Jesse Bering has responded to criticism—by me, Jon Wilkins, and P.Z. Meyers, among others—of his post about Gordon Gallup's hypothesis that fear of homosexuals is favored by natural selection, in the form of an interview with Gallup. The result is informative, but probably not in the way intended.
To recap: Gallup proposed that homophobia could be adaptive if it prevented gay and lesbian adults from contacting a homophobic parent's children and—either through actual sexual abuse or some ........ Read more »
Arden, N., & Spector, T. (1997) Genetic influences on muscle strength, lean body mass, and bone mineral density: A twin study. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, 12(12), 2076-2081. DOI: 10.1359/jbmr.19126.96.36.1996
Berenbaum, M., & Zangerl, A. (1992) Genetics of physiological and behavioral resistance to host furanocoumarins in the parsnip webworm. Evolution, 46(5), 1373-84. DOI: 10.2307/2409943
Campbell, D. (1996) Evolution of floral traits in a hermaphroditic plant: Field measurements of heritabilities and genetic correlations. Evolution, 50(4), 1442-53. DOI: 10.2307/2410882
Gallup, G. (1995) Have attitudes toward homosexuals been shaped by natural selection?. Ethology and Sociobiology, 16(1), 53-70. DOI: 10.1016/0162-3095(94)00028-6
Mousseau, T., & Roff, D. (1987) Natural selection and the heritability of fitness components. Heredity, 59(2), 181-97. DOI: 10.1038/hdy.1987.113
One of the largest and most successful vesper bat clades is Myotis, the little brown bats or mouse-eared bats. As you can see from the simplified cladogram shown right down at the bottom of this article, recent work indicates that they form the sister-taxon to the remaining vespertilionine vesper bats (for more discussion of their phylogenetic position, see the vesper bat cladogram article). Myotis occurs virtually worldwide in diverse habitats, contains about 100 species, and has been describ........ Read more »
Ma, J., Jones, G., Zhang, S., Shen, J., Metzner, W., Zhang, L., & Liang, B. (2003) Dietary analysis confirms that Rickett's big-footed bat (Myotis ricketti) is a piscivore. Journal of Zoology, 261(3), 245-248. DOI: 10.1017/S095283690300414X
This weeks journal club was on Cryptococcus neoformans and an odd way it may get of out macrophage some of the time, at least in vitro, maybe. The paper in question is:
The Human Fungal Pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans Escapes Macrophages by a Phagosome Emptying Mechanism That Is Inhibited by Arp2/3 Complex-Mediated Actin Polymerisation by Simon A. Johnston, Robin C. May. PLoS Pathogens 6(8) e1001041.
This work follows up a really cool observation published by t........ Read more »
Johnston SA, & May RC. (2010) The human fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans escapes macrophages by a phagosome emptying mechanism that is inhibited by Arp2/3 complex-mediated actin polymerisation. PLoS pathogens, 6(8). PMID: 20714349
I recently had the opportunity to visit the fabled heart of the USDA-ARS empire: Beltsville.
I heard all about the tornado that knocked down all the campus trees, smashed in the greenhouses and threw doors down hallways a few years ago, visited their food sensory lab (a controlled environment where fruit samples are passed through a wall to waiting taste testers), and saw greenhouses packed full of cacao (where research on one of my favorite fungi, Crinipellis perniciosa, is co-f........ Read more »
Lightbourn, G., Griesbach, R., Novotny, J., Clevidence, B., Rao, D., & Stommel, J. (2008) Effects of Anthocyanin and Carotenoid Combinations on Foliage and Immature Fruit Color of Capsicum annuum L. Journal of Heredity, 99(2), 105-111. DOI: 10.1093/jhered/esm108
Stommel, J.R., & Griesbch, R.J. (2008) Inheritance of Fruit, Foliar, and Plant Habit Attributes in Capsicum. J. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci., 113(3), 396-407. info:/
Tanaka Y, Brugliera F, Kalc G, Senior M, Dyson B, Nakamura N, Katsumoto Y, & Chandler S. (2010) Flower color modification by engineering of the flavonoid biosynthetic pathway: practical perspectives. Bioscience, biotechnology, and biochemistry, 74(9), 1760-9. PMID: 20834175
by Vincent Racaniello in virology blog
A second virophage has been identified. The name does not signify a virus that infects another virus – it means virus eater. The story of virophages begins with the giant mimivirus, originally isolated from a cooling tower in the United Kingdom. It is the largest known virus, with a capsid 750 nanometers in diameter and [...]... Read more »
Fischer MG, & Suttle CA. (2011) A Virophage at the Origin of Large DNA Transposons. Science (New York, N.Y.). PMID: 21385722
