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Posts

April 21, 2014

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9:15 AM | Lathosterolosis, cholesterol and autism?
Although intrigued by the findings reported by Pier Luigi Calvo and colleagues [1] describing a "unique case" potentially linking liver functions and cognitive functions with a hat-tip to the presentation of autistic behaviours, I'll readily admit that I am way out of my comfort and competence zones when discussing this paper so please be ready with that pinch of salt.How do you like your eggs in the morning? @ Wikipedia As per what the paper and accompanying press release (see […]

Calvo, P., Brunati, A., Spada, M., Romagnoli, R., Corso, G., Parenti, G., Rossi, M., Baldi, M., Carbonaro, G., David, E. & Pucci, A. (2014). Liver Transplantation in Defects of Cholesterol Biosynthesis: The Case of Lathosterolosis, American Journal of Transplantation, DOI:

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3:45 AM | Cross-validation in finance, psychology, and political science
A large chunk of machine learning (although not all of it) is concerned with predictive modeling, usually in the form of designing an algorithm that takes in some data set and returns an algorithm (or sometimes, a description of an algorithm) for making predictions based on future data. In terminology more friendly to the philosophy […]

Bailey, D., Borwein, J., de Prado, M.L. & Zhu, Q. (2014). Pseudo-Mathematics and Financial Charlatanism: The Effects of Backtest Overfitting on Out-of-Sample Performance, Notices of the American Mathematical Society, 61 (5) 458. DOI:

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April 20, 2014

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8:11 PM | Holy Houdini! This Honey Badger Is the ULTIMATE Escape Artist (Video)
I always knew that honey badgers were intelligent animals, but Stoffel here just took it to the next level! Watching this badger outwit his owner at every turn is almost as funny as it is impressive! Honey badgers are one of only a handful of species with the ability to recognize and use tools to solve problems.
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5:00 PM | New Discovery turns Neuroscience Upsidedown
Sometimes finding out that something established isn’t true is more groundbreaking than finding something new. That is exactly what happened this week when it was found out that the covering that […]

Tomassy G.S., Berger D.R., Chen H.H., Kasthuri N., Hayworth K.J., Vercelli A., Seung H.S., Lichtman J.W. & Arlotta P. (2014). Distinct Profiles of Myelin Distribution Along Single Axons of Pyramidal Neurons in the Neocortex, Science, 344 (6181) 319-324. DOI:

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5:00 PM | New Discovery turns Neuroscience Upsidedown
Sometimes finding out that something established isn’t true is more groundbreaking than finding something new. That is exactly what happened this week when it was found out that the covering that […]

Tomassy G.S., Berger D.R., Chen H.H., Kasthuri N., Hayworth K.J., Vercelli A., Seung H.S., Lichtman J.W. & Arlotta P. (2014). Distinct Profiles of Myelin Distribution Along Single Axons of Pyramidal Neurons in the Neocortex, Science, 344 (6181) 319-324. DOI:

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3:00 PM | Top 3 Worst Animal Parents Some animal parents are real jerks....
Top 3 Worst Animal Parents Some animal parents are real jerks. They will pick their favorite offspring while the others are left to die and sometimes they even eat their young! via Animalist.
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1:31 PM | Was Lamarck right after all? A look at epigenetic inheritance
Myths © EEGFrom the Wikipedia definition of epigenetics: "In biology, and specifically genetics, epigenetics is the study of heritable changes in gene activity that are not caused by changes in the DNA sequence."Wait a minute... how can we inherit anything that's not encoded in the DNA? All the information we inherit from our parents is coded in the DNA ... Right?That's correct. However, there's something very important that goes hand in hand with the information contained in the genes: […]

Heard E & Martienssen RA (2014). Transgenerational Epigenetic Inheritance: Myths and Mechanisms., Cell, 157 (1) 95-109. PMID:

Lim JP & Brunet A (2013). Bridging the transgenerational gap with epigenetic memory., Trends in genetics : TIG, 29 (3) 176-86. PMID:

Hunter, P. (2008). We are what we eat. The link between diet, evolution and non-genetic inheritance, EMBO reports, 9 (5) 413-415. DOI:

