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  • November 10, 2010
  • 04:51 AM

NCRI conference: The hallmarks of cancer

by Cancer Research UK in Cancer Research UK - Science Update

There are over 200 different types of cancer that affect virtually every organ in the body. They can seem bewilderingly different but all cancers share certain features that make them… well, cancer. In January 2000, US cancer experts Doug Hanahan and Bob Weinberg published a seminal paper called “The Hallmarks of Cancer”, which outlined six [...]... Read more »

Hanahan, D., & Weinberg, R. (2000) The Hallmarks of Cancer. Cell, 100(1), 57-70. DOI: 10.1016/S0092-8674(00)81683-9  

  • November 9, 2010
  • 10:45 PM

Could “hairier” crops help mitigate climate warming?

by Phil Camill in Global Change: Intersection of Nature and Culture

In an interesting new article in Climatic Change, Christopher Doughty and colleagues at Stanford consider whether raising crop albedo (reflectivity) could decrease solar  absorption at the Earth’s surface and cool regional climates.  One might consider this a kind of climate “bio”engineering.
How could you do this, and would it work?
Many desert plants have hair-like projections that [...]... Read more »

  • November 9, 2010
  • 07:54 PM

European man of many faces: Cain vs. Abel

by Razib Khan in Gene Expression

When it comes to the synthesis of genetics and history we live an age of no definitive answers. L. L. Cavalli-Sforza’s Great Human Diasporas would come in for a major rewrite at this point. One of the areas which has been roiled the most within the past ten years has been the origin and propagation [...]... Read more »

Wolfgang Haak, Oleg Balanovsky, Juan J. Sanchez, Sergey Koshel, Valery Zaporozhchenko, Christina J. Adler, Clio S. I. Der Sarkissian, Guido Brandt, Carolin Schwarz, Nicole Nicklisch.... (2010) Ancient DNA from European Early Neolithic Farmers Reveals Their Near Eastern Affinities. PLoS Biology. info:/10.1371/journal.pbio.1000536

  • November 9, 2010
  • 07:06 PM

Sexual Intimidation in Chimpanzees…Are Males Taking Away a Girl’s Right to Choose?

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

Females in the animal kingdom are generally referred to as the ‘choosy’ sex.  We produce the expensive gametes (eggs) and we put a good deal of consideration into selection of an appropriate male to fertilize them. The evolution of sexual strategies resulting from choosy females is evident in a multitude of male adornments, dances, songs [...]... Read more »

  • November 9, 2010
  • 05:36 PM

The Wednesday Post (10/11/10) - Everything you know about immunology is wrong

by James Byrne in Disease Prone

One of the central tenets of immunology as proposed by Sir Frank Macfarlane Burnet is that each lymphocyte contains an individual and specific receptor that allows it to selection based on the appearance of its specific and individual epitope. This specific interaction allows the immune system to only expand cell populations that can respond to the particular invader and not others, also known as the theory of clonal selection and expansion.... Read more »

Chaudhri, G., Quah, B., Wang, Y., Tan, A., Zhou, J., Karupiah, G., & Parish, C. (2009) T cell receptor sharing by cytotoxic T lymphocytes facilitates efficient virus control. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 106(35), 14984-14989. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0906554106  

Quah, B., Barlow, V., McPhun, V., Matthaei, K., Hulett, M., & Parish, C. (2008) Bystander B cells rapidly acquire antigen receptors from activated B cells by membrane transfer. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 105(11), 4259-4264. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0800259105  

  • November 9, 2010
  • 05:21 PM

End users and the cloud in bioinformatics

by Mary in OpenHelix

Today I began an exchange on some issues of “In silico research in the era of cloud computing” based on this tweet:
@mndoci: …. only thing missing is a service component (cc @mza) #bioinformatics
My first answer was this, but there was a bit more back/forth subsequently:
@OpenHelix: Also missing: end user support | RT @mndoci: …. only thing missing is a service component (cc @mza) #bioinformatics
I’m going to explain this a ........ Read more »

  • November 9, 2010
  • 04:19 PM

What the Lungfish Heard: Clues to the ear's evolution

by clark in Now Hear This

For life on Earth, the successful transition from sea to land demanded adaptation: notably, legs (or at least the loss of flippers) and air-breathing lungs. It also put selective pressure on the ears. Sound propagates differently through air than it does through water, and it takes a certain kind of ear to detect it. That ear -- the tympanic ear, featuring a membrane (or “eardrum”) that receives airborne vibrations and relays them to the bones of the inner ear -- began to appear in four-legg........ Read more »

