Insights from 50 years of records on the reproduction and aging of Myanmar's timber elephants.... Read more »
Mumby, H., Courtiol, A., Mar, K., & Lummaa, V. (2013) Birth seasonality and calf mortality in a large population of Asian elephants. Ecology and Evolution, 3(11), 3794-3803. DOI: 10.1002/ece3.746
Mumby HS, Courtiol A, Mar KU, & Lummaa V. (2013) Climatic variation and age-specific survival in Asian elephants from Myanmar. Ecology, 94(5), 1131-41. PMID: 23858653
Mumby, H., Mar, K., Thitaram, C., Courtiol, A., Towiboon, P., Min-Oo, Z., Htut-Aung, Y., Brown, J., & Lummaa, V. (2015) Stress and body condition are associated with climate and demography in Asian elephants. Conservation Physiology, 3(1). DOI: 10.1093/conphys/cov030
de Silva, S., Webber, C., Weerathunga, U., Pushpakumara, T., Weerakoon, D., & Wittemyer, G. (2013) Demographic Variables for Wild Asian Elephants Using Longitudinal Observations. PLoS ONE, 8(12). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0082788
Mumby, H., Mar, K., Hayward, A., Htut, W., Htut-Aung, Y., & Lummaa, V. (2015) Elephants born in the high stress season have faster reproductive ageing. Scientific Reports, 13946. DOI: 10.1038/srep13946
Research led by Dr. Keiji Tanimoto from the University of Tsukuba, Japan, has brought us closer to understanding the mechanisms underlying the phenomenon of genomic imprinting. In this intriguing event, one copy of a gene is ‘turned off’, or silenced, depending on whether it was derived from the mother or the father.... Read more »
Matsuzaki H, Okamura E, Takahashi T, Ushiki A, Nakamura T, Nakano T, Hata K, Fukamizu A, & Tanimoto K. (2015) De novo DNA methylation through the 5'-segment of the H19 ICR maintains its imprint during early embryogenesis. Development (Cambridge, England), 142(22), 3833-44. PMID: 26417043
I don't want to spend too long on the findings reported by Danielle Stutzman & Julie Dopheide  talking about how: "Treatment with acetylcysteine improved ASD [autism spectrum disorder] symptoms, including irritability and aggression, in a teenage patient" but it is a blog-worthy paper.Describing the experiences of a "7-year-old Hispanic male with ASD and intellectual disability" who was hospitalised due to some rather 'challenging behaviours', the authors noted how the addi........ Read more »
Stutzman D, & Dopheide J. (2015) Acetylcysteine for treatment of autism spectrum disorder symptoms. American journal of health-system pharmacy : AJHP : official journal of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, 72(22), 1956-9. PMID: 26541950
You know when you're out walking with a big horde of your friends and you come to a chasm you can't step across, so a bunch of you clasp each other's limbs and make yourselves into a bridge for the rest to walk on?
Eciton army ants do this. And they're not the only ants that build incredible structures out of their strong, near-weightless bodies. Weaver ants make chains between leaves by holding onto each other's waists. Fire ants cling together to form rafts and survive floodin........ Read more »
Reid CR, Lutz MJ, Powell S, Kao AB, Couzin ID, & Garnier S. (2015) Army ants dynamically adjust living bridges in response to a cost-benefit trade-off. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 26598673
A team of researchers led by UNSW Australia scientists has discovered how connections between brain cells are destroyed in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease – work that opens up a new avenue for research on possible treatments for the degenerative brain condition.... Read more »
Leshchyns’ka, I., Liew, H., Shepherd, C., Halliday, G., Stevens, C., Ke, Y., Ittner, L., & Sytnyk, V. (2015) Aβ-dependent reduction of NCAM2-mediated synaptic adhesion contributes to synapse loss in Alzheimer’s disease. Nature Communications, 8836. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms9836
Professor Meiering and her colleagues were able to incorporate both structure and function into the design process by using bioinformatics to leverage information from nature. They then analyzed what they made and measured how long it took for the folded, functional protein to unfold and breakdown... Read more »
Broom A, Ma SM, Xia K, Rafalia H, Trainor K, Colón W, Gosavi S, & Meiering EM. (2015) Designed protein reveals structural determinants of extreme kinetic stability. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 112(47), 14605-10. PMID: 26554002
Tumour biomarkers are measurable changes in cancer cells that could be used to improve available therapies. The identification of early biomarkers could increase early diagnosis rates and provide insight into tumour biology including aggressiveness. In addition tumour subtype-specific biomarkers could help identify the treatments most likely to be effective and also be used to measure response. The search for biomarkers in renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is an active field, with various types of pote........ Read more »
