Posts

September 17, 2014

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8:14 AM | Impact that doomed the dinosaurs helped the forests bloom
Some 66 million years ago, a 10-km diameter chunk of rock hit the Yucatan peninsula with the force of 100 teratons of TNT. It left a crater more than 150 km across, and the resulting megatsunami, wildfires, global earthquakes and volcanism are widely accepted to have wiped out the dinosaurs and made way for the … Continue reading →
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2:25 AM | Effects of Inbreeding on Children in India
Can children of inbred families have significant differences from those of non-inbred families? Researchers explored how body mass index (BMI) was linked to endogamy. Parental consanguinity and degree of inbreeding are most important factors of depression in height, weight and BMI among children. 1,270 children were randomly selected to participate in the study where their […] The post Effects of Inbreeding on Children in India appeared first on Wiley Asia Blog.
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2:15 AM | Colon cancer, mathematical time travel, and questioning the sequential mutation model.
On Saturday, I arrived in Columbus, Ohio for the the MBI Workshop on the Ecology and Evolution of Cancer. Today, our second day started. The meeting is an exciting combination of biology-minded mathematicians and computer scientists, and math-friendly biologist and clinicians. As is typical of workshops, the speakers of the first day had an agenda […]

Baker AM, Cereser B, Melton S, Fletcher AG, Rodriguez-Justo M, Tadrous PJ, Humphries A, Elia G, McDonald SA, Wright NA & Simons BD (2014). Quantification of crypt and stem cell evolution in the normal and neoplastic human colon., Cell reports, 8 (4) 940-7. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25127143

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September 16, 2014

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9:00 PM | Can a night owl become an early bird?
A couple of weeks ago I asked students in one of my classes whether they were early risers or night owls. Almost all identified as one or the other. But is either being up at dawn or burning the midnight oil simply habit, or is something else going on? Humans are no different to most […]
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7:11 PM | Could You Use A Placebo To Calm Your Anxious Dog?
When a dog is left alone, it can be scary for them. Some dogs get so anxious that they destroy your stuff, scratch up your front door, and bark so loud it annoys your neighbors. But now it looks like there might be a solution - and it involves a simple placebo.Read more...
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5:14 PM | New Cocktail Turns Adult Cells into Stem Cells
For those of us who were following stem cell news, recently the field had a huge setback when a paper, that offered a cheap and novel way to create stem […]

Buganim Y, Markoulaki S, van Wietmarschen N, Hoke H, Wu T, Ganz K, Akhtar-Zaidi B, He Y, Abraham BJ, Porubsky D & Kulenkampff E (2014). The Developmental Potential of iPSCs Is Greatly Influenced by Reprogramming Factor Selection., Cell stem cell, 15 (3) 295-309. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25192464

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5:14 PM | New Cocktail Turns Adult Cells into Stem Cells
For those of us who were following stem cell news, recently the field had a huge setback when a paper, that offered a cheap and novel way to create stem […]

Buganim Y, Markoulaki S, van Wietmarschen N, Hoke H, Wu T, Ganz K, Akhtar-Zaidi B, He Y, Abraham BJ, Porubsky D & Kulenkampff E (2014). The Developmental Potential of iPSCs Is Greatly Influenced by Reprogramming Factor Selection., Cell stem cell, 15 (3) 295-309. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25192464

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4:16 PM | ‘Eskimo1′ gene helps plants survive drought conditions
Genetic modification (GM) has been a hot topic for the past couple of decades, and with scaremongering over ‘Frankenstein foods’ you’d be forgiven for thinking that GM is only being used to produce horrifying steroid-addled mutant plants, which will one day develop a taste for human flesh and take over the Earth (like in Day…

Xu F, Liu Z, Xie H, Zhu J, Zhang J, Kraus J, Blaschnig T, Nehls R & Wang H (2014). Increased Drought Tolerance through the Suppression of ESKMO1 Gene and Overexpression of CBF-Related Genes in Arabidopsis., PloS one, 9 (9) PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25184213

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2:00 PM | Fossil Burrows Shed Light on Great Plains' Roots
The Great Plains didn't evolve in a vacuum. Ancient rodents helped shape the ecosystem we know today. Fossil burrows are helping scientists figure out how.
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1:15 PM | Life, death and regulation
. With contributions from James Smith, a recent Oxford University graduate and current SENS Research Foundation Summer Scholar working at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute.   Consider this question: if I gave you the option to take a drug offering a 100 percent chance of survival to average life expectancy at which time you would...Read more
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6:50 AM | The schizophrenias (plural)
A micropost if you will, to draw your attention to the paper by Javier Arnedo and colleagues [1] mentioning the concept of 'the schizophrenias' (plural). Some media coverage of this paper can be found here and here. The crux of the paper is that although currently unified by a diagnostic label, schizophrenia seems to be comprised of various conditions: "caused by a moderate number of separate genotypic networks associated with several distinct clinical syndromes"."... dogs and cats living […]

