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  • April 5, 2010
  • 10:41 AM

The Social Brain and the Human Condition

by Robert Deyes in Promega Connections

The plans had been made, details finalized and all expenses paid. I was to travel to the south coast of England to complete my training for the British Sub-Aqua Club Sports Diver certificate. I boarded a train from London’s Waterloo station down to the quiet seaside resort of Bournemouth where I was received [...]... Read more »

Cole SW, Hawkley LC, Arevalo JM, Sung CY, Rose RM, & Cacioppo JT. (2007) Social regulation of gene expression in human leukocytes. Genome biology, 8(9). PMID: 17854483  

Panksepp J. (2003) Neuroscience. Feeling the pain of social loss. Science (New York, N.Y.), 302(5643), 237-9. PMID: 14551424  

Eisenberger NI, Lieberman MD, & Williams KD. (2003) Does rejection hurt? An FMRI study of social exclusion. Science (New York, N.Y.), 302(5643), 290-2. PMID: 14551436  

Lieberman MD, & Eisenberger NI. (2009) Neuroscience. Pains and pleasures of social life. Science (New York, N.Y.), 323(5916), 890-1. PMID: 19213907  

  • April 5, 2010
  • 10:09 AM

Matryoshka dolls in biology, the connection between flowers, stem cells and fat and more, in my Picks of the Week from RB

by Alejandro Montenegro-Montero in MolBio Research Highlights

Another week has gone by and some very interesting molbio blog posts have been aggregated to Every week [see my opening post on the matter], I'll select some blog posts I consider particularly interesting in the field of molecular biology [see here to get a sense of the criteria that will be used], briefly describe them and list them here for you to check out.Note that I'm ... Read more »

Craddock, N., Hurles, M., Cardin, N., Pearson, R., Plagnol, V., Robson, S., Vukcevic, D., Barnes, C., Conrad, D., Giannoulatou, E.... (2010) Genome-wide association study of CNVs in 16,000 cases of eight common diseases and 3,000 shared controls. Nature, 464(7289), 713-720. DOI: 10.1038/nature08979  

Cleveland, L., & Grimstone, A. (1964) The Fine Structure of the Flagellate Mixotricha paradoxa and Its Associated Micro-Organisms. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences (1934-1990), 159(977), 668-686. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.1964.0025  

Koretke KK, Lupas AN, Warren PV, Rosenberg M, & Brown JR. (2000) Evolution of two-component signal transduction. Molecular biology and evolution, 17(12), 1956-70. PMID: 11110912  

Zhang, Q., Raoof, M., Chen, Y., Sumi, Y., Sursal, T., Junger, W., Brohi, K., Itagaki, K., & Hauser, C. (2010) Circulating mitochondrial DAMPs cause inflammatory responses to injury. Nature, 464(7285), 104-107. DOI: 10.1038/nature08780  

Kilian, K., Bugarija, B., Lahn, B., & Mrksich, M. (2010) Geometric cues for directing the differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107(11), 4872-4877. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0903269107  

  • April 5, 2010
  • 08:00 AM

Forecasting the impact of climate change on fisheries

by Rob Goldstein in Conservation Maven

... Read more »

  • April 5, 2010
  • 06:49 AM

The many lives of an inverted genomic region

by Razib Khan in Gene Expression

About five years ago Kari Stefansson published an interesting paper, A common inversion under selection in Europeans. The basic thrust of the results was that a particular genomic region in Europeans exhibited a pattern of variation whereby there was one variant which was inverted in relation to the modal type. They labelled them “H2″ and [...]... Read more »

Donnelly, M., Paschou, P., Grigorenko, E., Gurwitz, D., Mehdi, S., Kajuna, S., Barta, C., Kungulilo, S., Karoma, N., & Lu, R. (2010) The Distribution and Most Recent Common Ancestor of the 17q21 Inversion in Humans. The American Journal of Human Genetics, 86(2), 161-171. DOI: 10.1016/j.ajhg.2010.01.007  

  • April 5, 2010
  • 03:30 AM

Monday Pets: The Gambler

by Jason Goldman in The Thoughtful Animal

So I’m in Las Vegas, gambling capital of the world. And I was reminded of the Kenny Rogers song, The Gambler. And of this video of Kenny Rogers singing The Gambler with the muppets. Because the muppets make everything better.

