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  • September 16, 2015
  • 08:00 AM
  • 1,121 views

You And Mom Are Never Apart

by Mark Lasbury in As Many Exceptions As Rules

You have more in common with your mom than you might think. Microchimerism means that an individual has cells with two different genetic profiles; some are yours and some are your mom’s. They live in your body for more than 40 years and can affect your health. Some of your cells moved into mom too – and they may help her live longer and avoid breast cancer.... Read more »

Cirello V, Rizzo R, Crippa M, Campi I, Bortolotti D, Bolzani S, Colombo C, Vannucchi G, Maffini MA, de Liso F.... (2015) Fetal cell microchimerism: a protective role in autoimmune thyroid diseases. European journal of endocrinology / European Federation of Endocrine Societies, 173(1), 111-8. PMID: 25916393  

Kamper-Jorgensen, M., Hjalgrim, H., Andersen, A., Gadi, V., & Tjonneland, A. (2013) Male microchimerism and survival among women. International Journal of Epidemiology, 43(1), 168-173. DOI: 10.1093/ije/dyt230  

Eun, J., Guthrie, K., Zirpoli, G., & Gadi, V. (2013) In Situ Breast Cancer and Microchimerism. Scientific Reports. DOI: 10.1038/srep02192  

  • September 9, 2015
  • 08:15 AM
  • 1,524 views

When You’re Not Just Yourself

by Mark Lasbury in As Many Exceptions As Rules

How would you react if you were told that the DNA testing shows that you are not your child’s parent or your parents’ child? Demand another test? – you bet. But wait, you or your parent might be a tetragametic chimeric, carrying around DNA from another person in your body. You might have had a dizygotic twin that you didn’t know about!... Read more »

Yu, N., Kruskall, M., Yunis, J., Knoll, J., Uhl, L., Alosco, S., Ohashi, M., Clavijo, O., Husain, Z., Yunis, E.... (2002) Disputed Maternity Leading to Identification of Tetragametic Chimerism. New England Journal of Medicine, 346(20), 1545-1552. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa013452  

Lee, H., Yoon, S., Ko, J., Seong, M., Park, S., Choi, J., & Oh, S. (2014) Monochorionic dizygotic twins with discordant sex and confined blood chimerism. European Journal of Pediatrics, 173(9), 1249-1252. DOI: 10.1007/s00431-014-2312-8  

  • September 2, 2015
  • 08:15 AM
  • 963 views

Don’t Disrespect The Dizygotic

by Mark Lasbury in As Many Exceptions As Rules

Spies try to look boring, but in reality they are much more interesting than the average Joe. So it is with dizygotic twins; monozygotic twins (“identical”) get all the glory, but they’re just a split egg, any female can do it. But dizygotic twins – certain families have more, Nigerian women have more, older women have more, taller women and overweight women have more. Now there’s something that looks boring but must be interesting.... Read more »

Simpson, C., Robertson, D., Al-Musawi, S., Heath, D., McNatty, K., Ritter, L., Mottershead, D., Gilchrist, R., Harrison, C., & Stanton, P. (2014) Aberrant GDF9 Expression and Activation Are Associated With Common Human Ovarian Disorders. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology , 99(4). DOI: 10.1210/jc.2013-3949  

Palmer, J., Zhao, Z., Hoekstra, C., Hayward, N., Webb, P., Whiteman, D., Martin, N., Boomsma, D., Duffy, D., & Montgomery, G. (2006) Novel Variants in Growth Differentiation Factor 9 in Mothers of Dizygotic Twins. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology , 91(11), 4713-4716. DOI: 10.1210/jc.2006-0970  

Hoekstra, C., Willemsen, G., van Beijsterveldt, C., Lambalk, C., Montgomery, G., & Boomsma, D. (2010) Body composition, smoking, and spontaneous dizygotic twinning. Fertility and Sterility, 93(3), 885-893. DOI: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2008.10.012  

Groeneveld, E., Lambers, M., Stakelbeek, M., Mooij, T., van den Belt-Dusebout, A., Heymans, M., Schats, R., Hompes, P., Hoek, A., Burger, C.... (2012) Factors associated with dizygotic twinning after IVF treatment with double embryo transfer. Human Reproduction, 27(10), 2966-2970. DOI: 10.1093/humrep/des258  

  • August 26, 2015
  • 08:45 AM
  • 1,205 views

Twins That Share More Than Clothes

by Mark Lasbury in As Many Exceptions As Rules

Not every pair of monozygotic twins have the same chromosomes. Mosaic twins can be boy and girl, yet both babies come from a single zygote. The strange part is that the tests we run to prevent IVF problems may actually contribute to mosaic twinning. And have you heard of polar body twins? They’re ½ identical twins!... Read more »

