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  • March 3, 2011
  • 09:10 AM

New family tree of worms has roots in the 19th century

by Lucas in thoughtomics

Nineteenth century biologists had a point when they divided the ringed worms into free-living hunters and sessile filter feeders. Their classification was dismissed in the 1970s, but a closer look at the genes of many different worms now shows that they were closer to the truth than their later colleagues.
The classification of worms got [...]... Read more »

FAUCHALD, K., & ROUSE, G. (1997) Polychaete systematics: Past and present. Zoologica Scripta, 26(2), 71-138. DOI: 10.1111/j.1463-6409.1997.tb00411.x  

Torsten H. Struck, Christiane Paul, Natascha Hill, Stefanie Hartmann, Christoph Hösel. (2010) Phylogenomic analyses unravel annelid evolution. Nature. info:/

  • March 3, 2011
  • 09:07 AM

Ammonoids Trapped Parasites in Pearls

by Laelaps in Laelaps

Everybody knows how oysters make pearls – a bit of sand or grit slips through the protective barrier of their outer shell, irritating the mollusk’s body, and the invertebrate encircles the invader with shell material. As it turns out, ammonoids — the extinct, coil-shelled cousins of modern squid and nautilus — made [...]... Read more »

  • March 3, 2011
  • 07:00 AM

March 3, 2011

by Erin Campbell in HighMag Blog

When I first learned about the elegant experiments of the late Ray Rappaport, I remember feeling like I was having a Zen moment. Amazing things can be learned from some of the simplest experimental designs, and this is a very calming and satisfying concept. Today’s image is from a paper using those same sea urchin eggs that Rappaport used, and provides us with a great prediction tool for determining how a cell will divide. Many cells in an embryo must divide in a certain orientation, and m........ Read more »

  • March 3, 2011
  • 05:30 AM

The limits of male attractiveness

by Becky in It Takes 30

Why aren’t males more attractive to females?  Because what females want simply isn’t attainable — alas.  That, at least, is the message of a recent paper (Hine et al. 2011 Natural selection stops the evolution of male attractiveness.  PNAS 108 3659-3664) that examined the evolution of sexually selected traits in male Drosophila. The authors were [...]... Read more »

Hine E, McGuigan K, & Blows MW. (2011) Natural selection stops the evolution of male attractiveness. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 21321197  

  • March 2, 2011
  • 07:55 PM

A 3-In-1 Cell Phone - Microscope - Spectrometer

by Michael Long in Phased

A cell phone has been adapted to function as an optical microscope and a spectrometer.... Read more »

Smith, Z. J., Chu, K., Espenson, A. R., Rahimzadeh, M., Gryshuk, A., Molinaro, M., Dwyre, D. M., Lane, S., Matthews, D., & Wachsmann-Hogiu, S. (2011) Cell-Phone-Based Platform for Biomedical Device Development and Education Applications. PLoS ONE, 6(3). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0017150  

  • March 2, 2011
  • 09:17 AM

Tip of the Week: DAnCER for disease-annotated epigenetics data

by Mary in OpenHelix

Epigenetics and epigenomics are becoming more exciting areas of investigation, and we are seeing more requests for database resources to support them, and for the sources of data from these types of experiments. If you aren’t aware of these investigations at this point, check out their entries in the Talking Glossary of Genetic Terms:
Epigenetics: Epigenetics is an emerging field of science that studies heritable changes caused by the activation and deactivation of genes without any cha........ Read more »

Turinsky, A., Turner, B., Borja, R., Gleeson, J., Heath, M., Pu, S., Switzer, T., Dong, D., Gong, Y., On, T.... (2010) DAnCER: Disease-Annotated Chromatin Epigenetics Resource. Nucleic Acids Research, 39(Database). DOI: 10.1093/nar/gkq857  

Fingerman, I., McDaniel, L., Zhang, X., Ratzat, W., Hassan, T., Jiang, Z., Cohen, R., & Schuler, G. (2010) NCBI Epigenomics: a new public resource for exploring epigenomic data sets. Nucleic Acids Research, 39(Database). DOI: 10.1093/nar/gkq1146  

  • March 2, 2011
  • 08:49 AM

On RANKL and denosumab in advanced cancer metastasis

by Sally Church in Pharma Strategy Blog

In this week’s Nature, my eye was drawn to a Letter from Tan et al., (2011) discussing how inflammatory mechanisms influence tumorigenesis and metastatic progression, even in tumours that seemingly don’t involve pre-existing inflammation or infection such as breast and … Continue reading →
... Read more »

