Perhaps we are what we eat, but suddenly we can no longer rely on our parents, that is our genetic makeup, to determine how long we live. At least not according to Swedish researchers who published recently in the Journal of Internal Medicine. To be honest, “suddenly” is a bit of a misnomer; the study from which the [...]... Read more »
Wilhelmsen L, Svärdsudd K, Eriksson H, Rosengren A, Hansson PO, Welin C, Odén A, & Welin L. (2010) Factors associated with reaching 90 years of age: a study of men born in 1913 in Gothenburg, Sweden. Journal of internal medicine. PMID: 21175902
The third installment of the Infrequent Plant Profile Project, a project I began a while ago at my old livejournal account. I know that I will not stick to a schedule if I designed one, so I choose to make this project informal and infrequent. These will be profiles of plants that interest me and of the circumstances of their original description.Pinguicula primulaflora "Rose" - the multiple-flowered varietySource: Alexander (fischermans) at the International CarnivorousPlant Society forums.Toda........ Read more »
C.E. Wood Jr., & R.K. Godfrey. (1957) Pinguicula (Lentibulariaceae) in the southeastern United States. Rhodora, 217-230. info:/
Many of you will have been following the ongoing story of the discovery of activating V600E mutations in BRAF in greater than 50% of melanomas. As a result, BRAF inhibitors such as PLX4032 have emerged in melanoma but ultimately, we … Continue reading →
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Paraiso, K., Xiang, Y., Rebecca, V., Abel, E., Chen, A., Munko, A., Wood, E., Fedorenko, I., Sondak, V., Anderson, A.... (2011) PTEN loss confers BRAF inhibitor resistance to melanoma cells through the suppression of BIM expression. Cancer Research. DOI: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-10-2954
“Brontosaurus” was a great dinosaur name. The great “thunder reptile” of the Jurassic, there was no better moniker for the stoutly-built sauropod. Unfortunately, the name had to be tossed out in favor of Apatosaurus, but a different dinosaur just described by Michael Taylor, Mathew Wedel and Richard Cifelli has what I think is an equally [...]... Read more »
Taylor, M.; Wedel, M.; Cifelli, R. (2011) Brontomerus mcintoshi, a new sauropod dinosaur from the Lower Cretaceous Cedar Mountain Formation, Utah, USA. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica. DOI: 10.4202/app.2010.0073
The buzz words for today's benthic marine scientists are undoubtedly 'mesophotic coral ecosystems', or MCEs. The term mesophotic, or middle/medium light, refers to the region of the ocean below the photic zone where light is the major driver for photosynthesis by corals and algae, but above the aphotic zone where in the dark organisms rely on other means for productivity. These transitional depths, say from 200 to 500 feet (60 to 150 meters) in depth encompass a significant area of our ocea........ Read more »
Puglise KA, Hinderstein LM, Marr JCA, Dowgiallo MJ, & Martinez FA. (2009) Mesophotic Coral Ecosystems Research Strategy: International Workshop to Prioritize Research and Management Needs for Mesophotic Coral Ecosystems. NOAA Technical Memorandum NOS NCCOS 98 and OAR OER 2. info:/
Don’t “over-hype” the promise of genomic medicine. This is the message of a report titled “Deflating the Genomic Bubble” recently published in Science by a team of four internationally prominent genetic medicine and bioethics experts including Timothy Caulfield, Canada Research Chair in Health Law & Policy, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta. According to lead author [...]... Read more »
Neuroscience is concerned with human, mammals, and vertebrates, in that order. The one example of an invertebrate that appears in many narratives for students learning the field is the squid giant axon, which was used to work out the mechanism underlying action potentials.
From the squid axon, we learned that the action potential, in a nutshell, was:
Sodium in, potassium out.
