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  • July 2, 2010
  • 12:03 AM

Put the bite back into biodiversity conservation

by CJA Bradshaw in ConservationBytes

Today’s guest post is by Dr. Euan Ritchie, formerly of James Cook University, but who is now firmly entrenched at Deakin University in Victoria as a new Lecturer in ecology. Euan’s exciting research over the course of his memorable PhD (under the tutelage of renowned ecologist-guru, Professor Chris Johnson) has produced some whoppingly high-impact research. [...]... Read more »

  • July 1, 2010
  • 07:10 PM

Is there Something Fishy about Psychosis?

by Darcy Cowan in Skepticon

Psychosis is a scary word, conjuring images of people who have so lost touch with reality that they are unable to integrate with society. As with most everything else this condition exists on a continuum, mild symptoms may pose no problem for the sufferer1 nor be outwardly visible. Previous studies have seen correlations between the [...]... Read more »

  • July 1, 2010
  • 05:15 PM

Racial background affects risk of severe sepsis

by geekheartsscience in geek!

High infection rates and increased risk of acute organ dysfunction in black individuals explains why people from this racial background are more likely to have (and die from) severe sepsis than white individuals, according to a new study published in JAMA. Severe sepsis (when the body has a systemic inflammatory response to infection that can [...]... Read more »

Mayr, F., Yende, S., Linde-Zwirble, W., Peck-Palmer, O., Barnato, A., Weissfeld, L., & Angus, D. (2010) Infection Rate and Acute Organ Dysfunction Risk as Explanations for Racial Differences in Severe Sepsis. JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, 303(24), 2495-2503. DOI: 10.1001/jama.2010.851  

  • July 1, 2010
  • 02:32 PM

Are Zombie Vultures In Our Future?

by GrrlScientist in Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

A zombie is another name for The Walking Dead -- those who are lifeless, apathetic, or totally lacking in independent judgment. But in an ecological sense, a zombie species no longer fulfills its ecological function because it is becoming extinct... Read more »

Shultz, S., Baral, H., Charman, S., Cunningham, A., Das, D., Ghalsasi, G., Goudar, M., Green, R., Jones, A., Nighot, P.... (2004) Diclofenac poisoning is widespread in declining vulture populations across the Indian subcontinent. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 271(Suppl_6). DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2004.0223  

Naidoo, V., Wolter, K., Cromarty, D., Diekmann, M., Duncan, N., Meharg, A., Taggart, M., Venter, L., & Cuthbert, R. (2009) Toxicity of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to Gyps vultures: a new threat from ketoprofen. Biology Letters, 6(3), 339-341. DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2009.0818  

Swan, G., Cuthbert, R., Quevedo, M., Green, R., Pain, D., Bartels, P., Cunningham, A., Duncan, N., Meharg, A., Lindsay Oaks, J.... (2006) Toxicity of diclofenac to Gyps vultures. Biology Letters, 2(2), 279-282. DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2005.0425  

  • July 1, 2010
  • 12:08 PM

What's eating you? - Bugs, bacteria, and zombies

by Laelaps in Laelaps

The trailer for Shaun of the Dead.

Not all zombies are created equal. The most popular zombie archetype is a shambling, brain-eating member of the recently deceased, but, in recent films from 28 Days Later to Zombieland, the definition of what a zombie is or isn't has become more complicated. Does a zombie have to be a cannibal corpse, or can a zombie be someone infected with a virus which turns them into a blood-crazed, fast-running monster?

For my own part, I have always preferred the cla........ Read more »

  • July 1, 2010
  • 09:46 AM

Advancing the Use of Biomarkers in Cancer Drug Development

by Sally Church in Pharma Strategy Blog

This was the title of a fascinating article I saw on Twitter a few minutes ago, courtesy of the American Association of Cancer Research (AACR). They are providing access to the paper free of charge to the public using this...... Read more »

Ranade, A., Cherba, D., Sridhar, S., Richardson, P., Webb, C., Paripati, A., Bowles, B., & Weiss, G. (2010) MicroRNA 92a-2*. Journal of Thoracic Oncology, 1. DOI: 10.1097/JTO.0b013e3181dea6be  

  • July 1, 2010
  • 08:21 AM

Hamilton’s Rule vs. Increasing returns to cooperation

by Razib Khan in Gene Expression

If you have even a marginal interest in evolutionary biology you will probably have heard of Hamilton’s Rule, a simple formal representation of the logic whereby a gene which favors altruism may spread through a population: rB > C, where r = coefficient of relatedness on the gene in question, B = benefit to those [...]... Read more »

