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  • March 18, 2011
  • 12:56 AM

Friday Weird Science: Rabbits, Cell Phones, and Sex

by Scicurious in Neurotic Physiology

Sci recently covered a study on the effects that cell phones might have on your brain (but as to WHAT those brain effects might DO…well nobody knows. And the effects are really small. So nobody panic.) But now it’s time to cover the more important facet of constantly carrying around a cell phone: what does [...]... Read more »

  • March 17, 2011
  • 06:10 PM

Are newly evolved genes as important as ancient ones?

by Genetics Otago in Southern Genes

by Tamsin Jones.
We share about 70% of our genes with fruit flies. Those 70% are old, ancient genes, that were present in the common ancestor of flies and humans. We share many, many genes with most animals, and these conserved genes are thought to be the ones controlling all those really important processes necessary for [...]... Read more »

Chen, S., Zhang, Y., & Long, M. (2010) New Genes in Drosophila Quickly Become Essential. Science, 330(6011), 1682-1685. DOI: 10.1126/science.1196380  

  • March 17, 2011
  • 04:41 PM

Doing the Haplomastodon Breakdown

by Laelaps in Laelaps

African elephants are sturdy beasts. They don’t break down easily. After death, elephant bodies become temporary islands of intense activity – providing nourishment to scavengers from hyenas to beetles – and the same was true of prehistoric elephants.
At Águas de Araxá, Brazil, a resort hotel sits on top of an ancient elephant graveyard. Construction workers [...]... Read more »

ARROYOCABRALES, J., POLACO, O., LAURITO, C., JOHNSON, E., TERESAALBERDI, M., & VALERIOZAMORA, A. (2007) The proboscideans (Mammalia) from Mesoamerica. Quaternary International, 17-23. DOI: 10.1016/j.quaint.2006.12.017  

FERRETTI, M.P. (2010) Anatomy of Haplomastodon chimborazi (Mammalia, Proboscidea) from the late Pleistocene of Ecuador and its bearing on the phylogeny and systematics of South American gomphotheres. Geodiversitas, 32(4), 663-721. info:/

  • March 17, 2011
  • 03:00 PM

On the occurrence and implications of seasonal phytoplankton bloom

by Heather Wright in Plankton Biogeography

The timing of species occurrence in the environment is termed phenology. Just as we can estimate the arrival and departure of seasons by the migratory patterns of birds or the appearance of buds and flowers on trees, a similar pattern is present in the ocean.

A recent finding by SIO researchers indicates that for more than a decade, the timing of spring phytoplankton blooms in the Arctic is occurring earlier each year. Using satellite ocean color data which typically provides an estimate of ........ Read more »

KAHRU, M., BROTAS, V., MANZANO-SARABIA, M., & MITCHELL, B. (2011) Are phytoplankton blooms occurring earlier in the Arctic?. Global Change Biology, 17(4), 1733-1739. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2486.2010.02312.x  

  • March 17, 2011
  • 12:00 PM

Who's More Likely to Be Right: A Century of Economics Or A Billion Years of Evolution?

by David Berreby in Mind Matters

Advocates of nuclear power have been busy this week, casting choices about reactors as a battle of head versus heart: Emotionally, we're scared and impressed by the ongoing nuclear crisis in Japan, they say, but the rational choice for the future is to keep licensing those reactors.
As I mentioned ...Read More
... Read more »

  • March 17, 2011
  • 11:13 AM

The vesper bat family tree: of myotines, plecotins, antrozoins, and all those cryptic species (vesper bats part II)

by Darren Naish in Tetrapod Zoology

So, in the previous article we introduced vesper bats (sensu lato) as a whole, covered the idea that they're pretty diverse in morphology and behaviour, and also looked quickly at where they seem to fit within the bat family tree as a whole. As you'd predict for a diverse group of over 400 species, there have been numerous attempts to group these many species into clades, and to work out the patterns of evolution within the group. A large number of 'subfamilies' and 'tribes' have been named ........ Read more »

Agnarsson I, Zambrana-Torrelio CM, Flores-Saldana NP, & May-Collado LJ. (2011) A time-calibrated species-level phylogeny of bats (Chiroptera, Mammalia). PLoS currents. PMID: 21327164  