Figure 1: Isn’t the whole guy dying and turning into a ghost thing a little much [...]... Read more »

van den Bos R, Lasthuis W, den Heijer E, van der Harst J, & Spruijt B. (2006) Toward a rodent model of the Iowa gambling task. Behavior research methods, 38(3), 470-8. PMID: 17186757  

  • April 4, 2010
  • 07:28 PM

Crunching The Data on Human Brain Evolution

by Luke Jostins in Genetic Inference

Lee, S., & Wolpoff, M. (2003). The pattern of evolution in Pleistocene human brain size Paleobiology, 29 (2), 186-196 DOI: 10.1666/0094-8373(2003)0292.0.CO;2

There has been a bit of debate around the biology blogoverse recently about the evolution of human brain size. It started off as an “idle speculation” type argument, but then took a satisfying swerve into [...]... Read more »

  • April 3, 2010
  • 06:21 AM

fusing biology and computer science?

by Greg Fish in weird things

When two of the leading experts in genomics published their thoughts about the future of genetics in Nature’s retrospective on the Human Genome Project, one of them didn’t devote significant parts of his editorial to a simple laundry list of goals and challenges in his field. Instead, J. Craig Venter called on a seemingly unlikely [...]... Read more »

Venter, J. (2010) Multiple personal genomes await. Nature, 464(7289), 676-677. DOI: 10.1038/464676a  

  • April 2, 2010
  • 08:15 PM

Six Hours Per Day

by Reason in Fight Aging!

An article from the Duke University media outlet reminds us of the bigger historical picture of human life expectancy: continual incremental improvement ever since the Industrial Revolution. It's also a good example of how to write a decent popular science press piece, one that adds context to the research it references, rather than dumbing it down or papering it over. From the perspective of the reliability theory of aging and longevity, the historical increase in life expectancy has occurred b........ Read more »

Vaupel, J. (2010) Biodemography of human ageing. Nature, 464(7288), 536-542. DOI: 10.1038/nature08984  

  • April 2, 2010
  • 05:07 PM

Protecting the elusive, cave-dwelling troglobites

by Katie Kline in EcoTone

“Who will speak for the imperiled troglobites? Charismatic megafauna, they are not. Troglobites—not to be confused with troglodytes (cavemen) or trilobites (extinct arthropods)—are neither warm-blooded nor fuzzy. Most are invertebrates, including insects and crustaceans, but there are also troglobitic fish and amphibians—and all are as weird as they are rare.”... Read more »

Katherine Ellison. (2010) An underground movement. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 8(3), 168-168. info:/

  • April 2, 2010
  • 02:44 PM

Will virtual screening ever work?

by The Curious Wavefunction in The Curious Wavefunction

Virtual screening (VS), wherein a large number of compounds are screened, either by docking against a protein target of interest or by similarity searching against a known active, is one of the most popular computational techniques in drug discovery. The goal of VS is to complement high-throughput screening (HTS) and the ideal goal is to at least partly substitute HTS in finding new hits.But this goal is still far from being achieved. VS still has to make a significant contribution in the discov........ Read more »

Schneider, G. (2010) Virtual screening: an endless staircase?. Nature Reviews Drug Discovery, 9(4), 273-276. DOI: 10.1038/nrd3139  

  • April 2, 2010
  • 12:03 PM

Why We Sequence Cancer Genomes

by Daniel Koboldt in Massgenomics

A recent article on GenomeWeb profiling the XGen Congress meeting in San Diego, where researchers debated the question of whether sequencing cancer genomes has clinical relevance. In a roundtable discussion, University of Washington’s Larry Loeb argued that cancer is too heterogeneous for sequencing to uncover the therapeutically-relevant mutations. As an example, he pointed to AML1 [...]... Read more »

  • April 2, 2010
  • 10:57 AM

Margays mimick monkey calls to lure their prey

by Laelaps in Laelaps

A margay (Leopardus wiedii). From Wikipedia.

