IN evolutionary theory there is a phenomenon known as canalisation, a process in which the phenotype (i.e. the outward physical appearance of an organism) remains invariant, despite genetic or environmental perturbations. It suggests that a mechanism exists to buffer the phenotype from such changes, which may ultimately explain why species can remain mostly unchanged for [...]... Read more »
Specchia, V., Piacentini, L., Tritto, P., Fanti, L., D’Alessandro, R., Palumbo, G., Pimpinelli, S., & Bozzetti, M. (2010) Hsp90 prevents phenotypic variation by suppressing the mutagenic activity of transposons. Nature, 463(7281), 662-665. DOI: 10.1038/nature08739
Remember this from a looooooong time ago?Rhizochromulina. Mischievously looks like a chlorarachniophyte... [source]As a warning, about the only marginally comprehensive ochrophyte phylogeny I found was in TC-S & Chao, J Mol Evol. It looks like this, and makes me want to cry:[no comment needed] (TC-S & Chao 2006 J Mol Evol)In case those names look simply alien to you, you're not alone. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if they'd stump some phycologists. Ochrophyte phycologists. This, my fr........ Read more »
CAVALIER-SMITH, T. (2009) Megaphylogeny, Cell Body Plans, Adaptive Zones: Causes and Timing of Eukaryote Basal Radiations. Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology, 56(1), 26-33. DOI: 10.1111/j.1550-7408.2008.00373.x
Eikrem, W, Romari, K, Latasa, M, Le Gall, F, & et al. (2004) Florenciella parvula gen. et sp. nov.(Dictyochophyceae, Heterokontophyta), a small flagellate isolated from the English Channel. Phycologia, 43(6), 658-668. info:/
Hibberd, D. (1971) Observations on the cytology and ultrastructure of Chrysamoeba radians Klebs (Chrysophyceae). European Journal of Phycology, 6(2), 207-223. DOI: 10.1080/00071617100650231
“Asaria isa asaria ari masheetee sadabada vena amina gotaya menda meshela mosha nami ki toro ma…” Glossolalia, or speaking in tongues, has fascinated thinkers ever since the “tongues of angels” descended upon early believers as a gift from the Holy Ghost in the New Testament of the Bible. This unusual mental state, characterized by utterances that [...]... Read more »
Francis, L. (2003) Personality and Glossolalia: A Study Among Male Evangelical Clergy. Pastoral Psychology, 51(5), 391-396. DOI: 10.1023/A:1023618715407
NEWBERG, A., WINTERING, N., MORGAN, D., & WALDMAN, M. (2006) The measurement of regional cerebral blood flow during glossolalia: A preliminary SPECT study. Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, 148(1), 67-71. DOI: 10.1016/j.pscychresns.2006.07.001
Every day, PubCrawler emails to tell me about the latest papers that match various search terms. It means I never miss a relevant paper, but it also means I get told about an awful lot of irrelevant ones. Sometimes though, the title alone grabs my attention and demands a read. Such as yesterday's Risk assessment of the amnesic shellfish poison, domoic acid, on animals and humans. Shellfish causing amnesia?It turns out that there's a neurotoxin, domoic acid, which can indeed cause brain damage in........ Read more »
Kumar KP, Kumar SP, & Nair GA. (2009) Risk assessment of the amnesic shellfish poison, domoic acid, on animals and humans. Journal of environmental biology / Academy of Environmental Biology, India, 30(3), 319-25. PMID: 20120452
In June I commented on the autism - vaccine controversy and the role that Oprah had in promoting it. Seven moths later, I am revisiting this issue. 12 years ago, Andrew Wakefield and his colleagues first published his findings in The Lancet providing ‘evidence’ suggesting they had tracked down a shocking cause of autism – that being the MMR Vaccine. Last week The Lancet published a retraction of Wakefield’s paper stating that “it has become clear that several elements of the 1998 paper........ Read more »
WAKEFIELD, A., MURCH, S., ANTHONY, A., LINNELL, J., CASSON, D., MALIK, M., BERELOWITZ, M., DHILLON, A., THOMSON, M., & HARVEY, P. (1998) Ileal-lymphoid-nodular hyperplasia, non-specific colitis, and pervasive developmental disorder in children. The Lancet, 351(9103), 637-641. DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(97)11096-0
The Editors of The Lancet, . (2010) Retraction—Ileal-lymphoid-nodular hyperplasia, non-specific colitis, and pervasive developmental disorder in children. The Lancet, 375(9713), 445-445. DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(10)60175-4
Arrangement for psychotherapy fMRI studies using the couch of Sigmund Freud.[No not really, although the authors did stretch the implications of their findings in the Discussion...]Whether the proprietors of this blog want to admit it or not, neuropsychoanalysis appears to be a new field of study. What does psychoanalysis do to the brain? In a new Psychotherapy Research paper, Loughead et al. (2010) collected autobiographical relationship narratives from 16 healthy control participants free of a........ Read more »