Luo JL, Tan W, Ricono JM, Korchynskyi O, Zhang M, Gonias SL, Cheresh DA, & Karin M. (2007) Nuclear cytokine-activated IKKalpha controls prostate cancer metastasis by repressing Maspin. Nature, 446(7136), 690-4. PMID: 17377533  

  • March 2, 2011
  • 08:23 AM

Genetic distance and economic development

by Jason Collins in Evolving Economics

The History and Geography of Human Genes has probably influenced the way I think about human evolution more than any other book. Even though it is getting old at a time when masses of population genetic data are being accumulated, a flip through the maps depicting the geographic distribution of genes provides a picture that [...]... Read more »

Spolaore, E., & Wacziarg, R. (2009) The Diffusion of Development . Quarterly Journal of Economics, 124(2), 469-529. DOI: 10.1162/qjec.2009.124.2.469  

  • March 2, 2011
  • 08:10 AM

Weed Biology and Climate Change

by A. Goldstein in WiSci

Homeowners detest dandelions, and hikers abhor poison ivy. However, as pesky and unwanted as they often are, weeds’ stubborn resilience makes them well worth studying, especially as climate change affects plant life around the world. To find out more, we interviewed Dr. Lewis Ziska and Dr. Jeffrey Dukes, two editors who worked on the recently [...]... Read more »

James I.L. Morison, Michael D. Morecroft, Lewis H. Ziska, & James A. Bunce. (2007) Chapter 2. Plant Responses to Rising Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide. Plant Growth and Climate Change. DOI: 10.1002/9780470988695.ch2  

David M. Richardson, & Jeffrey S. Dukes. (2010) 26. Responses of Invasive Species to a Changing Climate and Atmosphere. Fifty Years of Invasion Ecology: The Legacy of Charles Elton. info:/10.1002/9781444329988.ch26

  • March 2, 2011
  • 07:34 AM

Cryptomonads: solar-powered armoured battleships

by Psi Wavefunction in Skeptic Wonder

I've been 'scoping around some pond water lately and came across some relatively big cryptomonads (g. Cryptomonas, I think). Cryptos aren't all that rare, but most of them whirl about rather hyperactively, rendering them as troublesome photo subjects. This specimen, on the other hand, had a convenient habit of pausing every once in a while to have its picture taken. Finally, I have my own cryptomonad shots!Cryptomonas(?) sp. The cell is about ~30µm long, pretty big for a cryptomonad. On its rig........ Read more »

  • March 2, 2011
  • 12:41 AM

Natural history collections in ecological research

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

Once I dreamed a dream of being an evolutionary biologist.  As I imagined it, I would hang out in a natural history museum, comparing fossils to one another, taking notes on the minute differences, and piecing together the history of life. It wasn’t until a job fair years ago, when I babbled to an evolutionary [...]... Read more »

Barnes, D., Kuklinski, P., Jackson, J., Keel, G., Morley, S., & Winston, J. (2011) Scott's collections help reveal accelerating marine life growth in Antarctica. Current Biology, 21(4). DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2011.01.033  

Parker, P., Buckles, E., Farrington, H., Petren, K., Whiteman, N., Ricklefs, R., Bollmer, J., & Jiménez-Uzcátegui, G. (2011) 110 Years of Avipoxvirus in the Galapagos Islands. PLoS ONE, 6(1). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0015989  

  • March 1, 2011
  • 11:08 PM

Authenticity of XMRV integration sites

by Vincent Racaniello in virology blog

Integration of retroviral DNA into the cellular genome is essential for the production of new infectious particles. A strong argument that the novel human retrovirus XMRV is not a laboratory contaminant is the finding that viral DNA is integrated in chromosomal DNA of prostate tumors. Nucleotide sequence analyses of 14 integration sites in prostate tumor DNAs [...]... Read more »

Stone, K., Mickey, D., Wunderli, H., Mickey, G., & Paulson, D. (1978) Isolation of a human prostate carcinoma cell line (DU 145). International Journal of Cancer, 21(3), 274-281. DOI: 10.1002/ijc.2910210305  

Dong B, Kim S, Hong S, Das Gupta J, Malathi K, Klein EA, Ganem D, Derisi JL, Chow SA, & Silverman RH. (2007) An infectious retrovirus susceptible to an IFN antiviral pathway from human prostate tumors. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 104(5), 1655-60. PMID: 17234809  

