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  • September 6, 2010
  • 10:02 PM
  • 994 views

If Molluscs Could Communicate What Would They Say?

by Dr. M in Deep Sea News

Why don’t animal’s use wheels in locomotion? Why aren’t blue whales bigger? Why are there no freshwater starfish? Why are there no tree dwelling cephalopods? Why can’t my dog make a decent cocktail? These are the kinds of questions that intrigue me. Apparently I am not alone.
Geerat Vermeij’s new paper “Sound reasons for . . . → Read More: If Molluscs Could Communicate What Would They Say?... Read more »

  • September 6, 2010
  • 09:22 PM
  • 907 views

Recombine to get better

by Natascha Bushati in the Node

Recently a paper in Science caught my attention since its title combines the words mitotic recombination with patients and Ichthyosis. Having worked with Drosophila during my PhD and now being in a vertebrate lab, I’m well aware of the existence of tools to induce mitotic recombination to generate somatic clones of mutant cells in certain tissues. So I had a closer look at the paper to understand more about the spontaneous occurrence of mitotic recombination in humans.... Read more »

Choate KA, Lu Y, Zhou J, Choi M, Elias PM, Farhi A, Nelson-Williams C, Crumrine D, Williams ML, Nopper AJ.... (2010) Mitotic Recombination in Patients with Ichthyosis Causes Reversion of Dominant Mutations in KRT10. Science (New York, N.Y.). PMID: 20798280  

  • September 6, 2010
  • 04:11 PM
  • 1,251 views

Follow Dr. Bik to the Gulf!

by Holly Bik in Deep Sea News

Remember Dr. M’s recent disturbing post about the quelling of independent science in the Gulf?  I can now officially announce that my lab was one of the recipients of the rapid response research grants awarded by the National Science Foundation—hurrah!  I’m the postdoc assigned to this project, which aims to characterize pre-spill meiofaunal community structure in . . . → Read More: Follow Dr. Bik to the Gulf!... Read more »

  • September 6, 2010
  • 03:32 PM
  • 827 views

The Molbio Carnival: second edition

by Lucas in thoughtomics







Welcome everybody! I’m glad you found us here at the second stop of the traveling MolBio carnival. If you’ve got an eye for the small and tiny you have arrived at the right address, as our rides and bazaars are specialized in molecular and cellular biology! I’ll be happy guide you along the carnival [...]... Read more »

  • September 6, 2010
  • 01:00 PM
  • 1,204 views

Listeria's Visiting Card

by Moselio Schaechter in Small Things Considered

by Elio

During infection, host and parasite carry out repeated and intense conversations that often rise to the level of shouting matches. The language they use is chemical, the words and sentences eloquent and forceful. Eavesdropping on the conversation between Listeria monocytogenes LINK 5 and immune cells of its host, Portnoy and colleagues LINK 1 discovered an intriguing linguistic use for a novel “second messenger,” cyclic-di-AMP (c-di-AMP).

It has been known that Listeria, like man........ Read more »

  • September 6, 2010
  • 12:52 PM
  • 1,244 views

Mechanisms of castration resistance in prostate cancer

by Sally Church in Pharma Strategy Blog

Over the last few weeks I've received quite a few questions relating to castration resistance and how it happens. After all, while we have several therapies now approved once androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) fails, if we could keep men hormone...... Read more »

  • September 6, 2010
  • 12:30 PM
  • 2,485 views

Greenwashing – Is there really a sustainable Orange Roughy fishery?

by Southern Fried Scientist in Southern Fried Science


Wandering through the grocery store the other day, I noticed something strange in the fish bin. Now, in general I’m pretty conscious of where my fish comes from, how it was caught, whether the fishery as a whole or the specific population is sustainable. I pay attention to those details and I can usually tell [...]... Read more »

  • September 6, 2010
  • 10:32 AM
  • 1,634 views

Dissecting lions and tigers: Inside Nature's Giants series 2, part III

by Darren Naish in Tetrapod Zoology





I hope everyone has been enjoying my write-ups of Inside Nature's Giants (ING), series 2 (for comments on episode 1 go here, and for thoughts on episode 2 go here). Time to look at ep 3: the big cat one.

Given that big cats are more popular (among the general populace) than are either sharks or snakes, it's predictable that this was the most discussed, most anticipated episode. Like the others, it was excellent [adjacent image © Windfall Films/Channel 4].

And let me say again how good th........ Read more »

  • September 6, 2010
  • 08:29 AM
  • 2,276 views

Ocean of Pseudoscience: Sharks DO get cancer!

by Christie Wilcox in Observations of a Nerd

The sea is a dark and often mysterious place, and it's no wonder that the fear and fascination with the marine world has led to more than a few inaccurate claims. The crew over at Southern Fried Science have decided that this week is all about busting pseudoscience and the myths that surround our ocean realm. As it turns out, I'd posted about one of these before. So here, in honor of Ocean of Pseudoscience week, is a repost busting the myth that sharks don't get cancer.

