New Genetic Editing Technique Offers Novel Treatment of Defects
The promises of genetic modifications are endless, longer life, better health, cures for genetic based diseases that would otherwise cause an unimaginable amount of suffering all wiped out. We’ve come a […]

Zuris JA, Thompson DB, Shu Y, Guilinger JP, Bessen JL, Hu JH, Maeder ML, Joung JK, Chen ZY & Liu DR & (2014). Cationic lipid-mediated delivery of proteins enables efficient protein-based genome editing in vitro and in vivo., Nature biotechnology, PMID:

I Need How Many Calories? Caloric Needs in Bulimia Nervosa Patients
In the 1980s, a few studies came out suggesting that patients with bulimia nervosa (BN) require fewer calories for weight maintenance than anorexia nervosa patients (e.g., Newman, Halmi, & Marchi, 1987) and healthy female controls (e.g., Gwirtsman et al., 1989). Gwirtsman et al. (1989), after finding that patients with bulimia nervosa required few calories for weight maintenance than healthy volunteers, had these suggestions for clinicians: When bulimic patients are […]

de Zwaan, M., Aslam, Z. & Mitchell, J.E. (2002). Research on energy expenditure in individuals with eating disorders: a review., International Journal of Eating Disorders, 31 (4) 361-9. PMID:

Gwirtsman, H.E., Kaye, W.H., Obarzanek, E., George, D.T., Jimerson, D.C. & Ebert, M.H. (1989). Decreased caloric intake in normal-weight patients with bulimia: comparison with female volunteers., American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 49 (1) 86-92. PMID:

Kotler LA, Devlin MJ, Matthews DE & Walsh BT (2001). Total energy expenditure as measured by doubly-labeled water in outpatients with bulimia nervosa., International Journal of Eating Disorders, 29 (4) 470-6. PMID:

Halloween Special: The Drosophila Halloween Genes
In the movies, spooks and phantoms are often undead humans with unfinished business. But would you be afraid of a ghostly fruit fly? In 1995, fruit fly researchers Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard and Eric Wieschaus were awarded a Nobel Prize for their research on development. They were interested in understanding how a fertilized egg develops into a complex […]

Gilbert L.I. (2008). Drosophila is an inclusive model for human diseases, growth and development, Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology, 293 (1-2) 25-31. DOI:

Gilbert L.I. (2004). Halloween genes encode P450 enzymes that mediate steroid hormone biosynthesis in Drosophila melanogaster, Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology, 215 (1-2) 1-10. DOI:

Tissue-specific genome editing in Ciona embryos by CRISPR/Cas9
Researchers have always been interested in tissue-specific loss of function to probe the role of specific genes in embryonic development, cell physiology and disease conditions. Migration of lateral plate primordial germ cells in zebrafish, border cell migration during oogenesis in drosophila, interaction of T-cells with their target, and numerous other cases have continued to give […]

Stolfi, A., Gandhi, S., Salek, F. & Christiaen, L. (2014). Tissue-specific genome editing in Ciona embryos by CRISPR/Cas9, Development, 141 (21) 4115-4120. DOI: 10.1242/dev.114488

Canonical circuits in neuroscience
Gary Marcus, Adam Marblestone, and Thomas Dean have a nice perspective piece in Science this week on the atoms of neural computation (gated): One hypothesis is that cortical neurons form a single, massively repeated “canonical” circuit, characterized as a kind of a … Continue reading →

Qian, J., Hintze, A. & Adami, C. (2011). Colored Motifs Reveal Computational Building Blocks in the C. elegans Brain, PLoS ONE, 6 (3) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0017013

Borst, A. (2007). Correlation versus gradient type motion detectors: the pros and cons, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 362 (1479) 369-374. DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2006.1964

Pfeffer, C. (2014). Inhibitory Neurons: Vip Cells Hit the Brake on Inhibition, Current Biology, 24 (1) DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2013.11.001

Mysore, S. & Knudsen, E. (2012). Reciprocal Inhibition of Inhibition: A Circuit Motif for Flexible Categorization in Stimulus Selection, Neuron, 73 (1) 193-205. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2011.10.037

Marcus, G., Marblestone, A. & Dean, T. (2014). The atoms of neural computation, Science, 346 (6209) 551-552. DOI: 10.1126/science.1261661

NS1: It’s all about location, location, location
  Viruses are minimalists when it comes to genomic data. This light packing of genetic information requires that every protein the virus codes for needs to be as versatile as possible. The flavivirus genus is no exception to this; its genome encodes for three structural proteins (capsid, membrane, and envelope) and seven nonstructural proteins (NS1, […]

Muller D.A. (2013). The flavivirus NS1 protein: Molecular and structural biology, immunology, role in pathogenesis and application as a diagnostic biomarker, Antiviral Research, 98 (2) 192-208. DOI:

