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  • October 10, 2010
  • 05:02 PM
  • 1,000 views

GM corn helps farmers who don't use it

by Matthew DiLeo in The Scientist Gardener

Everyone's been waiting for long-term studies of GM crops - and now we have one!The European corn borer was accidentally released in the U.S. in 1917. In recent years, it's managed to cost farmers $1 billion each year. Transgenic Bt corn was introduced in 1996, largely in order to deal with this pest. Thanks to the enthusiastic adoption of farmers, over 60% of U.S. corn now contains the ... Read more »

W. D. Hutchison,1,* E. C. Burkness,1 P. D. Mitchell,2 R. D. Moon,1 T. W. Leslie,3 S. J. Fleischer,4 M. Abrahamson,5 K. L. Hamilton,6 K. L. Steffey,7, M. E. Gray,7 R. L. Hellmich,8 L. V. Kaster,9 T. E. Hunt,10 R. J. Wright,11 K. Pecinovsky,12 T. L. Rabaey,. (2010) Areawide Suppression of European Corn Borer with Bt Maize Reaps Savings to Non-Bt Maize Growers. Science, 330(6001), 222-225. info:/

  • October 10, 2010
  • 10:36 AM
  • 1,146 views

The Onion on two Nobel Prizes

by David Kroll in Take As Directed

Upon hearing that Robert Edwards won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine last Monday for the biological studies and medical implementation of in vitro fertilization, an inkling of cynic in me thought about how this advance primarily serves the relatively wealthy nations of the world.
Not that this is terribly different from any other medicine prize that recognizes contributions to the richest segment of society. For example, malaria has not been the subject of the prize since 1902 and 190........ Read more »

  • October 10, 2010
  • 10:35 AM
  • 861 views

Pavlovsk’s potato problems

by Jeremy in The Vaviblog

A paper published earlier this year used the historic potato collections assembled at the Pavlvosk Experiment Station to shed light on the confused and confusing taxonomy of potatoes. The good news is that the conclusions of the paper “are very similar to other recent studies of cultivated species, and show the need to reclassify the [...]... Read more »

Gavrilenko, T., Antonova, O., Ovchinnikova, A., Novikova, L., Krylova, E., Mironenko, N., Pendinen, G., Islamshina, A., Shvachko, N., Kiru, S.... (2010) A microsatellite and morphological assessment of the Russian National cultivated potato collection. Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution. DOI: 10.1007/s10722-010-9554-8  

  • October 10, 2010
  • 09:22 AM
  • 909 views

Walking with bacteria

by geekheartsscience in geek!

They swim, they swarm, they twitch and glide…they even ride on comet tails, and now it seems that bacteria can ‘walk’ as Maxsim Gibiansky and colleagues demonstrate in their short but sweet research published in Science. Gibiansky et al. studied the behaviour of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a bacteria that is ordinarily found in soil and water, [...]... Read more »

Gibiansky, M., Conrad, J., Jin, F., Gordon, V., Motto, D., Mathewson, M., Stopka, W., Zelasko, D., Shrout, J., & Wong, G. (2010) Bacteria Use Type IV Pili to Walk Upright and Detach from Surfaces. Science, 330(6001), 197-197. DOI: 10.1126/science.1194238  

  • October 8, 2010
  • 09:10 PM
  • 984 views

Sea Squirts, SLOSS, and Sex

by Miriam Goldstein in The Oyster's Garter


Long time readers will know how perverse and socially inappropriate the unseemly sea squirt is. But there is an interesting property of sea squirt pornography and local oceanography that may have consequences in the debates surrounding marine reserve design. Castillo and colleagues examined the spawning behavior of intertidal tunicates (Pyura praeputialis, an invasive) . . . → Read More: Sea Squirts, SLOSS, and Sex... Read more »

Castilla, J., Manriquez, P., Delgado, A., Gargallo, L., Leiva, A., & Radic, D. (2007) Bio-foam enhances larval retention in a free-spawning marine tunicate. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 104(46), 18120-18122. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0708233104  

