Post List

  • October 11, 2010
  • 08:52 PM

Substantial equivalence

by Anastasia Bodnar in Biofortified

One important concept that is used in most countries to regulate products of genetic engineering is substantial equivalence. The way to determine substantial equivalence is comparative assessment. What do substantial equivalence and comparative assessment mean? Depending on the source we use, we might find different definitions and different opinions of how useful they are in determining the safety of products of genetic engineering. The USDA provides information on Food Safety Assessment and C........ Read more »

Kogel KH, Voll LM, Schäfer P, Jansen C, Wu Y, Langen G, Imani J, Hofmann J, Schmiedl A, Sonnewald S.... (2010) Transcriptome and metabolome profiling of field-grown transgenic barley lack induced differences but show cultivar-specific variances. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 107(14), 6198-203. PMID: 20308540  

Baker JM, Hawkins ND, Ward JL, Lovegrove A, Napier JA, Shewry PR, & Beale MH. (2006) A metabolomic study of substantial equivalence of field-grown genetically modified wheat. Plant biotechnology journal, 4(4), 381-92. PMID: 17177804  

  • October 11, 2010
  • 07:53 PM

Costridium virulence: What's essential?

by Michael Clarkson in Conformational Flux

Clostridium difficile is an intestinal pathogen that causes diarrhea in hospitals and other healthcare settings (including nursing homes). Present as a commensal bacterium in a significant fraction of the population, C. difficile is usually rather harmless, its numbers suppressed by competition with the intestinal flora. When its competitors are decimated by antibiotics, however, C. difficile flourishes, releasing toxins that cause inflammation and diarrhea, which can be dangerous because the in........ Read more »

Kuehne, S., Cartman, S., Heap, J., Kelly, M., Cockayne, A., & Minton, N. (2010) The role of toxin A and toxin B in Clostridium difficile infection. Nature, 467(7316), 711-713. DOI: 10.1038/nature09397  

  • October 11, 2010
  • 06:59 PM

This Week in the Universe: October 5th – October 11th

by S.C. Kavassalis in The Language of Bad Physics

Astrophysics and Gravitation:
Early Universe was Overheated, says NASA
Michael Shull, Kevin France, Charles Danforth, Britton Smith, & Jason Tumlinson (2010). Hubble/COS Observations of the Quasar HE 2347-4342: Probing the Epoch of He II Patchy Reionization at Redshifts z = 2.4-2.9 arXiv arXiv: 1008.2957v1
Credit: NASA/Michael Shull, University of Colorado
From the Press Release:
During a period of universal warming 11 billion years ago, quasars — the brilliant core of active galaxies ........ Read more »

Michael Shull, Kevin France, Charles Danforth, Britton Smith, & Jason Tumlinson. (2010) Hubble/COS Observations of the Quasar HE 2347-4342: Probing the Epoch of He II Patchy Reionization at Redshifts z . arXiv. arXiv: 1008.2957v1

Perez-Garcia, M., Silk, J., & Stone, J. (2010) Dark Matter, Neutron Stars, and Strange Quark Matter. Physical Review Letters, 105(14). DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.105.141101  

SuperB Collaboration, E. Grauges et al., Francesco Forti, Blair N. Ratcliff, & David Aston. (2010) SuperB Progress Reports -- Detector. arXiv. arXiv: 1007.4241v1

Gary Felder, & Stephanie Erickson. (2010) CurvedLand: An Applet for Illustrating Curved Geometry without Embedding. arXiv. arXiv: 1010.1426v1

  • October 11, 2010
  • 06:34 PM

Pipefish: Battle of the Sexes Reversed

by Joris van Alphen in Joris van Alphen Photography Blog

Male pipefish may have lost the battle over parental care, but they haven’t lost the war.... Read more »

Sagebakken, G., Ahnesjo, I., Mobley, K., Goncalves, I., & Kvarnemo, C. (2009) Brooding fathers, not siblings, take up nutrients from embryos. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 277(1683), 971-977. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2009.1767  

  • October 11, 2010
  • 04:50 PM

Will Global Warming Continue Even After Greenhouse Gas Removal?

by Michael Long in Phased

Computer simulations by Susan Solomon (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, United States) and coworkers suggest that heat trapped deep with the ocean, and only slowly released, will enable a continuation of global warming long after greenhouse gases have been removed from the atmosphere; longer warming will result the longer we wait to stop greenhouse gas emissions. This news feature was written on October 11, 2010.... Read more »

Susan Solomon,, John S. Daniel,, Todd J. Sanford,, Daniel M. Murphy,, Gian-Kasper Plattner,, Reto Knutti,, & Pierre Friedlingstein. (2010) Persistence of climate changes due to a range of greenhouse gases. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. info:/10.1073/pnas.1006282107

