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  • November 4, 2014
  • 05:46 PM
  • 571 views

Steak is bad for the Heart and now We Know why

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

“Red meat is bad for your heart”, that is typically the story we hear from people. While some might take this as meat is bad for us, or that it is wrong to eat red meat, science has been trying to find a better answer to that question. After all it wouldn’t do for science to say, it just does. Well as luck may have it, new research provides details on how gut bacteria turn a nutrient found in red meat into metabolites that increase the risk of developing heart disease. The findings may lea........ Read more »

Koeth RA, Wang Z, Levison BS, Buffa JA, Org E, Sheehy BT, Britt EB, Fu X, Wu Y, Li L.... (2013) Intestinal microbiota metabolism of L-carnitine, a nutrient in red meat, promotes atherosclerosis. Nature medicine, 19(5), 576-85. PMID: 23563705  

Robert A. Koeth, Bruce S. Levison, Miranda K. Culley, Jennifer A. Buff, Zeneng Wang, Jill C. Gregory, Elin Org, Yuping Wu, Lin Li, Jonathan D. Smith, W.H. Wilson Tang, Joseph A. DiDonato.... (2014) g-Butyrobetaine is a proatherogenic intermediate in gut microbial metabolism of L-carnitine to TMAO. Cell Press. info:/10.1016/j.cmet.2014.10.006.

  • November 3, 2014
  • 05:55 PM
  • 540 views

Reshaping the Limits of Synthetic Biology

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Ever think you could have built something better if you had a hand in the design? Sometimes people just have a desire to make, after all the maker movement is huge for a reason. Well geneticists have a new toy tool to play with —dubbed “the telomerator”—that could redefine the limits of synthetic biology and advance how successfully living things can be engineered or constructed in the laboratory based on an organism’s genetic, chemical base-pair structure. How cool is that?!... Read more »

J. Boeke et al. (2014) Circular permutation of a synthetic eukaryotic chromosome with the telomerator. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. info:/10.1073/pnas.1414399111

  • November 3, 2014
  • 07:31 AM
  • 539 views

For Stress-Free Penguins, Use a Rover

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish

The first time a colony of Antarctic penguins sees a towering human striding toward them, it must be like First Contact. They’ve never seen a species our size on land before, or anything that moves like we do. Even after penguins have interacted with researchers, the approach of a human is a physiologically stressful experience. […]The post For Stress-Free Penguins, Use a Rover appeared first on Inkfish.... Read more »

Maho, Y., Whittington, J., Hanuise, N., Pereira, L., Boureau, M., Brucker, M., Chatelain, N., Courtecuisse, J., Crenner, F., Friess, B.... (2014) Rovers minimize human disturbance in research on wild animals. Nature Methods. DOI: 10.1038/nmeth.3173  

  • November 2, 2014
  • 06:08 PM
  • 585 views

...How to Fix Science

by Viputheshwar Sitaraman in Draw Science

(Part 2/2) However, we can fix science. [Infographic]... Read more »

Alberts, B., Kirschner, M., Tilghman, S., & Varmus, H. (2014) Rescuing US biomedical research from its systemic flaws. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111(16), 5773-5777. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1404402111  

  • November 2, 2014
  • 02:11 PM
  • 549 views

Boosting Crop Yields via Genetics

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Genetic engineering techniques offers many different promises, some of which will obviously come sooner than others. One of those promises was a possible end to famine, while most famine in the world today is in developing countries, that could spread as population increases. To that end scientists have announced a new way to dramatically increase crop yields by improving upon Mother Nature's offerings. The team has discovered a set of gene variations that can boost fruit production in the tomat........ Read more »

Z. Lippman et al. (2014) Optimization of crop productivity in tomato using induced mutations in the florigen pathway. Nature Genetics. info:/10.1038/ng.3131

  • November 2, 2014
  • 09:54 AM
  • 821 views

Understanding the past to know more about our future: study finds spikes in carbon dioxide levels correlated with end of last glacial cycle

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

We've always thought that the last glacial cycle correlated with a slow rise in CO2, however new data from Antarctica shows quick spikes in CO2 and methane lasting under 100 years. This data could provide new insights into the carbon cycles useful for understanding today's CO2 increases.... Read more »

Marcott, S., Bauska, T., Buizert, C., Steig, E., Rosen, J., Cuffey, K., Fudge, T., Severinghaus, J., Ahn, J., Kalk, M.... (2014) Centennial-scale changes in the global carbon cycle during the last deglaciation. Nature, 514(7524), 616-619. DOI: 10.1038/nature13799  

  • November 2, 2014
  • 06:32 AM
  • 648 views

Research is Broken...

by Viputheshwar Sitaraman in Draw Science

(Part 1/2) The system of funding research is broken... [Infographic]... Read more »

Alberts, B., Kirschner, M., Tilghman, S., & Varmus, H. (2014) Rescuing US biomedical research from its systemic flaws. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111(16), 5773-5777. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1404402111  

