How do you measure a non-human animal’s VO2 max? Put it on a treadmill, just like you would with a human. What do you do with that information? If you’re David Raichlen and Adam Gordon, you use it to figure out if there’s any relationship between an animal’s ability as an “endurance athlete” and its [...]... Read more »
Raichlen, D., & Gordon, A. (2011) Relationship between Exercise Capacity and Brain Size in Mammals. PLoS ONE, 6(6). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0020601
I have posted quite a few times before about the acquisition of new functions by genes. In many cases a gene is duplicated, and one of the duplicates acquires a new function. This is one basic evolutionary mechanism of acquiring new functions. Sometimes, gene duplication occurs within a species: part of the chromosome may be [...]... Read more »
Nehrt, N., Clark, W., Radivojac, P., & Hahn, M. (2011) Testing the Ortholog Conjecture with Comparative Functional Genomic Data from Mammals. PLoS Computational Biology, 7(6). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1002073
Great news for conservation is always exciting, so when I read about a remarkable wildlife rebound in this month's issue of PLoS ONE, I couldn't resist sharing it here. ... Read more »
Aburto-Oropeza, O., Erisman, B., Galland, G., Mascareñas-Osorio, I., Sala, E., . (2011) Large recovery of fish biomass in a no-take marine reserve. PLoS ONE. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0023601
Sergio, F., Newton, I., Marchesi, L., , & Pedrini, P. (2006) Ecologically justified charisma: Preservation of top predators delivers biodiversity conservation. Journal of Applied Ecology, 1049-1055. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2664.2006.01218.x
It’s a fact of human life that we lose physical and mental function as we get older. In the information age that we currently live in, this translates into a decline in our ability to function and perform the activities … Continue reading →
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Wang, M., Gamo, N., Yang, Y., Jin, L., Wang, X., Laubach, M., Mazer, J., Lee, D., & Arnsten, A. (2011) Neuronal basis of age-related working memory decline. Nature, 476(7359), 210-213. DOI: 10.1038/nature10243
When I pouted last week about the fact that other writers had beaten me to the punch in discussing an interesting recent paper on the fitness benefits of clumping in yeast, I had somehow failed to notice that another, similarly fascinating, paper on a related topic had just come out from the Bassler lab (Nadell and Bassler 2011. A fitness trade-off between local competition and dispersal in Vibrio cholerae biofilms. PNAS doi:10.1073/pnas.1111147108). This paper is looking at the formation of b........ Read more »
Nadell CD, & Bassler BL. (2011) A fitness trade-off between local competition and dispersal in Vibrio cholerae biofilms. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 21825170
A few weeks ago, I wrote about an exciting area of neuroscience, Optogenetics, that had rapidly developed since I left college. Another area which has seen huge changes in the past few years is the study of human evolution, specifically the role played by Neanderthals in our past. In the typical picture of evolution, the Neanderthal is often depicted as a caveman holding a large stick. Neanderthals were our closest relatives and have been extinct for about 30,000 years. They lived in Europe from........ Read more »
Abi-Rached L, Jobin MJ, Kulkarni S, McWhinnie A, Dalva K, Gragert L, Babrzadeh F, Gharizadeh B, Luo M, Plummer FA.... (2011) The shaping of modern human immune systems by multiregional admixture with archaic humans. Science (New York, N.Y.), 334(6052), 89-94. PMID: 21868630
Author’s note: The following originally appeared as a guest post at A Primate of Modern Aspect and subsequently formed the basis for a technical comment published by Nature co-authored with John Hawks. This post is also notable in that it began my collaboration with artist Nathaniel Gold. There is very little known about the reign [...]
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McLean, C., Reno, P., Pollen, A., Bassan, A., Capellini, T., Guenther, C., Indjeian, V., Lim, X., Menke, D., Schaar, B.... (2011) Human-specific loss of regulatory DNA and the evolution of human-specific traits. Nature, 471(7337), 216-219. DOI: 10.1038/nature09774
A retrovirus. http://www.itqb.unl.pt/
The sheer amount of genomic data now available from a wide range of species has allowed the increased scrutiny over what genes and DNA sequences are present in their chromosomes. What we have begun to notice is that many of these sequences have a viral origin.
And, in the recent half-decade, the numbers of these endogenous viruses discovered have rapidly increased, but how did they get there? What are they doing? And, are they bad for us? Only a tr........ Read more »
Kinnunen, P., Inkeroinen, H., Ilander, M., Kallio, E., Heikkilä, H., Koskela, E., Mappes, T., Palva, A., Vaheri, A., Kipar, A.... (2011) Intracerebral Borna Disease Virus Infection of Bank Voles Leading to Peripheral Spread and Reverse Transcription of Viral RNA. PLoS ONE, 6(8). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0023622
Gossip might be the social glue that binds us, but prolific proponents of tittle-tattle should beware - gossipers are perceived not just as unlikeable but also as lacking social influence.