  • October 11, 2010
  • 04:40 PM

My IVF story: conclusions

by Kate Clancy in Context & Variation

I discuss aging and reproductive health, reproductive choice, and the naturalistic fallacy in my concluding post on IVF.... Read more »

  • October 11, 2010
  • 03:30 PM

Location Location Location. Acupuncture and chronic shoulder pain – CAM or Sham?

by Lorimer Moseley in BodyInMind

Having written a number of posts on acupuncture (see here, here, and here) I guess my particular biases are reasonably apparent. So imagine my surprise when a large RCT published in the journal “Pain” reports a significant and substantial effect of Chinese acupuncture in comparison with sham acupuncture or conventional orthopaedic therapy for chronic shoulder [...]... Read more »

  • October 11, 2010
  • 02:40 PM

Where are you from? Where have you been?

by Dan in The Endolymph

In my opinion one of the most interesting questions asked about fish is where are you from?  Or where have you been?  Unfortunately, fish don’t carry around birth certificates that make answering these questions easy and uncomplicated…or do they?Enter otolith microchemistry.  In a sense the elemental makeup of the core of an otolith can act as a “birth certificate” for a fish.  The idea is that the elemental composition at the core of the otolith will reflect the che........ Read more »

  • October 11, 2010
  • 02:36 PM

Counting your blessings? or looking on the bright side of life [whistles]

by Bronwyn Thompson in Healthskills: Skills for Healthy Living

My family were big on the Andrews Sisters. One of my strong memories as a child is listening to the song ‘count your blessings, name them one by one…’ [no, I will not sing it ok?!]. And I remember the book Pollyanna (you can read it for free here!) and the ‘Glad game’ where she … Read more... Read more »

Wood, A., Froh, J., & Geraghty, A. (2010) Gratitude and well-being: A review and theoretical integration. Clinical Psychology Review, 30(7), 890-905. DOI: 10.1016/j.cpr.2010.03.005  

  • October 11, 2010
  • 01:00 PM

Cheap Exports

by Daniel Smith in Small Things Considered

by Daniel Smith

Evolution is often thought of in functional terms. Mutations that improve or diversify a protein’s function are selected for, whereas disruptive mutations are selected against. However, economy can also play a role in protein evolution.

Amino acids used in proteins vary in size, complexity and chemical characteristics, which makes some cheaper to synthesize than others. Consequently, some proteins are more economical to produce than others. by Daniel Smith

Evolution is........ Read more »

  • October 11, 2010
  • 12:58 PM

169 years of sauropod research in 26 pages

by Michael Taylor in Sauropod Vertebra Picture of the Week

You may remember that when I wrote about Amphicoelias diplobrontobarowassea the other day, I rather ungraciously complained that “I don’t want to talk about that.  There are other things I do want to talk about”.  Well, with A. suuwatorneriosaurodocus now firmly dealt with, I can talk about what I wanted to — which is Taylor (2010), a [...]... Read more »

Taylor, M. (2010) Sauropod dinosaur research: a historical review. Geological Society, London, Special Publications, 343(1), 361-386. DOI: 10.1144/SP343.22  

  • October 11, 2010
  • 12:57 PM

How did our nitrogen cycle evolve?

by Akshat Rathi in The Allotrope

In trying to feed our growing population, we now add twice as much nitrogen to the soil (after chemically ‘fixing’ it to make fertilisers) as microbes fix from the atmosphere. Human activity has skewed the balance in the earth’s nitrogen cycle. But how did the modern nitrogen cycle evolve? A recent review published in Science tries to answer that question and make suggestions about the future. more.

Canfield, D., Glazer, A., & Falkowski, P. (201........ Read more »

Canfield, D., Glazer, A., & Falkowski, P. (2010) The Evolution and Future of Earth's Nitrogen Cycle. Science, 330(6001), 192-196. DOI: 10.1126/science.1186120  

  • October 11, 2010
  • 12:52 PM

What Are Those Darned Neanderthals Up to Now?

by Krystal D'Costa in Anthropology in Practice

Scene from the Neanderthal diorama at the American Museum of Natural History.
Not shown: Male Neanderthal figure holding tool.
The Neanderthal story is quickly becoming a favorite serial—who knows what new drama the day will bring! Once regarded as brutish and stupid, it was accepted that they could not compete technologically and socially with early modern human (EMH) populations and were eradicated as the latter spread throughout the globe. But in the last few years, the reputation of our........ Read more »

Liubov Vitaliena Golovanova,, & Vladimir Borisovich Doronichev, Naomi Elansia Cleghorn, Marianna Alekseevna Koulkova, Tatiana Valentinovna Sapelko, M. Steven Shackley. (2010) Significance of Ecological Factors in the Middle to Upper Paleolithic Transition. Current Anthropology, 655-691. info:/10.1086/656185

