Posts

August 29, 2014

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12:00 PM | Scientists Identify Key Diabetes Enzyme
The disease diabetes mellitus results from the inability of the pancreas to produce insulin for the body. In the most common form of diabetes (Type II), this lack of insulin can start from diet rich is in fatty foods that may cause a person to become overweight to a point where the beta cells in the pancreas can no longer function correctly. Fortunately, scientists have figured out what causes the majority of the damage to the beta cells on a molecular level. Scientists have put the blame […]
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12:00 PM | The controversial origin of the coconut
So where do coconuts originate from - America or Asia?
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10:38 AM | Fish with Lungs Gives Clues to the Origin of Tetrapods
Juvenile Polypterus senegalusAbout 400 million years ago, fish left the water and began to evolve into land-living creatures. But how did this transition happen? In a new and unusual study, researchers from the McGill University took a fish species known to be able to occasionally walk using its fins and raised it on land. The scientists found that when raised on land, this primitive strange fish with lungs, walks much better than its water-raised friends. The experiment could […]

Standen EM, Du TY & Larsson HC (2014). Developmental plasticity and the origin of tetrapods., Nature, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25162530

Citation
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9:56 AM | Oslo’s Vulkan Beehives
In 2009, the Norwegian capital of Oslo set in motion an ambitious endeavor to revitalize Vulkan, the industry-heavy west bank of the Akerselva river.  The ultimate goal was to take an area dominated […]
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9:49 AM | The Genetics of Anolis Lizard Tail Regeneration: (Re)generating Major Internet Buzz
Readers of this blog are well aware of autotomy in lizards – self-amputation of the tail – that usually occurs as a result of sub-lethal predation. Readers of this blog are also familiar with the fascinating ability of many lizards to regenerate new tails post-autotomy. Lizards are the closest relatives to humans that can regenerate […]
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9:31 AM | Come Internet influenza la memoria
Qualcuno sostiene ci renda più superficiali, meno attenti, più introversi. Ma, fortunatamente, pare ci sia un rovescio della medaglia: Internet fa bene al cervello. E in particolare alla memoria. Lo sostengono gli scienziati della Universidade do Sul de Santa Caterina, in Brasile, in uno studio appena pubblicato suJournal of Gerontology: “L’alfabetizzazione digitale”, scrivono nelle conclusioni dello studio, “potrebbe […]
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8:00 AM | Isola di Einstein 2014, alla Polvese tre giorni di scienza e divertimento
Tre giorni all’insegna del divertimento intelligente, con la scienza che diventa spettacolo. Il tutto immerso nello splendido panorama naturalistico dell’Isola Polvese, la più grande del Trasimeno. L’edizione 2014 dell’Isola di Einstein è pronta a partire. L’appuntamento con l’evento organizzato da Psiquadro e promosso dalla Provincia di Perugia, unico nel suo genere nel panorama nazionale e internazionale, è dal 5 al 7 settembre. […]
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7:34 AM | Genomic cold fusion? Part II. Realities of mapping
Mapping to find genomic causes of a trait of interest, like a disease, is done when the basic physiology is not known—maybe we have zero ideas, or the physiology we think is involved doesn’t show obvious differences between cases and controls.  If you know the biology, you won't have to use mapping methods, because you can explore the relevant genes directly.  Otherwise, and today often, we have to go fishing, in the genome, to find places that may vary in […]
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7:28 AM | Where Buddhist Monks Created A Terrifying Hell On Earth
Looking for a fun vacation with the whole family? Well, you probably shouldn’t visit the Thai hell gardens unless you want to give your kids nightmares. Spread out across the country, these bizarre parks are full of tortured souls, angry demons, and enough gore to make Jigsaw nauseous. These terrifying attractions are meant to scare sinners straight by showing them the horrors of hell. The post Where Buddhist Monks Created A Terrifying Hell On Earth appeared first on KnowledgeNuts.
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7:18 AM | Ecco la cantina più antica del mondo
Lo bevevano i sumeri, lo bevevano i greci e lo beviamo ancora oggi: il vino è un evergreen che, secondo gli studiosi, ha origini risalenti a circa diecimila anni fa, quando si osservò la fermentazione spontanea dell'uva nei contenitori in cui era conservata. Le prime viticolture documentate risalgono al 1700 a.C.,un periodo più o meno contemporaneo alla cantina scoperta da Andrew Koh e dai suoi colleghi della Brandeis University presso il sito archeologico di Tel Kabri in […]
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7:01 AM | Italian bread with no salt - an update
The question of why Italian bread has no salt has raised two hypotheses and here are some of the ideas about this from the local natives, Italians themselves. First, they all agreed on exactly one thing; no salt in the bread is a Tuscan thing. Further south and further north in Italy the bread has salt. So it's only Tuscan bread that tastes bland.  Who knew? The favored hypothesis is that Tuscan cured meats, their ham and their favorite salamis are pretty salty, so you just don't need salt […]
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7:00 AM | Why mitochondrial donation is not about making ‘designer babies’
The UK Government is considering legalising a specialised form of IVF called mitochondrial donation, which aims to prevent potentially fatal mitochondrial disease. As Parliament prepares to debate the issue on […]
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6:51 AM | The future body: An exhibit in the Science Centre Singapore
While walking along the rows of exhibits in the Science Centre Singapore, my gaze fell upon a small, interesting exhibit called the Future Body. Intrigued, I took a few steps closer and I started reading the description of it (on the info panel) and I watched the accompanying short video. The exhibit delved into the… Continue reading »
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6:47 AM | Friday Fabulous Flowers - Italian Renaissance Edition
Several thoughts came to TPP while perusing the Uffizi Museum. Could there really be that many works of art featuring the Madonna and Child? (Yes!) You really had to have some big houses to commission some of those paintings. (Yep!) Some of the small details of paintings are their most interesting feature. And lastly,TPP is certain that one of the portraits was of Sansa Stark. So putting some of this together, and getting the most out of the museum's new no flash photography policy […]
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6:00 AM | PHOTO DU BoB-218
No summary available for this post.
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6:00 AM | Zin en zotheid in evolutie
Er is een bekende stelling van de bioloog Dobzhansky: Nothing in biology makes sense, except in the light of evolution. Ik vind dit een mooie uitspraak, en ben het er roerend mee eens. Maar helaas kan alles overdreven worden, dus ook dit idee. Want dat iets meer ‘sense’ heeft in een evolutionaire schijnwerper, betekent niet dat die verklaring ook automatisch toepasselijk is. Dat klinkt... Lees meer op www.sciencepalooza.nl
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3:34 AM | Notes from a quantum mechanics boot camp: day 2
I didn’t have the energy to write about quantum computing last night, but fortunately I can make up for it …Continue reading →