Crook K.R., Clayton R. Morrison & Frank Scholle (2014). Modulation of innate immune signaling by the secreted form of the West Nile virus NS1 glycoprotein, Virology, 458-459 172-182. DOI:

Akey D.L., S. Dutta, J. Konwerski, J. Jose, T. J. Jurkiw, J. DelProposto, C. M. Ogata, G. Skiniotis, R. J. Kuhn & J. L. Smith & (2014). Flavivirus NS1 Structures Reveal Surfaces for Associations with Membranes and the Immune System, Science, 343 (6173) 881-885. DOI:

Caesarean section births and autism risk?
It was a familiar story. Big media headlines such as: Caesarean sections 'may increase risk of autism' appearing all over, but when it came to finding the study behind the headlines, the publishing journal seemed to be trailing a little way behind. We've been in a similar situation before."As the flames rose to her Roman nose"Anyhow, the paper by Eileen Curran and colleagues [1] (open-access) has finally made it to the research table and hence is fodder for today's ramblings with the […]

Curran EA, O'Neill SM, Cryan JF, Kenny LC, Dinan TG, Khashan AS & Kearney PM (2014). Research Review: Birth by caesarean section and development of autism spectrum disorder and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: a systematic review and meta-analysis., Journal of child psychology and psychiatry, and allied disciplines, PMID:

Zombies: Science Fiction vs. Fact
Well in the spirit of Halloween I thought I would make a nice little zombie post. Zombies, those brain loving little guys, [and girls] are everywhere. From shows like The Walking […]

Lafferty KD (2006). Can the common brain parasite, Toxoplasma gondii, influence human culture?, Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society, 273 (1602) 2749-55. PMID:

Vyas A, Kim SK, Giacomini N, Boothroyd JC & Sapolsky RM (2007). Behavioral changes induced by Toxoplasma infection of rodents are highly specific to aversion of cat odors., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 104 (15) 6442-7. PMID:

Passamonti L, Crockett MJ, Apergis-Schoute AM, Clark L, Rowe JB, Calder AJ & Robbins TW (2012). Effects of acute tryptophan depletion on prefrontal-amygdala connectivity while viewing facial signals of aggression., Biological psychiatry, 71 (1) 36-43. PMID:

Thomas, F., Schmidt-Rhaesa, A., Martin, G., Manu, C., Durand, P. & Renaud, F. (2002). Do hairworms (Nematomorpha) manipulate the water seeking behaviour of their terrestrial hosts?, Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 15 (3) 356-361. DOI: 10.1046/j.1420-9101.2002.00410.x

W. Wesołowska T. Wesołowski (2014). Do Leucochloridium sporocysts manipulate the behaviour of their snail hosts?, Journal of Zoology , 292 (3) 151-155. Other:

Resourceful Crustaceans Turn Invasive Seaweed into Homes
When a new developer comes to town and starts aggressively building up the empty property around your home, you can get mad—or you can move in. That’s what tiny crustaceans in the Georgia mudflats have done. Facing an invasive Japanese seaweed, they’ve discovered that it makes excellent shelter, protecting them from all kinds of threats. […]The post Resourceful Crustaceans Turn Invasive Seaweed into Homes appeared first on Inkfish.

Wright, J., Byers, J., DeVore, J. & Sotka, E. (2014). Engineering or food? mechanisms of facilitation by a habitat-forming invasive seaweed, Ecology, 95 (10) 2699-2706. DOI: 10.1890/14-0127.1

Fright Week: The Stranger in the Mirror
In the mirror we see our physical selves as we truly are, even though the image might not live up to what we want, or what we once were. But we recognize the image as “self”. In rare instances, however, this reality breaks down.In Black Swan, Natalie Portman plays Nina Sayers, a ballerina who auditions for the lead in Swan Lake. The role requires her to dance the part of the innocent White Swan (for which she is well-suited), as well as her evil twin the Black Swan — which is […]

Barnier AJ, Cox RE, Connors M, Langdon R & Coltheart M (2011). A stranger in the looking glass: developing and challenging a hypnotic mirrored-self misidentification delusion., The International journal of clinical and experimental hypnosis, 59 (1) 1-26. PMID:

Chandra SR & Issac TG (2014). Mirror image agnosia., Indian journal of psychological medicine, 36 (4) 400-3. PMID:

Connors MH & Coltheart M (2011). On the behaviour of senile dementia patients vis-à-vis the mirror: Ajuriaguerra, Strejilevitch and Tissot (1963)., Neuropsychologia, 49 (7) 1679-92. PMID:

Mendez MF, Martin RJ, Smyth KA & Whitehouse PJ (1992). Disturbances of person identification in Alzheimer's disease. A retrospective study., The Journal of nervous and mental disease, 180 (2) 94-6. PMID: