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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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

No More Excuses: You Have Time to Work Out

If you use the excuse that you don’t have the time to exercise, consider a study from McMaster University in Canada that found a short, 20-minute intense workout can be just as effective as two hours of moderate exercise.  You can manage 20 minutes, can’t you?  Another Canadian study mentioned on EurekAlert claims that walking, […]

Dmanisi Homo erectus Fossil Count Grows

More bones matching the skulls from the purported Eurasian Homo erectus skulls in Dmanisi, Republic of Georgia have been found (for background, see 08/31/2005 bullet 5, 03/20/2005, 08/01/2002, 11/29/2002).  The find was reported in Nature1 with commentary by Daniel Lieberman in the same issue.2     The bones, including ribs, leg bones and arm bones, […]

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 […]

Adult Stem Cells Lead Health Progress

51; Adult stem cells (AS) and induced pluripotent stem cells from adult tissues (iPS) continue to rack up tallies over embryonic stem cells (ESA).  Do we really need the embryonic variety?  Some continue to say yes, even though the practice of harvesting human embryos creates serious ethical questions for many. Controlling fate:  If you’d rather […]

Sunshine Is for Health

51; The old wisdom: stay out of the sun.  The new wisdom: your life could depend on getting sunshine: about 10-15 minutes of exposure three times a week.     Science Daily reported that Vitamin D, produced in the skin by exposure to sunlight, provides more health to the body than previously thought.  Health professionals […]

Vestigial Organs Have a Function: to Smear Creationism

51; Are there body parts you could live without?  Sure; people get by without fingers, teeth, legs, or even brains (figuratively speaking).  Some people think this is proof of evolution.  New Scientist, rather than showing how new organs and structures could arise by mutation and natural selection, listed “five things humans no longer need” as […]

Large Individual Differences Seen in Human Genome

What makes each individual unique?  Nature1 reported a surprising thing about “the” human genome that is becoming apparent as more individuals’ genes are examined.  The first part is not surprising; the last part is: When the finished sequence of the human genome was unveiled last year, biologists said that it told a story of harmony […]

Teeth Resist Cracking

51; Here’s a story to share with your dentist.  You can crack a tooth, but it takes a lot of force.  This should be surprising, since tooth enamel is as brittle as glass.  The way the enamel develops, researchers found, absorbs excess energy and gives your teeth an extraordinary crack resistance.     “Human enamel […]

A Bad Kind of Sexual Selection

51; Darwin taught a kind of sexual selection that presumed mate choice can lead to extravagant sexual differences.  There is a kind of sexual selection going on among humans that is by intelligent design – with bad consequences.  In this case, the selections are not being made by potential mates, but by parents.     […]

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