There are a lot of myths........ Read more »

Luer CA, & Luer WH. (1982) Acute and chronic exposure of nurse sharks to aflatoxin B1. Federal Proceedings, 925. info:/

Miller DR, Anderson GT, Stark JJ, Granick JL, & Richardson D. (1998) Phase I/II trial of the safety and efficacy of shark cartilage in the treatment of advanced cancer. Journal of clinical oncology : official journal of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, 16(11), 3649-55. PMID: 9817287  

Loprinzi CL, Levitt R, Barton DL, Sloan JA, Atherton PJ, Smith DJ, Dakhil SR, Moore DF Jr, Krook JE, Rowland KM Jr.... (2005) Evaluation of shark cartilage in patients with advanced cancer: a North Central Cancer Treatment Group trial. Cancer, 104(1), 176-82. PMID: 15912493  

Lu C, Lee JJ, Komaki R, Herbst RS, Feng L, Evans WK, Choy H, Desjardins P, Esparaz BT, Truong MT.... (2010) Chemoradiotherapy with or without AE-941 in stage III non-small cell lung cancer: a randomized phase III trial. Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 102(12), 859-65. PMID: 20505152  

Ostrander GK, Cheng KC, Wolf JC, & Wolfe MJ. (2004) Shark cartilage, cancer and the growing threat of pseudoscience. Cancer research, 64(23), 8485-91. PMID: 15574750  

  • September 6, 2010
  • 03:51 AM
  • 1,147 views

The lost world – freshwater biodiversity conservation

by CJA Bradshaw in ConservationBytes

Even the most obtuse, right-wing, head-in-the-sand, consumption-driven, anti-environment yob would at least admit that they’ve heard of forest conservation, the plight of whales (more on that little waste of conservation resources later) and climate change. Whether or not they believe these issues are important (or even occurring) is beside the point – the fact that [...]... Read more »

  • September 5, 2010
  • 01:45 PM
  • 701 views

Antibiotic Resistance via Bacterial Charity

by Michael Long in Phased

James Collins (Boston University, United States) and coworkers have investigated the basis of antibiotic resistance from a communal perspective. This news feature was written on September 5, 2010.... Read more »

Lee H. H., Molla M. N., Cantor C. R., & Collins J. J. (2010) Bacterial charity work leads to population-wide resistance. Nature, 467(7311), 82-5. PMID: 20811456  

  • September 5, 2010
  • 09:50 AM
  • 1,361 views

2 legs good, 4 legs better: Uner Tan Syndrome, part 2

by gregdowney in Neuroanthropology


Beginning in 2005, reports by Prof. Üner Tan of Cukurova University in Turkey alerted the world to a number of families in which some members walked quadrupedally. This is the second part of a (so far) two-part post on Uner Tan Syndrome. Although you’re welcome to read the first part, I’ll give you the one sentence summary if you just want to push on and a piece of video clip on the cases. I should warn you though, before you read the first part, that the whole thing is sort of like the........ Read more »

Dietz Volker. (2002) Do human bipeds use quadrupedal coordination?. Trends in neurosciences, 25(9), 462-7. PMID: 12183207  

Dietz V, & Michel J. (2009) Human bipeds use quadrupedal coordination during locomotion. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 97-103. PMID: 19645886  

Herz J, Boycott KM, & Parboosingh JS. (2008) "Devolution" of bipedality. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 105(21). PMID: 18487453  

Humphrey, Nicholas, Stefan Mundlos, & Seval Türkmen. (2008) Genes and quadrupedal locomotion in humans. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science , 105(21). DOI: 10.1073 pnas.0802839105  

Susanne M. Morton,, & Amy J. Bastian. (2007) Mechanisms of cerebellar gait ataxia. The Cerebellum, 6(1), 79-86. DOI: 10.1080/14734220601187741  

Tayfun Ozcelik, Nurten Akarsu, Elif Uz, Safak Caglayan, Suleyman Gulsuner, Onur Emre Onat, Meliha Tan, & Uner Tan. (2008) Mutations in the very low-density lipoprotein receptor VLDLR cause cerebellar hypoplasia and quadrupedal locomotion in humans. . Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 105(11), 4232-4236. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0710010105  

Ozcelik, Tayfun,, Nurten Akarsu,, Elif Uz,, Safak Caglayan,, Suleyman Gulsuner,, Onur Emre Onat,, Meliha Tan,, & Uner Tan. (2008) Reply to Herz et al. and Humphrey et al.: Genetic heterogeneity of cerebellar hypoplasia with quadrupedal locomotion. . Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 105(23). DOI: 10.1073 pnas.0804078105  

Thelen, E.,, & Ulrich, B. D. (1991) Hidden skills: A dynamic systems analysis of treadmill stepping during the first year. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 56(1), 1-98. DOI: 10.2307/1166099  