  • July 1, 2010
  • 08:00 AM

The elephant and the shrew, an axonal story

by Zen Faulkes in NeuroDojo

The world is different for small animals and big animals. J.B.S. Haldane said it best:

To the mouse and any smaller animal (gravity) presents practically no dangers. You can drop a mouse down a thousand-yard mine shaft; and, on arriving at the bottom, it gets a slight shock and walks away, provided that the ground is fairly soft. A rat is killed, a man is broken, a horse splashes.
What does scale mean for neurons? As an animal gets bigger, it’s going to take longer for neural signals to get f........ Read more »

More, Heather L., Hutchinson, John R., Collins, David F., Weber, Douglas J., Aung, Steven K. H., & Donelan, J. Maxwell. (2010) Scaling of sensorimotor control in terrestrial mammals. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. info:/10.1098/rspb.2010.0898

  • July 1, 2010
  • 06:31 AM

Zombies and Cannibalism: the spread of an epidemis

by Evil Monkey in Neurotopia


Let's all pause and contemplate how awesome I look as a zombie. I DO love brains. Very much. OM NOM NOM.

So Sci was thinking about what to post for Zombie Day. She thought about wondering if dogs could sniff early stage zombie infection and thus help with quarantine. She thought about whether or not grocery stores would be a good place to hide, but Evil assured her that Costco is better (everything is better when you buy IN BULK!). She then thought about maybe finding........ Read more »

Rudolf VH, & Antonovics J. (2007) Disease transmission by cannibalism: rare event or common occurrence?. Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society, 274(1614), 1205-10. PMID: 17327205  

  • July 1, 2010
  • 06:31 AM

Scientific Research shows that a mystery pheromone may create zombies

by Greg Laden in Greg Laden's Blog

Wasps, hornets, and other Hymenoptera may live nearly solitary lives, live in huge colonies, or something in between. The European hornet, Vespa crabro, lives in a colony consisting of one queen mated to a single male. In Hymenoptera, females are typically diploid (having genes from both parents) while males are typically haploid (having genes only from the female parent). If you draw a diagram of this and stare at it for a long time, you may come to the same conclusions that Bill "Buzz Off" ........ Read more »

Foster KR, Ratnieks FL, & Raybould AF. (2000) Do hornets have zombie workers?. Molecular ecology, 9(6), 735-42. PMID: 10849289  

  • July 1, 2010
  • 06:03 AM

Zombies and Cannibalism: the spread of an epidemic

by Scicurious in Neurotic Physiology

OMG ZOMBIE POST!!! Let’s all pause and contemplate how awesome I look as a zombie. I DO love brains. Very much. OM NOM NOM. So Sci was thinking about what to post for Zombie Day. She thought about wondering if dogs could sniff early stage zombie infection and thus help with quarantine. She thought about [...]... Read more »

Rudolf VH, & Antonovics J. (2007) Disease transmission by cannibalism: rare event or common occurrence?. Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society, 274(1614), 1205-10. PMID: 17327205  

  • July 1, 2010
  • 03:19 AM

Multicellular origin at 2.1 billion years ago

by Bjørn Østman in Pleiotropy

New fossils found in Gabon might push back the origin of multicellular life. By about 200 million years.... Read more »

Albani, A., Bengtson, S., Canfield, D., Bekker, A., Macchiarelli, R., Mazurier, A., Hammarlund, E., Boulvais, P., Dupuy, J., Fontaine, C.... (2010) Large colonial organisms with coordinated growth in oxygenated environments 2.1 Gyr ago. Nature, 466(7302), 100-104. DOI: 10.1038/nature09166  

  • July 1, 2010
  • 12:42 AM

An Update on Progeria Research

by Reason in Fight Aging!

Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome (HGPS, or just "progeria") is perhaps the best known of the accelerated aging conditions. Considerable progress has been made over the past decade in uncovering the biochemical mechanisms of this disease, and in the process it has come to seem plausible that a viable therapy for progeria may have some modest use in tackling normal aging as well. The same follows for other accelerated aging conditions, meaning that it's worth keeping an eye on this field of me........ Read more »

  • June 30, 2010
  • 11:06 PM

Octopus Sensory Systems: Part 2

by Mike Mike in Cephalove

In this post, I'll be talking about octopus tactile sensation.  M. J. Wells and J. Z. Young did the classic experimental work on touch discrimination and learning in the octopus, although a bit of recent work has been done on the neurochemical basis of touch learning in the octopus (which I won't get into here.)We'll focus on Tactile Discrimination of Surface Curvature and Shape by the Octopus (1964) by Wells.  This was one of his later papers in a series on tactile learning in the oct........ Read more »