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1:31 PM | Was Lamarck right after all? A look at epigenetic inheritance
Myths © EEGFrom the Wikipedia definition of epigenetics: "In biology, and specifically genetics, epigenetics is the study of heritable changes in gene activity that are not caused by changes in the DNA sequence."Wait a minute... how can we inherit anything that's not encoded in the DNA? All the information we inherit from our parents is coded in the DNA ... Right?That's correct. However, there's something very important that goes hand in hand with the information contained in the genes: […]

Heard E & Martienssen RA (2014). Transgenerational Epigenetic Inheritance: Myths and Mechanisms., Cell, 157 (1) 95-109. PMID:

Lim JP & Brunet A (2013). Bridging the transgenerational gap with epigenetic memory., Trends in genetics : TIG, 29 (3) 176-86. PMID:

Hunter, P. (2008). We are what we eat. The link between diet, evolution and non-genetic inheritance, EMBO reports, 9 (5) 413-415. DOI:

Citation
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1:31 PM | Was Lamarck right after all? A look at epigenetic inheritance
Myths © EEGFrom the Wikipedia definition of epigenetics: "In biology, and specifically genetics, epigenetics is the study of heritable changes in gene activity that are not caused by changes in the DNA sequence."Wait a minute... how can we inherit anything that's not encoded in the DNA? All the information we inherit from our parents is coded in the DNA ... Right?That's correct. However, there's something very important that goes hand in hand with the information contained in the genes: […]

Heard E & Martienssen RA (2014). Transgenerational Epigenetic Inheritance: Myths and Mechanisms., Cell, 157 (1) 95-109. PMID:

Lim JP & Brunet A (2013). Bridging the transgenerational gap with epigenetic memory., Trends in genetics : TIG, 29 (3) 176-86. PMID:

Hunter, P. (2008). We are what we eat. The link between diet, evolution and non-genetic inheritance, EMBO reports, 9 (5) 413-415. DOI:

Citation
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12:00 PM | Animals Thrive on Pristine Russian Island Wrangel Island is one...
Animals Thrive on Pristine Russian Island Wrangel Island is one of Russia’s coldest, most remote areas of protected wilderness. Sheltered from human development, the island is home to an abundance of hardy Arctic animal species, from polar bears to foxes and snowy owls. Explore Wrangel Island online in National Geographic magazine:http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2013/05/wrangel-island/sides-text VIDEOGRAPHY: Sergey Gorshkov PRODUCER: Spencer Millsap via National Geographic.

April 19, 2014

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11:55 PM | Morsels For The Mind – 18/04/2014
Every day we provide you with Six Incredible Things Before Breakfast to nibble away at. Here you can fill your brain with the most intellectually stimulating “amuse bouches” from the past week – a veritable smorgasbord for the cranium. They’re all here for you to load up your plate – this week’s “Morsels for the mind”. Enjoy! If you do nothing else, make sure to check out the “Reads / views / listens of the week”. **** Feather, fur […]
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11:55 PM | Morsels For The Mind – 18/04/2014
Every day we provide you with Six Incredible Things Before Breakfast to nibble away at. Here you can fill your brain with the most intellectually stimulating “amuse bouches” from the past week – a veritable smorgasbord for the cranium. They’re all here for you to load up your plate – this week’s “Morsels for the mind”. Enjoy! If you do nothing else, make sure to check out the “Reads / views / listens of the week”. **** Feather, fur […]
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8:25 PM | Brains Anti-Distraction System Found
So once my Grandmother… oh wait sorry, I was distracted while typing. As it turns out I’m not the only one. But there is hope, two Psychologists at Simon Fraser University […]

Gaspar J.M. & McDonald J.J. (2014). Suppression of Salient Objects Prevents Distraction in Visual Search, Journal of Neuroscience, 34 (16) 5658-5666. DOI:

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8:25 PM | Brains Anti-Distraction System Found
So once my Grandmother… oh wait sorry, I was distracted while typing. As it turns out I’m not the only one. But there is hope, two Psychologists at Simon Fraser University […]