  • October 8, 2010
  • 09:10 PM
  • 1,899 views

Sea Squirts, SLOSS, and Sex

by Kevin Zelnio in Deep Sea News

Long time readers will know how perverse and socially inappropriate the unseemly sea squirt is. But there is an interesting property of sea squirt pornography and local oceanography that may have consequences in the debates surrounding marine reserve design. Castillo and colleagues examined the spawning behavior of intertidal tunicates (Pyura praeputialis, an invasive) . . . → Read More: Sea Squirts, SLOSS, and Sex... Read more »

Castilla, J., Manriquez, P., Delgado, A., Gargallo, L., Leiva, A., & Radic, D. (2007) Bio-foam enhances larval retention in a free-spawning marine tunicate. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 104(46), 18120-18122. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0708233104  

  • October 8, 2010
  • 05:54 PM
  • 539 views

The Restoration Underground

by Journal Watch Online in Journal Watch Online

Forget The Weather Underground. What we need now is The Restoration Underground. Ecologists interested in restoration need to pay greater heed to what is going on beneath the soil’s surface, two researchers argue in a new scientific manifesto of sorts. The health of belowground communities can make a big difference for aboveground ecosystems, they note […] Read More »... Read more »

  • October 8, 2010
  • 05:47 PM
  • 793 views

What's in a vaccine?

by James Byrne in Disease Prone

In all my undergrad classes I don’t think we ever talked about what else was in a vaccine apart from the intended target of the immune response. This is actually a really important consideration as some people have serious concerns over the safety of the ‘other bits’, which include aluminium, mercury, alcohols and hydrochloric acid.... Read more »

Ribeiro CM, & Schijns VE. (2010) Immunology of vaccine adjuvants. Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.), 1-14. PMID: 20099117  

  • October 8, 2010
  • 03:48 PM
  • 891 views

Bee decline by virus and parasite co-infection

by Aaron Berdanier in Biological Posteriors

A group of United States researchers think they have identified the agents that cause Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) in US bee colonies: an RNA virus (invertebrate iridescent virus, IIV) and a fungal parasite (Nosema sp.). The researchers came to this conclusion by 1.) analyzing samples from colonies around the country and 2.) conducting laboratory survival tests with infected bees.... Read more »

Bromenshenk, J., Henderson, C., Wick, C., Stanford, M., Zulich, A., Jabbour, R., Deshpande, S., McCubbin, P., Seccomb, R., Welch, P.... (2010) Iridovirus and Microsporidian Linked to Honey Bee Colony Decline. PLoS ONE, 5(10). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0013181  

  • October 8, 2010
  • 03:17 PM
  • 911 views

Some yogurt each day keeps the doctor away?

by microbialmodus in Microbial Modus

There’s a great deal of debate these days about the sometimes wild and often wondrous health claims touted by the probiotics movement.  These special beneficial bacteria (mostly lactic acid bacteria like those found in yogurt, and available now it the convenient pill or capsule form) are claimed to not only cure everything including digestive disorders, [...]... Read more »

  • October 8, 2010
  • 03:05 PM
  • 570 views

Towards a Conclusive Test of Termite Eradication

by Michael Long in Phased

Why would anyone collect thousands of individual pieces of termite poo? If you're Michael Haverty (University of California Berkeley, United States) or one of his coworkers, you need them to develop an analytical protocol for determining the success of termite eradication. This news feature was written on October 8, 2010.... Read more »

  • October 8, 2010
  • 01:18 PM
  • 996 views

Still More on Why the Tears of Strangers Are Only Water

by David Berreby in Mind Matters


This paper in the current issue of the journal Neuron claims to add some MRI findings to the evidence that human empathy and kindness stop at the border between "our group" and "others." Tania Singer, Grit Hein and their colleagues found that Swiss soccer fans feel more, and do more, about the suffering of fellow fans than they do for supporters of a rival team.
The researchers recruited 16 Zurich men from a local fan club, telling them they would be involved in a comparison of brain ........ Read more »

  • October 8, 2010
  • 09:35 AM
  • 585 views

Friday Weird Science: IgNobels Post 1. The Bacterial Beard

by Scicurious in Neurotic Physiology

So I heard recently the IgNobels were announced!!! I... Read more »

Barbeito MS, Mathews CT, & Taylor LA. (1967) Microbiological laboratory hazard of bearded men. Applied microbiology, 15(4), 899-906. PMID: 4963447  