Loughead, J., Luborsky, L., Weingarten, C., Krause, E., German, R., Kirk, D., & Gur, R. (2010) Brain activation during autobiographical relationship episode narratives: A core conflictual relationship theme approach. Psychotherapy Research, 1-16. DOI: 10.1080/10503300903470735
Author’s note: This would seem to be the week for vegetables I hated as a kid. Yesterday was onion, today tomato, if there’s a story about brinjal/eggplant in the next few days we’ll have hit all the big ones.
I was recently pointed to an early publication paper that went up on the Proceedings [...]... Read more »
Meli, V., Ghosh, S., Prabha, T., Chakraborty, N., Chakraborty, S., & Datta, A. (2010) Enhancement of fruit shelf life by suppressing N-glycan processing enzymes. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0909329107
A recent article (Sutherland et al. 2010) from Trends in Ecology and Evolution provides insight on several emerging research areas through a practice called ‘horizon scanning’—really, a sciency way to say that the authors shortlisted environmental issues that they collectively felt were important, merited further discussion, and could effect biodiversity. The point is made that [...]... Read more »
Sutherland, W., Clout, M., Côté, I., Daszak, P., Depledge, M., Fellman, L., Fleishman, E., Garthwaite, R., Gibbons, D., & De Lurio, J. (2010) A horizon scan of global conservation issues for 2010. Trends in Ecology , 25(1), 1-7. DOI: 10.1016/j.tree.2009.10.003
Sternoclavicular dislocation is a relatively uncommon injury that can be easily missed or misdiagnosed. The importance in determining the direction of dislocation is emphasised by the dichotomy of management.... Read more »
I'm heading off for a weekend away as soon as my other half wakes up, so no time for a proper paper analysis today, just a quick video of some algae dancing:The organisms shown above are microalgae called Volvox carteri. The large circle is a surrounding membrane which holds within it normal volvox cells (the little white spots) and larger germ line cells (the large white spots) which later hatch to form new Volvox. The reason the three cells above look like they're dancing is because they move ........ Read more »
Drescher K, Leptos KC, Tuval I, Ishikawa T, Pedley TJ, & Goldstein RE. (2009) Dancing volvox: hydrodynamic bound states of swimming algae. Physical review letters, 102(16), 168101. PMID: 19518757
Flies that parasitize crickets are targeted by the same predators.... Read more »
Rosen, M., Levin, E., & Hoy, R. (2009) The cost of assuming the life history of a host: acoustic startle in the parasitoid fly Ormia ochracea. Journal of Experimental Biology, 212(24), 4056-4064. DOI: 10.1242/jeb.033183
Widely reported earlier this week was a study on prayer and forgiveness. It's by the same crew that gave us the study last year on prayer and gratitude, and has (broadly speaking) the same methodological concerns (it only recruited students who already pray, and uses measures that are difficult to interpret).But, fair doos, this is an interventional study of the effects of prayer that is basically sound, and the authors deserve kudos for trying to assess this unfashionable area. So what did it s........ Read more »
Lambert, N., Fincham, F., Stillman, T., Graham, S., & Beach, S. (2009) Motivating Change in Relationships: Can Prayer Increase Forgiveness?. Psychological Science, 21(1), 126-132. DOI: 10.1177/0956797609355634
Growing up in New Hampshire, I took the yearly migration of ducks, geese, and (less obviously, but more impressively) Monarch butterflies pretty much for granted. It never really occurred to me to ask why all of these animals migrate. If I had been asked, I probably would have made the (common) anthropomorphic fallacy and said that they migrate because they "want to," or because they "like it better" at their ultimate destination.Think about it: migration--especially very long-distance migration........ Read more »
McKinnon, L., Smith, P., Nol, E., Martin, J., Doyle, F., Abraham, K., Gilchrist, H., Morrison, R., & Bety, J. (2010) Lower Predation Risk for Migratory Birds at High Latitudes. Science, 327(5963), 326-327. DOI: 10.1126/science.1183010
No one can deny that the field of science is undergoing explosive growth. The “technological age” has treated it kindly, giving it both access to new equipment and techniques, as well as creating a larger scientific community with more connections between labs around the world. We are bombarded with information in general: hundreds of papers [...]... Read more »
According to researchers at the University of Maryland, Egyptian fruit bats, unlike their American relative the big brown bat, locate objects through a series of tongue clicks directed to either side of their target.
