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Proteins Fold Who Knows How

One of the biggest mysteries remaining in cell biology is how proteins fold.  Proteins start out as chains of amino acids (polypeptides) as they exit the ribosome.  Most of them spontaneously fold into their “native” three-dimensional structures, where they will go to work as enzymes, structural materials or other key players in cell life.  About […]

Your Inner Locomotive Revealed

Visualize an old locomotive train roaring down the tracks.  One of the characteristic images that surely comes to mind is the oscillating motion of the coupling rods on the wheels.  The long rods that connected the wheels provided a way to convert heat energy from the steam into mechanical energy (example video on YouTube).  It […]

Farm Algae for Energy

June 29, 2010 — Why manufacture fuels when microbes can do it faster, better and cheaper?  Researchers at the University of Cambridge are wiring electrodes to algae to produce “green energy” – solar-powered fuel that is carbon-neutral, “cheaper to produce, self-repairing, self-replicating, biodegradable and much more sustainable – real green energy.”     The team […]

The RNA Code: Pseudogenes Functional, Help Prevent Cancer

A surprising function has been discovered for a “pseudogene” – an apparently mutated copy of a regular gene that till recently was thought to be genetic junk.  This pseudogene, reported in Nature today,1 not only has a function unrelated to the production of proteins, but a function that could save your life.  It is part […]

Butterfly Wing Shimmer Done With 3-D Crystals

Those shimmering flashes of light seen on butterfly wings are not done with pigments.  They’re done with tiny, geometric crystals called gyroids stacked in 3-D patterns, scientists have found.  They are so effective at concentrating color, the scientists want to imitate the trick.     “A precise characterization of color-producing biological nanostructures is critical to […]

Flagellum Replaces Parts on the Fly

A new study appears to show that the bacterial flagellum, a molecular rotary motor that has become iconic of the intelligent design movement, can repair parts of its rotor while it is rotating.  The results of the study by Oxford University were published in PNAS,1 and were also the focus of a Commentary in PNAS […]

Plants Have Memories

June 09, 2010 — Have you ever noticed how plants have an uncanny ability to know, without eyes or brains, when the time has come to bloom?  Even when spring comes early or late in some years, they sense the right time, and out come the flowers.  This is even more remarkable when you consider […]

Your Nerves and Heart Depend on Cellular Pulleys, Latches and Switches

Biologists continue to peer closer and closer at cellular machines that work just like man-made ones, only at scales so tiny, they control individual atoms.  Of particular interest have been the gates in the membranes of cells that allow certain atoms in but keep others out.  A recent paper in Cell by an Australian team […]

Venter’s Synthetic Plagiarism Deflated by NY Times

How significant was Craig Venter’s achievement of a so-called synthetic genome?  Somewhat significant, but it pales in significance to creating life from scratch.  It was only like “peering over a fortress that is the mighty cell,” wrote Natalie Angier for the New York Times Monday, May 31.     The article was accompanied with a […]

Fooling Around with OOL

Origin of Life (OOL) research is one of those areas in science where one doesn’t have to make any real progress, as long as he or she looks busy.  Anything the scientist says, no matter how speculative, or even foolish, is likely to be taken seriously, because the alternative – creation – has already been […]

Like Magic: Spiders Convert Fluid to Steel-Strong Silk

How do they do it?  Spiders spin their webs with such ease, but scientists know they are working a kind of material magic.  Inside the storage sac, the proteins act like a fluid.  Outside the spinnerets, that fluid turns into a structural rope that is stronger than steel, but elastic enough to absorb the energy […]

World’s Strongest Animal Discovered

Scientists at the Technical University of Denmark announced the world’s strongest animal.  The strength of this animal is 10 to 30 times that of any other species.  Before revealing what it is, here are some additional hints: It is the most abundant multicellular animal on earth. It has the world’s strongest muscles, and outperforms man-made […]

Bacteria: Let’s Harness Those “Perfect Machines”

Ten Italian scientists have a novel idea.  They want to hitch up their wagons to bacteria and use them to power nanomachines.  It’s too much work to build such “perfect machines” from scratch, they said.  Why not just take advantage of what nature has already provided?     Their paper in PNAS1 is downright dreamy […]

Can Darwin Be Rescued from a New Eye Discovery?

Darwinists have claimed for years that the human eye is an example of bad design, because it is wired backwards – the photoreceptors are located behind a tangle of blood vessels and other material.  But then in 2007, German scientists found that cone-shaped cells called Müller cells act like waveguides that transmit the light through […]

To Sleep, To Dream: To Dream, Perchance, to Learn

When you have learned a complex task, take a nap and dream about it.  A new study shows that dreaming helps consolidate the memory in your mind and helps you perform the task better next time around.     Science Daily reported on research by scientists at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.  They tested 99 […]
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