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  • January 7, 2011
  • 01:10 PM

Turtle excluder devices: analysis of resistance to a successful conservation policy

by WhySharksMatter in Southern Fried Science

Conservation efforts often have an associated tradeoff, and many proposed solutions are shot down because the costs are perceived to be too high. A conservation policy that benefited a charismatic endangered species with very little cost should be popular and enthusiastically adopted. However, even though turtle excluder devices greatly reduce sea turtle mortality [...]... Read more »

  • January 7, 2011
  • 10:50 AM

Guest post: sex-differential use of the same objects versus sex-differences in object preference

by Kate Clancy in Context & Variation

This is a response to the Kaylenberg and Wrangham 2010 paper on stick-carrying chimpanzees.... Read more »

  • January 7, 2011
  • 02:13 AM

Human Tears Are Not Sexy

by zacharoo in Lawn Chair Anthropology

Let's have a mature, adult conversation for a moment. I understand that there are lots of things in the world that turn people on in a sensual sort of way. People get aroused by the strangest things, stuff that when you hear about it you think you're being lied to. But women's teardrops are not such a fetish, at least not among the men in a recent study.
Shani Gelstein and colleagues report in the journal Science that human tears not only fail to arouse male test subjects, but the smell of tear........ Read more »

  • January 6, 2011
  • 08:24 PM


by bug_girl in Bug Girl's Blog

A fabulous new development in louse control! I’ve written before about the problem of head lice becoming resistant to commonly used pesticides, making treatment much more difficult.  A new device received approval from the FDA to be this year–and it’s a lot of hot air. No, really: Goates, B., Atkin, J., Wilding, K., Birch, K., [...]... Read more »

Goates, B., Atkin, J., Wilding, K., Birch, K., Cottam, M., Bush, S., & Clayton, D. (2006) An Effective Nonchemical Treatment for Head Lice: A Lot of Hot Air. PEDIATRICS, 118(5), 1962-1970. DOI: 10.1542/peds.2005-1847  

  • January 6, 2011
  • 08:15 PM

Oncogenesis Via Altered Enzyme Specificity, Part II

by Keith Robison in Omics! Omics!

As promised in the EZH2 story, there is another story of cancer-causing mutations tuning an enzyme in an interesting way. It's also a great story of how multiple high-throughput methods can create and exploit an entirely new angle on cancer. I'll try to do a good job on this, but I'm lucky enough to have as regular readers of this space several of the authors who are referenced here, which should enable any egregious errors on my part to be flagged. I'm also trying to tell the main thread of ........ Read more »

  • January 6, 2011
  • 05:15 PM

Enhanced mapping of the C. elegans transcriptome through multiple RNA-Seq techniques

by epibio in EpiCentral

In a recent publication, Lamm et al. demonstrated the use of Epicentre’s CircLigase ssDNA Ligase for template generation in high-throughput RNA-Seq applications. The authors used a combination of three high-throughput RNA capture and sequencing methods to refine and augment the transcriptome map of Caenorhabditis elegans. The CircLigase method relies on RNA fragmentation, poly(A) tailing, and oligo(dT)-based hybrid capture to generate a cDNA that can be recircularized and PCR-amplified for hig........ Read more »

  • January 6, 2011
  • 02:23 PM

A Creationist Blog Quote Mines Peer Reviewed Research about Protein Evolution

by Greg Laden in Greg Laden's Blog

It is difficult to imagine how point mutations, a large number of which are neutral, a certain number of which are deleterious, and a tiny number of which are fitness-enhancing, can add up to the sorts of evolutionary diversity and adaptive elegance we see in real life. However, there are only two possible explanations for what we see in nature: 1) Evolution happened more or less as we think it did or 2) God created life and made it look exactly like evolution happened. Take your pick. I'm be........ Read more »

Bogarad, L. (1999) A hierarchical approach to protein molecular evolution. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 96(6), 2591-2595. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.96.6.2591  

Hayashi, Y., Aita, T., Toyota, H., Husimi, Y., Urabe, I., & Yomo, T. (2006) Experimental Rugged Fitness Landscape in Protein Sequence Space. PLoS ONE, 1(1). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0000096  

  • January 6, 2011
  • 02:06 PM

Sub-Social Spiders Give New Meaning to the Term ‘Yummy Mummy’

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

The sub-social spider Stegodyphus lineatus is one of the few invertebrate species to provide parental care.  Females provide regurgitated food meals to their offspring for a two-week period after they hatch – the only food they consume during this time.  You might imagine that it’s important for mommy to make sure that her diet is [...]... Read more »

  • January 6, 2011
  • 10:30 AM

Where Have All the Sauropods Gone?

by Brian Switek in Dinosaur Tracking

For the past century, paleontologists have been trying to figure out one of the most puzzling disappearing acts in the fossil record. In both Europe and North America, the Jurassic was the heyday of the sauropod dinosaurs. After the beginning of the Cretaceous period 145 million years ago, however, the number of these dinosaurs dwindled [...]... Read more »

  • January 6, 2011
  • 10:11 AM

Britain's jawless wonders: brook lamprey ecology and taxonomic status.

by davesbrain in Dave Hubble's ecology spot

Normal 0 false false false EN-GB X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 ... Read more »

Schreiber, A., & Engelhorn, R. (1998) Population genetics of a cyclostome species pair, river lamprey (Lampetra fluviatilis L.) and brook lamprey (Lampetra planeri Bloch). Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research, 36(1-2), 85-99. info:/10.1111/j.1439-0469.1998.tb00781.x

