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  • March 12, 2010
  • 11:22 AM

Your Friday Dose of Weird: Two new Cambrian critters

by Laelaps in Laelaps

When it comes to aliens, Hollywood really does not have much imagination. Most extraterrestrials that have appeared on the big screen look very much like us, or are at least some kind of four-to-six-limbed vertebrate, and this says more about out own vanity than anything else. It would be far more interesting, I think, to take the weird and wonderful organisms of the Cambrian as inspiration for alien life forms, and two new critters have just been added to the odd Cambrian menagerie. Read the ........ Read more »

  • March 12, 2010
  • 10:30 AM

Incisivosaurus, a Dinosaur With an Overbite

by Brian Switek in Dinosaur Tracking

Over and over again the same dinosaurs show up in the news: Tyrannosaurus, Triceratops, Apatosaurus, Velociraptor, etc., etc., etc. Movies, books and television have made them into superstars, but we should not forget that these dinosaurs represent only a small part of the range of dinosaur diversity. There are many kinds of dinosaurs many people [...]... Read more »

Xu, X., Cheng, Y., Wang, X., & Chang, C. (2002) An unusual oviraptorosaurian dinosaur from China. Nature, 419(6904), 291-293. DOI: 10.1038/nature00966  

  • March 12, 2010
  • 09:50 AM

Obstinately Overprotecting Odin

by Katie Hill in Promega Connections

I woke up this morning and worried about my 2 year-old son, Odin.  Is he eating enough leafy greens?  Is he socializing well with others? Is this demanding and snarky attitude he is newly exhibiting a permanent part of his personality? Will ramming his head into the table while playing soccer in the house prevent [...]... Read more »

Narita, K., Takei, Y., Suda, M., Aoyama, Y., Uehara, T., Kosaka, H., Amanuma, M., Fukuda, M., & Mikuni, M. (2010) Relationship of parental bonding styles with gray matter volume of dorsolateral prefrontal cortex in young adults. Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry. DOI: 10.1016/j.pnpbp.2010.02.025  

  • March 12, 2010
  • 08:32 AM

It’s not easy to make the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus a killer

by Vincent Racaniello in virology blog

The second RNA segment of some influenza virus strains encodes a protein called PB1-F2 that might contribute to virulence. Speaking about the 2009 pandemic H1N1 strain, Peter Palese noted that “If this virulence marker is necessary for an influenza virus to become highly pathogenic in humans or in chickens, then the current swine virus doesn’t [...]... Read more »

Hai, R., Schmolke, M., Varga, Z., Manicassamy, B., Wang, T., Belser, J., Pearce, M., Garcia-Sastre, A., Tumpey, T., & Palese, P. (2010) PB1-F2 expression by the 2009 pandemic H1N1 influenza virus has minimal impact on virulence in animal models. Journal of Virology. DOI: 10.1128/JVI.02717-09  

  • March 12, 2010
  • 06:14 AM

Yellow fever, stasis, and diversification

by iayork in Mystery Rays from Outer Space

“Episode de la fièvre jaune”

By analyzing hepatitis C virus genome sequences, you can trace the virus’s history through its spread by the slave trade, and linked 19th-century health models in different countries to viral spread and transmission. Similarly, by looking at leprosy DNA, you can track its spread along the Silk Road and along [...]... Read more »

  • March 12, 2010
  • 06:00 AM

The challenge of managing disease in wildlife: the case of elk in Yellowstone

by Rob Goldstein in Conservation Maven

The disease brucellosis is surging in free-ranging elk populations in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem according to a new study in the journal Ecological Applications.

