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Male Imparts More to Embryo than Just DNA

A team of biologists have confirmed that male sperm RNAs are delivered to the oocyte along with the DNA.  Specifically, paternal messenger RNAs are delivered to the egg.  These might influence development and put the male’s imprint on the developing zygote.  Writing in Nature,1 the researchers speculate what the finding means: Why should spermatozoa messenger […]

Is It Possible to Be Too Clean?

Mr. Clean may have a bad immune system.  A story in EurekAlert says kids without enough exposure to infectious agents are at greater risk of autoimmune diseases.  “The cleaner everyone is, the less stimulation their immune system gets,” says [Nora] Sarvetnick [of Scripps Research Institute]. “Their immune system tends to be incomplete.”  Stimulation increases the […]

In Defense of Men and Women, Body and Soul

The BBC News published a male-bashing article by Baroness Susan Greenfield, Director of The Royal Institution, on March 29.  It must have created a stir, because the next day, Prof. Steve Jones of University College, London, tried to restore the male ego.  This was apparently a two-part documentary exploring what would happen “If women ruled […]

We Don’t Know How We Know that Genes Make Minds

“If the mind can be explained from the workings of the brain, and the brain develops by direction from our genes,” Anthony Monaco (Oxford) writes, “then presumably the mind can be explained from our genetic make-up.  But how can only 30,000 genes make a brain with billions of neurons and encode the particular aspects of […]

No Man Is an Island – We Are the World

Myriads of organisms live in and on our bodies, reminds an article in the Feb. 27 issue of Science,1 and they’re not just freeloaders on a hayride.  We need them, and they need us.  “We are not alone,” claim the three microbiologist authors, but “we get by with a little help from our (little) friends.”  […]

Evolution of Language Debated

The Feb. 27 issue of Science features the topic of the evolution of language.1  The thousands of words in 10 articles might be summarized by the title of a book review by Andrew Carstairs-McCarthy: “Many Perspectives, No Consensus.”2 Since there are many perspectives and no consensus, language evolution is one of the subjects Darwinists love.  […]

Seniors, Pay Attention: Stay Active

Cardiovascular activity is good for everyone.  Seniors can benefit from taking walks, too.  A new study shows it can help the elderly keep their attentiveness and improve mental performance.  Science News1 reporter Bruce Bower writes: Seniors interested in pumping up their brains and maintaining an attentive edge might consider taking this inexpensive prescription: Go for […]

Sex and Gender Cannot Be Separated

A study of male children born with a rare birth defect called cloacal exstrophy demonstrates that sexual identity is biologically determined, not a result of upbringing.  The report in Science Now shows that most of the boys identified themselves as male early on, even though unaware of their condition and “raised as girls” under doctor’s […]

Why You Need Sleep

A study in the Jan. 22 issue of Nature1 claims that sleep gives you inspiration.  Sleep is not just a waste of a third of your day; it helps consolidate memories, and provides pivotal insights.  “Insight denotes a mental restructuring that leads to a sudden gain of explicit knowledge allowing qualitatively changed behaviour,” the five […]

Your Accelerated Eyes

When a beam of light hits your eye, a chain of events is set off that is really quite amazing.  Kendall J. Blumer (Washington University School of Medicine) describes a little of it in the Jan. 1 issue of Nature.1  You don’t have to understand the following description; just be glad you don’t have to […]

Why Workouts Work for Humans, Not Pickups

Space Daily began an article on space medicine with a thought-provoking comparison: Most machines don’t improve with use.  Old pickup trucks don’t gradually become Ferraris just by driving them fast, and a pocket calculator won’t change into a supercomputer by crunching lots of numbers.  The human body is different.  As weightlifters know, the more that […]

Stem Cell Breakthrough

Stem cells from skin cells: it’s all over the news – see EurekAlert 1, EurekAlert 2, EurekAlert 3, EurekAlert 4, National Geographic News, BreitBart.com, BBC News 1, BBC News 2, MSNBC and and PhysOrg for sample reports.  Two teams working independently, one in Japan and one in America, were able to tinker with just four […]

Human Genome Project: A “Worthwhile Failure”

The Human Genome Project (HGP) was filled with promise.  Walter Gilbert claimed in 1992 that it would bring about “a change in our philosophical understanding of ourselves… one will be able to pull a CD out of one’s pocket and say, ‘Here’s a human being; it’s me!’”  Why does philosopher-biologist Sahotra Sarkar consider that prospect […]

Genes Are Not Telling the Whole Story

A growing realization is dawning on geneticists: there is more going on in DNA than previously imagined.  Now that whole genomes are becoming available, scientists are eagerly trying to understand how the genetic code (genotype) produces a full-grown organism (phenotype), like a fruit fly or human.  The interesting stuff in DNA used to be the […]

Subway System Found in Immune Cells

The announcement of a “third form of intercellular communication” hit scientists like TNT: tunneling nanotubules, that is.  Science Now reported that “Scientists have found what appears to be a whole new way for immune cells to communicate with one another: long, narrow tubes that enable them to connect and exchange molecules.”  These subway tunnels between […]
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