  • January 6, 2011
  • 09:57 AM

How to swap a gearbox for a new model right on the highway

by Vasili Hauryliuk in stringent response

Protein biosyntheses is central a hub for cellular physiology: proteins are essencial for all the cellular processes. Therefore changing something really important in translational machinery is really hard: you still need producing proteins! Swapping an important translational factor for another one? That sounds impossible, but this is exactly what happend with eEF1A - eukaryotic factor that brings aminoacylated tRNA to the ribosome. Moreover, it happened several times!It was indeed swapped for ........ Read more »

  • January 6, 2011
  • 09:50 AM


by Eva Amsen in the Node

The modENCODE project (model organism encyclopedia of DNA elements) is a collaborative effort to identify all sequence-based functional elements of Drosophila and C. elegans. The project has now produced almost a thousand data sets with information about transcription, epigenetics, replication and gene regulation across different developmental stages and multiple cell lines.

Just before the holidays, [...]... Read more »

The modENCODE Consortium, ., Roy, S., Ernst, J., Kharchenko, P., Kheradpour, P., Negre, N., Eaton, M., Landolin, J., Bristow, C., Ma, L.... (2010) Identification of Functional Elements and Regulatory Circuits by Drosophila modENCODE. Science, 330(6012), 1787-1797. DOI: 10.1126/science.1198374  

  • January 6, 2011
  • 07:52 AM

by beredim in Strange Animals

The Japanese spider crab (Macrocheira kaempferi)is one of the world's largest arthropods. It is the second heaviest and comes first in regards to leg span size. As implied by its name, its mainly found in the waters surrounding Japan. Post contains images, videos and extensive information about this weird aquatic animal.... Read more »

  • January 6, 2011
  • 07:00 AM

January 6, 2011

by Erin Campbell in HighMag Blog

Our immune system has many different types of specialized cells, and macrophages have to be my favorite. One look at our image today, and you’ll see why they are such amazing little workers.... Read more »

Flannagan, R., Harrison, R., Yip, C., Jaqaman, K., & Grinstein, S. (2010) Dynamic macrophage "probing" is required for the efficient capture of phagocytic targets. originally published in The Journal of Cell Biology, 191(6), 1205-1218. DOI: 10.1083/jcb.201007056  

  • January 6, 2011
  • 05:30 AM

Sources sinks = swarmers stalks: a signaling activity gradient within a bacterial cell

by Becky in It Takes 30

You’re probably familiar with the idea that gradients of signaling molecules determine cell fate in early animal embryos.  Now, a recent paper from the Laub lab (Chen et al. 2010.  Spatial gradient of protein phosphorylation underlies replicative asymmetry in a bacterium, PNAS doi:10.1073/pnas.1015397108) has discovered gradients of active signaling molecules within a single bacterial cell.  [...]... Read more »

Chen YE, Tropini C, Jonas K, Tsokos CG, Huang KC, & Laub MT. (2010) Spatial gradient of protein phosphorylation underlies replicative asymmetry in a bacterium. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 21191097  

  • January 5, 2011
  • 09:45 PM

Genetically Damaged Bacteria Grow via Synthetic Proteins

by Michael Long in Phased

Bacteria which possess genetic damage that normally prevents reproduction in a nutrient-deficient medium can be saved by expression of artificial proteins, an important step towards constructing artificial life.... Read more »

  • January 5, 2011
  • 08:01 PM

The Fightin’ Ibis: Xenicibis and Evolution’s Arrow

by Laelaps in Laelaps

What comes next for evolution? This seems like a simple question. Every day we are learning more about the history of life on earth, and we would expect that, over 150 years since Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species, the life of the past could be used to extrapolate the trajectory of evolution’s [...]... Read more »

Nicholas R. Longrich, and Storrs L. Olson. (2010) The bizarre wing of the Jamaican flightless ibis Xenicibis xympithecus: a unique vertebrate adaptation. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. info:/10.1098/rspb.2010.2117

Osborn, Henry Fairfield; Brown, Barnum. (1906) Tyrannosaurus, Upper Cretaceous carnivorous dinosaur. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, 22(16), 281-296. info:/

  • January 5, 2011
  • 11:15 AM

"Bad-sad-bad" and other responses to death.

by SeriousMonkeyBusiness in This is Serious Monkey Business

Death--every philosopher has a take on it. But what is the take on death from a primatological perspective?... Read more »

Anderson J.R. (2010) A primatological perspective on death. American Journal of Primatology. PMID: 21197638  

  • January 5, 2011
  • 10:58 AM

When adaptation doesn’t happen

by Hannah Waters in Culturing Science – biology as relevant to us earthly beings

“Evolutionary biology has been enriched by considering not only how adaptation happens, but also why it often does not happen, or at least does not happen as we might naively expect.” - Douglas Futuyma (2010) In 2005, a group of … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • January 5, 2011
  • 10:09 AM

Heinrich's digital Kentrosaurus: the SJG stegosaur special, part II

by Darren Naish in Tetrapod Zoology

If you read the previous article on stegosaurs you'll know that a collection of papers devoted to examination of this fascinating group appeared last year (2010) in a special issue of Swiss Journal of Geosciences (SJG from hereon). These papers resulted from a meeting held at the Sauriermuseum Aathal, Switzerland, in June 2009 (Billon-Bruyat & Marty 2010). Last time round, we looked at the papers on stegosaur systematics and diversity. Here, we begin a look at the remaining papers: they cove........ Read more »

Mallison, H. (2010) CAD assessment of the posture and range of motion of Kentrosaurus aethiopicus Henning 1915. Swiss Journal of Geosciences, 211-233. info:/

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