  • November 1, 2014
  • 01:14 PM
  • 483 views

Where HIV hides

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

HIV is hard to get rid of,not because it primarily resides in the blood, but because of where it hides when antiretrovirals drop HIV levels. So the real question is where does HIV hide? Unfortunately those antiretroviral drugs can usually control the virus, but can’t completely eliminate it. So any strategy to eradicate HIV from the body has to take into account not only the main group of immune cells the virus targets, called CD4 or helper T cells, but other infected cells as well.... Read more »

  • October 31, 2014
  • 04:05 PM
  • 423 views

New Genetic Editing Technique Offers Novel Treatment of Defects

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

The promises of genetic modifications are endless, longer life, better health, cures for genetic based diseases that would otherwise cause an unimaginable amount of suffering all wiped out. We’ve come a long way in genetic alteration thanks, in part, to the ever faster moving pace of science. While genetic modification is the thing of horror movies, it also can change the world in ways we cannot even imagine — unfortunately getting genome-editing proteins into cells, where they need to be t........ Read more »

  • October 30, 2014
  • 03:45 PM
  • 649 views

Zombies: Science Fiction vs. Fact

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Well in the spirit of Halloween I thought I would make a nice little zombie post. Zombies, those brain loving little guys, [and girls] are everywhere. From shows like The Walking […]... Read more »

Lafferty KD. (2006) Can the common brain parasite, Toxoplasma gondii, influence human culture?. Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society, 273(1602), 2749-55. PMID: 17015323  

Vyas A, Kim SK, Giacomini N, Boothroyd JC, & Sapolsky RM. (2007) Behavioral changes induced by Toxoplasma infection of rodents are highly specific to aversion of cat odors. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 104(15), 6442-7. PMID: 17404235  

Thomas, F., Schmidt-Rhaesa, A., Martin, G., Manu, C., Durand, P., & Renaud, F. (2002) Do hairworms (Nematomorpha) manipulate the water seeking behaviour of their terrestrial hosts?. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 15(3), 356-361. DOI: 10.1046/j.1420-9101.2002.00410.x  

W. Wesołowska T. Wesołowski. (2014) Do Leucochloridium sporocysts manipulate the behaviour of their snail hosts?. Journal of Zoology , 292(3), 151-155. info:/10.1111/jzo.12094

  • October 29, 2014
  • 03:19 PM
  • 427 views

More Genetic Links Behind Autism

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Vaccines do NOT cause autism. One more time, vaccines DO NOT cause autism. So what does cause autism, that problem has been plaguing scientists for awhile now. Thankfully two major genetic studies of autism and involving more than 50 laboratories worldwide, have newly implicated dozens of genes in the disorder. The research shows that rare mutations in these genes affect communication networks in the brain and compromise fundamental biological mechanisms that govern whether, when, and how genes ........ Read more »

Iossifov, I., O’Roak, B., Sanders, S., Ronemus, M., Krumm, N., Levy, D., Stessman, H., Witherspoon, K., Vives, L., Patterson, K.... (2014) The contribution of de novo coding mutations to autism spectrum disorder. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature13908  

De Rubeis, S., He, X., Goldberg, A., Poultney, C., Samocha, K., Ercument Cicek, A., Kou, Y., Liu, L., Fromer, M., Walker, S.... (2014) Synaptic, transcriptional and chromatin genes disrupted in autism. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature13772  

  • October 28, 2014
  • 04:11 PM
  • 902 views

Scientists resurrect 700-year-old viruses, Just in time for Halloween!

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

You know how some zombie movies start with a discovery of a virus, it gets loose, and things quickly spiral out of control from that? Well in breaking news a team of researchers have found two 700-year-old viral sequences in frozen caribou dung in an arctic ice patch. The group isolated part of a viral RNA genome and the complete genome of a DNA virus. Then they infected living plants with the DNA virus, what could go wrong?... Read more »

Ng, T., Chen, L., Zhou, Y., Shapiro, B., Stiller, M., Heintzman, P., Varsani, A., Kondov, N., Wong, W., Deng, X.... (2014) Preservation of viral genomes in 700-y-old caribou feces from a subarctic ice patch. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1410429111  

  • October 27, 2014
  • 03:40 PM
  • 905 views

Real Zombie-Making Parasites Among Us

by Miss Behavior in The Scorpion and the Frog

The mummified cat and the rat in the crypt of Christ Church in Dublin. Photo by Adrian Grycuk at Wikimedia Commons.The Happening, M. Night Shyamalan’s worst panned movie of all time, is a science fiction thriller about people going into a mysterious trance and committing suicide as a result of other mind-hacking species. One of the leading criticisms raised against this movie is the ridiculousness of the premise. One species can’t cause another to willingly commit suicide! …Or can they? T........ Read more »

  • October 27, 2014
  • 03:37 PM
  • 424 views

Research Shows Synapses are Always Ready to Go

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

The inner workings of the brain are quick, but really they have to be. Neurons need to be able to rapidly propagate information in their interior via electrical signals and they communicate with each other at special contact points known as the synapses. These chemical messenger substances (known as neurotransmitters) are stored in vesicles at the synapses. When a synapse becomes active, some of these vesicles fuse with the cell membrane and release their contents. To ensure that valuable time i........ Read more »

