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  • July 5, 2010
  • 01:00 PM
  • 599 views

The Sea Slug's Guide to Plastid Adoption

by Moselio Schaechter in Small Things Considered

by Merry A handsome E. chlorotica. Its rich green pigmentation is courtesy of plastids captured from its food source, the siphonaceous marine alga Vaucheria litorea (seen in the background). Source. Having an intimate relationship with photosynthetic microbes is a widespread strategy adopted by numerous unicellular and multicellular organisms. Some eschew a committed relationship, and simply nab the plastids, sequestering them...... Read more »

Rumpho ME, Worful JM, Lee J, Kannan K, Tyler MS, Bhattacharya D, Moustafa A, & Manhart JR. (2008) Horizontal gene transfer of the algal nuclear gene psbO to the photosynthetic sea slug Elysia chlorotica. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 105(46), 17867-71. PMID: 19004808  

  • July 5, 2010
  • 12:55 PM
  • 778 views

Standardization cause of poor replicability?

by Henkjan Honing in Music Matters

In the last few years Web-based experiments have become an attractive alternative to lab-based experiments. Next to the advantages of versatility and the ecological validity of the results, Web-based experiments can potentially reach a much larger, more varied and intrinsically motivated participant pool. Especially in the domain of music perception and cognition it is important to probe a wide variety of participants, with different levels of training and cultural backgrounds.Nevertheless, to g........ Read more »

Richter, S., Garner, J., Auer, C., Kunert, J., & Würbel, H. (2010) Systematic variation improves reproducibility of animal experiments. Nature Methods, 7(3), 167-168. DOI: 10.1038/nmeth0310-167  

Honing, H., & Reips, U.-D. (2008) Web-based versus lab-based studies: a response to Kendall (2008). Empirical Musicology Review, 3(2), 73-77. info:/

  • July 5, 2010
  • 10:18 AM
  • 1,219 views

Boney lumps and fast ways to the genetic cause of a disease

by Grant Jacobs in Code for life






We all have our lumps, the quirky features we develop with time.
Some of these are bone spurs, extra growths of bone.
These can be caused from damage to joints, like the lumpy joints seen in elderly people with arthritis. Bone spurs from differing causes can develop in many parts of the body, spine, toes, heel and [...]... Read more »

Sobreira NL, Cirulli ET, Avramopoulos D, Wohler E, Oswald GL, Stevens EL, Ge D, Shianna KV, Smith JP, Maia JM.... (2010) Whole-genome sequencing of a single proband together with linkage analysis identifies a Mendelian disease gene. PLoS genetics, 6(6). PMID: 20577567  

  • July 5, 2010
  • 10:05 AM
  • 393 views

Losing the scientific lede

by Jeremy Yoder in Denim and Tweed

Over at SEED, Dave Munger reflects on how online publishing and dissemination methods can strip the nuance from scientific news:I thought I was being careful to explain the results of several studies, showing that suicide is a difficult problem with many potential contributing factors and confounding variables, including mental illness, depression, and the seemingly contradictory influences of intelligence. Yet on social-networking sites, many readers latched on to one finding: That countries wi........ Read more »

  • July 5, 2010
  • 08:29 AM
  • 582 views

XMRV and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Continued (Again)

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

Yet more twists have emerged in the already serpentine tale of XMRV, the virus that may or may not be responsible for causing some cases of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), aka myalgic encephalomyelitis, (ME).First off, on Saturday 2nd July, a news item in Science magazine reported that two papers on XMRV were about to be published, but that the publication of both was "on hold" because they contradicted each other. One paper, from the US federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC), supposedly foun........ Read more »

  • July 5, 2010
  • 08:00 AM
  • 555 views

Island getaway, or: A lizard in a life-boat

by Zen Faulkes in NeuroDojo

Bermuda. Famous for its sun. Sand. Surf. Shorts. Triangles. Lizards.

Okay, maybe not the lizards. Not yet.

Islands and lakes hold a special place in the heart of evolutionary biologists (here’s a few examples from this blog: sticklebacks, crickets). As Jerry Coyne likes to say, island biogeography provides evidence for evolution so strong that most creationists simply ignore it.


