Once I dreamed a dream of being an evolutionary biologist. As I imagined it, I would hang out in a natural history museum, comparing fossils to one another, taking notes on the minute differences, and piecing together the history of life. It wasn’t until a job fair years ago, when I babbled to an evolutionary [...]... Read more »
Barnes, D., Kuklinski, P., Jackson, J., Keel, G., Morley, S., & Winston, J. (2011) Scott's collections help reveal accelerating marine life growth in Antarctica. Current Biology, 21(4). DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2011.01.033
Hoeksema, B., van der Land, J., van der Meij, S., van Ofwegen, L., Reijnen, B., van Soest, R., & de Voogd, N. (2011) Unforeseen importance of historical collections as baselines to determine biotic change of coral reefs: the Saba Bank case. Marine Ecology. DOI: 10.1111/j.1439-0485.2011.00434.x
Parker, P., Buckles, E., Farrington, H., Petren, K., Whiteman, N., Ricklefs, R., Bollmer, J., & Jiménez-Uzcátegui, G. (2011) 110 Years of Avipoxvirus in the Galapagos Islands. PLoS ONE, 6(1). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0015989
Steege, H., Haripersaud, P., Banki, O., & Schieving, F. (2010) A model of botanical collectors' behavior in the field: Never the same species twice. American Journal of Botany, 98(1), 31-37. DOI: 10.3732/ajb.1000215
by Vincent Racaniello in virology blog
Integration of retroviral DNA into the cellular genome is essential for the production of new infectious particles. A strong argument that the novel human retrovirus XMRV is not a laboratory contaminant is the finding that viral DNA is integrated in chromosomal DNA of prostate tumors. Nucleotide sequence analyses of 14 integration sites in prostate tumor DNAs [...]... Read more »
Garson JA, Kellam P, & Towers GJ. (2011) Analysis of XMRV integration sites from human prostate cancer tissues suggests PCR contamination rather than genuine human infection. Retrovirology, 8(1), 13. PMID: 21352548
Stone, K., Mickey, D., Wunderli, H., Mickey, G., & Paulson, D. (1978) Isolation of a human prostate carcinoma cell line (DU 145). International Journal of Cancer, 21(3), 274-281. DOI: 10.1002/ijc.2910210305
Dong B, Kim S, Hong S, Das Gupta J, Malathi K, Klein EA, Ganem D, Derisi JL, Chow SA, & Silverman RH. (2007) An infectious retrovirus susceptible to an IFN antiviral pathway from human prostate tumors. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 104(5), 1655-60. PMID: 17234809
(Seal tracks on sea ice. Photo by Jason Auch, courtesy Wikimedia Commons.) There's a fascinating paper in PNAS examining the relationship between Arctic sea ice and the single-celled algae that live in sea ice.These tiny players account for 57 percent of the primary productivity—that is, the business of making life from nonlife via photosynthesis—in Arctic waters.The authors turned the predictable question—How will dwindling Arctic sea ice affect ice-dwelling algae?—inside-out: Here we ........ Read more »
Krembs, C., Eicken, H., & Deming, J. (2011) Exopolymer alteration of physical properties of sea ice and implications for ice habitability and biogeochemistry in a warmer Arctic. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1100701108
The family Nepticulidae hold some of the smallest moths known, ranging from 3-8mm wing-tip to wing-tip. For a comparison I have imaged two moths above: the largest known – Coscinocera hercules that tips the scales at nearly 9 inches, and one of the smallest (yes that tiny little speck below . . . → Read More: The tiniest of moths... Read more »
Labandeira, C. (1994) Ninety-Seven Million Years of Angiosperm-Insect Association: Paleobiological Insights into the Meaning of Coevolution. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 91(25), 12278-12282. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.91.25.12278
PUPLESIS, R., DIŠKUS, A., ROBINSON, G., & ONORE, G. (2002) A review and checklist of the Neotropical Nepticulidae (Lepidoptera). Bulletin of The Natural History Museum. Entomology Series, 71(01). DOI: 10.1017/S0968045402000032
Our pond does not even qualify as a pond. It is a half a wooden barrel, almost full of dead leaves and overgrown irises and marsh marigolds. Still, it's got some water snails and frogs have bred the last couple of years. A few days ago I was watching the very active ramshorn snails when I noticed this paired water slaters, Asellus aquaticus. Water slaters are isopods, like woodlice, but unlike their terrestrial relatives they display a behaviour which is common in crustaceans, mate guarding, by ........ Read more »
Bertin, A., & Cezilly, F. (2003) Sexual selection, antennae length and the mating advantage of large males in Asellus aquaticus. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 16(4), 698-707. DOI: 10.1046/j.1420-9101.2003.00565.x
Verrell, P. (1985) Predation and the Evolution of Precopula in the Isopod Asellus Aquaticus. Behaviour, 95(3), 198-202. DOI: 10.1163/156853985X00127
If 8-year-olds can publish a scientific paper about bee behavior in the journal Biology Letters, then high school students ought to be capable of acting like full-fledged professional scientists, right?