Javier Arnedo, Dragan M. Svrakic, Coral del Val, Rocío Romero-Zaliz, Helena Hernández-Cuervo, Molecular Genetics of Schizophrenia Consortium, Ayman H. Fanous, Michele T. Pato, Carlos N. Pato, Gabriel A. de Erausquin & C. Robert Cloninger (2014). Uncovering the Hidden Risk Architecture of the Schizophrenias: Confirmation in Three Independent Genome-Wide Association Studies, The American Journal of Psychiatry, Other:

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September 15, 2014

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10:38 PM | Ribosomes: Unlocking the secrets to your cellular protein factories
If I were to say the word ‘protein’, you’d probably think of a juicy steak, or perhaps a muscle-building protein shake. But in our bodies, proteins give us far more than just muscular bulk. They’re the enzymes that carry out cellular reactions — the microscopic sensors that allow us to detect the smell of a […]
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8:09 PM | Using Nature As a Model to Solve Challenging Problems in Science and Engineering with Dr. Dayna Baumeister
The ‘Nifty Fifty (times 4)’, a program of Science Spark, presented by InfoComm International, are a group of 200 noted science and engineering professionals who will fan out across the Washington, D.C. area in the 2014-2015 school year to speak about their work and careers at various middle and high schools. Meet Nifty Fifty Speaker Dr.…
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6:40 PM | Here's The Gruesome Way A Doctor First Proved The Heart Pumps Blood
Strange as it sounds, European medical doctors didn't know, until the 1600s, that the heart pumps blood around the body. How they proved this seemingly simple fact is one of the most controversial (and gruesome) stories in medicine.Read more...
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4:58 PM | The Genetic Roots of Schizophrenia
I have a friend who lost an eye — not in a war zone like you might suspect given my background — but to his brother. Yes, you read that […]

avier Arnedo, M.S.; Dragan M. Svrakic, M.D., Ph.D.; Coral del Val, Ph.D.; Rocío Romero-Zaliz, Ph.D.; Helena Hernández-Cuervo, M.D.; Molecular Genetics of Schizophrenia Consortium; Ayman H. Fanous, M.D.; Michele T. Pato, M.D.; Carlos N. Pato, M.D., Ph.D. (2014). Uncovering the Hidden Risk Architecture of the Schizophrenias: Confirmation in Three Independent Genome-Wide Association Studies, The American Journal of Psychiatry, Other:

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4:58 PM | The Genetic Roots of Schizophrenia
I have a friend who lost an eye — not in a war zone like you might suspect given my background — but to his brother. Yes, you read that […]

avier Arnedo, M.S.; Dragan M. Svrakic, M.D., Ph.D.; Coral del Val, Ph.D.; Rocío Romero-Zaliz, Ph.D.; Helena Hernández-Cuervo, M.D.; Molecular Genetics of Schizophrenia Consortium; Ayman H. Fanous, M.D.; Michele T. Pato, M.D.; Carlos N. Pato, M.D., Ph.D. (2014). Uncovering the Hidden Risk Architecture of the Schizophrenias: Confirmation in Three Independent Genome-Wide Association Studies, The American Journal of Psychiatry, Other:

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4:58 PM | The Genetic Roots of Schizophrenia
I have a friend who lost an eye — not in a war zone like you might suspect given my background — but to his brother. Yes, you read that […]

avier Arnedo, M.S.; Dragan M. Svrakic, M.D., Ph.D.; Coral del Val, Ph.D.; Rocío Romero-Zaliz, Ph.D.; Helena Hernández-Cuervo, M.D.; Molecular Genetics of Schizophrenia Consortium; Ayman H. Fanous, M.D.; Michele T. Pato, M.D.; Carlos N. Pato, M.D., Ph.D. (2014). Uncovering the Hidden Risk Architecture of the Schizophrenias: Confirmation in Three Independent Genome-Wide Association Studies, The American Journal of Psychiatry, Other:

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4:58 PM | The Genetic Roots of Schizophrenia
I have a friend who lost an eye — not in a war zone like you might suspect given my background — but to his brother. Yes, you read that […]

avier Arnedo, M.S.; Dragan M. Svrakic, M.D., Ph.D.; Coral del Val, Ph.D.; Rocío Romero-Zaliz, Ph.D.; Helena Hernández-Cuervo, M.D.; Molecular Genetics of Schizophrenia Consortium; Ayman H. Fanous, M.D.; Michele T. Pato, M.D.; Carlos N. Pato, M.D., Ph.D. (2014). Uncovering the Hidden Risk Architecture of the Schizophrenias: Confirmation in Three Independent Genome-Wide Association Studies, The American Journal of Psychiatry, Other:

