Is 'cloning' appropriate terminology for somatic cell nuclear transfer derivation of human embryonic stem cells?... Read more »
Tachibana, M., Amato, P., Sparman, M., Gutierrez, N., Tippner-Hedges, R., Ma, H., Kang, E., Fulati, A., Lee, H., Sritanaudomchai, H.... (2013) Human Embryonic Stem Cells Derived by Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer. Cell. DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2013.05.006
In two recent posts, I have referenced a relatively-average psychologist (again, this psychologist need not bear any resemblance to any particular person, living or dead). I found this relatively-average psychologist to be severely handicapped in their ability to think about … Continue reading →... Read more »
Smallegange, R., van Gemert, G., van de Vegte-Bolmer, M., Gezan, S., Takken, W., Sauerwein, R., & Logan, J. (2013) Malaria Infected Mosquitoes Express Enhanced Attraction to Human Odor. PLoS ONE, 8(5). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0063602
Synapses, the connections between neurons can strengthen and weaken depending on the specific activity at that synapse. This is called synaptic plasticity, and we've talked about it a lot on this blog (here, here, here and here).the strengthening and weakening of synaptic connections corresponds to the spine growing or shrinking (Matsuzaki 2007)However, there is another kind of plasticity that can occur at synapses. This is called homeostatic plasticity. And instead of the synapse strengthening or weakening depending on the specific activity at that synapse, the synapses strengthen and weaken in homeostatic plasticity depending on the activity of the whole cell. To drastically simplify, each cell 'wants' to fire about a certain amount, if it suddenly starts to fire a lot less, it will take steps to strengthen its connections or make itself more 'excitable' so it can get back to its preferred amount of firing. Similarly if the cell starts to fire a lot more than normal, it will take steps to make itself less excitable and to weaken its connections until it reaches the right amount of firing. Thorny Excrescences from Lee et al., (2013)A recent paper from the Pak lab explains how in some specific neurons in the hippocampus (CA3 pyramidal cells), the activity of the whole cell is strongly controlled by a some very peculiar synapses. These synapses are close to the cell body, and are on these HUGE weirdly shaped spines (see above) called "Thorny Excrescences". For comparison 'normal' spines look more like this:Spines from Lee et al. (2013)The Thorny Excrescences (TEs) are massive spines that contain many separate synapses on them, but connect to the dendrite through 1 neck. 'Normal' spines, on the other hand, usually have 1 synapse at the spine head, and connect to the dendrite through 1 neck.The size of the TEs, and their proximity to the soma makes them an extremely powerful way to control the signals that the soma receives. Lee et al (2013) shows that when you drastically reduce activity by blocking action potentials (using TTX), you get massive growth of these TEs, but the normal spines further away from the soma stay the same.They test 3 things to determine whether the TEs have undergone homeostatic plasticity. They look at the morphology (they are bigger), the activity (the electrical signals from them are bigger) and the molecular signatures (the molecules indicative of new synapses are more plentiful). The paper is a really nice complete story showing that these TEs have a lot of control over the general activity of the cell.It also solves an important problem with homeostatic plasticity. That is, how can the general activity of the cell be modulated without the specific differences between synapses being erased, and consequently the memories or pieces of information they encode? If homeostatic plasticity occurs at spines dedicated to it, then the other spines can still encode specific signals while the activity of the cell as a whole changes. © TheCellularScaleLee KJ, Queenan BN, Rozeboom AM, Bellmore R, Lim ST, Vicini S, & Pak DT (2013). Mossy fiber-CA3 synapses mediate homeostatic plasticity in mature hippocampal neurons. Neuron, 77 (1), 99-114 PMID: 23312519 ... Read more »
Lee KJ, Queenan BN, Rozeboom AM, Bellmore R, Lim ST, Vicini S, & Pak DT. (2013) Mossy fiber-CA3 synapses mediate homeostatic plasticity in mature hippocampal neurons. Neuron, 77(1), 99-114. PMID: 23312519
The first evidence that climate change has affected fishing catches, revealed by William Cheung from the University of British Columbia and his team, shows tropical countries are set to be hardest hit.... Read more »
Cheung, W., Watson, R., & Pauly, D. (2013) Signature of ocean warming in global fisheries catch. Nature, 497(7449), 365-368. DOI: 10.1038/nature12156
-Scientific studies done with the “PAPER” array, one of the world-class scientific instruments in South Africa’s Karoo Radio Astronomy Reserve, is producing ground-breaking science and spectacular cosmic images, resulting in several important articles in top astronomy journals.
-The first scientific paper based on observations performed with South Africa’s new KAT-7 radio telescope, has been accepted for publication by the prestigious journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomy Society.