The electrical signal of a neuron was made possible because charged atoms passed into and out of the cell through chan........ Read more »
Gao S, & Zhen M. (2011) Action potentials drive body wall muscle contractions in Caenorhabditis elegans. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 108(6), 2557-2562. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1012346108
Do you long for an easier way to manipulate genomes? Better methods may be on their way. In some organisms, such as yeast, it’s relatively easy to introduce or remove specific genes. In others, it’s tedious and difficult. Recently, new methods of “genome editing” have been emerging that promise to broaden our ability to manipulate [...]... Read more »
Miller JC, Tan S, Qiao G, Barlow KA, Wang J, Xia DF, Meng X, Paschon DE, Leung E, Hinkley SJ.... (2011) A TALE nuclease architecture for efficient genome editing. Nature biotechnology, 29(2), 143-8. PMID: 21179091
Across my twitter feed today we welcomed a new dinosaur. Brontomerus mcintoshi was named for it’s “thunder-thighs” and as honour to retired physicist and avocational paleontologist “Jack” McIntosh. I hope Jack has no hang-ups about his thighs, as I can assure you if someone called a dinosaur “Thunder-thighs skelletti” I would whap them with my [...]... Read more »
Michael P. Taylor, Mathew J. Wedel, and Richard L. Cifelli. (2011) A new sauropod dinosaur from the Lower Cretaceous Cedar Mountain Formation, Utah, USA. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica, 56(1), 75-98. info:/10.4202/app.2010.0073
If you’ve seen The King’s Speech, you know that stuttering (a.k.a. stammering) is a debilitating condition. If you haven’t seen The King’s Speech, stop reading and put it in your Netflix queue. If you don’t have Netflix, or a DVD player, or are encountering some other road-block in seeing the film, it depicts King George [...]... Read more »
Kang C, Riazuddin S, Mundorff J, Krasnewich D, Friedman P, Mullikin JC, & Drayna D. (2010) Mutations in the lysosomal enzyme-targeting pathway and persistent stuttering. The New England journal of medicine, 362(8), 677-85. PMID: 20147709
A team of Japanese scientists have found the most sarcastic part of the brain known to date. They also found the metaphor centre of the brain and, well, it's kind of like a pair of glasses.The paper is Distinction between the literal and intended meanings of sentences and it's brought to you by Uchiyama et al. They took 20 people and used fMRI to record neural activity while the volunteers read 4 kinds of statements:Literally trueNonsensicalSarcasticMetaphoricalThe neat thing was that the statem........ Read more »
Uchiyama HT, Saito DN, Tanabe HC, Harada T, Seki A, Ohno K, Koeda T, & Sadato N. (2011) Distinction between the literal and intended meanings of sentences: A functional magnetic resonance imaging study of metaphor and sarcasm. Cortex; a journal devoted to the study of the nervous system and behavior. PMID: 21333979
By the close of 2002, there were at least three contenders for the title of “earliest known human.” There was the 7 million year old Sahelanthropus tchadensis from the Djurab Desert, the 6 million year old Orrorin tugenensis from Kenya, and the 5.6 million year old Ardipithecus kadabba from northeastern Ethiopia’s Afar region. Though very [...]... Read more »
Brunet, M., Guy, F., Pilbeam, D., Mackaye, H., Likius, A., Ahounta, D., Beauvilain, A., Blondel, C., Bocherens, H., Boisserie, J.... (2002) A new hominid from the Upper Miocene of Chad, Central Africa. Nature, 418(6894), 145-151. DOI: 10.1038/nature00879
FROEHLICH, D. (2002) Quo vadis eohippus? The systematics and taxonomy of the early Eocene equids (Perissodactyla). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 134(2), 141-256. DOI: 10.1046/j.1096-3642.2002.00005.x
Haile-Selassie, Y. (2001) Late Miocene hominids from the Middle Awash, Ethiopia. Nature, 412(6843), 178-181. DOI: 10.1038/35084063
Senut, B. (2001) First hominid from the Miocene (Lukeino Formation, Kenya)Premier hominidé du Miocène (formation de Lukeino, Kenya). Comptes Rendus de l'Académie des Sciences - Series IIA - Earth and Planetary Science, 332(2), 137-144. DOI: 10.1016/S1251-8050(01)01529-4
White, T., Asfaw, B., Beyene, Y., Haile-Selassie, Y., Lovejoy, C., Suwa, G., & WoldeGabriel, G. (2009) Ardipithecus ramidus and the Paleobiology of Early Hominids. Science, 326(5949), 64-64. DOI: 10.1126/science.1175802
Wolpoff, M., Senut, B., Pickford, M., & Hawks, J. (2002) Palaeoanthropology (communication arising): Sahelanthropus or 'Sahelpithecus'?. Nature, 419(6907), 581-582. DOI: 10.1038/419581a
Imagine yourself at a street corner, watching cars go by and waiting for your turn to cross. When the eye tracks a moving object like a car, it inspires fireworks of activity in the visual systems of the brain. Initially, the information is pixelated into independent scraps, as primary visual neurons respond to their preferred [...]... Read more »
Pei YC, Hsiao SS, Craig JC, & Bensmaia SJ. (2011) Neural mechanisms of tactile motion integration in somatosensory cortex. Neuron, 69(3), 536-47. PMID: 21315263
When it was released in 1993, Jurassic Park turned Velociraptor into a household name. Agile and cunning, it was a type of predatory dinosaur theater audiences hadn’t seen before. But paleontologists knew the movie’s raptors were drawn with a bit of artistic license. For one thing, the dinosaurs had actually been based on the sickle-clawed [...]... Read more »
Britt, B.; Chure, D.; Stadtman, K.; Madsen, J.; Scheetz, R.; Burge, D. (2001) New osteological data and the affinities of Utahraptor from the Cedar Mountain Fm. (Early Cretaceous) of Utah. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 1-117. DOI: 10.1080/02724634.2001.10010852
Kirkland, J.I.; Gaston, R.; Burge, D. (1993) A large dromaeosaur [Theropoda] from the Lower Cretaceous of Uta. Hunteria, 1-16. info:/
Over the last few months I've been writing a lot about how different species interactions have different evolutionary effects. The studies I've looked at so far focus on effects over just a few generations—barely time to take notice, in evolutionary time. The February issue of The American Naturalist remedies this short-term perspective with a paper showing that over millions of years, two different kinds of mutualists had very different effects on the history of one group of orchids [$a].