Sally Farley made her finding after asking 128 participants (mostly female students) to imagine someone they knew, who either did or didn't gossip a lot, and to rate that person for likeability and social influence, plus there were 21 other distracter items. To further conceal the true aims of the study, the ........ Read more »
Farley, S. (2011) Is gossip power? The inverse relationships between gossip, power, and likability. European Journal of Social Psychology, 41(5), 574-579. DOI: 10.1002/ejsp.821
A major challenge in developing effective cancer therapies is targeting the tumour cells without harming the surrounding healthy tissue. A technique often used to identify such drugs is synthetic lethality. The basis of this technique is that the inhibition of … Continue reading →... Read more »
Chan DA, Sutphin PD, Nguyen P, Turcotte S, Lai EW, Banh A, Reynolds GE, Chi JT, Wu J, Solow-Cordero DE.... (2011) Targeting GLUT1 and the Warburg Effect in Renal Cell Carcinoma by Chemical Synthetic Lethality. Science translational medicine, 3(94). PMID: 21813754
Preston RS, Philp A, Claessens T, Gijezen L, Dydensborg AB, Dunlop EA, Harper KT, Brinkhuizen T, Menko FH, Davies DM.... (2011) Absence of the Birt-Hogg-Dubé gene product is associated with increased hypoxia-inducible factor transcriptional activity and a loss of metabolic flexibility. Oncogene, 30(10), 1159-73. PMID: 21057536
Every linguistics undergraduate student is by now familiar with the fact of linguistic imperialism in academic publishing where the pressure to publish in international journals translates into the pressure to publish in English, leaving researchers from non-English-speaking backgrounds at a … Continue reading →... Read more »
Kang, M. (2009) ‘State‐guided’ university reform and colonial conditions of knowledge production. Inter-Asia Cultural Studies, 10(2), 191-205. DOI: 10.1080/14649370902823355
This week, I started graduate classes for the first time as a student of Mass Communications at the LSU Manship School. Yahoo!
Thus begins my jump from a PhD in Biomedical Engineering to an advanced degree studying science journalism!
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PH Longstaff. (2005) Security, resilience, and communication in unpredictable environments such as terrorism, natural disasters, and complex technology. Center for Information Policy Research. info:/
Last week I stumbled on an interesting finding–or so it seems to me. Even genes whose promoters aren’t near CpG islands can be regulated by DNA methylation.... Read more »
Han H, Cortez CC, Yang X, Nichols PW, Jones PA, & Liang G. (2011) DNA methylation directly silences genes with non-CpG island promoters and establishes a nucleosome occupied promoter. Human molecular genetics. PMID: 21835883
Discusses antiviral activities of resveratrol, a substance found in peanut butter... Read more »
Ibern-Gómez M, Roig-Pérez S, Lamuela-Raventós RM, & de la Torre-Boronat MC. (2000) Resveratrol and piceid levels in natural and blended peanut butters. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry, 48(12), 6352-4. PMID: 11312807
Gupta SC, Kim JH, Kannappan R, Reuter S, Dougherty PM, & Aggarwal BB. (2011) Role of nuclear factor κB-mediated inflammatory pathways in cancer-related symptoms and their regulation by nutritional agents. Experimental biology and medicine (Maywood, N.J.), 236(6), 658-71. PMID: 21565893
Nabel, G., & Baltimore, D. (1987) An inducible transcription factor activates expression of human immunodeficiency virus in T cells. Nature, 326(6114), 711-713. DOI: 10.1038/326711a0
A couple of weeks ago (Aug. 13, to be precise), part of a hominin frontal skull fragment was found during excavations at Grotte du Lazaret, near Nice, France. The find was first reported in a series of French media outlets, but it wasn't removed until just a couple of days ago, after it was apparently given time to dry, as reported in the first English-language report I've seen about the find. ... Read more »
Michel, V., Shen, G., Valensi, P., & de Lumley, H. (2009) ESR dating of dental enamel from Middle Palaeolithic levels at Lazaret Cave, France. Quaternary Geochronology, 4(3), 233-240. DOI: 10.1016/j.quageo.2008.07.003
If you’ve been with Tet Zoo since the early days, you’ll have seen this image before – and, even if you haven’t seen it on Tet Zoo you might have seen it anyway, since everyone loves this model and it’s mentioned just about any time that entelodonts are. Yes, it’s an entelodont – a member [...]... Read more »
Joeckel, R. M. (1990) A functional interpretation of the masticatory system and paleoecology of entelodonts. Paleobiology, 459-482. info:/
Choosing a good research project is important but also very hard. Early career scientists and graduate students are tasked with developing projects that will produce useful outcomes (socially and scientifically). But, as Scott Lanyon (1995) notes, "research is not an activity with guarantees." Here I bring together a couple of points made by other biologists to produce a synthetic understanding of a successful research project.... Read more »
Loehle, C. (1990) A Guide to Increased Creativity in Research: Inspiration or Perspiration?. BioScience, 40(2), 123. DOI: 10.2307/1311345
I hate behavioral economics. Not because I disagree with its’ theories or findings, but because it consistently reminds me of how stupid I am. I think I choose optimally – nope. I think I weigh all the options equally – nope. I think I am rational – nope. You get the idea, and if you’re familiar [...]... Read more »
Tversky, A., & Kahneman, D. (1981) The framing of decisions and the psychology of choice. Science, 211(4481), 453-458. DOI: 10.1126/science.7455683
Rebecca Redfern's talk at the Museum of London was recorded and posted on Vimeo a few hours ago. In it, she discusses what bioarchaeology can tell us, why we need to study skeletons even in an age that produced loads of historical records, and specifically how women's health was affected by living in the Roman Empire. Unfortunately, it appears that the Museum couldn't show all the images, so the video is definitely lacking in interesting illustrations:
The bioarchaeology of wom........ Read more »
Prowse TL, Schwarcz HP, Garnsey P, Knyf M, Macchiarelli R, & Bondioli L. (2007) Isotopic evidence for age-related immigration to imperial Rome. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 132(4), 510-9. PMID: 17205550
There is quite a bit of art to the practice of medicine: knowing how to get and to give information to a patient, how to create a sense of worry without creating a feeling of panic, how to use the best available science to help them maintain or return to health. Underlying all of the [...]... Read more »
Jain S, Pavlik D, Distefan J, Bruyere RR, Acer J, Garcia R, Coulter I, Ives J, Roesch SC, Jonas W.... (2011) Complementary medicine for fatigue and cortisol variability in breast cancer survivors: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Cancer. PMID: 21823103
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