  • March 17, 2011
  • 10:51 AM

Happy Saint Patrick's Day: Here is some Green-Fluorescence!

by Brooke N in Smaller Questions

Highlights of a new Cell paper discussing novel bacterial nanotubes used for transfer of cytosolic proteins.... Read more »

  • March 17, 2011
  • 09:50 AM

Always Brontosaurus to Me

by Brian Switek in Dinosaur Tracking

During the latter half of the 1980s, when I was just becoming acquainted with dinosaurs, “Brontosaurus” was just on its way out. A few of my books depicted the lumbering dinosaur, and a few museums still had the wrong heads on their skeletons, but the images of slow, stupid Brontosaurus were slowly being replaced by [...]... Read more »

BRINKMAN, P. (2006) Bully for Apatosaurus. Endeavour, 30(4), 126-130. DOI: 10.1016/j.endeavour.2006.10.004  

  • March 17, 2011
  • 09:36 AM

Immune cells and lupus pathogenesis

by Sally Church in Pharma Strategy Blog

We discuss the pathogenesis of cancer quite a bit on this blog, but today I wanted to take a look at immune disorders, specifically, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) or lupus for short. Lupus is an autoimmune disease characterised by often … Continue reading →
... Read more »

Lande, R., Ganguly, D., Facchinetti, V., Frasca, L., Conrad, C., Gregorio, J., Meller, S., Chamilos, G., Sebasigari, R., Riccieri, V.... (2011) Neutrophils Activate Plasmacytoid Dendritic Cells by Releasing Self-DNA-Peptide Complexes in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. Science Translational Medicine, 3(73), 73-73. DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3001180  

Garcia-Romo, G., Caielli, S., Vega, B., Connolly, J., Allantaz, F., Xu, Z., Punaro, M., Baisch, J., Guiducci, C., Coffman, R.... (2011) Netting Neutrophils Are Major Inducers of Type I IFN Production in Pediatric Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. Science Translational Medicine, 3(73), 73-73. DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3001201  

Duffau, P., Seneschal, J., Nicco, C., Richez, C., Lazaro, E., Douchet, I., Bordes, C., Viallard, J., Goulvestre, C., Pellegrin, J.... (2010) Platelet CD154 Potentiates Interferon-  Secretion by Plasmacytoid Dendritic Cells in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. Science Translational Medicine, 2(47), 47-47. DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3001001  

  • March 17, 2011
  • 08:00 AM

Liton Roy: Career Scientist

by Susan Steinhardt in The PostDoc Forum

Read on to find out why Liton decided to pursue a career in chemistry and his passion for Alzheimer’s disease research.... Read more »

  • March 17, 2011
  • 07:40 AM

Liton Roy: Career Chemist

by Susan Steinhardt in The PostDoc Forum

Postdoc Liton Roy is our featured scientist of the month. You can find Liton on LinkedIn, twitter @LitonRoy, and his website. Read on to find out why Liton decided to pursue a career in chemistry and his passion for Alzheimer’s disease research. How did you first become interested in Science? I was good at Math [...]... Read more »

  • March 17, 2011
  • 07:00 AM

March 17, 2011

by Erin Campbell in HighMag Blog

One of the first jobs an embryo must complete is to orient the body’s head/tail axis. It seems simple enough, but for an early embryo with not many cells, it is an amazing task. A recent paper describes the use of amazing microscopy to visualize this process in a mouse embryo.The anterior visceral endoderm (AVE) is a subset of cells from the visceral endoderm that sets up the anterior-posterior (head-tail) body axis by migrating to the future anterior region. A recent paper precisely descri........ Read more »

  • March 17, 2011
  • 05:25 AM

Trypanosomatid plastids and uninentional scientific comedy

by Psi Wavefunction in Skeptic Wonder

One need not read past the abstract:"It is usually assumed that the trypanosomatid plastid shared a common origin with that of euglenids, but Δ4 desaturase phylogenies suggest that it could have originated via an independent, tertiary endosymbiosis involving a haptophyte alga. It is also possible that ancestors of the Trypanosomatidae initially possessed a primary plastid that later was replaced by a secondary or tertiary plastid." – Bodyl et al 2010 J Parasitol (pdf)I could go on for many, m........ Read more »

