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Membrane Switches Keep Your Brain Humming

Tunnels with rotating gates and rocker switches – this sounds like mechanical engineering.  It’s the machinery that helps power your brain, reported scientists from UCLA and the Pasteur Institute.     Their paper in Science described the structure of just one of many kinds of membrane channels.1  Cell membranes are lined with elaborate one-way gates.  […]

Adult Stem Cells Race Ahead; Embryonics Falter

Major advances are being made with induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS), stem cells reconstituted from adult tissues, while interest in embryonic stem cells (ES) seems to be drying up.     Both Nature and Science reported advances in iPS technology last week.  Nature reported that the number of factors needed to reconstitute pluripotent stem cells […]

Cellular Trucks Use Moving Highways

Imagine how cool it would be to get in your car and have the road do the driving.  The highway would stretch or shrink, moving this way or that, till you saw your destination and hopped off.  That appears to be what the cargo-bearing motors do in the cells in your body.  A new paper […]

It’s Networks All the Way Down

New ways of seeing biology are finding life is full of networks.  At both ends of the complexity scale – from humans to bacteria – complex interactions are the rule.  Two teams studying different phenomena had the same reaction – astonishment. Bottom-up complexity:  Who would have thought one of the simplest life forms has a […]

Amazing Cell Tricks: Contour Map Navigation

Watch a cell divide, and if things go well, it always divides in the middle.  How does a cell figure out where its middle is?  It follows its contour map.  PhysOrg titled its entry, “Dividing cells find their middle by following a protein ‘contour map’.”     Cell division, or cytokinesis, is a precisely-controlled operation […]

Bacterial Flagellar Motor Has a Protein Clutch

The bacterial flagellum, the whiplike outboard motor that has become an icon of intelligent design, has another artificial-looking part: a clutch.  Science reported this in “machine language” as follows:1 The bacterial flagellum, powered by a motor that generates 1400 pN-nm of torque, can rotate at a frequency of greater than 100 Hz.  EpsE [the clutch […]

Magic Box in the Cell Baffles the Experts

Put a string of amino acids into this magic box, and it comes out all precisely folded into a protein.  How does it do it?  A molecular machine described by Science Daily has scientists baffled.  Ironically, its name is TRiC.     TRiC is a chaperonin, a member of a class of molecular machines that […]

Few Typos Get Past Your Spell Checker

Inside your cells are thousands of spell checkers that put any human typist to shame.  In a process critical to all living things, RNA Polymerase II transcribes DNA into RNA rapidly with high fidelity.  Even very similar chemical letters are accurately discriminated by this wonder of a molecular machine that is described in Science Daily. […]

Darwinism Demonstrated in the Lab

Lenski’s done it.  The champion of Avida, a computerized evolution demo (see Evolution News) has demonstrated Darwinian evolution with real live organisms.  His achievement announces his inauguration into the prestigious National Academy of Sciences.1     Lenski and team ran one of the longest-running evolution experiments ever with E. coli bacteria.  After more than 30,000 […]

Cell Electronics Is High-Tech

To describe a living cell these days, you have to borrow electronics lingo.  Notice how two recent articles described cell specs: Ham radio immunity:  What acts like a radio dial, a signal amplifier, and a precision rheostat?  Your immune system, according to Science Daily.  Scientists at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital described how the cell […]

Fitting Data to Darwinism Takes Creativity and Spin

Fairly regularly, papers appear in journals under the heading of Evolution.  The ones dealing with genetics tend to be hard to follow.  They are filled with jargon, correlation scores, charts and network diagrams.  They employ algorithms and databases unfamiliar to the lay reader.  Overall, though, they claim to find support for Darwin’s tree of life […]

Watch for Falling Amino Acids

A long-standing problem of origin-of-life theories is how proteins became left-handed.  Amino acids, the building blocks of proteins, come in right-handed and left-handed forms, yet life uses only the left-handed form.     The two isoforms are otherwise identical—yet one amino acid of the wrong hand in a protein spells doom for its function.  Wherever […]

Darwin and Complexity: Another Genetic Solution?

It remains one of the biggest obstacles to belief in evolution that a random, unguided process could build an eye, a wing or any of thousands of complex structures.

Scientist Harnesses ATP Synthase

How would you like shorter waits at airports?  fast screening for disease?  the ability to detect biological warfare agents quickly?  That may be possible soon – thanks to an amazing man-and-nature cooperative technology reported by Science Daily.  A team led by Wayne Frasch at Arizona State is on the verge of an invention that can […]

The Root Route

Why don’t roots push a plant right out of the ground?  It’s a question only a scientist or an 8-year-old kid would ask.  The answer is more amazing than either would have realized.  Root hairs feel their way around obstacles and find the openings, in the dark, by means of a complex interplay of proteins […]
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