Furthermore, efforts to address the problem by reducing the density of elk populations through increased hunting or introduction of natural predators will be difficult given the matrix of private and public lands where elk aggregate.... Read more »

Cross, P., Cole, E., Dobson, A., Edwards, W., Hamlin, K., Luikart, G., Middleton, A., Scurlock, B., & White, P. (2010) Probable causes of increasing brucellosis in free-ranging elk of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Ecological Applications, 20(1), 278-288. DOI: 10.1890/08-2062.1  

  • March 12, 2010
  • 05:13 AM

The Green Evolution that preceded the Green Revolution

by Jeremy in Agricultural Biodiversity Weblog

The standard litany against the Green Revolution is that it failed to banish hunger because the technologies it ushered in were no use to small peasant farmers. Farmers with access to cash and good land did well, but poorer farmers on marginal land got nothing out of the revolution, and if they did somehow [...]... Read more »

  • March 12, 2010
  • 12:46 AM

Friday Weird Science: Ejaculation 1, 2, 3...

by Evil Monkey in Neurotopia

Well well well. Here we are. It's Friday. And we've been talking about SPERM ALL WEEK.

What to do...what to do...

Nel-Themaat et al. "Quality and freezing qualities of first and second ejaculates collected from endangered Gulf Coast Native rams" Animal Reproduction Science, 2006.


So it turns out that the people who wrote the study Sci covered the other week wrote ANOTHER one. Also, it turns out the eland is not endangered, but the other species they were working with, the Gulf Co........ Read more »

NELTHEMAAT, L., HARDING, G., CHANDLER, J., CHENEVERT, J., DAMIANI, P., FERNANDEZ, J., HUMES, P., POPE, C., & GODKE, R. (2006) Quality and freezing qualities of first and second ejaculates collected from endangered Gulf Coast Native rams. Animal Reproduction Science, 95(3-4), 251-261. DOI: 10.1016/j.anireprosci.2005.09.014  

  • March 11, 2010
  • 10:18 PM

You know your ‘type’? It’s stress dependent…

by aimee in misc.ience

A number of interesting revelations to be had here, and all to do with our choices of ‘mate’.

And by mate, I don’t mean the antipodean colloquialism meaning ‘friend’.  Nope, I mean mate as in, you know, someone you want to shag.  As it were.
The first revelation in this paper* is that, for the most part, [...]

[Click on the hyperlinked headline for more of the goodness]... Read more »

Lass-Hennemann, J., Deuter, C., Kuehl, L., Schulz, A., Blumenthal, T., & Schachinger, H. (2010) Effects of stress on human mating preferences: stressed individuals prefer dissimilar mates. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2010.0258  

  • March 11, 2010
  • 09:43 PM

The Conservative View of Progress in Applied Cancer Research

by Reason in Fight Aging!

Via FuturePundit, I see that a recent open access paper outlines the results of applied cancer research over the past four decades. Declining Death Rates Reflect Progress against Cancer The success of the "war on cancer" initiated in 1971 continues to be debated, with trends in cancer mortality variably presented as evidence of progress or failure. We examined temporal trends in death rates from all-cancer and the 19 most common cancers in the United States from 1970-2006. ... Progress in reduci........ Read more »

  • March 11, 2010
  • 05:44 PM

A hierarchical framework for assessing environmental impacts of dam operation

by JL in Analyze Everything

The effects of impoundments are big one for people working in aquatic ecosystems. In Kansas, a large number of dams are still being built (and a lot more are in the discussion stages). So I am constantly trying to understand more about the effects of dams and the impacts they have on upstream and downstream aquatic ecosystems. I was recently forwarded the an article by Burke, Jorde and ... Read more »

  • March 11, 2010
  • 03:36 PM

It’s Official – Fathers ARE Important to their Childrens’ Upbringing

by Isabelle Winder in Going Ape

David Cameron’s “Broken Britain”, with its image of moral decay driven by the breakdown in family life and poverty, may be inciting a lot of debate in parliament and the public press, but to read many studies of human evolution, you might be mistaken for thinking that the human male has never actually played a meaningful role in childcare. Most evolutionary studies focus on female life history – age at first reproduction, number of offspring and interbirth interval, for example – to th........ Read more »

Gettler, L.T. (2010) Direct male care and hominin evolution: why male-child interaction is more than just a nice social idea. . American Anthropologist, 112(1), 7-21. info:/10.1111/j.1548-1433.2009.01193.x