Imig, C., Min, S., Krinner, S., Arancillo, M., Rosenmund, C., Südhof, T., Rhee, J., Brose, N., & Cooper, B. (2014) The Morphological and Molecular Nature of Synaptic Vesicle Priming at Presynaptic Active Zones. Neuron, 84(2), 416-431. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2014.10.009  

  • October 26, 2014
  • 03:58 PM
  • 436 views

The Cause Behind Seizures post-Vaccination

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

The anti-vaccination movement is a dangerous one. Children are falling ill (and in certain cases dying) over nothing more than fear and misinformation. The problem is science doesn’t have all the answers and it is tempting to look to someone — or in this case a group of someones– who claim to have those answers, true or not. Well science eventually gets the answers we need and now scientists have found genetic clues to explain why a small number of children have febrile seizures—brief co........ Read more »

Bjarke Feenstra et al. (2014) Common variants associated with general and MMR vaccine–related febrile seizures. Nature Genetics. info:/dx.doi.org/10.1038/ng.3129

  • October 25, 2014
  • 02:59 PM
  • 583 views

The Oceans Link to Climate Change

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Hold on to your hats folks, we can all agree that most of the concerns about climate change have focused on the amount of greenhouse gases that have been released into the atmosphere. But in a new study a group of researchers have found that circulation of the ocean plays an equally important role in regulating the earth’s climate. Keep in mind this doesn’t mean global warming isn’t a man-made problem, please.... Read more »

Woodard SC, Rosenthal Y, Miller KG, Wright JD, Chiu BK, & Lawrence KT. (2014) Antarctic role in Northern Hemisphere glaciation. Science . PMID: 25342658  

  • October 24, 2014
  • 05:20 PM
  • 430 views

The Genetics of Congenital Heart Defects Slowly Emerge from Down Syndrome Study

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Down syndrome, of all the genetic defects people are born with, is the most common (as far as chromosomal abnormalities go). Down syndrome involves having a third copy of all or part of chromosome 21 (for those who do not recall we are typically born with 23 pairs of chromosomes). In addition to intellectual disability, individuals with Down syndrome have a high risk of congenital heart defects. However, not all people with Down syndrome have them – about half have structurally normal hearts.... Read more »

Ramachandran D, Mulle JG, Locke AE, Bean LJ, Rosser TC, Bose P, Dooley KJ, Cua CL, Capone GT, Reeves RH.... (2014) Contribution of copy-number variation to Down syndrome-associated atrioventricular septal defects. Genetics in medicine : official journal of the American College of Medical Genetics. PMID: 25341113  

  • October 23, 2014
  • 05:58 PM
  • 397 views

The Genes Responsible for Immune System Reset after Infection

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

We’ve all been sick before, the aches and pains that come with it– most of the time including a fever — are all responses to our immune system kicking into high gear. But what if your body didn’t reverse course and go back to a, let’s call it” relaxed state.” Once the battle is won, the body’s efforts would be wasted on energy costing defense. A bad thing when the body really should be focusing on repairing the damage done by the foreign invaders.... Read more »

Brian Head,, & Alejandro Aballay. (2014) Recovery from an Acute Infection in C. elegans Requires the GATA Transcription Factor ELT-2. PLoS Genetics. info:/10.1371/journal.pgen.1004609

  • October 22, 2014
  • 03:55 PM
  • 443 views

Converting Skin Cells to Neurons: A Fight Against Huntington’s

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Neurological diseases are some of the hardest to fight against (in my opinion). The big reason is the brain, we still know so little about it and treatment for anything effecting it can be difficult to say the least. Take Huntington’s disease, an ultimately fatal neurodegenerative disorder. There is no cure and no real treatment, but that might change relatively soon thanks to a new discovery.... Read more »

Victor, M., Richner, M., Hermanstyne, T., Ransdell, J., Sobieski, C., Deng, P., Klyachko, V., Nerbonne, J., & Yoo, A. (2014) Generation of Human Striatal Neurons by MicroRNA-Dependent Direct Conversion of Fibroblasts. Neuron, 84(2), 311-323. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2014.10.016  

  • October 20, 2014
  • 04:50 PM
  • 816 views

A Venusian Mystery Explored Once More

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Venus, the place where women are from... supposedly. To say Venus has a harsh climate would be an understatement, this is one of many reasons why we will never (or maybe not soon) see a "long lasting" Venus rover counterpart to our Mars rover missions. Still, the planet (much like all the other plants) can teach us a lot about not just our own origins, but the origins of the universe. Also like all our neighbor planets Venus is hiding something beneath its brilliant shroud of clouds, a mystery t........ Read more »

Harrington, E. et. Al. (2014) The puzzle of radar-bright highlands on venus: a high-spatial resolution study in Ovda regio. Geological Society of America. info:other/136-4

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