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  • April 5, 2011
  • 06:30 AM

How tissues self-construct

by Becky in It Takes 30

The process of development is an astounding journey from simplicity to complexity.  You start with a single cell, the fertilized egg, and you end up with a complete multicellular organism, made up of tissues that self-organize from many individual cells of different types.  The question of how cells know who to be and where to [...]... Read more »

Parsa H, Upadhyay R, & Sia SK. (2011) Uncovering the behaviors of individual cells within a multicellular microvascular community. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 108(12), 5133-8. PMID: 21383144  

  • April 5, 2011
  • 12:53 AM

Its the end of the worm as we know it

by para_sight in Deep Sea News

Coomera brayi Dove & Cribb 1995 Hi, my name’s Al and I’m a parasitologist (Hi Al!) #AA I’ve just read a most remarkable paper by my PhD advisor, Dr. Tom Cribb (University of Queensland), and his close colleague Dr. Rod Bray (NHM London, ret.).  In it, they describe patterns in the history of . . . → Read More: Its the end of the worm as we know it... Read more »

  • April 5, 2011
  • 12:53 AM

Its the end of the worm as we know it

by Alistair Dove in Deep Type Flow

Coomera brayi Dove & Cribb 1995 Hi, my name’s Al and I’m a parasitologist (Hi Al!) #AA I’ve just read a most remarkable paper by my PhD advisor, Dr. Tom Cribb (University of Queensland), and his close colleague Dr. Rod Bray (NHM London, ret.).  In it, they describe patterns in the history of . . . → Read More: Its the end of the worm as we know it... Read more »

  • April 4, 2011
  • 05:03 PM

Ground Crab Spider

by Africa Gomez in BugBlog

Until a couple of weeks ago, I was under the mistaken impression that there were no crab spiders in the north of the U.K. Although this is true for flower crab spider, Misumena vatia, a chamaleon-like hunter that changes colour to match the flower is sitting on, there are many other species that are widely distributed, in the U.K. as I found out through a thread in Wild About Britain. All crab spiders have some ability to change colour to match their surroundings and become invisible to their un........ Read more »

  • April 4, 2011
  • 04:00 PM

Big-Brained Athletes

by Brian Mossop in The Decision Tree

Athletes brains are thicker in some areas.... Read more »

  • April 4, 2011
  • 03:14 PM

Viral bioinformatics: Sequence searcher

by Vincent Racaniello in virology blog

This week’s addition to the virology toolbox was written by Chris Upton Sequence Searcher is a Java program that allows users to search for specific sequence motifs in protein or DNA sequences. For example, it can be used to identify restriction enzyme cleavage sites or find similar sequence patterns among multiple sequences. Most searches run [...]... Read more »

  • April 4, 2011
  • 01:44 PM

The ancestral ribosome: my reservations

by Gemma Atkinson in Protein evolution and other musings

I work on deep evolution of ribosome-associated proteins, so of course I'm very much excited by research on deep evolution of ribosomal RNA. However, I have some concerns about some of the work in this field relating to the composition and structure of the ancestral ribosome, or as sometimes called, proto-ribosome. Actually, it’s less that I have concerns about the work, more that I have some small, but (at least to me) important concerns about the interpretations and subsequent speculati........ Read more »

Belousoff MJ, Davidovich C, Zimmerman E, Caspi Y, Wekselman I, Rozenszajn L, Shapira T, Sade-Falk O, Taha L, Bashan A.... (2010) Ancient machinery embedded in the contemporary ribosome. Biochemical Society transactions, 38(2), 422-7. PMID: 20298195  

Hsiao C, Mohan S, Kalahar BK, & Williams LD. (2009) Peeling the onion: ribosomes are ancient molecular fossils. Molecular biology and evolution, 26(11), 2415-25. PMID: 19628620  

  • April 4, 2011
  • 12:30 PM

What's the deal with male circumcision and female cervical cancer?

by EcoPhysioMichelle in C6-H12-O6

Today I have a post over at the Scientific American Guest Blog on male circumcision and cervical cancer. In the post I discuss several papers on the efficacy of circumcision in reducing cervical cancer risk, the physiology behind how circumcision slows the spread of human papilloma virus, and the arguments against circumcision as a prophylactic.... Read more »

