

Anderson WA, Banerjee U, Drennan CL, Elgin SC, Epstein IR, Handelsman J, Hatfull GF, Losick R, O'Dowd DK, Olivera BM.... (2011) Science education. Changing the culture of science education at research universities. Science (New York, N.Y.), 331(6014), 152-3. PMID: 21233371  

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