  • November 9, 2010
  • 01:44 PM

Salt & Plover

by Journal Watch Online in Journal Watch Online

A dash of salt may be just what’s needed for Asia’s beleaguered shorebirds. Salt farms in Thailand provide key habitat for wintering water birds, a new survey finds. Worryingly, however, these shallow “salt pans” are increasingly threatened with conversion to aquaculture ponds that are less appealing to birds.
The Inner Gulf of Thailand, stretching 160 […] Read More »... Read more »

  • November 9, 2010
  • 12:23 PM

The Latest On: When Five Hundred Tigers Are Not Enough

by Kelly Grooms in Promega Connections

It is sad but true that the latest news has not been promising for wild tiger populations. In September, an article published in PLoS Biology (1) estimated that the best hope of saving the wild tiger population would be to shift focus to source sites, which are “…at spatially well-defined priority sites, supported by proven best [...]... Read more »

Walston J, Robinson JG, Bennett EL, Breitenmoser U, da Fonseca GA, Goodrich J, Gumal M, Hunter L, Johnson A, Karanth KU.... (2010) Bringing the tiger back from the brink-the six percent solution. PLoS biology, 8(9). PMID: 20856904  

  • November 9, 2010
  • 11:31 AM

Mini frog packs a powerful punch

by GrrlScientist in GrrlScientist

Another tiny-but-deadly poisonous frog has been discovered, this time, in Cuba... Read more »

Ariel Rodriguez, Dennis Poth, Stefan Schulz, & Miguel Vences. (2010) Discovery of skin alkaloids in a miniaturized eleutherodactylid frog from Cuba. Biology Letters. info:/10.1098/rsbl.2010.0844

  • November 9, 2010
  • 11:30 AM

Great diagrams of science: What are they doing to those animals?

by WhySharksMatter in Southern Fried Science

The stereotype of a scientific diagram is a complex, dry, boring graph. While many earn this reputation, a few make can make people do a double-take. Most of these explain research methods involving live animal test subjects. A few of my favorites are shown below.
It is important to note that these images do not show animal [...]... Read more »

Lohmann, K., Lohmann, C., & Putman, N. (2007) Magnetic maps in animals: nature's GPS. Journal of Experimental Biology, 210(21), 3697-3705. DOI: 10.1242/jeb.001313  

Meredith TL, & Kajiura SM. (2010) Olfactory morphology and physiology of elasmobranchs. The Journal of experimental biology, 213(Pt 20), 3449-56. PMID: 20889825  

Mora, C., Davison, M., Martin Wild, J., & Walker, M. (2004) Magnetoreception and its trigeminal mediation in the homing pigeon. Nature, 432(7016), 508-511. DOI: 10.1038/nature03077  

  • November 9, 2010
  • 11:00 AM

It itches! The immune system turns up in the strangest places

by Kevin Bonham in Food Matters

Normally, I would feel woefully unqualified to analyze a Nature Neuroscience paper, but I'm going to do it anyway. How could I pass it up? It features a Toll-like receptor!

Toll-like receptors are typically expressed in immune cells to regulate innate immunity. We found that functional Toll-like receptor 7 (TLR7) was expressed in C-fiber primary sensory neurons and was important for inducing itch (pruritus), but was not necessary for eliciting mechanical, thermal, inflammatory and neuropathic p........ Read more »

Liu T, Xu ZZ, Park CK, Berta T, & Ji RR. (2010) Toll-like receptor 7 mediates pruritus. Nature neuroscience. PMID: 21037581  

  • November 9, 2010
  • 09:05 AM

In the depths of a pitcher plant, competitors and predators cancel each other out

by Jeremy Yoder in Denim and Tweed

Species interactions are probably pretty important, in the evolution of life. There are all sorts of studies showing that the fitness and evolutionary history of individual species depends upon interactions with pollinators, symbiotes, food plants, herbivores, parasites, predators, and competitors. Most of these studies focus in on a single interaction—but what living thing interacts with only one other organism? Coevolution, when it happens, happens in a community context.