Alexander Jaffe proves it true. The Los Angeles high school student gave up 30 hours a week of party time over the course of two summers to work for UCLA evolutionary biologist Michael Alfaro: looking at turtle and tortoise (chelonian) shell size and asking the question--what is the optimal size........ Read more »
Jaffe AL, Slater GJ, & Alfaro ME. (2011) The evolution of island gigantism and body size variation in tortoises and turtles. Biology letters. PMID: 21270022
It’s hard not to like dogs. Even if you don’t like them, you’d better say that you do. After all, what kind of person are you if you don’t like an animal that is so clearly and completely into humans? … Continue reading →... Read more »
Sonoda, H., Kohnoe, S., Yamazato, T., Satoh, Y., Morizono, G., Shikata, K., Morita, M., Watanabe, A., Morita, M., Kakeji, Y.... (2011) Colorectal cancer screening with odour material by canine scent detection. Gut. DOI: 10.1136/gut.2010.218305
Cornu, J., Cancel-Tassin, G., Ondet, V., Girardet, C., & Cussenot, O. (2011) Olfactory Detection of Prostate Cancer by Dogs Sniffing Urine: A Step Forward in Early Diagnosis. European Urology, 59(2), 197-201. DOI: 10.1016/j.eururo.2010.10.006
Lit, L., Schweitzer, J., & Oberbauer, A. (2011) Handler beliefs affect scent detection dog outcomes. Animal Cognition. DOI: 10.1007/s10071-010-0373-2
Have you or a family member donated bone marrow or received a transplant? We’d love to hear what this type of research means to you. Please drop us a line in the comments below.
When patients receive a bone marrow transplant, they are getting a new population of hematopoietic stem cells. Fresh stem cells are needed [...]... Read more »
Sieburg HB, Rezner BD, & Muller-Sieburg CE. (2011) Predicting clonal self-renewal and extinction of hematopoietic stem cells. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. info:/10.1073/pnas.1011414108
One of the hallmarks of cancer is that even within different tumour types, there is an enormous degree of heterogeneity. Ultimately, in simple terms this means that individual patients will respond to different therapies depending upon their underlying biology. … Continue reading →
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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
About 65.5 million years ago, the last of the non-avian dinosaurs were wiped out in the fallout from one of the earth’s most catastrophic extinction events. They left only bones and traces in the rock behind. Yet there are people who claim that humans actually lived alongside dinosaurs. Young earth creationists have a habit of [...]... Read more »
Senter, P.; Cole, S.J. (2011) "Dinosaur" petroglyphs at Kachina Bridge site, Natural Bridges National Monument, southeastern Utah: not dinosaurs after all . Palaeontologia Electronica, 14(1), 1-5. info:/
Jonathan Lawson is in the first year of his Wellcome Trust Four-year PhD. Undertaking the first of three laboratory projects, he tells us how cells that help us smell might one day cure paralysis. Cells from the nose that could cure stroke or paralysis – crazy, right? That’s what I thought too, but it [...]... Read more »
Barraud P, Seferiadis AA, Tyson LD, Zwart MF, Szabo-Rogers HL, Ruhrberg C, Liu KJ, & Baker CV. (2010) Neural crest origin of olfactory ensheathing glia. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 107(49), 21040-5. PMID: 21078992
According to a disturbing BBC news story, South African drug addicts are stealing medication from HIV+ people and using it to get high:'Whoonga' threat to South African HIV patients"Whoonga" is the street name for efavirenz (aka Stocrin), one of the most popular antiretroviral drugs. The pills are apparantly crushed, mixed with marijuana, and smoked for its hallucinogenic effects.This is not, in fact, a new story; Scientific American covered it 18 months ago and the BBC themselves did in 2008 (a........ Read more »
Cavalcante GI, Capistrano VL, Cavalcante FS, Vasconcelos SM, Macêdo DS, Sousa FC, Woods DJ, & Fonteles MM. (2010) Implications of efavirenz for neuropsychiatry: a review. The International journal of neuroscience, 120(12), 739-45. PMID: 20964556
Plants' ancient relationship with animal pollinators is pretty crazy, when you think about it. On the one hand, it gives plants access to mates they can't go find on their own, and it's more efficient than making scads of pollen and hoping the wind blows some onto another member of your species. On the other hand, it can leave a plant totally dependent upon another species for its reproduction.