  • October 8, 2010
  • 09:17 AM
  • 1,258 views

An Epigenetic Mountain for Ovarian Cancer Research

by Michele in Promega Connections

It’s tempting to look at a field like cancer research and conclude that all of the big breakthroughs have been made; that what remains are the tiny discoveries that come from throwing the contents of the Sigma chemical catalog at cells and looking for effects, screening for even the most minute “hit” that might show [...]... Read more »

Jones, S., Wang, T., Shih, I., Mao, T., Nakayama, K., Roden, R., Glas, R., Slamon, D., Diaz, L., Vogelstein, B.... (2010) Frequent Mutations of Chromatin Remodeling Gene ARID1A in Ovarian Clear Cell Carcinoma. Science. DOI: 10.1126/science.1196333  

  • October 8, 2010
  • 09:02 AM
  • 659 views

Sarahsaurus Helps Revise Ideas of Dinosaurian Success

by Brian Switek in Dinosaur Tracking


Compared to some of its later, gargantuan cousins, the 190-million-year-old sauropodomorph dinosaur Sarahsaurus aurifontanalis was a rather tiny herbivore. Only 14 feet long, this dinosaur lived in the early days of the Jurassic, and, according to a team of paleontologists led by Jackson School of Geosciences paleontologist Timothy Rowe, this newly-described dinosaur from Arizona does [...]... Read more »

Timothy B. Rowe, Hans-Dieter Sues, and Robert R. Reisz. (2010) Dispersal and diversity in the earliest North American sauropodomorph dinosaurs, with a description of a new taxon. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. info:/10.1098/rspb.2010.1867

  • October 8, 2010
  • 08:09 AM
  • 787 views

A close look at experimentally evolved flies

by Graves in Down the Cellar

There is a potentially exciting new paper in Nature that challenges entrenched ideas about how adaptation proceeds.  I say potentially, because I have some serious misgivings I'd like to share. But first, a brief overview of the Burke et al. paper.

Michael Rose's lab has had a long-term experimental evolution project with Drosophila melanogaster running for about 20 years.  This is an amazing ... Read more »

Burke MK, Dunham JP, Shahrestani P, Thornton KR, Rose MR, & Long AD. (2010) Genome-wide analysis of a long-term evolution experiment with Drosophila. Nature, 467(7315), 587-90. PMID: 20844486  

  • October 8, 2010
  • 08:07 AM
  • 1,014 views

When Pseudo-Crocs Walked Tall

by Laelaps in Laelaps


Fossil tracks – the clear imprints of living creatures – have often sparked the imagination of those who have found them. When, in 1802, a young boy found footprints in stone on his family’s South Hadley, Massachusetts farm some of the tracks wound up as a doorstop. Visitors joked that the family must have raised [...]... Read more »

  • October 8, 2010
  • 08:00 AM
  • 715 views

Can we agree F-st has run its course?

by TwoYaks in Gene Flow

Other scientists out there! Hi. Can we agree that Fst, as wonderful as it's been, has run its course? It was a good idea - a great first crack at population genetics. When Wright came up with it, it was a wonderful idea. And for some applications - those where heterozygosity is generally low (I'm looking at you allozymes) - it works quite nicely. But once you're outside the Hs of .4 to .6, your ... Read more »

  • October 8, 2010
  • 07:53 AM
  • 557 views

Repost: The ancestor of the hairball

by Becky in It Takes 30

While we were playing “cite the oldest paper“, Pam Silver suggested this paper (Srb, AM and Horowitz, NH, 1944. The ornithine cycle in Neurospora and its genetic control.  J. Biol. Chem 154 129-139), as a distant antecedent of the field we now call systems biology. Published only three years after Beadle and Tatum used Neurospora [...]... Read more »

Srb, AM, & Horowitz, NH. (1944) The ornithine cycle in Neurospora and its genetic control. J. Biol. Chem , 129-139. info:/

  • October 8, 2010
  • 12:46 AM
  • 749 views

Measuring resilience to climate-change driven crop failure

by Noam Ross in Noam Ross

A number of news outlets have picked up on a new article in Environmental Research Letters by Andy Challinor and a team at the University at Leeds.  The standard headline is "Crop Failures to Increase With Climate Change," but I think the much more interesting part of the research is the author's creation of a vulnerability index based on the historical crop data in China.  Essentially, they looked at periods of drought in the past, and examined how well farmers were able to mitigate t........ Read more »

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