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  • September 2, 2014
  • 12:52 PM
  • 30 views

Epigenetics: Taking Control of the Music

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

When I try to explain epigenetics to someone, I like to use the musician metaphor. Your genes are the sheet music and how your body reads those genes, that is your body acting like a musician, making those notes it’s own. This is even more evident when you realize that all human cells contain essentially the same DNA sequence. Up until now we've had to be the audience to this genetic symphony, but new research is helping scientists take control of the music.... Read more »

Müller-Ott K, Erdel F, Matveeva A, Mallm JP, Rademacher A, Hahn M, Bauer C, Zhang Q, Kaltofen S, Schotta G.... (2014) Specificity, propagation, and memory of pericentric heterochromatin. Molecular systems biology, 10(8), 746. PMID: 25134515  

  • September 1, 2014
  • 07:32 PM
  • 31 views

What is Nature

by Rodney Steadman in Gravity's Pull

Recent research on changes in representations of nature in Disney animated films over 70 years.... Read more »

Rodney Steadman. (2014) What is Nature. Gravity's Pull. info:/

  • September 1, 2014
  • 02:12 PM
  • 43 views

Assemblages: 50 Years Later, We Know Nothing About Them

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

You would think we learn about every part of a cell in biology, but we really don't. Case in point, about 50 years ago, electron microscopy revealed the presence of tiny blob-like structures that form inside cells, move around and disappear. The reason you probably haven't heard of these structures is because scientists really don't know what they do even 50 years later. Although they do have an idea about them, these shifting cloud-like collections of proteins are believed to be crucial to the ........ Read more »

  • August 31, 2014
  • 11:31 PM
  • 45 views

August lives up to its definition: respected and impressive

by Cobb & Hecht in Do You Believe In Dog?

The things we noticed in and around canine science over the past two weeks, Storified in one neat location for your convenience:[View the story "Do You Believe in Dog? [16-31 August 2014]" on Storify] Further reading:Feuerbacher E.N. (2014). Shut up and pet me! Domestic dogs (Canis lupus familiaris) prefer petting to vocal praise in concurrent and single-alternative choice procedures, Behavioural Processes, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.beproc.2014.08.019 Gygax L. (2014). The A to Z of sta........ Read more »

  • August 29, 2014
  • 03:10 PM
  • 55 views

The Ever Mutating Ebola Virus

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

Ebola has a nasty reputation for the way it damages the body. It's rightfully earned when you look at the death rate. But when you look at the actual details of an Ebola infection, a surprising fact surfaces: The virus isn't what ends up killing you, it's your own immune system. Sure they are trying different ways to outsmart the virus, but it's mutating... quickly. In fact, scientists have rapidly sequenced and analyzed more than 99 Ebola virus genomes. The hope it to better understand the enem........ Read more »

Gire, S., Goba, A., Andersen, K., Sealfon, R., Park, D., Kanneh, L., Jalloh, S., Momoh, M., Fullah, M., Dudas, G.... (2014) Genomic surveillance elucidates Ebola virus origin and transmission during the 2014 outbreak. Science. DOI: 10.1126/science.1259657  

  • August 29, 2014
  • 09:25 AM
  • 69 views

The Friday Five for 8/29/14

by Bill Sullivan in The 'Scope

5 of the hottest science news stories this week include a lab-grown thymus, big Alzheimer’s news, and how to make the perfect pizza.... Read more »

  • August 28, 2014
  • 12:52 PM
  • 143 views

The Things Living on your Toothbrush…

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

Did you remember to brush? I hope you did, but you may be throwing away your toothbrush soon. Get ready for your daily amount of gross, because have I got a scientific discovery that will make you rethink your dental hygiene. Researchers have found that “solid-head” power toothbrushes have up to 3,000 times less bacteria when compared to “hollow-head” toothbrushes.[…]... Read more »

Morris DW, Goldschmidt M, Keene H, & Cron SG. (2014) Microbial contamination of power toothbrushes: a comparison of solid-head versus hollow-head designs. Journal of dental hygiene : JDH / American Dental Hygienists' Association, 88(4), 237-42. PMID: 25134956  