Th........ Read more »
Armbruster, W., & Muchhala, N. (2008) Associations between floral specialization and species diversity: cause, effect, or correlation?. Evolutionary Ecology, 23(1), 159-79. DOI: 10.1007/s10682-008-9259-z
Waterman, R., Bidartondo, M., Stofberg, J., Combs, J., Gebauer, G., Savolainen, V., Barraclough, T., & Pauw, A. (2011) The effects of above- and belowground mutualisms on orchid speciation and coexistence. The American Naturalist, 177(2). DOI: 10.1086/657955
Economic theory tells us that trade makes the parties involved better off. Through trade, a person can specialise in the activity in which they have a comparative advantage. A person is better off even if they are trading with someone who is better than them at all activities. This is because the less productive person [...]... Read more »
In simple terms, glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most common form of brain cancer, but also the most deadly. Part of the reasons behind this lie in several factors: # It’s a highly complex disease with multiple things going on … Continue reading →
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Parsons, D., Jones, S., Zhang, X., Lin, J., Leary, R., Angenendt, P., Mankoo, P., Carter, H., Siu, I., Gallia, G.... (2008) An Integrated Genomic Analysis of Human Glioblastoma Multiforme. Science, 321(5897), 1807-1812. DOI: 10.1126/science.1164382
Phillips, H., Kharbanda, S., Chen, R., Forrest, W., Soriano, R., Wu, T., Misra, A., Nigro, J., Colman, H., & Soroceanu, L. (2006) Molecular subclasses of high-grade glioma predict prognosis, delineate a pattern of disease progression, and resemble stages in neurogenesis. Cancer Cell, 9(3), 157-173. DOI: 10.1016/j.ccr.2006.02.019
Bredel M, Scholtens DM, Harsh GR, Bredel C, Chandler JP, Renfrow JJ, Yadav AK, Vogel H, Scheck AC, Tibshirani R.... (2009) A network model of a cooperative genetic landscape in brain tumors. JAMA : the journal of the American Medical Association, 302(3), 261-75. PMID: 19602686
I was semi-offline for much of last week, so I only randomly heard from someone about the “Science paper” on which Molly Przeworski is an author. Finally having a chance to read it front to back it seems rather a complement to other papers, addressed to both man and beast. The major “value add” seems to be the extra juice they squeezed out of the data because they looked at the full genomes, instead of just genotypes. As I occasionally note the chips are marvels of techn........ Read more »
Hernandez RD, Kelley JL, Elyashiv E, Melton SC, Auton A, McVean G, 1000 Genomes Project, Sella G, & Przeworski M. (2011) Classic selective sweeps were rare in recent human evolution. Science (New York, N.Y.), 331(6019), 920-4. PMID: 21330547
I just discovered the local international supermarket (which is awesome by the way). It's filled with exotic fruits and vegetables, assorted sea creatures in boxes of ice and freezers full of animal pieces usually reserved for industrial uses.
I didn't find any dragonfruit (which I've been wanting to try), but they had cherimoyas, jackfruit, different cacti pieces, sugarcane, cassava, weird bananas, all kinds of odd leafy vegetables and squash-like things that were a couple feet across! Faced w........ Read more »
Ramanatha Rao V., Matthews Peter J., Eyzaguirre Pablo B., & Hunter D. editors. (2010) The Global Diversity of Taro: Ethnobotany and Conservation. Bioversity International. info:/
(Photograph of Acropora pulchra by Albert Kok at nl.wikipedia, courtesy Wikimedia Commons.)I had the good fortune to meet Greta Aeby last April at her lab on Hawaii's Coconut Island—that tiny gem in Kaneohe Bay that was filmed for the show open of Gilligan's Island—now home to the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology. I was planning to write about Greta's work on coral diseases for a new Mother Jones article. Then the Deepwater Horizon rearranged the known world and I never got to write t........ Read more »
Aeby, G., Williams, G., Franklin, E., Haapkyla, J., Harvell, C., Neale, S., Page, C., Raymundo, L., Vargas-Ángel, B., Willis, B.... (2011) Growth Anomalies on the Coral Genera Acropora and Porites Are Strongly Associated with Host Density and Human Population Size across the Indo-Pacific. PLoS ONE, 6(2). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0016887
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