  • March 1, 2011
  • 06:33 PM


by Julia Whitty in Deep Blue Home

(Seal tracks on sea ice. Photo by Jason Auch, courtesy Wikimedia Commons.) There's a fascinating paper in PNAS examining the relationship between Arctic sea ice and the single-celled algae that live in sea ice.These tiny players account for 57 percent of the primary productivity—that is, the business of making life from nonlife via photosynthesis—in Arctic waters.The authors turned the predictable question—How will dwindling Arctic sea ice affect ice-dwelling algae?—inside-out: Here we ........ Read more »

  • March 1, 2011
  • 06:27 PM

The tiniest of moths

by Chris Grinter in The Skeptical Moth

The family Nepticulidae hold some of the smallest moths known, ranging from 3-8mm wing-tip to wing-tip.  For a comparison I have imaged two moths above: the largest known – Coscinocera hercules that tips the scales at nearly 9 inches, and one of the smallest (yes that tiny little speck below . . . → Read More: The tiniest of moths... Read more »

  • March 1, 2011
  • 06:23 PM

Water slater embrace

by Africa Gomez in BugBlog

Our pond does not even qualify as a pond. It is a half a wooden barrel, almost full of dead leaves and overgrown irises and marsh marigolds. Still, it's got some water snails and frogs have bred the last couple of years. A few days ago I was watching the very active ramshorn snails when I noticed this paired water slaters, Asellus aquaticus. Water slaters are isopods, like woodlice, but unlike their terrestrial relatives they display a behaviour which is common in crustaceans, mate guarding, by ........ Read more »

  • March 1, 2011
  • 06:23 PM

High school student does some hard science with UCLA researchers

by Casey Rentz in Natural Selections

If 8-year-olds can publish a scientific paper about bee behavior in the journal Biology Letters, then high school students ought to be capable of acting like full-fledged professional scientists, right?

Alexander Jaffe proves it true. The Los Angeles high school student gave up 30 hours a week of party time over the course of two summers to work for UCLA evolutionary biologist Michael Alfaro: looking at turtle and tortoise (chelonian) shell size and asking the question--what is the optimal size........ Read more »

  • March 1, 2011
  • 02:04 PM

Have You Double-Blinded Your Dog Today?

by Alan Dove in alandove

It’s hard not to like dogs. Even if you don’t like them, you’d better say that you do. After all, what kind of person are you if you don’t like an animal that is so clearly and completely into humans? … Continue reading →... Read more »

Sonoda, H., Kohnoe, S., Yamazato, T., Satoh, Y., Morizono, G., Shikata, K., Morita, M., Watanabe, A., Morita, M., Kakeji, Y.... (2011) Colorectal cancer screening with odour material by canine scent detection. Gut. DOI: 10.1136/gut.2010.218305  

  • March 1, 2011
  • 01:58 PM

How Long Do Stem Cells Live?

by Sanford- Burnham in Beaker

Have you or a family member donated bone marrow or received a transplant? We’d love to hear what this type of research means to you. Please drop us a line in the comments below.
When patients receive a bone marrow transplant, they are getting a new population of hematopoietic stem cells. Fresh stem cells are needed [...]... Read more »

Sieburg HB, Rezner BD, & Muller-Sieburg CE. (2011) Predicting clonal self-renewal and extinction of hematopoietic stem cells. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. info:/10.1073/pnas.1011414108

  • March 1, 2011
  • 11:59 AM

Molecular subtypes in gliomas predict prognosis

by Sally Church in Pharma Strategy Blog

One of the hallmarks of cancer is that even within different tumour types, there is an enormous degree of heterogeneity. Ultimately, in simple terms this means that individual patients will respond to different therapies depending upon their underlying biology.   … Continue reading →
... Read more »

  • March 1, 2011
  • 10:28 AM

Debunking the “Dinosaurs” of Kachina Bridge

by Brian Switek in Dinosaur Tracking

About 65.5 million years ago, the last of the non-avian dinosaurs were wiped out in the fallout from one of the earth’s most catastrophic extinction events. They left only bones and traces in the rock behind. Yet there are people who claim that humans actually lived alongside dinosaurs. Young earth creationists have a habit of [...]... Read more »

Senter, P.; Cole, S.J. (2011) "Dinosaur" petroglyphs at Kachina Bridge site, Natural Bridges National Monument, southeastern Utah: not dinosaurs after all . Palaeontologia Electronica, 14(1), 1-5. info:/

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