M. J. Wells. (1964) Tactile Discrimination of Surface Curvature and Shape by the Octopus. Journal of Experimental Biology, 433-445. info:/

  • June 30, 2010
  • 09:39 PM

Mythbusting booze: Hair of the dog – hangover cure or excuse for alcoholism?

by Michael Slezak in Good, Bad, and Bogus

This is the second part in a series about the myths and realities of alcohol consumption.
I pray thee let me and my fellow have
A hair of the dog that bit us last night—
And bitten were we both to the brain aright
-  John Heywood
The idea that alcohol may itself be a cure for alcohol hangovers is [...]... Read more »

Jeffrey G. Wiese, MD; Michael G. Shlipak, MD, MPH; and Warren S. Browner, MD, MPH. (2000) The Alcohol Hangover. Annals of Internal Medicine, 152(12), 897-902. info:/

Wiese JG, Shlipak MG, & Browner WS. (2000) The alcohol hangover. Annals of internal medicine, 132(11), 897-902. PMID: 10836917  

  • June 30, 2010
  • 08:38 PM

The Complex Science of Predicting Oil Plumes

by Dr. M in Deep Sea News

Blowouts and the subsequent dispersion of oil and gas  in deep and shallow water differ immensely.  In shallower waters, expelled gas will contribute to the buoyancy of the plume, which quickly rises to the surface. The rising gas bubble plume and the water it traps govern the size and shape of the resultant slick.
When a blowout . . . → Read More: The Complex Science of Predicting Oil Plumes... Read more »

  • June 30, 2010
  • 07:00 PM

This is what it smells like when mice cry

by Iddo Friedberg in Byte Size Biology

A pheromone in the male mouse’s tears causes a sexual response in female mice who smell it. The neural pathway was meticulously mapped in a study published today in Nature. Interestingly, the female mouse actually has to be somewhat in the mood prior to the pheromone secretion for the pheromone to have effect, icing on the [...]... Read more »

Haga, S., Hattori, T., Sato, T., Sato, K., Matsuda, S., Kobayakawa, R., Sakano, H., Yoshihara, Y., Kikusui, T., & Touhara, K. (2010) The male mouse pheromone ESP1 enhances female sexual receptive behaviour through a specific vomeronasal receptor. Nature, 466(7302), 118-122. DOI: 10.1038/nature09142  

  • June 30, 2010
  • 04:54 PM

Field Talk: Uniformity and diversity in the Homogecene era

by Katie Kline in EcoTone

Imagine a small town where everything is uniform—a tiny community of individuals who eat the same meals and pair up with people with similar qualities and traits. The scenery is stripped down: one church, one pub and cookie-cutter houses. Now add in social interactions. Greetings occur but they have few variations; life is routine. And just a few miles over in a town with the same layout, similar individuals are interacting, eating and greeting, in all the same ways.

... Read more »

  • June 30, 2010
  • 04:26 PM

Not-so-whole Exome Sequencing

by Daniel Koboldt in Massgenomics

There is growing interest in applying next-generation sequencing to targeted regions of interest, particularly the “exome” - the set of coding exons in the human genome. A paper in Genome Biology from Matthew Bainbridge and colleagues at Baylor describes solution-phase exome capture and sequencing of a HapMap sample with just 3 GB of data. The [...]... Read more »

Bainbridge MN, Wang M, Burgess DL, Kovar C, Rodesch MJ, D'Ascenzo M, Kitzman J, Wu YQ, Newsham I, Richmond TA.... (2010) Whole exome capture in solution with 3Gbp of data. Genome biology, 11(6). PMID: 20565776  

  • June 30, 2010
  • 01:03 PM

Celebrate diversity: Lesbian lizard sex

by Zen Faulkes in Marmorkrebs

I have a hard time remembering the name Aspidoscelis uniparens, because when it first broke into the limelight, it was Cnemidophorus uniparens. Sort of like how everyone continued calling Prince “Prince” even after he changed his name to a squiggle. If only he’d been known as a squiggle first when he released “Little Red Corvette”...

Regardless of the genus name, I love this lizard. This was probably the first parthenogenetic animal that made an impression on me, when I was an undergr........ Read more »

Crews D, & Fitzgerald KT. (1980) "Sexual" behavior in parthenogenetic lizards (Cnemidophorus). Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 77(1), 499-502. PMID: 16592761  

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