Adding even a seco........ Read more »

  • November 9, 2010
  • 05:30 AM

Surviving HIV

by Becky in It Takes 30

Untreated, HIV is normally a death sentence.  But not quite always.  A small number of people infected with HIV can survive for decades without symptoms.  They’re called “elite controllers”, and — although the fact that they’re healthy makes them hard to identify with certainty — they’re thought to comprise less than 1% of the infected [...]... Read more »

The International HIV Controllers Study. (2010) The Major Genetic Determinants of HIV-1 Control Affect HLA Class I Peptide Presentation. Science. info:/10.1126/science.1195271

  • November 9, 2010
  • 03:25 AM

Genes To Brains To Minds To... Murder?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

A group of Italian psychiatrists claim to explain How Neuroscience and Behavioral Genetics Improve Psychiatric Assessment: Report on a Violent Murder Case.The paper presents the horrific case of a 24 year old woman from Switzerland who smothered her newborn son to death immediately after giving birth in her boyfriend's apartment. After her arrest, she claimed to have no memory of the event. She had a history of multiple drug abuse, including heroin, from the age of 13. Forensic psychiatrists wer........ Read more »

Rigoni D, Pellegrini S, Mariotti V, Cozza A, Mechelli A, Ferrara SD, Pietrini P, & Sartori G. (2010) How neuroscience and behavioral genetics improve psychiatric assessment: report on a violent murder case. Frontiers in behavioral neuroscience, 160. PMID: 21031162  

  • November 8, 2010
  • 08:47 PM

Genomic patterns of pleiotropy and the evolution of complexity (Wang et. al 2010)

by Victor Hanson-Smith in Evolution, Development, and Genomics

Posted by Victor Hanson-Smith, Conor O’Brien, and Bryn Gaertner. One of the grand challenges of evo-devo is to understand how mutations of genetic sequences affect concomitant phenotypic traits.  Eighty-one years ago, Fisher (1930) proposed that every mutation may affect every … Continue reading →... Read more »

Wang Z, Liao BY, & Zhang J. (2010) Genomic patterns of pleiotropy and the evolution of complexity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 107(42), 18034-9. PMID: 20876104  

  • November 8, 2010
  • 08:41 PM

Caperea alive!

by Darren Naish in Tetrapod Zoology

By now you might be relatively familiar with the bizarre soft tissue and bony anatomy of the peculiar, poorly known Pygmy right whale Caperea marginata [a juvenile Caperea that stranded on New Zealand is shown above; original image by New Zealand Department of Conservation, from Te Papa's Blog]. If you missed the relevant articles you might want to check them out here (on the giant, asymmetrical laryngeal pouch), here (on the vertebrae and ribs) and here (on the skull, ribs and tail). These ........ Read more »

  • November 8, 2010
  • 08:31 PM

Ocean acidification negatively affects coral establishment

by Phil Camill in Global Change: Intersection of Nature and Culture

When CO2 from fossil fuels accumulates in the atmosphere, some of it dissolves into the oceans where it reacts with water to form a weak acid (H2CO3) —carbonic acid— that lowers seawater pH and makes it increasingly difficult for corals and other calcitic organisms to form their calcium carbonate (CaCO3) skeletons.
A new study in the [...]... Read more »

Rebecca Albright, Benjamin Mason, Margaret Miller, and Chris Langdon. (2010) Ocean acidification compromises recruitment success of the threatened Caribbean coral Acropora palmata. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. info:/

  • November 8, 2010
  • 07:27 PM

Potential genetic basis for why BPA is harmful to animals

by Phil Camill in Global Change: Intersection of Nature and Culture

In a forthcoming article in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Patric Allard and Monica Colaiácovo use a nemotode (round worm) system to explore how BPA damages genetic processes in animals.
BPA ranks among the highest production volume chemicals with a global annual production scale of ≈4 million metric tons. It is commonly used in [...]... Read more »

Patrick Allard and Monica P. Colaiácovo. (2010) Bisphenol A impairs the double-strand break repair machinery in the germline and causes chromosome abnormalities. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. info:/10.1073/pnas.1010386107

  • November 8, 2010
  • 07:05 PM

Quantitative Population Impact of Adoption Among California Sea Lions

by Michael Long in Phased

Adoption frequency among California sea lions appears to be between roughly 6% and 17%, and is possibly a major contributor to sea lion populations.... Read more »

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