  • March 16, 2011
  • 05:12 PM

How baleen whales lost a gene and their teeth

by Lucas in thoughtomics

When a blue whale opens its mouth, tonnes of water surge in. The whale then forces the water back out with its tongue, in such a way that it flows through the baleen combs in the front of its mouth. These baleen plates can filter up to half a million calories worth of plankton, krill [...]... Read more »

Meredith RW, Gatesy J, Cheng J, & Springer MS. (2011) Pseudogenization of the tooth gene enamelysin (MMP20) in the common ancestor of extant baleen whales. Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society, 278(1708), 993-1002. PMID: 20861053  

  • March 16, 2011
  • 04:22 PM

by Iddo Friedberg in Byte Size Biology

Quite a few people think that microbes are evil, disease causing minions of Hell that should be eradicated. Supermarkets are handing out sanitary wipes: wipe the handlebar if you want to live, never mind that 90% of the food in the supermarket is worse for you than anything you may catch off that cart handle. Almost every public space looks like the secret basement level of the CDC, with alcoholic hand sanitizers and posters portraying the horrors of aerosol-borne infections. Microbes are the i........ Read more »

  • March 16, 2011
  • 03:53 PM

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Indeed…

by Dr. Carin Bondar in Dr. Carin Bondar - Biologist With a Twist

It’s a favorite book among children and parents alike (my own family included): ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ by Eric Carle.  The book keeps it pretty straightforward – a caterpillar eats whatever it comes across until it’s time to cocoon and become a butterfly.  However, in biological reality nothing is ever that simple…
Caterpillars are group-living organisms.  [...]... Read more »

  • March 16, 2011
  • 03:48 PM

Why are there no (or almost no) disease-causing Archaea?

by Iddo Friedberg in Byte Size Biology

Some microbes are evil minions of Hell (but not all) Quite a few people think that microbes are evil, disease causing minions of Hell that should be eradicated. Supermarkets are handing out sanitary wipes: wipe the handlebar if you want to live, never mind that 90% of the food in the supermarket is worse for [...]... Read more »

  • March 16, 2011
  • 03:43 PM

FLIP-ing the Cell Death Switch

by Sanford- Burnham in Beaker

Cells come and go throughout our lifetime. Some live a long time (like brain cells), while others constantly grow, divide and die. Cell death is a process that must be carefully managed – too many cells dying in the brain leads to neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, while not enough cell death allows tumors to form. [...]... Read more »

Oberst A, Dillon CP, Weinlich R, McCormick LL, Fitzgerald P, Pop C, Hakem R, Salvesen GS, & Green DR. (2011) Catalytic activity of the caspase-8-FLIP(L) complex inhibits RIPK3-dependent necrosis. Nature. PMID: 21368763  

  • March 16, 2011
  • 02:03 PM

Sizing Up Kinship: Larger Groups Win

by Cris Campbell in Genealogy of Religion

There are a number of scholars who claim that “religion” evolved as an adaptation. What kind of adaptation? A group level adaptation. The story usually goes like this: at some unknown time during the middle or upper Paleolithic, certain groups of hominins developed proto-religious beliefs. These beliefs supposedly caused group members to dance, sing, and [...]... Read more »

Hill, K., Walker, R., Bozicevic, M., Eder, J., Headland, T., Hewlett, B., Hurtado, A., Marlowe, F., Wiessner, P., & Wood, B. (2011) Co-Residence Patterns in Hunter-Gatherer Societies Show Unique Human Social Structure. Science, 331(6022), 1286-1289. DOI: 10.1126/science.1199071  

  • March 16, 2011
  • 01:02 PM

Vitamin D: How Supplements Affect Serum 25(OH)D Levels

by Kari Kenefick in Promega Connections

A few years ago a dietician friend sent me an interview with Dr. Michael Holick about vitamin D deficiency. I was stunned by the long reach of this vitamin on human health and physiology. In the past 5–7 years interest in vitamin D deficiency and reports on its connection to various chronic conditions in humans, [...]... Read more »

Cedric F. Garland, Christine B. French, Leo L. Baggerly, Robert P. Heaney. (2011) Vitamin D Supplement Doses and Serum 25-Hydroxyvitamin D in the Range Associated with Cancer Prevention. Anticancer Research, 607-612. info:/21378345

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