Big brown bats locate their fast moving prey—such as mosquitos—by firing sounds from their vocal cords directly at their target. Egyptian bats, [...]
... Read more »
Yossi Yovel, Ben Falk, Cynthia F. Moss, Nachum Ulanovsky. (2010) Optimal Localization by Pointing Off Axis. Science. info:/
There's a nice review on GPCRs and their continuing challenges in the British Journal of Pharmacology this month. The authors focus on both structural and functional challenges in the characterization of this most important class of signaling proteins. As is well-known, drugs targeting GPCRs generate the highest revenue among all drugs. And given their basic roles in signal transduction, GPCRs are also clearly very important from an academic standpoint. Yet there is a wall of obstacles confronti........ Read more »
Congreve, M., & Marshall, F. (2009) The impact of GPCR structures on pharmacology and structure-based drug design. British Journal of Pharmacology. DOI: 10.1111/j.1476-5381.2009.00476.x
Zheng, H., Loh, H., & Law, P. (2010) Agonist-selective signaling of G protein-coupled receptor: Mechanisms and implications. IUBMB Life. DOI: 10.1002/iub.293
Using fMRI, researchers have found that men are most attracted to women with a waist-to-hip ratio of 0.7. Using neuroimaging as a methodology to study human attraction, in my opinion, is a fantastic to establish a new branch of human ual behavior research. ... Read more »
Steven M. Platek, Devendra Singh. (2010) Optimal Waist-to-Hip Ratios in Women Activate Neural Reward Centers in Men. PLOS One, 5(2). info:/
The whole world of exergaming (using video games as a means to get exercise) really came to the forefront when the Nintendo Wii first came out, complete with remotes that you actually had to move in space rather than just pushing a button or two. In time they also added a balance board as part of the Wii Fit game series which involved your whole body and not just your hands. More recently, EA sports created a new series of active games for the Nintendo Wii (Wii Active) which uses a legstrap for ........ Read more »
Traveling to the rain forests on the eastern side of Ecuador from the capital Quito is an adventure to be savored. Even on a good day the entire journey takes a few hours to complete. En route one experiences a notable shift in climate from the cool temperatures of the Andean cordillera to the humid and [...]... Read more »
Bass MS, Finer M, Jenkins CN, Kreft H, Cisneros-Heredia DF, McCracken SF, Pitman NC, English PH, Swing K, Villa G.... (2010) Global conservation significance of Ecuador's Yasuní National Park. PloS one, 5(1). PMID: 20098736
According to Utah State Representative Mike Noel, global climate change is a conspiracy theory. He insists that the whole idea of shifting climates was put together by the world’s biologists, climatologists and other scientists as an elaborate effort to control his sex life.Speaking to climate change, Republican Mike Noel (at left) explained recently that, “This is absolutely, in my mind, in fact a conspiracy to limit population not only in this country but across the globe."Being both a Rep........ Read more »
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