Posts

August 27, 2014

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7:23 PM | The Learning Brain Unravelled
As an engineer you would think math would come easy to me, it didn’t. Funny thing though, science in general and biology in particular came very easy to me. The […]

Patrick T. Sadtler,, Kristin M. Quick,, Matthew D. Golub,, Steven M. Chase,, Stephen I. Ryu,, Elizabeth C. Tyler-Kabara,, Byron M. Yu, & Aaron P. Batista (2014). Neural constraints on learning, Nature, Other:

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7:23 PM | The Learning Brain Unravelled
As an engineer you would think math would come easy to me, it didn’t. Funny thing though, science in general and biology in particular came very easy to me. The […]

Patrick T. Sadtler,, Kristin M. Quick,, Matthew D. Golub,, Steven M. Chase,, Stephen I. Ryu,, Elizabeth C. Tyler-Kabara,, Byron M. Yu, & Aaron P. Batista (2014). Neural constraints on learning, Nature, Other:

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5:32 PM | Secrets of the Flamboyant Cuttlefish’s Display
The flamboyant cuttlefish lives up to its name with its complex passing cloud display, in which bands of color travel across its body. New research characterizes details of this display and suggests how the cuttlefish might accomplish it. Read about it in my latest Zoologic post, Secrets of the Flamboyant Cuttlefish’s Display .
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1:38 PM | Video Tip of the Week: Phenoscape, captures phenotype data across taxa
Development of the skeleton is a good example of a process that is highly regulated, requires a lot of precision, is conserved and important relationships across species, and is fairly easy to detect when it’s gone awry. I mean–it’s hard to know at a glance if all the neurons in an organism got to the […]

Mabee B.P., Balhoff J.P., Dahdul W.M., Lapp H., Midford P.E., Vision T.J. & Westerfield M. (2012). 500,000 fish phenotypes: The new informatics landscape for evolutionary and developmental biology of the vertebrate skeleton., Zeitschrift fur angewandte Ichthyologie = Journal of applied ichthyology, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22736877

Balhoff J.P., Cartik R. Kothari, Hilmar Lapp, John G. Lundberg, Paula Mabee, Peter E. Midford, Monte Westerfield & Todd J. Vision (2010). Phenex: Ontological Annotation of Phenotypic Diversity, PLoS ONE, 5 (5) e10500. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0010500

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1:38 PM | Video Tip of the Week: Phenoscape, captures phenotype data across taxa
Development of the skeleton is a good example of a process that is highly regulated, requires a lot of precision, is conserved and important relationships across species, and is fairly easy to detect when it’s gone awry. I mean–it’s hard to know at a glance if all the neurons in an organism got to the […]

Mabee B.P., Balhoff J.P., Dahdul W.M., Lapp H., Midford P.E., Vision T.J. & Westerfield M. (2012). 500,000 fish phenotypes: The new informatics landscape for evolutionary and developmental biology of the vertebrate skeleton., Zeitschrift fur angewandte Ichthyologie = Journal of applied ichthyology, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22736877

Balhoff J.P., Cartik R. Kothari, Hilmar Lapp, John G. Lundberg, Paula Mabee, Peter E. Midford, Monte Westerfield & Todd J. Vision (2010). Phenex: Ontological Annotation of Phenotypic Diversity, PLoS ONE, 5 (5) e10500. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0010500

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7:56 AM | Prenatal SSRI exposure and autistic traits
A quote to start today's post: "Our results suggest an association between prenatal SSRI exposure and autistic traits in children". That was a primary finding reported by Hanan El Marroun and colleagues [1] who looked at whether maternal depressive symptoms or a class of quite commonly used pharmaceutics - the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) - used to manage depressive symptoms, during pregnancy might impact on offspring development."Everything the light touches is our […]

Marroun, H., White, T., van der Knaap, N., Homberg, J., Fernandez, G., Schoemaker, N., Jaddoe, V., Hofman, A., Verhulst, F., Hudziak, J. & Stricker, B. (2014). Prenatal exposure to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and social responsiveness symptoms of autism: population-based study of young children, The British Journal of Psychiatry, 205 (2) 95-102. DOI: 10.1192/bjp.bp.113.127746