For those of you that may not be able to guess it from reading my blog – here’s a little factiod: I love, rather LOVE, biology. I’m often daydreaming about various organisms or landscapes – thinking about what it would be like to investigate certain phenomena. It would be nice [...]... Read more »
Zhu, B., Pan, K., & Wang, G. (2011) Effects of host starvation on the symbiotic dinoflagellates from the sea anemone Stichodactyla mertensii. Marine Ecology, 32(1), 15-23. DOI: 10.1111/j.1439-0485.2010.00405.x
Portnova, D., Mokievsky, V., & Soltwedel, T. (2011) Nematode species distribution patterns at the Håkon Mosby Mud Volcano (Norwegian Sea). Marine Ecology, 32(1), 24-41. DOI: 10.1111/j.1439-0485.2010.00403.x
Lazar, B., Gračan, R., Katić, J., Zavodnik, D., Jaklin, A., & Tvrtković, N. (2011) Loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) as bioturbators in neritic habitats: an insight through the analysis of benthic molluscs in the diet. Marine Ecology, 32(1), 65-74. DOI: 10.1111/j.1439-0485.2010.00402.x
2011 may be the year where the last known officially acknowledged stocks of the deadly smallpox virus, variola are destroyed - a virus that claimed over 500 million lives in the 20th century alone. The extensive collection of 'live' virus and DNA stocks totalling over 500 isolates/strains, which are held between the US Centres for Disease Control and the Russian State Research Centre of Virology and Biotechnology may be ordered to be eliminated following World Health Organisation (WHO) recommend........ Read more »
Gubser C, & Smith GL. (2002) The sequence of camelpox virus shows it is most closely related to variola virus, the cause of smallpox. The Journal of general virology, 83(Pt 4), 855-72. PMID: 11907336
Li, Y., Carroll, D., Gardner, S., Walsh, M., Vitalis, E., & Damon, I. (2007) From the Cover: On the origin of smallpox: Correlating variola phylogenics with historical smallpox records. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 104(40), 15787-15792. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0609268104
Raymond S. Weinstein. (2011) Should Remaining Stockpiles of Smallpox Virus (Variola) Be Destroyed?. Emerg Infect Dis, 17(Apr). info:/10.3201/eid1704.101865
Rimoin AW, Mulembakani PM, Johnston SC, Lloyd Smith JO, Kisalu NK, Kinkela TL, Blumberg S, Thomassen HA, Pike BL, Fair JN.... (2010) Major increase in human monkeypox incidence 30 years after smallpox vaccination campaigns cease in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 107(37), 16262-7. PMID: 20805472
by Lorna Powell in Elements Science
Lorna Powell tunes into new research that suggests our genes could influence our enjoyment of music.
Related posts:Lung cancer gene means risk for non-smokers too
Whose gene is it anyway?
Smoking can be good for you
... Read more »
Ukkola-Vuoti, L., Oikkonen, J., Onkamo, P., Karma, K., Raijas, P., & Järvelä, I. (2011) Association of the arginine vasopressin receptor 1A (AVPR1A) haplotypes with listening to music. Journal of Human Genetics. DOI: 10.1038/jhg.2011.13
Deutsch, D., Henthorn, T., Marvin, E., & Xu, H. (2006) Absolute pitch among American and Chinese conservatory students: Prevalence differences, and evidence for a speech-related critical period. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 119(2), 719. DOI: 10.1121/1.2151799
Geographical edges of species range dispersal are evolutionary focal points.... Read more »
Shine, R., Brown, G. P., & Phillips, B. L. (2011) An evolutionary process that assembles phenotypes through space rather than through time. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1018989108
Aesthetics may have more to do with protecting land as a nature reserve than we would like to admit. Wetlands are a perfect example. Few people would consider wetlands to be “beautiful” landscapes—they offer few vistas, are difficult to navigate, and can appear rather homogeneous to the layperson. To many, a swamp is a swamp [...]... Read more »
Ode, A., & Miller, D. (2011) Analysing the relationship between indicators of landscape complexity and preference. Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, 38(1), 24-40. DOI: 10.1068/b35084
Allosaurus has one of the dullest names in all of paleontology. The famous dinosaur’s moniker simply means “different reptile”—a bit of a letdown for one of the top predators of Jurassic North America. Early on, the name fit well—Allosaurus was a very unusual dinosaur compared to other large, predatory species—but since 1878 bone hunters have [...]... Read more »
Eddy, D., & Clarke, J. (2011) New Information on the Cranial Anatomy of Acrocanthosaurus atokensis and Its Implications for the Phylogeny of Allosauroidea (Dinosauria: Theropoda). PLoS ONE, 6(3). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0017932
The common cuckoo is such a lazy parent that brood parasitism—laying its eggs in the nests of other birds—is built into its biology.