View Larger Map

Bermuda formed about two million years ago. It’s small and a long way from the mainland, and ........ Read more »

Brandley, M., Wang, Y., Guo, X., Nieto Montes de Oca, A., Fería Ortíz, M., Hikida, T., & Ota, H. (2010) Bermuda as an evolutionary life raft for an ancient lineage of endangered Lizards. PLoS ONE, 5(6). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0011375  

  • July 5, 2010
  • 01:48 AM
  • 1,756 views

What the cuttlefish sees that you don't

by Mike Mike in Cephalove

I thought I'd mix things up a little bit and take a look at some research on the sensory abilities of cuttlefish.  Specifically, I'd like to take a look at an aspect of cuttlefish vision that has shown up in the literature recently (it's actually one of the few threads of cuttlefish research that seems to be active at the moment - the other ones I've noticed are memory and fishery ecology and management): the ability of cuttlefish to perceive polarized light.  Polarized light is compos........ Read more »

  • July 5, 2010
  • 01:09 AM
  • 1,042 views

Perennial grains gain credibility

by Jeremy in Agricultural Biodiversity Weblog

It has been almost 10 days since the publication of Increased Food and Ecosystem Security via Perennial Grains in the Policy Forum of the journal Science. Not long in the 10,000 year history of agriculture, agreed, but long enough to have had a bit more impact, which it deserves for two reasons. First, there’s [...]... Read more »

Glover, J., Reganold, J., Bell, L., Borevitz, J., Brummer, E., Buckler, E., Cox, C., Cox, T., Crews, T., Culman, S.... (2010) Increased Food and Ecosystem Security via Perennial Grains. Science, 328(5986), 1638-1639. DOI: 10.1126/science.1188761  

  • July 5, 2010
  • 12:52 AM
  • 925 views

Prozac, Ritalin, Cognitive Enhancement, and the power of a snappy title

by Evil Monkey in Neurotopia

Let it be known that Sci, like many a young, bright-eyed little scientist, tries to keep up on her reading. TRIES is the operative word, but every week Sci gets the Tables of Contents for all the major journals in her field (and all the major ones in her subdisciple) emailed straight to her for her perusal. She scans the title lists, searching for things that are cool in her field, cool to blog, or that might indicate a scoopage of her work (hey, it happens).

And it was in one of these peru........ Read more »

  • July 5, 2010
  • 12:34 AM
  • 660 views

Prozac, Ritalin, Cognitive Enhancement, and the power of a snappy title

by Scicurious in Neurotic Physiology

Let it be known that Sci, like many a young, bright-eyed little scientist, tries to keep up on her reading. TRIES is the operative word, but every week Sci gets the Tables of Contents for all the major journals in her field (and all the major ones in her subdisciple) emailed straight to her for [...]... Read more »

  • July 4, 2010
  • 11:49 AM
  • 665 views

Standardization cause of poor reproducibility?

by Henkjan Honing in Music Matters

In the last few years Web-based experiments have become an attractive alternative to lab-based experiments. Next to the advantages of versatility and the ecological validity of the results, Web-based experiments can potentially reach a much larger, more varied and intrinsically motivated participant pool. Especially in the domain of music perception and cognition it is important to probe a wide variety of participants, with different levels of training and cultural backgrounds.Nevertheless, to ........ Read more »

Honing, H., & Reips, U.-D. (2008) Web-based versus lab-based studies: a response to Kendall (2008). Empirical Musicology Review, 3(2), 73-77. info:/

  • July 4, 2010
  • 09:00 AM
  • 1,580 views

Louis Agassiz and a brief history of early United States marine biology

by WhySharksMatter in Southern Fried Science




Happy birthday, America, and happy Fourth of July to all of our readers! Today marks the 234th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, and many in the media are spending the day talking about life in the early United States. I’d like to take this opportunity to discuss an aspect of early [...]... Read more »

  • July 3, 2010
  • 07:03 PM
  • 623 views

Microbial sequencing for food applications is gaining momentum, but challenges remain

by Aurametrix team in Health Technologies

Microbes give us the great variety of tasty food, but not all of them are harmless. Genome sequencing of microorganisms started to bring practical benefits to the field of microbial food safety. The technology is still not as readily available and inexpensive as needed for practical applications, but a few pilot projects have showed a promise. ... Read more »