August 28, 2014

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11:16 PM | La fiebre del oro negro
Muchos coincidirán en decir que actualmente nos encontramos en la “Era de la Información”. Antaño quedaron la Edad de Piedra o la de los Metales. Se antoja que reciban este nombre, por haber supuesto en su momento la base tecnológica de las sociedades contemporáneas a este periodo. En una mirada al pasado, podemos contemplar descubrimientos que han supuesto un gran salto tecnológico en la historia de la humanidad; un aumento en el bienestar […]
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11:00 PM | GM Watch finds GENERA useful, “badly needed”
In a discussion about the scientific literature on genetically engineered crops, Claire Robinson of GM Watch has previously said: ”I am, as you say, unaware of your GENERA project. A comprehensive list of studies on all aspects of GMOs is badly needed but beyond our means to gather together.” Biology Fortified, Inc., with our limited resources and volunteer staff, have come to the rescue and created this “badly needed” resource. Happily, GM Watch is now aware […]
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8:10 PM | Know your methods
In the September 2014 issue of Nature Methods, authors at the US National Institute of Standards and Technology argue in a Commentary that a productive way to frame the discussion about the reproducibility of biological results is to focus on how best to make good measurements. In other words, increasing the confidence in measurements is likely to also increase the reproducibility of the results of those measurements. Notably, in complex biological systems, making good measurements is not […]
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6:16 PM | Domestication – rabbits now catching up with plants
Domestication of species is critical for our farming and own nutrition, as well as being important for retrospective studies of evolutionary genetics and future applications in animal and plant breeding. The genes involved in the first stages of domestication in plants are relatively clear: a single, tasty, energy-rich, product over-produced with a high proportion easily […]
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6:00 PM | When You Move House, Your Microbial Aura Moves Too
As I type these words at my desk, I’m seeding my house with bacteria. I touch the desk, …
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5:07 PM | Genomic cold fusion? Part I. Rational and irrational aspects of mapping
I’m sitting here on a smooth, quiet train from Zurich to Innsbruck, a few days after the mini-course that we taught in Helsinki. In this post I want to make a few reflections on things said by people reacting to Facebook or Twitter messages about the course, comments that were too short to do justice to what we actually said.In particular, the issues have to do with the nature of genome mapping strategies and what they are or mean.  There seems to be a good bit of confusion in this […]
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5:02 PM | Ecology beyond the yakjam
Corey Bradshaw has a post on his trip to see the ecology of the Tibetan plateau. Away from high population pressures, the plateau has incredible diversity among its plants.
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4:43 PM | Who is a botanist?
The Phytophactor is a botanist. His official title is Professor of Botany Emeritus, his graduate degrees are in botany, and the courses he taught were botany courses. Too many of my colleagues think botany is an old fashioned label rather than one of great distinction. Plant science is a favored label of some, but plant science, plant science, plant science, it just doesn't have a ring to it. The problem is that some of my colleagues prefer a narrower perspective. TPP […]
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4:16 PM | Hawk moths in action, and how biologists study them
As a follow-up to CJ’s post about hummingbird moths—more generally known as hawk moths—let me recommend this episode of Plants are Cool, Too, which features the work of Chicago Botanic Garden conservation scientist Krissa Skogen. At White Sands National Monument, Skogen tracks the nectar rewards that attract hawk moths, and how far the moths carry […]
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4:14 PM | Arabidopsis Research Round-up
Here’s your UK Arabidopsis Research Round-up for this week.  Today we feature a mixed bag of new work from the Universities of Cambridge, Leicester, Leeds andLiverpool. One of the Leeds authors, Emily Hawkes, has been selected to present her work at GARNet 2014, which takes place in just two weeks’ time (9–10 September 2014)! If you haven’t already registered for[...]
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4:06 PM | Developmental plasticity is not Lamarckism
Sometimes, people email me with good questions. Here’s one. When I was a kid, my own visualization of evolution was Lamarckism. But I didn’t know it. In reading Dawkins and others, I know it doesn’t exist. But it seems this article is claiming it does to some extent. Can you comment? I’m curious as to…
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4:00 PM | One Species Becomes Two, Inside an Insect
It’s easy to imagine how a physical barrier, like a river or a mountain range, could create new …
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3:45 PM | Pomeranian Is Guinness' Fastest Dog on All Twos
Spry pup holds speed records in two categories.
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