No bird will willingly adopt cuckoo chicks, which usually out-compete, and sometimes kill, their adoptive siblings. Given any hint that one of the eggs in her nest isn't hers, a bird will eject the intruder. So cuckoos have evolved eggs that mimic the coloring of their hosts' eggs—dividing the species into "host races" that specialize on a single host speci........ Read more »
Stoddard, M., & Stevens, M. (2011) Avian vision and the evolution of egg color mimicry in the common cuckoo. Evolution. DOI: 10.1111/j.1558-5646.2011.01262.x
I feel like I've seen this movie before. A group of thieves need to gain entry to a highly secured vault. The vault door is nearly impregnable, and once inside, there are motion sensors, security cameras and laser trip lines, all of which sound the alarm. When the security guards hear what's happening, they are told to release a deadly gas into the vault, killing anyone inside. But Salmonella enterica, that charming bug responsible for all manner of unpleasantness, is a clever burglar. It has le........ Read more »
Arpaia N, Godec J, Lau L, Sivick KE, McLaughlin LM, Jones MB, Dracheva T, Peterson SN, Monack DM, & Barton GM. (2011) TLR Signaling Is Required for Salmonella typhimurium Virulence. Cell, 144(5), 675-88. PMID: 21376231
Male fiddler crabs spend a lot of time doing this sort of thing:
This is Uca mjoebergi, a colourful crab from south Pacific shores. They're signalling to someone - but to whom?. To their own species? Their own sex? To predators?
I had fun recently giving a talk about fiddler crab signalling at a local nature center. I had seen a decent amount of research on fiddler crabs, but had never had the opportunity to review it and try to pull it into a story before. And while I was doing that, a new p........ Read more »
Booksmythe I, Jennions M, & Backwell P. (2011) Male fiddler crabs prefer conspecific females during simultaneous, but not sequential, mate choice. Animal Behaviour. DOI: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2011.01.009
This might possibly be the most awesome paper about tagging fish ever. One of the handiest advances in telemetry, especially of large, highly-migratory oceanic species, has been the advent of SPOT tags. These tags do it all: movement, depth, temperature, … Continue reading →... Read more »
David W. Kerstetter, Jeffery J. Polovina, & John E. Graves. (2004) Evidence of shark predation and scavenging on fishes equipped with pop-up satellite archival tags. Fishery Bulletin, 750-756. info:/
When I was growing up there was a right of passage every 13-year-old child had to go through: The B.C.G. vaccination against tuberculosis. We all stood in line and waited for our “six-pricks” (Heaf) test, and then a week later had the test site inspected to see if we needed the vaccination. Since T.B. was [...]... Read more »
Adams, K., Takaki, K., Connolly, L., Wiedenhoft, H., Winglee, K., Humbert, O., Edelstein, P., Cosma, C., & Ramakrishnan, L. (2011) Drug Tolerance in Replicating Mycobacteria Mediated by a Macrophage-Induced Efflux Mechanism. Cell. DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2011.02.022
I am a relatively infrequent airline traveler, and so packing for distant assignments and trips always presents me with an organizational challenge. Clothes, equipment, and supplies must be tracked down and stuffed into my cheap luggage, with frequent checks of the TSA website to ensure that I can unpack and repack my carry-ons with a [...]... Read more »
Louchart, A., Tourment, N., & Carrier, J. (2010) The earliest known pelican reveals 30 million years of evolutionary stasis in beak morphology. Journal of Ornithology. DOI: 10.1007/s10336-010-0537-5
by Merry Youle in Small Things Considered
In order to release their newly assembled virions, most viruses lyse the cells that have fed and housed them. This lysis is not a haphazard affair. Some phages, for example, employ a holin-endolysin system to rupture their host's cell membrane and digest the cell wall at a precisely controlled time. (For our earlier posts about this, click here and here.) Others instead interfere with cell wall synthesis—the same strategy that we use with our β-lactam antibiotics. Now yet another completely d........ Read more »
Bize A, Karlsson EA, Ekefjärd K, Quax TE, Pina M, Prevost MC, Forterre P, Tenaillon O, Bernander R, & Prangishvili D. (2009) A unique virus release mechanism in the Archaea. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 106(27), 11306-11. PMID: 19549825
Quax TE, Lucas S, Reimann J, Pehau-Arnaudet G, Prevost MC, Forterre P, Albers SV, & Prangishvili D. (2011) Simple and elegant design of a virion egress structure in Archaea. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 108(8), 3354-9. PMID: 21282609
This post was originally published on 7 April 2010. I am reposting it in honour of the release of Open Laboratory 2010, which has just come on sale. It’s an anthology of great blog posts from last year, including this one.
Japanese people have special tools that let them get more out of eating sushi than Americans can. They are probably raised with these utensils from an early age and each person wields millions of them. By now, you’ve probably worked out that I’m not talking about c........ Read more »
Hehemann, J., Correc, G., Barbeyron, T., Helbert, W., Czjzek, M., & Michel, G. (2010) Transfer of carbohydrate-active enzymes from marine bacteria to Japanese gut microbiota. Nature, 464(7290), 908-912. DOI: 10.1038/nature08937
Since the time of Linnaeus, scientists have loved classifying the world around them. But while centuries of biologists have worked to collect and categorize the plants and animals of Earth, all that work likely only covers about a minute fraction of our planet’s life. As much as 99 percent of the biodiversity on Earth is [...]... Read more »
Gilbert JA, Meyer F, Schriml L, Joint IR, Mühling M, & Field D. (2010) Metagenomes and metatranscriptomes from the L4 long-term coastal monitoring station in the Western English Channel. Standards in genomic sciences, 3(2), 183-93. PMID: 21304748
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