This catch is probably why lots of plants still use wind pollination strategies, or reserve the opti........ Read more »
Anderson, S., Kelly, D., Ladley, J., Molloy, S., & Terry, J. (2011) Cascading effects of bird functional extinction reduce pollination and plant density. Science, 331(6020), 1068-1071. DOI: 10.1126/science.1199092
Sekercioglu, C. (2011) Functional extinctions of bird pollinators cause plant declines. Science, 331(6020), 1019-20. DOI: 10.1126/science.1202389
I am a molecular biologist. I love genetic engineering. Cloning, PCR, bacterial expression systems…I love them all. Today I saw a story from the Associated Press that validates my love for genetic engineering even more. Joule Unlimited, Inc., a biotechnology company from Cambridge, Massachusetts, recently published an article demonstrating an ability of genetically engineered cyanobacteria [...]... Read more »
Cholera is the pandemic that just won’t go away. Worse yet, it preys on us when we are at our most vulnerable, after a natural or man-made disaster. We know how to prevent it but in times of natural disaster or in areas where infrastructure is inadequate, those conditions can be hard to maintain. A [...]... Read more »
Faruque SM, Albert MJ, & Mekalanos JJ. (1998) Epidemiology, genetics, and ecology of toxigenic Vibrio cholerae. Microbiology and molecular biology reviews : MMBR, 62(4), 1301-14. PMID: 9841673
Faruque SM, Biswas K, Udden SM, Ahmad QS, Sack DA, Nair GB, & Mekalanos JJ. (2006) Transmissibility of cholera: in vivo-formed biofilms and their relationship to infectivity and persistence in the environment. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 103(16), 6350-5. PMID: 16601099
Koelle, K., Pascual, M., & Yunus, M. (2005) Pathogen adaptation to seasonal forcing and climate change. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 272(1566), 971-977. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2004.3043
Nelson EJ, Harris JB, Morris JG Jr, Calderwood SB, & Camilli A. (2009) Cholera transmission: the host, pathogen and bacteriophage dynamic. Nature reviews. Microbiology, 7(10), 693-702. PMID: 19756008
Neisseria meningitidis is a bacteria which lives in the throats of around 30% of the human population. In most cases it causes no problems at all and just exists as a normal part of the throat microbial flora. In some patients however it can start to colonise the bloodstream and brain, leading to cases of septicemia and meningitis which are highly dangerous and can be fatal.The invasion starts with individual bacteria, which adhere to the epithelial cells that cover the inside of the throat. Th........ Read more »
Chamot-Rooke J, Mikaty G, Malosse C, Soyer M, Dumont A, Gault J, Imhaus AF, Martin P, Trellet M, Clary G.... (2011) Posttranslational modification of pili upon cell contact triggers N. meningitidis dissemination. Science (New York, N.Y.), 331(6018), 778-82. PMID: 21311024
Blood vessel formation is one of the wonderful adaptive processes in biology. If a tissue is under-oxygenated, it sends out a cry for help and lo and behold, a new blood vessel forms. This is great if the rescued tissue was under-oxygenated because it was cut off from its normal supply by a wound. It’s [...]... Read more »
Bauer AL, Jackson TL, & Jiang Y. (2007) A cell-based model exhibiting branching and anastomosis during tumor-induced angiogenesis. Biophysical journal, 92(9), 3105-21. PMID: 17277180
So, welcome back to the Genetical Book Review, where we use concepts from evolutionary biology and genetics to talk about novels. In this installment, we are going to talk about White Cat, written by Michael Frost and Holly Black. This is the first book in a series of the Curse Workers fantasy series, the second book of which is set to be published in April. Holly Black may be familiar to some readers as one of the authors of The Spiderwick Chronicles.
White Cat is, broadly speaking, the same f........ Read more »
WADDINGTON, C. (1942) Canalization of Development and the Inheritance of Acquired Characters. Nature, 150(3811), 563-565. DOI: 10.1038/150563a0
If you ask anyone with a clinical background to explain bradycardia, you will get a very simple yet sufficient response: a heart rate below 60 beats per minute (bpm). However, if you ask that same person to relate it to jugular venous pressure, more often than not you can expect to receive a blank stare. Why? Simple: very few actually understand venous pressure waves. Jugular venous waveforms quantify the pressure within the venous system—which ultimately feeds into the........ Read more »
Socransky SJ, Wiss R, Robins R, Anawati A, Roy MA, & Yeung IC. (2010) Defining normal jugular venous pressure with ultrasonography. CJEM : Canadian journal of emergency medical care , 12(4), 320-4. PMID: 20650024
Deol GR, Collett N, Ashby A, & Schmidt GA. (2011) Ultrasound accurately reflects the jugular venous examination but underestimates central venous pressure. Chest, 139(1), 95-100. PMID: 20798190
This blog is and will mostly be about zoonotic diseases but I hope you will forgive me for every now and then straying off topic. Today the reason for my slight deviation from the norm is because this work is just so cool! Researchers have regrown nerves using spider silk – it sounds more like [...]... Read more »
Radtke, C., Allmeling, C., Waldmann, K., Reimers, K., Thies, K., Schenk, H., Hillmer, A., Guggenheim, M., Brandes, G., & Vogt, P. (2011) Spider Silk Constructs Enhance Axonal Regeneration and Remyelination in Long Nerve Defects in Sheep. PLoS ONE, 6(2). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0016990
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