  • August 27, 2014
  • 03:23 PM
  • 96 views

The Learning Brain Unravelled

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

As an engineer you would think math would come easy to me, it didn’t. Funny thing though, science in general and biology in particular came very easy to me. The big question is why? Why would math, something I need to know how to do for my work and my degree, be so hard to learn? Thankfully science has stepped in to answer the question, at least partially, about why somethings can come so easy to a person and other things (like me and math) take so much longer to pick up.[…]... Read more »

Patrick T. Sadtler,, Kristin M. Quick,, Matthew D. Golub,, Steven M. Chase,, Stephen I. Ryu,, Elizabeth C. Tyler-Kabara,, Byron M. Yu,, & Aaron P. Batista. (2014) Neural constraints on learning. Nature. info:/10.1038/nature13665

  • August 27, 2014
  • 09:46 AM
  • 71 views

Fluid-injection could act as 'trigger' for large earthquakes

by This Science is Crazy! in This Science Is Crazy!

New study investigates whether fluid-injection techniques (such as fracking, solution mining and enhanced geothermal)can generate enough stress to set off large quakes prematurely... Read more »

Mulargia, F., & Bizzarri, A. (2014) Anthropogenic Triggering of Large Earthquakes. Scientific Reports, 6100. DOI: 10.1038/srep06100  

  • August 26, 2014
  • 01:27 PM
  • 95 views

The Holographic Universe [we might Live in!]

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

Are you feeling a little… flat? Well that might be because you are only in 2 dimensions. I know what you’re thinking, insane! Well first check the name of the business and second, check out the science. In fact, it may seem like a joke, but the math suggests that it could very well be true and with it could come a deeper understanding of the universe. Testing this hypothesis (which was first made in the late 90’s) has been harder to do than you might think, but that has now changed. We are........ Read more »

  • August 24, 2014
  • 03:06 PM
  • 96 views

Correcting the Critics of Nicholas Wade & MAOA

by nooffensebut in The Unsilenced Science

Geneticists are not the leading experts on behavioral genetics, and they and other critics have made numerous errors and misjudgments about Nicholas Wade’s book A Troublesome Inheritance, as well as MAOA or warrior gene research.... Read more »

Bevilacqua L, Doly S, Kaprio J, Yuan Q, Tikkanen R, Paunio T, Zhou Z, Wedenoja J, Maroteaux L, Diaz S.... (2010) A population-specific HTR2B stop codon predisposes to severe impulsivity. Nature, 468(7327), 1061-6. PMID: 21179162  

Cases O, Seif I, Grimsby J, Gaspar P, Chen K, Pournin S, Müller U, Aguet M, Babinet C, & Shih JC. (1995) Aggressive behavior and altered amounts of brain serotonin and norepinephrine in mice lacking MAOA. Science (New York, N.Y.), 268(5218), 1763-6. PMID: 7792602  

Tuinier S, Verhoeven WMA, Scherders MJWT, Fekkes D, & Pepplinkhuizen L. (1995) Neuropsychiatric and biological characteristics of X-linked MAO-A deficiency syndrome. A single case intervention study. New Trends in Experimental and Clinical Psychiatry, 99-107. info:/

Zhu B, Chen C, Moyzis R, Dong Q, Chen C, He Q, Li J, Lei X, & Lin C. (2012) Association between the HTR2B gene and the personality trait of fun seeking. Personality and Individual Differences, 53(8), 1029-1033. DOI: 10.1016/j.paid.2012.07.026  

  • August 22, 2014
  • 05:13 AM
  • 109 views

Is Intelligence Actually Beneficial To Survival?

by Rebekah Morrow in United Academics

Research shows that more intelligent animals might not always be best suited for survival. Some researchers speculate that intelligence may be a trade-off. Fast learning may correlate with other traits, such as being less aggressive, which could weaken chances for survival. Slower learning may indicate that other choices are being made, and this variety could prove advantageous later.... Read more »

  • August 21, 2014
  • 06:15 PM
  • 117 views

Does the motion of the solar system affect our climate?

by This Science is Crazy! in This Science Is Crazy!