Castellsagué, X., Bosch, F., Muñoz, N., Meijer, C., Shah, K., de Sanjosé, S., Eluf-Neto, J., Ngelangel, C., Chichareon, S., Smith, J.... (2002) Male Circumcision, Penile Human Papillomavirus Infection, and Cervical Cancer in Female Partners. New England Journal of Medicine, 346(15), 1105-1112. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa011688  

  • April 4, 2011
  • 11:42 AM

"Just another ciliate" – importance of sexy descriptions

by Psi Wavefunction in Skeptic Wonder

There are species descriptions, and then there are species descriptions. All too often, you come across a mention of some obscure but ridiculously cool-looking organism, with only a very scant description of what it looks like and what it does. Much less often, you can come across yet-another-new-species (usually of a ciliate), but a particularly nicely described one. Again, those super nice descriptions tend to be of ciliates, largely due to the likes of Wilhelm Foissner and his academic offspr........ Read more »

  • April 4, 2011
  • 11:15 AM

From the Archives: Elephants Say Bee-Ware!

by Jason Goldman in The Thoughtful Animal

Given the recent elephant hunting scandal, I thought I'd repost this award-winning piece from the archives, on a very clever way to deter elephants from raiding human settlements. Much cleverer than shooting them. (Click on the archives icon for the original.)

What information is contained in the call of a mammal? Some calls might reflect the internal emotional state of the animal, like fear or anxiety, or they can refer to an external object, agent, or event, like the presence of a predator. R........ Read more »

King, L., Soltis, J., Douglas-Hamilton, I., Savage, A., & Vollrath, F. (2010) Bee Threat Elicits Alarm Call in African Elephants. PLoS ONE, 5(4). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0010346  

  • April 4, 2011
  • 09:14 AM

Virophages: The Enemy of My Enemy is My Friend

by Terri Sundquist in Promega Connections

Viruses are small DNA- or RNA-based infectious agents that can replicate only inside living cells of a host organism. Most people know what a virus is, and many of us harbor at least one or two of them at some point during the cold and flu season. However, I would guess that many of us [...]... Read more »

Yau S, Lauro FM, Demaere MZ, Brown MV, Thomas T, Raftery MJ, Andrews-Pfannkoch C, Lewis M, Hoffman JM, Gibson JA.... (2011) Virophage control of antarctic algal host-virus dynamics. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 21444812  

  • April 4, 2011
  • 08:00 AM

Swimming in poison

by Zen Faulkes in NeuroDojo

I’ve had one career: scientist.

My dad, on the other hand, has been a musician, mobile home salesman, jeweler, car salesman, Chicken Delight manager, and a few other things besides. But one of his last jobs before retiring was to be a safety officer at the Shell Waterton natural gas plant in the foothills of southern Alberta.

A little while ago, I asked him about one of the biggest safety challenges. I remembered him talking about when he would come home from work, which they usually referre........ Read more »

  • April 4, 2011
  • 07:00 AM

April 4, 2011

by Erin Campbell in HighMag Blog

Cilia are found on nearly every cell in our bodies, and many genetic multi-system diseases are caused by defects in cilia formation and function. A recent paper describes the roles for several ciliary proteins, with fantastic images of cilia cross-sections to help tell the story.Cilia are long microtubule-based organelles that project from cells, and nearly every cell has one single primary cilium that is important for sensory processes. Mutations that disrupt the formation and function of the........ Read more »

Williams, C., Li, C., Kida, K., Inglis, P., Mohan, S., Semenec, L., Bialas, N., Stupay, R., Chen, N., Blacque, O.... (2011) MKS and NPHP modules cooperate to establish basal body/transition zone membrane associations and ciliary gate function during ciliogenesis. originally published in The Journal of Cell Biology, 192(6), 1023-1041. DOI: 10.1083/jcb.201012116  

  • April 4, 2011
  • 06:19 AM

Hairy-tailed bats: a tale of furry tails, red coats, cold tolerance, migration and sleeping out in the open (vesper bats part VIII)

by Darren Naish in Tetrapod Zoology

Now that all the fuss about modern-day sauropod dinosaurs has died down, we can get back to the serious business of vesper bats (incidentally, I do plan to cover the mokele-mbembe - in serious fashion - at some point in history). For previous parts in the vesper bats series, please look at the links below.