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4:49 PM | To Keep Moving is To Live
We’ve all seen the scenario in our high school biology textbooks. A single population of fish shares a large Pond. But then something drastic happens in the landscape. Perhaps a drought occurs, and the large Pond partially dries up to leave two smaller ponds separated from each other by a hill or expanse of higher, dry land. If this separation lasts long enough, combining the fish from pond A and pond B produces an interesting effect – the fish can... Read more
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4:49 PM | To Keep Moving is To Live
We’ve all seen the scenario in our high school biology textbooks. A single population of fish shares a large Pond. But then something drastic happens in the landscape. Perhaps a drought occurs, and the large Pond partially dries up to leave two smaller ponds separated from each other by a hill or expanse of higher, dry land. If this separation lasts long enough, combining the fish from pond A and pond B produces an interesting effect – the fish can... Read more
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4:49 PM | To Keep Moving is To Live
We’ve all seen the scenario in our high school biology textbooks. A single population of fish shares a large Pond. But then something drastic happens in the landscape. Perhaps a drought occurs, and the large Pond partially dries up to leave two smaller ponds separated from each other by a hill or expanse of higher, dry land. If this separation lasts long enough, combining the fish from pond A and pond B produces an interesting effect – the fish can... Read more
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4:06 PM | Poop Transplants Let Pack Rats Eat Poison
Can’t eat poison without dying? Maybe your gut microbes are to blame. Rodents in the Mojave Desert have evolved to eat toxic creosote bushes with the help of specialized gut bacteria. Although scientists had long suspected that bacteria might be key to the rats’ power, they proved it by feeding the rodents antibiotics and ground-up […]The post Poop Transplants Let Pack Rats Eat Poison appeared first on Inkfish.

Kohl KD, Weiss RB, Cox J, Dale C & Denise Dearing M (2014). Gut microbes of mammalian herbivores facilitate intake of plant toxins., Ecology letters, 17 (10) 1238-46. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25040855

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2:48 PM | Breaking Bio #65 – Sex chromosomes & Math for Biologists with Dr. Melissa Wilson Sayres!
We sit down to talk about the evolution of sex chromosomes and the diversity of ways organisms determine sex with Dr. Melissa Wilson Sayres of Arizona State University. Dr. Wilson Sayres also explains why math is important for biologists, and how public outreach and engagement needs to become more common from practicing scientists. Find out(...)
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11:25 AM | DNews: Why Do We Get Hiccups?
They come without warning, overstay their welcome, and drive us to distraction. Surprise house guests? Nope -- hiccups! We've all been tormented by them, but what causes them? Tara and Nick Uhas have some answers.
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9:57 AM | Turritopsis Dohrnii - Is It Really Immortal?
The "Immortal" JellyfishCredit: Peter Schuchert/The Hydrozoa DirectoryKingdom: AnimaliaPhylum: CnidariaClass: HydrozoaOrder: AnthoathecataFamily: OceaniidaeGenus: TurritopsisSpecies: Turritopsis dohrnii (formerly classified as T. nutricula.)Common Name: The immortal jellyfishMost of the animals featured on the site are chosen based on their unusual looks. However, this not the case with Turritopsis dohrnii, which seemingly has no notable morphological characteristics. On the outside, […]

Martínez DE (1998). Mortality patterns suggest lack of senescence in hydra., Experimental gerontology, 33 (3) 217-25. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9615920

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9:57 AM | Turritopsis Dohrnii - Is It Really Immortal?
The "Immortal" JellyfishCredit: Peter Schuchert/The Hydrozoa DirectoryKingdom: AnimaliaPhylum: CnidariaClass: HydrozoaOrder: AnthoathecataFamily: OceaniidaeGenus: TurritopsisSpecies: Turritopsis dohrnii (formerly classified as T. nutricula.)Common Name: The immortal jellyfishMost of the animals featured on the site are chosen based on their unusual looks. However, this not the case with Turritopsis dohrnii, which seemingly has no notable morphological characteristics. On the outside, […]

Martínez DE (1998). Mortality patterns suggest lack of senescence in hydra., Experimental gerontology, 33 (3) 217-25. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9615920

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8:47 AM | Zinc and copper and autism
The paper by Li and colleagues [1] looking at serum copper (Cu) and zinc (Zn) levels in a group of participants diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is the source material for today's post. Highlighting how "mean serum Zn levels and Zn/Cu ratio were significantly lower in children with ASD compared with normal cases... whereas serum Cu levels were significantly higher" the continued focus on the metallome in autism carries on at a pace. I should at this point out that I'm not […]

Li SO, Wang JL, Bjørklund G, Zhao WN & Yin CH (2014). Serum copper and zinc levels in individuals with autism spectrum disorders., Neuroreport, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25162784

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6:27 AM | Altered expression: Epigenetics and its influence on human development
Our genetic make-up determines a lot about who we are – it determines whether we have blue eyes or brown, what blood group we have, or whether we’re predisposed to cystic fibrosis or sickle cell anaemia. But we’re beginning to learn that we’re far more than the sum of our genetic parts. Our genes only […]
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6:00 AM | Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind - podcast
Ian Sample meets the historian Yuval Noah Harari to discuss his international bestseller, in which he suggests we'd have been better off without agriculture, and puts our species' dominance down to our ability to fantasise Continue reading...

September 14, 2014

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10:09 PM | Meet Dreadnoughtus and Dendrogramma, New Species Great and Small
Last week, scientists announced two incredible discoveries of new species, one an enormous land animal and the other a tiny marine creature. Researcher Kenneth Lacovara with the skeleton of Dreadnoughtus schrani. Image: Kenneth Lacovara Measuring nearly...
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