Souter, V., Parisi, M., Nyholt, D., Kapur, R., Henders, A., Opheim, K., Gunther, D., Mitchell, M., Glass, I., & Montgomery, G. (2006) A case of true hermaphroditism reveals an unusual mechanism of twinning. Human Genetics, 121(2), 179-185. DOI: 10.1007/s00439-006-0279-x  

Tachon, G., Lefort, G., Puechberty, J., Schneider, A., Jeandel, C., Boulot, P., Prodhomme, O., Meyer, P., Taviaux, S., Touitou, I.... (2014) Discordant sex in monozygotic XXY/XX twins: a case report. Human Reproduction, 29(12), 2814-2820. DOI: 10.1093/humrep/deu275  

  • August 19, 2015
  • 01:09 PM
  • 727 views

The Mechanics of a Hummingbird’s tongue

by Bernadeta Dadonaite in The Question Gene

How the tongue of a hummingbird is a perfect example of form fits function... Read more »

Rico-Guevara, A., & Rubega, M. (2011) The hummingbird tongue is a fluid trap, not a capillary tube. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 108(23), 9356-9360. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1016944108  

  • August 19, 2015
  • 06:30 AM
  • 1,445 views

Epigenetics And The Evil Twin

by Mark Lasbury in As Many Exceptions As Rules

Monozygotic twins share 100% of their genes. Does this make them identical? Not by a long shot. Epigenetics is the field of study that looks at how environment can change how something looks or works without changing its genes. Is epigenetics responsible for evil twin syndrome in American television?... Read more »

Spannhoff, A., Kim, Y., Raynal, N., Gharibyan, V., Su, M., Zhou, Y., Li, J., Castellano, S., Sbardella, G., Issa, J.... (2011) Histone deacetylase inhibitor activity in royal jelly might facilitate caste switching in bees. EMBO reports, 12(3), 238-243. DOI: 10.1038/embor.2011.9  

Kahn, H., Graff, M., Stein, A., Zybert, P., McKeague, I., & Lumey, L. (2008) A fingerprint characteristic associated with the early prenatal environment. American Journal of Human Biology, 20(1), 59-65. DOI: 10.1002/ajhb.20672  

Zwijnenburg, P., Meijers-Heijboer, H., & Boomsma, D. (2010) Identical but not the same: The value of discordant monozygotic twins in genetic research. American Journal of Medical Genetics Part B: Neuropsychiatric Genetics. DOI: 10.1002/ajmg.b.31091  

Thacker, D., Gruber, P., Weinberg, P., & Cohen, M. (2009) Heterotaxy Syndrome with Mirror Image Anomalies in Identical Twins. Congenital Heart Disease, 4(1), 50-53. DOI: 10.1111/j.1747-0803.2008.00229.x  

  • August 12, 2015
  • 08:15 AM
  • 1,532 views

When A Twin Vanishes

by Mark Lasbury in As Many Exceptions As Rules

The things that can happen to twins in the womb before they can be born are bizarre. Some get absorbed by their sibling and some just vanish. Two conjoined twins might grow differently and one may becomes a parasite – one boy just had a second face coming out of his chest that could smile, blink and cry. Even scarier - many of you are harboring a twin right now.... Read more »

Navaei AA, Habibi Z, Moradi E, & Nejat F. (2015) Parasitic rachipagus twins; report of two cases. Child's nervous system : ChNS : official journal of the International Society for Pediatric Neurosurgery, 31(6), 1001-3. PMID: 25715843  

Daga, B., Chaudhary, V., Ingle, A., Dhamangaokar, V., Jadhav, D., & Kulkarni, P. (2009) Double fetus-in-fetu: CT scan diagnosis in an adult. Indian Journal of Radiology and Imaging, 19(3), 216. DOI: 10.4103/0971-3026.54890  

Zahed, L., Oreibi, G., Darwiche, N., & Mitri, F. (2004) Potential trisomy 21 misdiagnosis by amniocentesis due to a resorbed twin. Prenatal Diagnosis, 24(12), 1013-1013. DOI: 10.1002/pd.918  

Lakhoo, K., Ringo, Y., Sillo, T., & Drake, D. (2012) Parasitic twin within spina bifida. African Journal of Paediatric Surgery, 9(3), 240. DOI: 10.4103/0189-6725.104728  

  • August 5, 2015
  • 08:36 AM
  • 827 views

The ones that get away—does intensive fishing make fish harder to catch?