Mickley A, Kovaleva O, Kzhyshkowska J, & Gratchev A. (2015) Molecular and immunologic markers of kidney cancer-potential applications in predictive, preventive and personalized medicine. The EPMA journal, 20. PMID: 26500709
"Premature mortality was markedly increased in ASD [autism spectrum disorder] owing to a multitude of medical conditions."So said the study by Tatja Hirvikoski and colleagues  and findings that although making uncomfortable reading, highlight how we have some way to go when it comes to addressing important health inequalities as and when a label of autism or ASD is given.Drawing on Swedish data including over 27,000 people diagnosed with an ASD between 1987 and 2009 compared against........ Read more »
Stem cells that have been specifically developed for use as clinical therapies are fit for use in patients, an independent study of their genetic make-up suggests. The research – which focused on human embryonic stem cells – paves the way for clinical trials of cell therapies to treat conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, age-related degeneration of the eyes and spinal cord injury.... Read more »
Canham, M., Van Deusen, A., Brison, D., De Sousa, P., Downie, J., Devito, L., Hewitt, Z., Ilic, D., Kimber, S., Moore, H.... (2015) The Molecular Karyotype of 25 Clinical-Grade Human Embryonic Stem Cell Lines. Scientific Reports, 17258. DOI: 10.1038/srep17258
Be the highlight of Thanksgiving dinner conversation after you learn these fascinating facts about turkeys!... Read more »
Russo, E., Scicchitano, F., Citraro, R., Aiello, R., Camastra, C., Mainardi, P., Chimirri, S., Perucca, E., Donato, G., & De Sarro, G. (2012) Protective activity of α-lactoalbumin (ALAC), a whey protein rich in tryptophan, in rodent models of epileptogenesis. Neuroscience, 282-288. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2012.09.021
Bruce KR, Steiger H, Young SN, Kin NM, Israël M, & Lévesque M. (2009) Impact of acute tryptophan depletion on mood and eating-related urges in bulimic and nonbulimic women. Journal of psychiatry , 34(5), 376-82. PMID: 19721848
Chocolate agar refers to two very different foods, only one of which actually contains chocolate. Both are prepared using agar, a mixture obtained by boiling certain types of algae to release a sugar called agarose that forms a gel when it cools. Thus agar (also called agar agar) can be used to make jelly desserts, flavours of which include coffee-coconut and, you guessed it, chocolate. It's basically a vegan form of Jell-O (which contains gelatin derived from animal bits).The second type of cho........ Read more »
Stephens D. (2009) Biology and pathogenesis of the evolutionarily successful, obligate human bacterium Neisseria meningitidis. Vaccine, 27(Suppl 2). DOI: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2009.04.070
For anyone that has followed this blog down the years you'll probably have noticed that I'm quite a big fan of the inclusion of the science of metabolomics on to the autism research menu (see here for example).Looking at the myriad of chemical footprints left behind by an almost incomprehensible number of cellular processes, metabolomics offers some real promise to autism in terms of teasing apart phenotypes and as a valuable partner to other -omics sciences in ascertaining the relevance or not ........ Read more »
Dieme B, Mavel S, Blasco H, Tripi G, Bonnet-Brilhault F, Malvy J, Bocca C, Andres CR, Nadal-Desbarats L, & Emond P. (2015) Metabolomics study of urine in autism spectrum disorders using a multiplatform analytical methodology. Journal of proteome research. PMID: 26538324
Nearly 37 million people worldwide are living with HIV. When the virus destroys so many immune cells that the body can’t fight off infection, AIDS will develop. The disease took the lives of more than a million people last year.... Read more »
Lu, M., Hou, G., Zhang, H., Suiter, C., Ahn, J., Byeon, I., Perilla, J., Langmead, C., Hung, I., Gor'kov, P.... (2015) Dynamic allostery governs cyclophilin A–HIV capsid interplay. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 201516920. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1516920112
Usually for Thanksgiving week posting is light. In the past, we’ve all done turkey breeding and genomics, cranberry genome, and some people have included apples, potatoes, and more. But another key aspect of the holiday is to remember the past and thank those who came before. And as I was watching this video that crossed my […]... Read more »
Nelson, G., Sweeney, P., Wallace, L., Rabeler, R., Allard, D., Brown, H., Carter, J., Denslow, M., Ellwood, E., Germain-Aubrey, C.... (2015) Digitization Workflows for Flat Sheets and Packets of Plants, Algae, and Fungi. Applications in Plant Sciences, 3(9), 1500065. DOI: 10.3732/apps.1500065