Gaspar J.M. & McDonald J.J. (2014). Suppression of Salient Objects Prevents Distraction in Visual Search, Journal of Neuroscience, 34 (16) 5658-5666. DOI:

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4:51 PM | First female “penis” discovered in cave-dwelling insects
Image showing the female penis of N. auroraCredit: Current Biology, Yoshizawa et al.Kingdom: AnimaliaPhylum: ArthropodaClass: InsectaOrder: PsocopteraFamily: PrionoglarididaeGenus: NeotroglaSpecies: N. aurora, N. curvet and 2 otherThis Thursday, researchers announced that they have discovered several insect species that display the "world's first" known instance of gender-reversed genitalia. In simple words, they have found 4 insect species with female... "penises." and male […]

Yoshizawa, K., Ferreira, R., Kamimura, Y. & Lienhard, C. (2014). Female Penis, Male Vagina, and Their Correlated Evolution in a Cave Insect, Current Biology, DOI:

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11:29 AM | Typing Method for Cryptosporidium Meleagridis
We recently developed a highly applicable method for typing of Cryptosporidium meleagridis isolates. C. meleagridis is the third most common species involved in human cryptosporidiosis, a dirrhoeal disease taking a major toll on global health. Molecular typing of Cryptosporidium is critical to understanding transmission and identifying outbreaks. Until now, no robust method has been available […]

Kotloff KL, Nataro JP, Blackwelder WC, Nasrin D, Farag TH, Panchalingam S, Wu Y, Sow SO, Sur D, Breiman RF & Faruque AS (2013). Burden and aetiology of diarrhoeal disease in infants and young children in developing countries (the Global Enteric Multicenter Study, GEMS): a prospective, case-control study., Lancet, 382 (9888) 209-22. PMID:

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11:29 AM | Typing Method for Cryptosporidium Meleagridis
We recently developed a highly applicable method for typing of Cryptosporidium meleagridis isolates. C. meleagridis is the third most common species involved in human cryptosporidiosis, a dirrhoeal disease taking a major toll on global health. Molecular typing of Cryptosporidium is critical to understanding transmission and identifying outbreaks. Until now, no robust method has been available […]

Kotloff KL, Nataro JP, Blackwelder WC, Nasrin D, Farag TH, Panchalingam S, Wu Y, Sow SO, Sur D, Breiman RF & Faruque AS (2013). Burden and aetiology of diarrhoeal disease in infants and young children in developing countries (the Global Enteric Multicenter Study, GEMS): a prospective, case-control study., Lancet, 382 (9888) 209-22. PMID:

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4:28 AM | An Epidemiological Method: Using RFLP to Identify Strains of Pathogens
An excellent classroom resource for a case study in epidemiology is presented by the CDC. This study walks students through an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 in Michigan. The purpose of this study is to provide student investigators with the opportunity to walk through the procedures and rationale behind investigating the etiology and to develop […]
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3:03 AM | De-Extinction: Bay Area Researcher Hopes to Bring Back the Passenger Pigeon
Researchers are working to revive the passenger pigeon, once the most abundant bird in the world, and the woolly mammoth, which they say could slow down the melting of Arctic permafrost. It may be possible, but is it right to turn back the clock?
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2:07 AM | The uncertain life of a squirrel
“Things as certain as death and taxes, can be more firmly believ’d.” from The Political History of the Devil by Daniel Defoe (1660-1731) As Benjamin Franklin said, “in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes”. For squirrels, taxes are no certainty. Death, on the other hand, is. The chance encounter with the small corpse of a black squirrel was an affecting reminder of the fleeting nature of life – of the certainty of death.... […]
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2:07 AM | The uncertain life of a squirrel
“Things as certain as death and taxes, can be more firmly believ’d.” from The Political History of the Devil by Daniel Defoe (1660-1731) As Benjamin Franklin said, “in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes”. For squirrels, taxes are no certainty. Death, on the other hand, is. The chance encounter with the small corpse of a black squirrel was an affecting reminder of the fleeting nature of life – of the certainty of death.... […]