  • March 11, 2010
  • 02:26 PM

Norovirus and Clinical Research

by Lab Rat in Lab Rat

I've written a lot about bacteria and plants over the last few weeks, so in celebration of the fact that my project is finally on it's way out (with a whimper rather than a bang, unfortunately, but that's how it goes sometimes) I've decided to descend into the world of viruses. I've also decided to have a go at deconstructing some clinical papers, to make a change from academia. The difference between clinical and academic research can probably be described as follows (and I'm pretty sure I've s........ Read more »

Hane Htut Muang. (2008) Norovirus Infection: An Underestimated Danger. Cambridge Medicine, 22-24. info:/

  • March 11, 2010
  • 02:10 PM

The phrenologist’s guide to ecological competence

by Katie Kline in EcoTone

Since Darwin, scientists have been theorizing as to why there is variation in brain size between species and individuals. Does a larger brain, in say humans, indicate advanced cognitive abilities and complex language processing? Or is a smaller brain, such as the Olive-backed thrush’s, adapted to weigh less to accommodate lengthy flights?

In psychology, the field of phrenology has generally been dissolved, and with it, the idea that variations in brain size could indicate differences ........ Read more »

  • March 11, 2010
  • 09:50 AM

BioSante announce positive data from GVAX leukemia vaccine in CML

by Sally Church in Pharma Strategy Blog

This morning the newswires (HT Mike Huckman) are full of the BioSante (formerly Cell Genesys) news on their leukemia vaccine, GVAX, which is being tested to see whether it is a viable approach for eradication of minimal residual disease. Accordingly,...... Read more »

  • March 11, 2010
  • 07:11 AM

Review of Towards pharmacogenomics knowledge discovery with the semantic web

by UUCJC in Uppsala University Cheminformatics Journal Club

The article, Towards pharmacogenomics knowledge discovery with the semantic web, written by Michael Dumontier and Natalia Villanueva-Rosales attempts to demonstrate the importance of pharmacogenomics and how the data should be structured in the best possible way. Their strategy towards knowledge discovery involves ontology design, population and question answering. In a more specific manner this was established with Web Ontology Language OWL-DL, Protégé and Manchester OWL Syntax.With the SO-Ph........ Read more »

Dumontier, M., & Villanueva-Rosales, N. (2009) Towards pharmacogenomics knowledge discovery with the semantic web. Briefings in Bioinformatics, 10(2), 153-163. DOI: 10.1093/bib/bbn056  

  • March 11, 2010
  • 05:34 AM

"Why do we believe", and are atheists really more intelligent?

by Daniel in Ego sum Daniel editor Dave Munger has written an article for SEED magazine entitled "Why do we believe". The article summarizes recent blog entries regarding studies on the origins of religiosity. It's really worth reading to get a good overview of the subject, and what do you know he links my entry on god's will and beliefs in it.

Among the studies that are mentioned is a controversial study entitled "Why Liberals and Atheists Are More Intelligent" (link at the end of this post).

Medic........ Read more »

  • March 11, 2010
  • 05:30 AM

The Common Genetic Causes of Celiac Disease

by Rick Scavetta in DNA Dude

Celiac disease is characterized by an immune response to glutin and similar proteins found in wheat, rye and barley. For individuals with celiac disease, eating glutin results in an inflammed small intestine, diarrhea and fatigue, among other symptoms. It’s estimated that about 1% of all Americans suffer from celiac disease. Given the heritability of [...]... Read more »

Dubois, P., Trynka, G., Franke, L., Hunt, K., Romanos, J., Curtotti, A., Zhernakova, A., Heap, G., Ádány, R., Aromaa, A.... (2010) Multiple common variants for celiac disease influencing immune gene expression. Nature Genetics. DOI: 10.1038/ng.543  

  • March 11, 2010
  • 05:00 AM

Delimiting the boundaries of a species invasion (with no prior info)

by Rob Goldstein in Conservation Maven

When it comes to successfully controlling invasive species, managers face the critically important step of figuring out the extent of the invasion. Researchers have developed and tested an innovative approach for accomplishing this challenging task...... Read more »

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