“This is a significant milestone for South Africa’s SKA project, proving that our engineers are able to deliver a cutting-edge scientific instrument, and that our scientists are able to use it for frontier science,” says Derek Hanekom, South Africa’s Minister of Science and Technology. “It bodes well for the delivery of our 64-dish MeerKAT telescope, currently under construction in the Karoo, and for our ability to play a key role in building and commissioning thousands of SKA antennas over the next ten years.”... Read more »
SKA SA Project Office. (2013) Ground-breaking science and spectacular cosmic images from the PAPER instrument in the Karoo. SKA Africa . info:/
Blue Harvest @ Wikipedia @ Family GuyI need to create a suitable atmosphere for this post, so try this music for size and think Blue Harvest...Right. The wait is over. The discussions / arguments / objections / agreements are all confined to history. Drum roll, spotlight centre-stage... enter DSM-5 and into unknown territory we all go, particularly with autism, sorry.. autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) in mind.As you can see from the link above to the new diagnostic guidelines from the American Psychiatric Association (APA) the diagnosis of autism has, as was widely anticipated, changed somewhat to encompass quite a few adaptations (see this previous post).I'm not saying too much more on this at the present time, bearing in mind 'spectrum' is a word which seems to get more of a mention in this revision of the DSM; and not just with autism in mind (see here and here*).Obviously things aren't going to just change overnight with DSM-5 as it is eventally rolled out. Clinicians will need to learn some new diagnostic brushstrokes. Remember too that DSM is only one part of the diagnostic manuals currently in use (although even ICD is subject to revision in coming years already mentioning something called Social Reciprocity Disorder?). That being said, the implications of DSM-5 on issues like the autism numbers game - same as what happened across previous versions - are probably going to be subject to some pretty intense scrutiny over the coming years.Don't also be under any disillusion that the new changes are going to herald any giant leaps forward in autism research anytime soon. Interestingly, Dr Tom Insel, head of the US National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) was recently quoted as saying that "NIMH will be re-orienting its research away from DSM categories", reported also by other authors** (open-access). In other words, even with the fresh smell of new DSM in the air, a new 'nosology' is already planned.To close, Peter 'Han Solo' Griffin on TIE fighters... dan-dan-da-dan, da-da-dan-dan-dan...---------* Adam D. Mental health: on the spectrum. Nature. 2013; 496: 416-418.** Lai M-C. et al. Subgrouping the autism “spectrum": reflections on DSM-5. PLoS Biol. 2013; 11: e1001544.----------Lai M-C, Lombardo MV, Chakrabarti B, & Baron-Cohen S (2013). Subgrouping the Autism “Spectrum": Reflections on DSM-5 PLoS Biology... Read more »
Lai M-C, Lombardo MV, Chakrabarti B, & Baron-Cohen S. (2013) Subgrouping the Autism “Spectrum": Reflections on DSM-5. PLoS Biology. info:/
by Thomas Shultz in Evolutionary Games Group
Artem Kaznatcheev and I presented a poster on May 4th at the University of British Columbia to a highly interdisciplinary conference on religion. The conference acronym is CERC, which translates as Cultural Evolution of Religion Research Consortium. Most of the 60-some attendees are religion scholars and social scientists from North American and European universities. Many […]... Read more »
Kaznatcheev, Artem, & Shultz, Thomas R. (2011) Ethnocentrism maintains cooperation, but keeping one’s children close fuels it. Proceedings of the 33rd Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society, 3174-3179. info:/
The Global Positioning System has completely revolutionised how geologists study the deformation of the Earth. If you leave a GPS receiver in a fixed location for days, months and years, it is precise enough to measure motions on the millimetre … Continue reading →... Read more »
Corne ́ Kreemer, Geoffrey Blewitt, William C. Hammond, & Hans-Peter Plag. (2006) Global deformation from the great 2004 Sumatra-Andaman Earthquake observed by GPS: Implications for rupture process and global reference fram. Earth, Planets, Space, 58(2), 141-148. info:other/
Tregoning, P., Burgette, R., McClusky, S., Lejeune, S., Watson, C., & McQueen, H. (2013) A decade of horizontal deformation from great earthquakes. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth. DOI: 10.1002/jgrb.50154
How do viruses translate their mRNA in the presence of cellular mRNA? Rotavirus finds a way.... Read more »