April 18, 2014

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9:09 PM | Sexual Healing in Bonobos
Bonobos have earned a reputation as a “sexy” ape. Sexual activity — in many creative forms — plays a large role in bonobo society. Sexual contacts occur often, in virtually all partner combinations and in a slew of different positions. Read my latest Zoologic post, a Q&A with Emory University’s Zanna Clay about her research looking at how bonobos use sex to break the tension after conflicts: Sexual Healing: How Bonobos Use Sex to De-Stress .
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8:19 PM | Tripedal to the Metal That’s some loco motion, huh? Found...
Tripedal to the Metal That’s some loco motion, huh? Found this neat little GIF showing how an ant’s legs move at a full gallop. While calmly strolling though the picnic grounds, ants have five of their six legs at a time in contact with the ground. But when it’s time to put the (tiny) pedal to the metal, they change their gait to this alternating tripod motion. This pattern isn’t controlled by the insect’s brain, but rather by bundles of neurons in the leg called […]
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7:53 PM | Chimps Prefer Nests Made of Ugandan Ironwood, New Research Finds
Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) select a certain type of wood to make their nests, says a team of biologists from the United States. Daily construction of a nest is a universal behavior among large-bodied hominoids. Among chimpanzees, most populations select certain tree species to sleep in more frequently than other, but the reason for selecting a [...]
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4:37 PM | Fun Science Friday – First Female Penis
Happy Fun Science Friday. You did not mistakenly read the title, today we bring you the discovery of the first female penis in the animal kingdom. Yoshizawa, from Hokkaido University in Japan, and his team of researchers documented this phenomenon of sexual role reversal in 4 species of rather unassuming insects in Brazil’s Peruaçu River Valley. […]
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3:41 PM | Voodoo dolls show how hunger and lack of self-control go hand in hand
Study allowed spouses to do truly evil things to one another.
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2:03 PM | Glucosidase I: Could targeting N-linked glycosylation of proteins help us fight viral infection?
Viruses are sneaky.  As you probably already know from your last bout with the common cold or the flu, for most viral infections doctors will simply prescribe plenty of water and […]

Sadat, M., Moir, S., Chun, T., Lusso, P., Kaplan, G., Wolfe, L., Memoli, M., He, M., Vega, H., Kim, L. & Huang, Y. (2014). Glycosylation, Hypogammaglobulinemia, and Resistance to Viral Infections, New England Journal of Medicine, 2147483647. DOI:

Herscovics, A. (1999). Importance of glycosidases in mammalian glycoprotein biosynthesis, Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - General Subjects, 1473 (1) 96-107. DOI:

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2:03 PM | Glucosidase I: Could targeting N-linked glycosylation of proteins help us fight viral infection?
Viruses are sneaky.  As you probably already know from your last bout with the common cold or the flu, for most viral infections doctors will simply prescribe plenty of water and […]

Sadat, M., Moir, S., Chun, T., Lusso, P., Kaplan, G., Wolfe, L., Memoli, M., He, M., Vega, H., Kim, L. & Huang, Y. (2014). Glycosylation, Hypogammaglobulinemia, and Resistance to Viral Infections, New England Journal of Medicine, 2147483647. DOI:

Herscovics, A. (1999). Importance of glycosidases in mammalian glycoprotein biosynthesis, Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - General Subjects, 1473 (1) 96-107. DOI:

Citation
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11:36 AM | Upright walking: a long-standing debate (pt. v)
This week it’s the turn of the shoulder to get the long-standing debate treatment. It may not be obvious how changes in the anatomy of the upper limb are related to bipedalism and in fact that’s not really the point here. The most important thing to remember is that evolutionary theory states that features that […]
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11:30 AM | The biotech industry with Rob Carlson
In this interview, I speak to Dr. Rob Carlson, a Principal at Biodesic, an engineering and strategic consulting firm in Seattle that provides services to governments and corporations around the globe. At the broadest level, Dr. Carlson is interested in the future role of biology as a human technology. He is the author of the book Biology is Technology: The Promise, Peril, and New Business of Engineering Life, published in 2010 by Harvard University Press; it received the […]
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