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August 26, 2014

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11:47 PM | Some exceptions in biology: Worm-catching fungi
Credit: microecos.wordpress.com When most of us hear the word “predator” in the context of the natural sciences, the first thing that comes to mind is something terrifying. Something with fangs, sharp claws, venom or all of the above. Something that is to be reckoned with. Think lions, tigers, wolves, T-Rexes, you get the picture. Did …
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10:56 PM | Just How Big Was the Biggest Bird Ever?
25-28 million years ago, a massive seabird known as Pelagornis sandersi dominated the skies. With wingspans reaching up to 24 feet in length, P. sandersi’s wingspan was more than twice as large as the largest living bird capable of flight, the Royal Albatross (which can have a wingspan of up to 11.5 feet). P. sandersi‘s wingspan was also… As big as many World War I fighter jets: Longer than three Yao Mings lined up head to toe: And longer than […]
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9:21 PM | No way is that a Manta in the Kelp Forest…
Yes…yes it is.   This video was just taken off of San Clemente Island by spearfisherman Carter Jessop (used with permission). This is his account of the miraculous interaction: “The real excitement of the trip came on the second afternoon at the island. We were diving a spot with strong wind and current and I […]
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9:21 PM | No way is that a Manta in the Kelp Forest…
Yes…yes it is.   This video was just taken off of San Clemente Island by spearfisherman Carter Jessop (used with permission). This is his account of the miraculous interaction: “The real excitement of the trip came on the second afternoon at the island. We were diving a spot with strong wind and current and I […]
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9:00 PM | To trust or not to trust, all in the blink of an eye
We’ve known for a while that having certain facial features will lead people to judge you as either trustworthy or untrustworthy. And in fact our brains make those complex judgments much faster than we could have ever imagined. Now scientists have worked out how we do it. It’s all about physiognomy Back in 1772, Swiss […]
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8:37 PM | Woodpecker Bodies Cushion Collision Impact On Bird Brains
Originally published: Aug 25 2014 - 10:30am, Inside Science News ServiceBy: Katharine Gammon, Contributor(Inside Science) -- Woodpeckers are some of the most industrious birds in nature. Their intense tapping -- all an elaborate effort to procure food -- can happen as rapidly as 20 pecks per second, with each strike transmitting a seemingly brain-rattling force of up to 1,200 times the force of gravity at Earth's surface.Yet, despite those repetitive impacts, woodpeckers typically show none of […]
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5:40 PM | Episode 5 of Frankenstein MD is all about mind-control and...
Episode 5 of Frankenstein MD is all about mind-control and optogenetics!  Wouldn’t it be cool if you could control neural function down to nearly the cellular level with a simple pulse of light?  This kind of cell-specific response has been a decades-long challenge for neuroscientists. Now, although it’s not perfect, optogenetics could allow scientists to manipulate neurons with more control than ever before. Learn more about how it works in this video from MIT. And […]
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5:01 PM | How MERS jumped from bats to humans—and whether other viruses might, too
Spiked proteins make it easier for MERS to cross species.
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4:09 PM | For These Bats, the Best Falsetto Wins Over the Ladies
A bat’s voice is its livelihood. Chirping and squeaking at just the right frequencies lets it echolocate food and stay alive. Sounding pretty isn’t the point—except when it is. For the first time, scientists think they’ve found a bat species in which females choose mates based on their voices. Even if a lower-frequency squeak might […]The post For These Bats, the Best Falsetto Wins Over the Ladies appeared first on Inkfish.

Puechmaille, S., Borissov, I., Zsebok, S., Allegrini, B., Hizem, M., Kuenzel, S., Schuchmann, M., Teeling, E. & Siemers, B. (2014). Female Mate Choice Can Drive the Evolution of High Frequency Echolocation in Bats: A Case Study with Rhinolophus mehelyi, PLoS ONE, 9 (7) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0103452

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2:00 PM | A House Made From Mushrooms? An Artist Dreams of a Fungal Future
San Francisco-based artist Phil Ross creates sustainable materials from mushrooms. What started as an art project has now turned into a budding startup.
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7:55 AM | 76% of youths with autism meet ADHD diagnostic criteria?
Autism is not normally a stand-alone diagnosis. I've mentioned that point a few times on this blog, stressing how a clinical diagnosis of autism appears to increase the risk of various other behavioural, psychiatric and somatic diagnoses also [variably] being present over a lifetime. Part of that comorbidity has been talked about in discussions about ESSENCE (see here) and the excellent document produced by Treating Autism on medical comorbidities occurring alongside autism (see here) for […]

Joshi G, Faraone SV, Wozniak J, Tarko L, Fried R, Galdo M, Furtak SL & Biederman J (2014). Symptom Profile of ADHD in Youth With High-Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Comparative Study in Psychiatrically Referred Populations., Journal of attention disorders, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25085653

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August 25, 2014

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11:13 PM | Zombie Ant Fungi knows it’s prey
So awhile back I was bored and to kill some time wisely I wrote this little bit on real life (sometime potential) zombies. It featured a special section on a […]

de Bekker C, Quevillon LE, Smith PB, Fleming KR, Ghosh D, Patterson AD & Hughes DP (2014). Species-specific ant brain manipulation by a specialized fungal parasite., BMC evolutionary biology, 14 (1) 166. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25085339

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11:13 PM | Zombie Ant Fungi knows it’s prey
So awhile back I was bored and to kill some time wisely I wrote this little bit on real life (sometime potential) zombies. It featured a special section on a […]

de Bekker C, Quevillon LE, Smith PB, Fleming KR, Ghosh D, Patterson AD & Hughes DP (2014). Species-specific ant brain manipulation by a specialized fungal parasite., BMC evolutionary biology, 14 (1) 166. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25085339

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11:13 PM | Zombie Ant Fungi knows it’s prey
So awhile back I was bored and to kill some time wisely I wrote this little bit on real life (sometime potential) zombies. It featured a special section on a […]

de Bekker C, Quevillon LE, Smith PB, Fleming KR, Ghosh D, Patterson AD & Hughes DP (2014). Species-specific ant brain manipulation by a specialized fungal parasite., BMC evolutionary biology, 14 (1) 166. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25085339