The solar system is believed to vertically oscillate relative to the galactic disc. A new study analyses proxy-climate data to establish a link between the galactic cycle and climate.... Read more »

  • August 21, 2014
  • 02:21 AM
  • 96 views

Do You Believe in Dog? A New Ball Game

by Cobb & Hecht in Do You Believe In Dog?

Hello Do You Believe in Dog(ers)!(source)After two years of mostly pen-pal style blogging, we're excited to share our new direction!When we first decided to create Do You Believe in Dog?, we committed to blogging back and forth about canine science for two years. We were able to celebrate achieving that goal at the recent 4th Canine Science Forum in Lincoln, UK and also reflect on the future of Do You Believe in Dog?The DYBID blog, Facebook and Twitter feeds have become vibrant places to ac........ Read more »

Fischhoff B., & Scheufele D. (2013) The science of science communication. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 110(Supplement 3), 14033-14039. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1213273110  

  • August 20, 2014
  • 06:06 AM
  • 89 views

How Stress Promotes Atherosclerosis

by Agnese Mariotti in United Academics

There is evidence that chronic stress increases the risk of atherosclerosis, but no mechanism linking the two phenomena has been demonstrated so far. Since stressful emotional states can affect the function of the immune system, Heidt and colleagues of the Massachusetts General Hospital hypothesized that stress increases the activity of inflammatory cells in the plaques facilitating their rupture, as you can read in their recently published article.... Read more »

Heidt T, Sager HB, Courties G, Dutta P, Iwamoto Y, Zaltsman A, von Zur Muhlen C, Bode C, Fricchione GL, Denninger J.... (2014) Chronic variable stress activates hematopoietic stem cells. Nature medicine, 20(7), 754-8. PMID: 24952646  

  • August 19, 2014
  • 07:14 AM
  • 96 views

Cats Won’t Answer Your Call Or Ring You Back

by Chiara Civardi in United Academics

In a recent article, scientists proof that cats do not evidently set aside special attentions to their owners when called, even though they were able to recognize a familiar voice. Twenty domestic cats simply moved their head or their ears when called by whomever, owners or strangers, but almost no cat replied, “saying something”. They tried with everything: official names, nicknames, etc. but cats never said a word. In addition, hearing the owners’ voice did not result in a ma........ Read more »

  • August 18, 2014
  • 01:21 PM
  • 105 views

We can Build it Better: The First Artificial Cell Network

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

How does the old saying go? Imitation, is the sincerest form of flattery? Well that is what we’ve been trying to do for a very long time, but mimicking the intricate networks and dynamic interactions that are inherent to living cells is difficult to achieve outside the cell. Unfortunately despite all our intelligence nature has had the upper hand on us for a long time. That has not changed… until now that is.[…]... Read more »

Karzbrun E, Tayar AM, Noireaux V, & Bar-Ziv RH. (2014) Programmable on-chip DNA compartments as artificial cells. Science (New York, N.Y.), 345(6198), 829-32. PMID: 25124443  

  • August 17, 2014
  • 03:01 PM
  • 99 views

DNA nets could be 'ancient defence weapon'

by This Science is Crazy! in This Science Is Crazy!

New study tests whether invertebrates produce similar DNA-based traps to neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs)to prove theory that they are an ancient immune technique... Read more »

  • August 14, 2014
  • 12:10 PM
  • 115 views

HIV Vaccine One Step Closer to Reality

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

The war on HIV, that tricky little guy has avoided every thing we could throw at it in a broad sense. Sure a few people here and there get lucky, but we have yet to actually make any sort of we're going to kick your ass headway [don't worry it's the technical term for it]. That is hopefully going to change with a new scientific discovery that has enormous implications for HIV vaccine development. Researchers have uncovered novel properties of special HIV antibodies that promise to........ Read more »

  • August 13, 2014
  • 08:09 AM
  • 93 views

Stuck In The Middle: Migration Routes Of Hybrid Birds

by Gunnar de Winter in United Academics

Birds migrate long distances, via set routes and this behavior is partially genetic. But what’s the migration behavior then of hybrids with parents that employ two different travel routes? A new study provides fascinating answers.... Read more »

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