Nelson, G., Paul, D., Riccardi, G., & Mast, A. (2012) Five task clusters that enable efficient and effective digitization of biological collections. ZooKeys, 19-45. DOI: 10.3897/zookeys.209.3135
Jolley-Rogers, G., Varghese, T., Harvey, P., dos Remedios, N., & Miller, J. (2014) PhyloJIVE: Integrating biodiversity data with the Tree of Life. Bioinformatics, 30(9), 1308-1309. DOI: 10.1093/bioinformatics/btu024
This is a post written jointly by Nelson Lau from Brandeis and me, Björn Brembs. In contrast to Nelson’s guest post, which focused on the open data aspect of our collaboration, this one describes the science behind our paper and […] ↓ Read the rest of this entry...... Read more »
Rahman R, Chirn GW, Kanodia A, Sytnikova YA, Brembs B, Bergman CM, & Lau NC. (2015) Unique transposon landscapes are pervasive across Drosophila melanogaster genomes. Nucleic acids research. PMID: 26578579
Chirn, G., Rahman, R., Sytnikova, Y., Matts, J., Zeng, M., Gerlach, D., Yu, M., Berger, B., Naramura, M., Kile, B.... (2015) Conserved piRNA Expression from a Distinct Set of piRNA Cluster Loci in Eutherian Mammals. PLOS Genetics, 11(11). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1005652
"Are you on the autistic spectrum? Take the test" read a recent media headline.Commenting on the findings reported by Emily Ruzich and colleagues , the headline is followed by some pretty bizarre text about how the study "has confirmed that men are more likely to be autistic than women."I have to take some exception to this sentence, as I quote from the Ruzich findings: "In a sample of nearly half a million individuals, we found a moderate effect of sex on AQ [Autism-Spectrum Quotie........ Read more »
Westwood, H., Eisler, I., Mandy, W., Leppanen, J., Treasure, J., & Tchanturia, K. (2015) Using the Autism-Spectrum Quotient to Measure Autistic Traits in Anorexia Nervosa: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. DOI: 10.1007/s10803-015-2641-0
If you recall, dear reader, around this time last year, Robert Vander Velde, David Basanta, Jacob Scott and I got excited about the Archetti (2013,2014) approach to modeling non-linear public goods in cancer. We’ve been working on this intermittently for the last year, but aim to focus now that I have settled in here at […]... Read more »
Archetti, M. (2013) Evolutionary game theory of growth factor production: implications for tumour heterogeneity and resistance to therapies. British Journal of Cancer, 109(4), 1056-62. PMID: 23922110
Researchers at the University of Waterloo have discovered a new way to create designer proteins that have the potential to transform biotechnology and personalized medicines.
In a range of experiments Professor Elizabeth Meiering, in collaboration with colleagues from India and the United States, created a protein that can withstand a range of physiological and environmental conditions – a problem that has challenged chemists looking to create super stable, highly functional proteins.... Read more »
Broom, A., Ma, S., Xia, K., Rafalia, H., Trainor, K., Colon, W., Gosavi, S., & Meiering, E. (2015) Designed protein reveals structural determinants of extreme kinetic stability. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1510748112
They say you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. But what about with lazy spiders versus lively ones? When it comes to keeping pests at bay, the personalities of the spiders hunting them are important.
That's what two behavioral ecologists reported after watching bug dramas play out in a sunny hilltop alfalfa patch. Raphaël Royauté of North Dakota State University and Jonathan Pruitt of the University of Pittsburgh were studying the personalities of wolf spiders (Pardosa mi........ Read more »
Royauté, R., & Pruitt, J. (2015) Varying predator personalities generates contrasting prey communities in an agroecosystem. Ecology, 96(11), 2902-2911. DOI: 10.1890/14-2424.1
Indian corn isn’t corn, it’s maize. But not all corn is maize, corn is actually an old word that denotes the major crop of any particular region. The colors are most beautiful, including a newly breed variety called Carl’s Glass Gem corn. The spots of color were instrumental in our understanding of DNA and gene movement, but do you think we would be so fast to decorate our houses with it if it were common knowledge how much Indian corn has in common with the causative agents of........ Read more »
Pohl ME, Piperno DR, Pope KO, Jones JG. (2007) Microfossil evidence for pre-Columbian maize dispersals in the neotropics from San Andres, Tabasco, Mexico. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. , 104(16), 6870-6875. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0701425104
Keely SP, & Stringer JR. (2009) Complexity of the MSG gene family of Pneumocystis carinii. BMC genomics, 367. PMID: 19664205
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