Rubio, R., Mora, S., Romero, P., Arias, C., & Lopez, S. (2013) Rotavirus Prevents the Expression of Host Responses by Blocking the Nucleocytoplasmic Transport of Polyadenylated mRNAs. Journal of Virology, 87(11), 6336-6345. DOI: 10.1128/JVI.00361-13
Piron, M. (1998) Rotavirus RNA-binding protein NSP3 interacts with eIF4GI and evicts the poly(A) binding protein from eIF4F. The EMBO Journal, 17(19), 5811-5821. DOI: 10.1093/emboj/17.19.5811
Preferred Foot Strike Pattern and Soft Tissue Vibration... Read more »
Enders H, von Tscharner V, & Nigg BM. (2013) The effects of preferred and non-preferred running strike patterns on tissue vibration properties. Journal of science and medicine in sport / Sports Medicine Australia. PMID: 23642961
When you are buying a car you always look at official miles per gallon figures to find out how much fuel it will use. At the same time, most people have only a vague idea about how much energy their houses consume, even though home energy expenditures often account for a larger share of the household budget.... Read more »
N.A. McNabb. (2013) Strategies to Achieve Net-Zero Energy Homes: A Framework for Future Guidelines Workshop Summary Report. NIST Special Publication. DOI: 10.6028/NIST.SP.1140
A new genetic study by Mondol et al. 2013 examines the contemporary and historical genetic diversity of Indian tigers. They have found that the large reduction in the population has also wiped out many of the mitochondrial DNA haplotypes that were historically present, and the remaining populations are becoming more isolated and at greater risk for future extinctions. Mondol et al. 2013 is currently freely available!... Read more »
Mondol S, Bruford MW, & Ramakrishnan U. (2013) Demographic loss, genetic structure and the conservation implications for Indian tigers. Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society, 280(1762), 20130496. PMID: 23677341
Photosynthetic oxidation of water is one of the central processes of life on Earth, but it is still not completely understood. Now, a German-American team of scientists has set out to observe the intermediate stages of this complex catalytic reaction using ultrashort snap shots taken at light sources including BESSY II in Berlin and the Linac Coherent Light Source at Stanford.... Read more »
Kern, J., Alonso-Mori, R., Hellmich, J., Tran, R., Hattne, J., Laksmono, H., Glockner, C., Echols, N., Sierra, R., Sellberg, J.... (2012) Room temperature femtosecond X-ray diffraction of photosystem II microcrystals. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 109(25), 9721-9726. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1204598109
When a large outlet glacier of North Greenland (Petermann Gletscher) discharged an ice island four times the size of Manhattan in August of 2010, the United States’ Congress held formal inquiries on its cause within days of the event. Congressmen, … Continue reading →... Read more »
Johnson, H., Münchow, A., Falkner, K., & Melling, H. (2011) Ocean circulation and properties in Petermann Fjord, Greenland. Journal of Geophysical Research, 116(C1). DOI: 10.1029/2010JC006519
Münchow, A., Falkner, K., Melling, H., Rabe, B., & Johnson, H. (2011) Ocean Warming of Nares Strait Bottom Waters oﬀ Northwest Greenland, 2003–2009. Oceanography, 24(3), 114-123. DOI: 10.5670/oceanog.2011.62
Reeh, N., H. H. Thomsen, A. K. Higgins, and A. Weidick. (2001) Sea ice and the stability of north and northeast Greenland ﬂoating glaciers. Annals of Glaciology, 474-480. info:/
Rignot, E., & Steffen, K. (2008) Channelized bottom melting and stability of floating ice shelves. Geophysical Research Letters, 35(2). DOI: 10.1029/2007GL031765
by Andrea in Science of Eating Disorders
Navigating health service systems can seem daunting, to say the least. Making phone calls, getting doctor appointments and referrals, attending intake appointments, and preparing oneself for treatment can be both mentally and physically draining. When children and adolescents develop eating disorders, their parents become the main navigators in this scenario, making decisions and arrangements for their under-18-year-olds. But what happens when these adolescents reach the age of 18, and still require and/or desire treatment?
A recent Canadian qualitative study by Gina Dimitropoulos and colleagues (2013) explored the transition between pediatric and adult treatment for eating disorders to identify ways to facilitate smooth and effective transitions. To explore the tensions surrounding transitions, the authors conducted focus groups with service providers from both pediatric and adult treatment programs, as well as interviews with community practitioners.