  • July 3, 2010
  • 02:00 AM
  • 92,701 views

Octopus Sensory Systems: Part 2.5

by Mike Lisieski in Cephalove

Octopuses (Enteroctopus dofleini) Recognize Individual Humans (2010) by Anderson et al. in the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science claims that octopuses can recognize their individual human keepers. Wait, what?... Read more »

Anderson, R., Mather, J., Monette, M., & Zimsen, S. (2010) Octopuses (Enteroctopus dofleini) Recognize Individual Humans. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, 13(3), 261-272. DOI: 10.1080/10888705.2010.483892  

  • July 2, 2010
  • 06:01 PM
  • 747 views

Why Tibetans breathe so easy up high

by Razib Khan in Gene Expression

I said yesterday I would say a bit more about the new paper on rapid recent high altitude adaptation among the Tibetans when I’d read the paper. Well, I’ve read it now. Sequencing of 50 Human Exomes Reveals Adaptation to High Altitude:
Residents of the Tibetan Plateau show heritable adaptations to extreme altitude. We sequenced [...]... Read more »

Yi, X., Liang, Y., Huerta-Sanchez, E., Jin, X., Cuo, Z., Pool, J., Xu, X., Jiang, H., Vinckenbosch, N., Korneliussen, T.... (2010) Sequencing of 50 Human Exomes Reveals Adaptation to High Altitude. Science, 329(5987), 75-78. DOI: 10.1126/science.1190371  

  • July 2, 2010
  • 05:18 PM
  • 978 views

Cinnabar moths and caterpillars

by Africa Gomez in BugBlog

During a walk in a local wildlife garden we noticed the first Cinnabar Moth (Tyria jacobaeae) caterpillars of the year, and an adult also flew by. The caterpillars clustered at the flower heads of Ragwort (Senecio jacobaea), which they prefer as food, and had defoliated the plants quite a bit. Many had already left in search for greener pastures and were around the ground or wandering over other plants. Cinnabar Moth caterpillars have a strong tendency to cluster together, possibly an antipredat........ Read more »

  • July 2, 2010
  • 05:10 PM
  • 616 views

It's Like Cocaine, But No Fun

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

In a very interesting paper, Dutch pharmaceutical company NeuroSearch, in conjunction with Canadian research corporation Kendle Early Stage, report on Subjective and Objective Effects of the Novel Triple Reuptake Inhibitor Tesofensine in Recreational Stimulant Users.Tesofensine is a drug NeuroSearch are developing for obesity, and they report that it's shown excellent weight-loss-inducing properties in early clinical trials, although of course they would say that. What makes "tes-fens" so inte........ Read more »

  • July 2, 2010
  • 04:43 PM
  • 498 views

Message Undeliverable

by Journal Watch Online in Journal Watch Online

Plants have their own way of communicating: they send chemical signals to alert each other when they’ve been nibbled by herbivores. But according to a study in Ecology Letters, ozone pollution can hinder the delivery of these messages.
When a plant is attacked, it may release chemicals called volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are detected […] Read More »... Read more »

  • July 2, 2010
  • 02:27 PM
  • 1,125 views

Combined NOTCH and EGFR inhibition leads to synthetic lethality in breast cancer

by Sally Church in Pharma Strategy Blog

This was a great paper I found while browsing My 6 Sense last night, a free but very cool app on my iPhone that takes my Google Reader rss feeds and intuitively tries to select the individual items (e.g. clinical...... Read more »

  • July 2, 2010
  • 10:37 AM
  • 633 views

Were Crests and Sails Used in Competition for Mates?

by Brian Switek in Dinosaur Tracking

Paleontologists have long been fascinated by bizarre structures on prehistoric animals. The horns of Styracosaurus, the sail of Dimetrodon, the crest of Tupuxuara and more—these odd ornaments raise the questions, “what were those structures used for, and how did they evolve?” In a recent review of dinosaur evolution, paleontologists Kevin Padian and Jack Horner suggested [...]... Read more »

Tomkins, J., LeBas, N., Witton, M., Martill, D., & Humphries, S. (2010) Positive Allometry and the Prehistory of Sexual Selection. The American Naturalist, 2147483647. DOI: 10.1086/653001  

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