  • October 11, 2010
  • 11:49 AM

Throat bacteria that destroy invaders

by Lab Rat in Lab Rat

I did a post about a week ago, talking about the relationship between the bodies natural (commensal) bacteria and the immune system. I was quite excited therefore to find a paper (reference below) which found a specific protease enzyme that is used by commensal throat bacteria to prevent harmful biofilm formation by Staphylococcus aureus, the bacteria responsible for MRSA.The helpful bacteria in question is Staphylococcus epidermidis which lives naturally in the throat and nasal cavity of humans........ Read more »

  • October 11, 2010
  • 10:18 AM

Paleo Diet for Heart Patients With Diabetes and Prediabetes

by Steve Parker, M.D. in Diabetic Mediterranean Diet Blog

A Paleolithic diet lowered blood sugar levels better than a control diet in coronary heart disease patients with elevated blood sugars, according to Swedish researchers reporting in 2007. About half of patients with coronary heart disease have abnormal glucose (blood sugar) metabolism.  Lindeberg and associates wondered if a Paleolithic diet (aka “Old Stone Age,” “caveman,” or ancestral human diet) [...]... Read more »

  • October 11, 2010
  • 09:31 AM

The 20th Anniversary of Steven Pinker & Paul Bloom: Natural Language and Natural Selection (1990)

by Michael in A Replicated Typo 2.0

The day before yesterday Wintz mentioned two important birthdays in the field of language evolution (see here): First, Babel’s Dawn turned four, and second, as both Edmund Blair Bolles and Wintz pointed out, Steven Pinker‘s and Paul Bloom‘s seminal paper “Natural Language and Natural Selection” (preprint can be found here) has its 20th anniversary.
Wintz wrote that he . . . → Read More: The 20th Anniversary of Steven Pinker & Paul Bloom: Natural Langua........ Read more »

Pinker, Steven, & Bloom, Paul. (1990) Natural Language and Natural Selection. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 13(4), 707-726. info:/

  • October 11, 2010
  • 09:05 AM

Why I'm out online

by Jeremy Yoder in Denim and Tweed

Exactly a year ago today, I came out of the online closet. Now it's another National Coming Out Day, and it seems like as good a time as any to think out loud about why I made that decision.
.flickr-photo { }.flickr-frameright { float: right; text-align: left; margin-left: 15px; margin-bottom: 15px; width:40%;}.flickr-caption { font-size: 0.8em; margin-top: 0px; } Image borrowed from Wikipedia under fair use rationale.My reasons aren't going to surprise anyone who has even a passing familiarity ........ Read more »

  • October 11, 2010
  • 09:00 AM

Bed Bugs: better bitten than smitten

by Southern Fried Scientist in Southern Fried Science

Common bed bug Cimex lectularius

Bed bugs, the nasty nocturnal nursery rhyme nightmares than are making a comeback throughout the northeastern United States. Infestations, previously relegated to the status of urban legend in much of the developed world, are on the rise due to a combination of more frequent travel, pesticide resistance, and the end of [...]... Read more »

Morrow, E., & Arnqvist, G. (2003) Costly traumatic insemination and a female counter-adaptation in bed bugs. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 270(1531), 2377-2381. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2003.2514  

Stutt AD, & Siva-Jothy MT. (2001) Traumatic insemination and sexual conflict in the bed bug Cimex lectularius. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 98(10), 5683-7. PMID: 11331783  

Siva-Jothy, M. (2006) Trauma, disease and collateral damage: conflict in cimicids. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 361(1466), 269-275. DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2005.1789  

  • October 11, 2010
  • 08:34 AM

Special editorial: Bullying, gay teen suicides, and a need for a solution

by Nestor Lopez-Duran PhD in Child-Psych

A call for support of anti-bullying efforts and the The Safe Schools Improvement Act. Last Sunday a 30 year old gay man was lured into a house in the Bronx where he thought he would be attending a party. Instead, he was tortured and sodomized by a group of teenagers and young adults. He was [...]... Read more »

Vreeman, R., & Carroll, A. (2007) A Systematic Review of School-Based Interventions to Prevent Bullying. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 161(1), 78-88. DOI: 10.1001/archpedi.161.1.78  

  • October 11, 2010
  • 08:00 AM

Should sprinting shape scorpion’s stingers?

by Zen Faulkes in NeuroDojo

Scorpions still have to be careful. They have a painful sting, but some animals have evolved immunity to that. Even if they can drive off a predator with a sting, a scorpion close enough to sting its attacker is close enough to be damaged by its attacker.

Temperature could play a big part whether scorpions get away from an attacker. Daily temperatures can vary quite widely where scorpions live, particularly in desert regions.

Carlson and Rowe took a look at how temperature and drying affected ........ Read more »

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