This study used grounded theory (more in-depth discussion here), a qualitative approach that aims to develop a theory to explain a particular phenomenon based on an analysis of rich descriptions (Strauss & Corbin, 1998). As Strauss & Corbin articulate, this methodology aims to represent participants’ voices as accurately …
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... Read more »
Dimitropoulos, G., Tran, A., Agarwal, P., Sheffield, B., & Woodside, B. (2013) Challenges in Making the Transition Between Pediatric and Adult Eating Disorder Programs: A Qualitative Study From the Perspective of Service Providers. Eating Disorders, 21(1), 1-15. DOI: 10.1080/10640266.2013.741964
Every time I look at my face in a magnified mirror in a hotel bathroom, I jump back in surprise. Seen closely, my skin looks like the surface of a strange planet. Ridges and canyons pock my chin and lips. Forests of tiny hairs grow from my ear lobes. Unnoticed pimples rise from my nose like volcanoes. A sheen of oil coats the landscape. I half expect to see alien creatures living in minute settlements in my dimples or roving the great plains of my cheeks — and could I look at higher magnification, I would see exactly that.... Read more »
BRIAN JAY STANLEY. (2013) I Am Not This Body. The New York Times. info:/
This article could use a little more reflection about working alongside potentially dangerous animals and a little less sensationalism. But, it's still an incredible story: I was swallowed by a hippo.
Who knew? Snakes like hot springs too.
The Roundup from a couple weeks ago featured amazing pictures of a pod of Orcas attacking a group of Sperm Whales. This week's unlucky victim is a dolphin.
... Read more »
Wenger SJ, Isaak DJ, Luce CH, Neville HM, Fausch KD, Dunham JB, Dauwalter DC, Young MK, Elsner MM, Rieman BE.... (2011) Flow regime, temperature, and biotic interactions drive differential declines of trout species under climate change. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 108(34), 14175-80. PMID: 21844354
You probably don’t feel tired when you get a tan.
You probably think your friends feel more or less fatigued depending on whether they are dark skinned or fair skinned (like myself).
We know that differences in colour are important lots of other species besides humans. They can play a big part in an animal’s ability to blend into the surrounding environment, for instance. What might be less appreciated is that being a certain colour might take energy. After all, many colours in animals are caused by pigments: specific molecules that animals have to make in their bodies. Some of those molecules could well depend on molecules that the animal has to get somehow, or make through a physiological process.
Melanin is just such a chemical. Melanin is a dark chemical in lost of insects, but one of the main compounds insects need to make it only comes in food. If you don’t get enough food, you can’t make enough melanin. A new paper by Roff and Fairbairn take this a step further, and asks if melanin might actually be costly for animals to make, with an eye towards evolutionary situations. For instance, how big a benefit in dark colour would there have to be for you to spend the energy to make more dark stuff?
They test this in a clever way. Rather than looking at different colour types of one species, they look at changes in colour of a single species, a sand cricket (Gryllus firmus; above right). When these crickets shed their skeleton, they are very lightly coloured (right): there is no melanin in their new skeleton for a while until it hardens up.
They reasoned that if making all this melanin was costly to the cricket, then crickets with less melanin should have more of some other feature, like the gonads. And that’s what they found. The bigger the gonads in cricket, the less melanin they had. This degree of melanization was highly heritable, too (a score of 0.61, where 0 is not influenced by genes, and 1 is completely determined by genes).
This in no way suggests that this means you shouldn’t tan. Yet.
Roff DA. & Fairbairn DJ. 2013. The costs of being dark: the genetic basis of melanism and its association with fitness-related traits in the sand cricket. Journal of Evolutionary Biology: in press. DOI: 10.1111/jeb.12150
Moth picture from here; cricket picture from here; cricket molt from here.... Read more »
Roff DA, & Fairbairn DJ. (2013) The costs of being dark: the genetic basis of melanism and its association with fitness-related traits in the sand cricket. Journal of Evolutionary Biology. DOI: 10.1111/jeb.12150
As you have probably noticed, we read a lot of research here at The Jury Room. We are looking for nuggets of knowledge or pearls of wisdom we can apply to our day-to-day practice of litigation advocacy. If you’ve read our work on generations you likely already know there is a relationship between age and [...]
Pretrial publicity & bias: Take a look at the age of your jurors!
Politics and prejudice? Nope. It’s about ideology!
Polls and Prejudice
... Read more »
Franssen, V., Dhont, K., & Hiel, A. (2013) Age-Related Differences in Ethnic Prejudice: Evidence of the Mediating Effect of Right-Wing Attitudes. Journal of Community , 23(3), 252-257. DOI: 10.1002/casp.2109
In these days is ongoing LHCP 2013 (First Large Hadron Collider Physics Conference) and CMS data seem to point significantly toward new physics. Their measurements on the production modes for WW and ZZ are agreeing with my recent computations (see here) and overall are deviating slightly from Standard Model expectations giving Note that Standard Model is alive and […]... Read more »
T. G. Steele, & Zhi-Wei Wang. (2013) Is Radiative Electroweak Symmetry Breaking Consistent with a 125 GeV Higgs Mass?. Physical Review Letters, 151601. arXiv: 1209.5416v3
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