Even if they spend years in the field, researchers rarely witness predation on primates. Cats, birds, and other hunters regularly feed on primate species, but what we know about the habits of primate-hunters often comes from bones and fingernails picked out of predator droppings. Every now and again, though, someone is in just the right place at just the right time to observe a predator attempt to catch a primate for dinner, and one recent obser........ Read more »

  • April 2, 2010
  • 09:59 AM

The Social Brain And The Human Condition

by Robert Deyes in Promega Connections

Promega Connections post about the how social connections influence the brain.... Read more »

  • April 2, 2010
  • 09:52 AM

A New Ant-Eating Dinosaur, Xixianykus

by Brian Switek in Dinosaur Tracking

Paleontologist David Hone has been on a hot streak lately. Earlier this month he and his colleagues described the new predatory dinosaur Linheraptor, and just last week he was part of another team of researchers who described another new dinosaur, Xixianykus zhangi.
As presented in the journal Zootaxa, Xixianykus was an alvarezsaurid. This was a bizarre [...]... Read more »

XING XU, DE-YOU WANG, CORWIN SULLIVAN, DAVID W. E. HONE, FENG-LU HAN,, & RONG-HAO YAN, . (2010) A basal parvicursorine (Theropoda: Alvarezsauridae) from the Upper Cretaceous of China. Zootaxa, 1-19. info:/

  • April 2, 2010
  • 06:00 AM

Using public surveillance cameras to detect evidence of climate change

by Rob Goldstein in Conservation Maven

... Read more »

  • April 2, 2010
  • 04:46 AM

The diversity of teff

by Jeremy in The Vaviblog

Despite endless efforts by development agencies to get Ethiopians to grow grains other than teff, roughly fifty million Ethiopians still use enjera as their daily bread, consuming close to 1.6 million metric tons of teff flour a year.
Just as no two displays of vegetables and sauces on enjera are alike, no two teff fields are [...]... Read more »

  • April 2, 2010
  • 01:05 AM

Friday Weird Science: Coke Bees.

by Evil Monkey in Neurotopia

Sci was going to try and stick with the sex this week, but this paper reminded her SO much of this article in the New Yorker, which then reminded her SO much of that awesome YouTube video, and the next thing you knew Sci had to blog bees on crack. It's how I roll.

But first, let's get in the mood:

(Nice web, crack spider)

And from the New Yorker:
There's that fat kid again. I'm going to sting this whole family! "Aah!" They're running! I'm buzzing, I'm buzzing, I'm buzzing, this is incredibl........ Read more »

Barron AB, Maleszka R, Helliwell PG, & Robinson GE. (2009) Effects of cocaine on honey bee dance behaviour. The Journal of experimental biology, 212(Pt 2), 163-8. PMID: 19112134  

  • April 1, 2010
  • 11:56 PM

Eating high fructose corn syrup makes Yogi bear.......

by Sunil in Balancing life

.......fatter than the average bear.Apologies for that awful title that I couldn't resist.If you are fond of sweets, chocolates, candy, cookies and ice cream, and have ever read the label for the ingredients, you must have noticed one of them, called high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). You might have wondered about it a little, or just thought that fructose is sweet like glucose, and gone on with your indulgence. HFCS has now largely replaced table sugar (or sucrose) as the main sweetener in most........ Read more »

Miriam E. Bocarslya, Elyse S. Powella, , Nicole M. Avenaa, and Bartley G. Hoebel. (2010) High-fructose corn syrup causes characteristics of obesity in rats: Increased body weight, body fat and triglyceride levels . Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior. info:/

  • April 1, 2010
  • 09:36 PM

Cold Blooded Cognition

by Jason Goldman in The Thoughtful Animal

She: “What are you writing about?”
Me: “Cognition in cold-blooded animals.”
She: “Hot.”
Most people who study cognition focus on mammals or birds. But I hope I’ve convinced you that other animals are important to investigate as well. One research group at the University of Vienna likes cold-blooded critters. Turtles and lizards and such. They argue:
Reptiles, birds and [...]... Read more »

  • April 1, 2010
  • 09:10 PM

On the Spot

by Journal Watch Online in Journal Watch Online

Computer system tracks penguins by their chest markings

... Read more »

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