  • September 5, 2010
  • 09:30 AM
  • 889 views

The sex lives of yeast: Evidence for honest signaling

by Graves in Down the Cellar

Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the yeast used in baking bread and brewing beer, has a long history as a useful eukaryotic model organism. Yeast reproduce by budding, but sometimes haploid cells sexually reproduce by secreting pheromones and fusing into one diploid cell, which can then undergo meiosis to create four spores. Lately, this facultative sexual reproduction has been targeted by evolutionary ... Read more »

Smith C, & Greig D. (2010) THE COST OF SEXUAL SIGNALING IN YEAST. Evolution; international journal of organic evolution. PMID: 20584074  

  • September 5, 2010
  • 03:06 AM
  • 1,406 views

Flaming the debate

by Ted MacRae in Beetles in the Bush

As my interest in prairie insects has increased over the past few years, so has my interest in their conservation. Many insects are restricted to prairies through dependence upon prairie plants or their unique physical and trophic characteristics. Thus, preservation of not only prairie plants but their insect associates as well is a major goal [...]... Read more »

Scott R. Swengel • Dennis Schlicht •, & Frank Olsen • Ann B. Swengel. (2010) Declines of prairie butterflies in the midwestern USA. Journal of Insect Conservation. info:/10.1007/s10841-010-9323-1

  • September 4, 2010
  • 05:36 AM
  • 620 views

Problems with Pitch: Congenital Amusia and Tone Languages

by Sarah in Curious!

What, exactly, is tone deafness? We've all known someone who claimed he or she was tone deaf or "couldn't carry a tune." However, congenital amusia, which seems to be true "deafness" to tone, affects only about 4% of the general population - that is, 4% of the almost exclusively Western populations that have been studied.
Congenital amusia is one of several different types of music perception impairments. A person with the disorder is born with a variety of symptoms, including an inability to re........ Read more »

  • September 4, 2010
  • 03:29 AM
  • 742 views

Hey Gilbert Lewis: Has life evolved a use for deuterium? Or does it just tolerate it?

by Steve Koch in Steve Koch Research

Andy Maloney in our lab has been studying solvent (water) isotope effects on kinesin and microtubules in the gliding motility assay.  He has data showing a speed slow down from both heavy-hydrogen water (D2O; deuterium oxide) and heavy-oxygen water (H218O; oxygen-18 water). The preliminary results are very exciting to me, because I think varying the water isotopes may be a useful new knob for studying kinesin, molecular motors, and other biomolecular systems such as protein-DNA complexes. ........ Read more »

Gilbert N. Lewis. (1933) THE BIOCHEMISTRY OF WATER CONTAINING HYDROGEN ISOTOPE. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 55(8), 3503-3504. DOI: 10.1021/ja01335a509  

  • September 3, 2010
  • 11:28 PM
  • 964 views

Investigating Metformin's Mechanisms

by Reason in Fight Aging!

Metformin is one of the known calorie restriction mimetics amongst drugs presently in use by the medical establishment. A calorie restriction mimetic is a drug that can reproduce some of the beneficial changes to metabolism exhibited during the practice of calorie restriction, which hopefully in turn leads to improved health and extended healthy life span. Metformin has been shown to modestly increase maximum life span in mice, though by much less than is possible through calorie restriction: ch........ Read more »

  • September 3, 2010
  • 06:31 PM
  • 622 views

Open letter to anti-vaccinationists

by thomastu in Disease Prone

Some people have commented to me in person (and online) that I was a little brash in calling those violently opposed vaccinations as evil or ignorant. Also, that I might be completely shutting off dialogue and having people immediately list me as one of those pro-vaccination whores. I thought about this for a long time [...]... Read more »

  • September 3, 2010
  • 05:07 PM
  • 673 views

Helper Microbes and Heavy Metals…

by microbialmodus in Microbial Modus

Last week, the American Society for Microbiology posted a story that caught my eye which highlighted the most recent work of Kim Lewis and his collaborators published in Chemistry and Biology in March (see citation below).  It caught my eye due to the term “siderophores” in the title.  You may be wondering why a strange [...]... Read more »

D'Onofrio A, Crawford JM, Stewart EJ, Witt K, Gavrish E, Epstein S, Clardy J, & Lewis K. (2010) Siderophores from neighboring organisms promote the growth of uncultured bacteria. Chemistry , 17(3), 254-64. PMID: 20338517  

  • September 3, 2010
  • 01:13 PM
  • 1,154 views

Monster pythons of the Everglades: Inside Nature's Giants series 2, part II

by Darren Naish in Tetrapod Zoology





Episode 2 of series 2 of Inside Nature's Giants was devoted to pythons (for an article reviewing ep 1, go here). Specifically, to Burmese pythons Python molurus. And, quite right too. Snakes are among the weirdest and most phenomenally modified of tetrapods: in contrast to we boring tetrapodal tetrapods with our big limb girdles, long limbs and less than 100 vertebrae, we're talking about tubular reptiles with a few hundred vertebrae, stretched organs, distensible jaws and total or virtual a........ Read more »

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