October 05, 2014

3:11 AM | RNA-mediated genetic engineering (Part 3)
RCas9: A programmable RNA editing tool Excerpt: “The researchers envision a wide range of potential applications for RCas9. For example, an RCas9 tethered to a protein translation initiation factor and targeted to a specific mRNA could essentially act as a...Read more
3:10 AM | Friday 5 (on Saturday): Insect Haikus for the End of Summer
For some reason, I was feeling poetic today.  I started making up poems in my head on my way home from work and made excellent progress on a multi-stanza educational poem about dragonflies I might share with you sometime.  But I also came up with a series of haikus, inspired by the changing seasons and some […]
2:48 AM | RNA-mediated genetic engineering (Part 2)
WATCH: Bill Nye the Science Guy predicts end of creationism is nigh Excerpt: “Best known as Bill Nye the Science Guy, the 58-year-old educator, TV personality and author lamented the lingering myth that the universe is a product of divine...Read more

October 04, 2014

7:00 PM | Did parental love evolve separately in birds and mammals?
EDUCATION: SEXUALITY EDUCATION IN THE UNITED STATES Excerpt: Romantic (erotic) love, an important component of human reproductive and sexual behavior, has its origins in parenting behavior. In reptiles, there is neither parental care nor an affectionate or affiliative bond between...Read more
5:45 PM | Nerd Nite East Bay talk
I was recently invited to give a talk at Nerd Nite East Bay! Before the show and during intermissions I […]
5:10 PM | I’m going to be the new Huxley Fellow at Rice!
I’m ridiculously excited to announce that I’ll be joining Rice University’s BioSciences department as the new Huxley Fellow. It’s a […]
11:47 AM | Chronicles of Athena – 10 Weeks
At ten weeks of age Athena took an upgrade in her cheekiness levels. She’s been pushing her newly established boundaries and because I’m a soft touch I expect she’s discovered that many of those boundaries are quite flexible. New habits … Continue reading →
3:10 AM | RNA-mediated genetic engineering
Epigenetics II: Cellular Memory, Imprinting, and Targeting Genome Configuration With RNA   Excerpt: “…this germline-specific piRNA-targeted epigenetic control is key to understanding how life history events activate natural genetic engineering.” My comment: What’s surprising is that researchers are not reporting...Read more
1:57 AM | RNA-mediated events are not a matter of faith
A Matter of Faith—movie review Highlighting real world problems for Christian families By Gary Bates Published: 25 September 2014 (GMT+10) Excerpt: “Parents need to be aware that they must deal with this issue of origins in the home because public education...Read more
12:44 AM | Teeth evolved: a short misrepresentation
Teeth: a Very Short Introduction Description: Presents the story of teeth – from the earliest tooth-bearing fishes hundreds of millions of years ago through amphibians, reptiles and, ultimately, mammals Teeth are amazing – the product of half a billion years...Read more

October 03, 2014

3:17 PM | Color vision refutes the evolutionary dogma of gene duplication
The Rainbow Connection Color vision as we know it resulted from one fortuitous genetic event after another. By Kerry Grens | October 1, 2014 Excerpt 1: “The fact that we have the same few amino-acid substitutions as New World monkeys...Read more
8:57 AM | « L’altruisme pur », un espoir pour le monde ?
En ces temps où chacun semble poursuivre son intérêt personnel, ou l'appât du gain menace l'équilibre de la planète et où les communautarismes divisent le monde, un espoir pourrait venir de cette découverte étonnante réalisée par des scientifiques américains. Certaines personnes sont des altruistes purs, parfaits, privilégiant le bien d'autrui au-delà de leur propre intégrité […]

October 02, 2014

6:00 PM | Unassailable evidence vs assumptions
Putting the theory before the data: Is “massive modularity” a necessary foundation of evolutionary psychology? Excerpt 1) “Anyone who attends HBES, EHBEA, ISHE or any of the other conferences dedicated to the approach will discover that new fields of study...Read more
1:11 AM | Well-Nigh Wordless Wednesday: Sometimes It’s Okay to Be Blurry
Ever have this happen: you take a photo of something that’s moving quickly in low-ish light and it’s super blurry, but you kinda like it anyway?  That’s what happened with this millipede: No idea what kind of millipede this is, but it was pretty and I wanted a photo.  This is not a clear photo by any […]