by naturallyspeakingpodcast in Naturally Speaking Podcast

Are humans changing the course of evolution in wild fish populations? A new study making media waves today provides tantalizing evidence of a mechanism by which this may happen. In our new Naturally Speaking Reports, one of our editors caught up with Institute Senior Research Fellow Shaun Killen, the author of the study, to find out more about […]

... Read more »

Shaun S. Killen, Julie J. H. Nati, & Cory D. Suski. (2015) Vulnerability of individual fish to capture by trawling is influenced by capacity for anaerobic metabolism. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. info:/10.1098/rspb.2015.0603

  • August 5, 2015
  • 08:10 AM
  • 1,112 views

One Egg, Two People, A Bunch of Reasons

by Mark Lasbury in As Many Exceptions As Rules

Man has been cloning himself for thousands of years. They’re called monozygotic twins. But how it occurs naturally is still a mystery. Identical twinning isn’t common, but is increased by in vitro fertilization techniques. Maybe this will give clues as to why one embryo splits. And if it doesn’t split completely – conjoined twins.... Read more »

  • July 29, 2015
  • 10:30 AM
  • 931 views

It’s 11 PM, Do You Know Where Your Organs Are?

by Mark Lasbury in As Many Exceptions As Rules

It’s a miracle that a human body ever works like it’s supposed to. So many things can go wrong and there’s so few ways for things to be right. Ever hear of a defect called situs ambiguus? It’s a big problem. And what’s more, when something like transposition of the great arteries occurs, it’s only a second defect that keeps the patients alive.... Read more »

  • July 28, 2015
  • 07:53 AM
  • 290 views

New evidence for cultural differences in Chimpanzees

by TakFurTheKaffe in Tak Fur The Kaffe

New evidence has emerged, reporting cultural differences between neighbouring groups of chimps in Uganda – raising more questions as to what really distinguishes us from our closest living relatives. ... Read more »

  • July 22, 2015
  • 08:10 AM
  • 1,133 views

Organs Don’t Always Follow The Plan

by Mark Lasbury in As Many Exceptions As Rules

Do you know where your heart is located? Do you know exactly? Maybe not. It isn’t where most people think it is, and in some people it’s on the opposite side. Situs inversus is a mirror imaging of internal organs, and it’s caused by a faulty motorboat rotor on the embryo.... Read more »

  • July 15, 2015
  • 03:03 PM
  • 1,089 views

Journal Club: Starlings on Prozac: How pharmaceuticals may affect wildlife

by GrrlScientist in Maniraptora

SUMMARY: Recent research suggests that the commonly prescribed psychiatric drug, Prozac, occurs at environmentally relevant concentrations that can significantly alter behaviour and physiology in wild birds .. Read more... Read more »

Bean, T., Boxall, A., Lane, J., Herborn, K., Pietravalle, S., & Arnold, K. (2014) Behavioural and physiological responses of birds to environmentally relevant concentrations of an antidepressant. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 369(1656), 20130575-20130575. DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2013.0575  

Crockett, M., Siegel, J., Kurth-Nelson, Z., Ousdal, O., Story, G., Frieband, C., Grosse-Rueskamp, J., Dayan, P., & Dolan, R. (2015) Dissociable Effects of Serotonin and Dopamine on the Valuation of Harm in Moral Decision Making. Current Biology, 25(14), 1852-1859. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2015.05.021  

Markman, S., Müller, C., Pascoe, D., Dawson, A., & Buchanan, K. (2011) Pollutants affect development in nestling starlings Sturnus vulgaris. Journal of Applied Ecology, 48(2), 391-397. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2664.2010.01931.x  

  • July 15, 2015
  • 08:25 AM
  • 1,178 views

Ovaries March To A Different Drummer

by Mark Lasbury in As Many Exceptions As Rules

A woman’s right ovary kicks her left ovary’s behind. It puts out more hormones and more pregnancies result from right-sided ovulations than from left-sided ovulations. And there’s none of this right-left stuff you’ve been taught, the ovaries don’t have to take turns ovulating every other month. In fact, a study showed that the best chance for pregnancy is if the ovulation pattern is left-left-right over a three-cycle interval. ... Read more »

Zheng, X., O’Connor, J., Huchzermeyer, F., Wang, X., Wang, Y., Wang, M., & Zhou, Z. (2013) Preservation of ovarian follicles reveals early evolution of avian reproductive behaviour. Nature, 495(7442), 507-511. DOI: 10.1038/nature11985  

  • July 8, 2015
  • 08:30 AM
  • 946 views

What the Heck Are Those Doing There?

by Mark Lasbury in As Many Exceptions As Rules

The neuroendocrine system has lots of exceptions, and this includes the male testes. Just why are they housed outside the main body cavities where they are vulnerable to all sorts of dangers, including your siblings’ kicks? You may think you know, but you probably have only part of the answer. Why is one bigger than the other and why do some animals only have one? ... Read more »

Bogaert, A. (1997) Genital asymmetry in men. Human Reproduction, 12(1), 68-72. DOI: 10.1093/humrep/12.1.68  

  • July 1, 2015
  • 08:30 AM
  • 864 views

Thinking Asymmetrically About Hormones

by Mark Lasbury in As Many Exceptions As Rules

Your endocrine glands are stimulated or suppressed by hormones. They in turn dump hormones into the blood. Blood goes everywhere equally. So why is your left adrenal gland bigger than your right? And why is the size difference larger in domesticated foxes as opposed to wild foxes? For that matter, why is the size of the right lobe of your thyroid gland depend on which hand you use to write!?... Read more »

Trut LN, Prasolova LA, Kharlamova AV, & Plyusnina IZ. (2002) Directional left-sided asymmetry of adrenals in experimentally domesticated animals. Bulletin of experimental biology and medicine, 133(5), 506-9. PMID: 12420075  

Hojaij, F., Vanderlei, F., Plopper, C., Rodrigues, C., Jácomo, A., Cernea, C., Oliveira, L., Marchi, L., & Brandão, L. (2011) Parathyroid gland anatomical distribution and relation to anthropometric and demographic parameters: a cadaveric study. Anatomical Science International, 86(4), 204-212. DOI: 10.1007/s12565-011-0111-0  

  • June 24, 2015
  • 08:00 AM
  • 885 views

The CPU In Your Head

by Mark Lasbury in As Many Exceptions As Rules

It’s hard to believe, but part of your brain – the part that controls your body systems – actually comes from your mouth! What’s more, that same part of the brain talks to cells in your lungs that can smell what you breathe in and may have something to do with Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.... Read more »

Gu, X., Karp, P., Brody, S., Pierce, R., Welsh, M., Holtzman, M., & Ben-Shahar, Y. (2014) Chemosensory Functions for Pulmonary Neuroendocrine Cells. American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology, 50(3), 637-646. DOI: 10.1165/rcmb.2013-0199OC  

  • June 19, 2015
  • 06:30 PM
  • 1,302 views

Fibonacci Numbers And Odd Lungs

by Mark Lasbury in As Many Exceptions As Rules

Most people think that because they have a pair of lungs, they must be symmetrical – but they’re far from it. The Fibonacci sequence has a lot to do with structural asymmetries in the lungs. On the other hand, some animals have only one lung, some have three lungs, and some have no lungs at all.... Read more »

Wilkinson M, Kok PJ, Ahmed F, & Gower DJ. (2014) Caecilita Wake . Zootaxa, 383-8. PMID: 24871732  

Bickford, D., Iskandar, D., & Barlian, A. (2008) A lungless frog discovered on Borneo. Current Biology, 18(9). DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2008.03.010  

Goldberger AL, West BJ, Dresselhaus T, & Bhargava V. (1985) Bronchial asymmetry and Fibonacci scaling. Experientia, 41(12), 1537-8. PMID: 4076397  

  • June 3, 2015
  • 08:15 AM
  • 1,082 views

Left-Handers Have Prettier Brains

by Mark Lasbury in As Many Exceptions As Rules

Take a quick look at the human brain and it seems very symmetrical. Well, it’s not. Which hand you use can help determine just how symmetrical your brain actually is, and for some people that’s really important – they were born with only half a brain!... Read more »

Rogers, L., Zucca, P., & Vallortigara, G. (2004) Advantages of having a lateralized brain. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 271(Suppl_6). DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2004.0200  

Muckli, L., Naumer, M., & Singer, W. (2009) Bilateral visual field maps in a patient with only one hemisphere. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 106(31), 13034-13039. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0809688106  

  • May 27, 2015
  • 08:47 PM
  • 786 views

Evolution of Darwin’s finches and their beaks revealed by genome sequencing

by Andrea Vucicevic in genome ecology evolution etc

Introduction Darwin’s finches from Galapagos and Cocos Island are classic example of young adaptive radiation, entirely intact because none of the species having become extinct as a result of human activity. They have diversified in beak sizes and shapes, feeding … Continue reading →... Read more »

Lamichhaney, S., Berglund, J., Almén, M., Maqbool, K., Grabherr, M., Martinez-Barrio, A., Promerová, M., Rubin, C., Wang, C., Zamani, N.... (2015) Evolution of Darwin’s finches and their beaks revealed by genome sequencing. Nature, 518(7539), 371-375. DOI: 10.1038/nature14181  

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