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11:13 PM | Zombie Ant Fungi knows it’s prey
So awhile back I was bored and to kill some time wisely I wrote this little bit on real life (sometime potential) zombies. It featured a special section on a […]

de Bekker C, Quevillon LE, Smith PB, Fleming KR, Ghosh D, Patterson AD & Hughes DP (2014). Species-specific ant brain manipulation by a specialized fungal parasite., BMC evolutionary biology, 14 (1) 166. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25085339

Citation
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11:13 PM | Zombie Ant Fungi knows it’s prey
So awhile back I was bored and to kill some time wisely I wrote this little bit on real life (sometime potential) zombies. It featured a special section on a […]

de Bekker C, Quevillon LE, Smith PB, Fleming KR, Ghosh D, Patterson AD & Hughes DP (2014). Species-specific ant brain manipulation by a specialized fungal parasite., BMC evolutionary biology, 14 (1) 166. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25085339

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8:18 PM | NEW VIDEO!! What’s the world’s deadliest...
NEW VIDEO!! What’s the world’s deadliest animal?  (…besides humans, that is) Biologists estimate that this animal has killed half of all humans that have ever lived, and today is responsible for more than 45 million years of lost human life annually. Chances are, you’ve been attacked by one. Meet mankind’s most pesky foe in this week’s It’s Okay To Be Smart, and find out why they prefer some prey over others, what makes them so deadly, and […]
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4:00 PM | A Glimpse of LUCA, Life’s Last Universal Common Ancestor
A new study suggests how early life might have survived without some of the cellular machinery that is absolutely required for life today. Turns out that having a fairly leaky membrane may have been the key.
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11:00 AM | The Curious Case of a Protein and a Pilus
by Monika Buczek | If you’re like me, every morning you reluctantly roll out of bed and automatically reach for your toothbrush. One of the earliest learned practices of personal hygiene, brushing surely serves more than just preventing daybreak halitosis- but have you ever pondered about the plaque you try to dislodge from your…

Reardon-Robinson ME, Wu C, Mishra A, Chang C, Bier N, Das A & Ton-That H (2014). Pilus hijacking by a bacterial coaggregation factor critical for oral biofilm development., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 111 (10) 3835-40. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24567409

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August 24, 2014

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7:36 PM | Oregon Supreme Court Rules Animals Can Be Considered Victims
The Oregon Supreme Court has passed a ruling that recognizes animals as more than property, to be treated (or mistreated) as their owners see fit. The ruling establishes that animals can be regarded as legal victims, which should afford them greater protection from abuse. Read more...
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5:30 PM | Autism, mTOR, and the Cause of Autism
Autism is a hot topic, lets face it the increase in prevalence has started to cause a panic in some people. That fear is what the anti-vaccination movement is hoping […]

Tang, G., Gudsnuk, K., Kuo, S., Cotrina, M., Rosoklija, G., Sosunov, A., Sonders, M., Kanter, E., Castagna, C., Yamamoto, A. & Yue, Z. (2014). Loss of mTOR-Dependent Macroautophagy Causes Autistic-like Synaptic Pruning Deficits, Neuron, DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2014.07.040

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5:30 PM | Autism, mTOR, and the Cause of Autism
Autism is a hot topic, lets face it the increase in prevalence has started to cause a panic in some people. That fear is what the anti-vaccination movement is hoping […]

Tang, G., Gudsnuk, K., Kuo, S., Cotrina, M., Rosoklija, G., Sosunov, A., Sonders, M., Kanter, E., Castagna, C., Yamamoto, A. & Yue, Z. (2014). Loss of mTOR-Dependent Macroautophagy Causes Autistic-like Synaptic Pruning Deficits, Neuron, DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2014.07.040

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5:30 PM | Autism, mTOR, and the Cause of Autism
Autism is a hot topic, lets face it the increase in prevalence has started to cause a panic in some people. That fear is what the anti-vaccination movement is hoping […]

Tang, G., Gudsnuk, K., Kuo, S., Cotrina, M., Rosoklija, G., Sosunov, A., Sonders, M., Kanter, E., Castagna, C., Yamamoto, A. & Yue, Z. (2014). Loss of mTOR-Dependent Macroautophagy Causes Autistic-like Synaptic Pruning Deficits, Neuron, DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2014.07.040

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5:30 PM | Autism, mTOR, and the Cause of Autism
Autism is a hot topic, lets face it the increase in prevalence has started to cause a panic in some people. That fear is what the anti-vaccination movement is hoping […]

Tang, G., Gudsnuk, K., Kuo, S., Cotrina, M., Rosoklija, G., Sosunov, A., Sonders, M., Kanter, E., Castagna, C., Yamamoto, A. & Yue, Z. (2014). Loss of mTOR-Dependent Macroautophagy Causes Autistic-like Synaptic Pruning Deficits, Neuron, DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2014.07.040

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