A group of about 17 species of American bats (occurring from Alberta down to Chile and Argentina) are known collectively as the hairy-tailed bats or hoary bats (Lasiurus*) (together with........ Read more »

  • April 3, 2011
  • 07:49 PM

Is the Earth’s sixth mass extinction looming near and large?

by Uncharted Atolls in Uncharted Atolls

Ideally, your expenses are offset by your paycheck, so as you spend money for say, rent and food, you have cash coming in.  On the surface at least, this is similar to the dovetailing of extinction and speciation.  The vast … Continue reading →... Read more »

Barnosky AD, Matzke N, Tomiya S, Wogan GO, Swartz B, Quental TB, Marshall C, McGuire JL, Lindsey EL, Maguire KC.... (2011) Has the Earth's sixth mass extinction already arrived?. Nature, 471(7336), 51-7. PMID: 21368823  

  • April 3, 2011
  • 06:26 PM

When Smokers Move

by Dirk Hanson in Addiction Inbox

Is your new house a thirdhand smoke reservoir?

In the first published examination of thirdhand smoke pollution and exposure, researchers at San Diego State University discovered that non-smokers who move into homes purchased from smokers encounter significantly elevated nicotine levels in the air and dust of their new homes two months or more after moving in.

100 smoking households and 50 non-smoking households participated in the study, which was published in Tobacco Control. The researcher........ Read more »

Matt, G., Quintana, P., Zakarian, J., Fortmann, A., Chatfield, D., Hoh, E., Uribe, A., & Hovell, M. (2010) When smokers move out and non-smokers move in: residential thirdhand smoke pollution and exposure. Tobacco Control, 20(1). DOI: 10.1136/tc.2010.037382  

  • April 3, 2011
  • 03:36 PM

Storytelling Gone Wild

by Cris Campbell in Genealogy of Religion

Humans everywhere are inveterate storytellers. Because storytelling, in the form of narrative, is found in all cultures and is structurally similar — with agents and action linked together by causation — there is excellent reason to think this ability is the result of intense selection pressure and is not simply a byproduct of other cognitive [...]... Read more »

  • April 3, 2011
  • 01:03 PM

Broad-Efficacy Antibodies for RNA Viral Infections

by Michael Long in Phased

Multivalent single-domain antibodies may be the future of anti-viral agents.... Read more »

Hultberg, A., Temperton, N. J., Rosseels, V., Koenders, M., Gonzalez-Pajuelo, M., Schepens, B., Itatí Ibañez, L., Vanlandschoot, P., Schillemans, J., Saunders, M.... (2011) Llama-Derived Single Domain Antibodies to Build Multivalent, Superpotent and Broadened Neutralizing Anti-Viral Molecules. PLoS ONE, 6(4). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0017665  

  • April 3, 2011
  • 06:53 AM

Zoonoses are not a one-way street…

by zoonotica in zoonotica

When discussing zoonoses it is very easy to think of only those diseases that pass from animals to humans and completely forget those that go the other way.  Indeed, some people refer to diseases that pass from humans to animals as ‘reverse zoonooses’ (although the WHO defines zoonotic diseases as ‘a group of infectious diseases [...]... Read more »

  • April 2, 2011
  • 07:58 PM

Exploding Head Syndrome - No pun required

by James Byrne in Disease Prone

This is an old post from my previous blog. Recently it has been seeing a lot of activity so I thought I'd play around with it a bit and re-post it here. Enjoy :)

Sometimes when searching for disease to write about a wonderful thing happens. The clouds part, cherubs descend, angels play intricate harp-based musical compositions, and a beam of light illuminates the link to a wonderful disease. This happened to me the other day, and now, without further ado, let me introduce you to Exploding Hea........ Read more »

Evans RW, & Pearce JM. (2001) Exploding head syndrome. Headache, 41(6), 602-3. PMID: 11437900  

Kallweit U, Khatami R, & Bassetti CL. (2008) Exploding head syndrome--more than "snapping of the brain"?. Sleep medicine, 9(5), 589. PMID: 17709298  

Pearce JM. (1989) Clinical features of the exploding head syndrome. Journal of neurology, neurosurgery, and psychiatry, 52(7), 907-10. PMID: 2769286  

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