October 01, 2014

8:26 PM | Sea Lions’ Whiskers are Sensitive, Dynamic
You know the classic circus trick of a sea lion balancing a ball on its nose? It turns out whiskers are the key to making it work. Researchers filmed sea lions to investigate whether they use whisker control to coordinate ball balancing. See what they found in my latest Zoologic post: Sensitive Sea Lion Whiskers Get the Job Done .
8:08 PM | Forces of “Nature” limit dissemination of information
Force of nature gave life its asymmetry Excerpt: “In 2011, Meierhenrich and colleages showed4 that such light could transfer its handedness to amino acids. But even demonstrating how a common physical phenomenon would have favoured left-handed amino acids over right-handed...Read more
3:44 PM | The New Term
We’re halfway through Week Three of the new academic year. Students, I love you. I really adore  you guys. I love helping you, I love seeing you puzzle out new ideas, I love when you challenge my thinking, I love … Continue reading →
3:06 PM | Genomic surveillance ends our world of RNA-mediated ecological adaptations
Why is this woman smiling? 1) Identifying Recent Adaptations in Large-Scale Genomic Data Senior author: Sabeti with co-author Rinn Excerpt: “As natural selection can only act on mutations that drive phenotypic variation…”. 2) Genomic surveillance elucidates Ebola virus origin and...Read more
12:39 AM | Nutrient-dependent memory
Vitamin D prevents cognitive decline and enhances hippocampal synaptic function in aging rats Reported as: Vitamin D in diet might ease effects of age on memory, study suggests Excerpt: “In the current study, researchers placed rats on six-month diets with...Read more

September 30, 2014

11:59 PM | Systems biology and memory disorders
Reversal of cognitive decline: A novel therapeutic program Reported as: Memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s reversed: Small trial succeeds using systems approach to memory disorders News Article Excerpt: (1) eliminating all simple carbohydrates, leading to a weight loss of 20...Read more
5:08 PM | Stem cell memory is biophysically constrained (2)
If stem cell memory is biophysically constrained, by nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled amino acid substitutions, we can expect to find experimental evidence that conserved molecular mechanisms link the basic principles of nucleosome retention in plants to nucleosome retention in mouse and human...Read more
4:23 PM | What is so rare as a day in… September?
With apologies to James Russell Lowell, it is the fall months that make my heart sing the most, although I’m not sure why. Perhaps because I know what’s coming? I’m playing hookey today, soaking up knowledge from one of the UK’s top sheepdog trainer/handlers, Gordon Watt, who also judged the Nippersink Trial last Friday-Sunday. Thanks […]
2:07 PM | Ray and Terry’s vitamins: DHEA
Welcome to Ray Kurzweil & Terry Grossman’s Health Products Excerpt: “The most abundant steroid hormone in the human body-DHEA, or dehydroepiandrosterone-is primarily produced by the adrenal glands and eventually converted into male and female hormones (androgens and estrogens) by your...Read more
10:36 AM | Facing the facts: delighting in dragonflies
My ‘friend’ Adam Hayward is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Edinburgh. His research involves the study of ageing, for which he typically uses detailed life history records from long-term studies of mammals (including sheep, elephants and humans). This means he does not have to perform experiments, instead waiting patiently until the data thwacks […]
3:26 AM | RNA-mediated cell type differentiation and behavior
Neuroscience Meeting Planner Now Available The Preliminary Program and Neuroscience Meeting Planner for Neuroscience 2014 are available. At the 2012 Meeting I learned that the microRNA/messenger RNA balance had emerged during the past decade to be the most likely regulator...Read more
12:13 AM | Different physical locations and different molecular mechanisms of health and disease
Reappraisal of known malaria resistance loci in a large multicenter study Abstract excerpt: “The finding that G6PD deficiency has opposing effects on different fatal complications of P. falciparum infection indicates that the evolutionary origins of this common human genetic disorder...Read more

September 29, 2014

6:27 PM | Metabolism, fixation, health or neurodegerative disorder
“Shown is the location of the conserved regions encoding for the N-terminal chromo domain and the C-terminal MYST functional domain. An arrow denotes the position site of amino acid substitution E431Q.” Microarray Analysis Uncovers a Role for Tip60 in Nervous...Read more
4:36 PM | Birdbooker Report 339-40
SUMMARY: Books, books, beautiful books! This is a list of biology, ecology, environment, natural history and animal books that are (or will soon be) available to occupy your bookshelves and your thoughts. “Words in leather and wood”. Bookshelves in the “Long Room” at the old Trinity College Library in Dublin. Image: Nic McPhee from Morris, MN, USA. 2007. (Creative Commons.) Books to the ceiling, Books to the sky, My pile of books is a mile high. How I love them!... Read […]
7:52 AM | Bamboozlement theory
September 26, 2014 Why Academics Stink at Writing Excerpt 1): “Why should a profession that trades in words and dedicates itself to the transmission of knowledge so often turn out prose that is turgid, soggy, wooden, bloated, clumsy, obscure, unpleasant...Read more
7:35 AM | Physics, Chemistry, and Molecular biology (PCMb)
Physics, Chemistry, and Molecular biology (PCMb) link ecological variation to ecological adaptations via a model of gene-cell-tissue-organ-organ system complexity that I first presented in 1992. After adding gene activation by pheromones, I co-authored a book that linked the pheromone-controlled physiology...Read more
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