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How Bacteria Use Their Flagella

Do an imaginary mind-meld with a bacterium for a moment.  Visualize yourself encased in a membrane, surrounded by fluid.  You have no eyes, ears, or hands.  You need to find where food is, and avoid danger, so you have organelles that can take in molecules that provide information about what is going on outside, where […]

Extreme Biomimetics

Imitating spider silk or gecko feet is one thing, but some researchers are going to extremes to try to do what living organisms do. DNA railcar:  Researchers at University of Oxford have constructed a “programable [sic] molecular transport system” that travels like a railcar on DNA molecules, reported PhysOrg.  And that’s not all: they would […]

Update: Maple-Copter Evolves by Design

The rotating helicopter resembling a maple seed, reported on 10/21/2009, has undergone numerous rounds of guided evolution (if that is not an oxymoron). The clever inventors have been trying numerous successive variations on their design, reported PhysOrg. The article includes two video clips showing the young engineers, Evan Ulrich, Darryll Pines, and Sean Humbert from the University of Maryland, testing their product.

Left-Handed Amino Acids Explained Naturally?

The problem of left-handed amino acids in life’s proteins has remained an evolutionary conundrum for decades (see online book and earlier entries).  Another team has tried to tackle it, and boasted great things for their small returns.  Science Daily said, What is the origin of such asymmetry in biological material?  There are two competing hypotheses.  […]

Insect Wings Are Rainbows of Color

Scientists in Sweden have found that a feature of transparent insect wings – their shimmering colors – may have a purpose.  They are not just accidental patterns like the rainbow colors of oil on water, but are stable structures genetically determined for insect recognition and mating.  They call them “wing interference patterns” (WIP) but their […]
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