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Intracellular Railroad Has Park-and-Ride System

Cells are like miniaturized cities, with elaborate transportation systems ferrying their cargo to and fro (see Feb. 25 headline).  Just like a city may have railroads, busses, cars and monorails, the cell has multiple kinds of transport motors: dyneins, kinesins, and myosins.  Scientists have learned that most of the roadways are like one-way monorails: actin […]

Cells Find Signal in the Noise

Parents at an amusement park know the challenge of picking out their child’s voice, or even hearing their own hollering, in the noise of the crowd.  Yelling won’t help much if the rest of the crowd is yelling also.  Acoustic engineers know that raising the volume while playing back a noisy tape amplifies the noise […]

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 […]

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 […]

Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week:  Let Darwin Take Over

Jack Szostak (Harvard Medical Center) wins this week’s prize for a comment in an Associated Press article (see PhysOrg) claiming that scientists will create life in a test tube within 10 years.  Szostak was explaining the process of creating a cell membrane to the reporter: His idea is that once the container is made, if […]

Harnessing Cellular Machines for Humans

The cell is loaded with molecular machines, so why reinvent the wheel?  or the whole truck?  Martin G. L. van den Heuvel and Cees Dekker wrote in Science that engineers ought to put the existing technology to work.1  The biological cell is equipped with a variety of molecular machines that perform complex mechanical tasks such […]

“Genomic Junk” Is Cell’s Air-Traffic Control

51; Linc-RNAs (large intervening non-coding RNAs) have been promoted from junk molecules to air traffic controllers.  A mystery about these transcripts of DNA that are not translated into proteins is being explained.     Science Daily reported on work at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) and the Broad Institute that found these RNA molecules […]

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 […]

White Blood Cells Walk to Infection on Tiny Legs

51; How do white blood cells know where to go when infection strikes?  The cells have tiny little feet and crawl like millipedes, against the blood stream, if necessary, following signals from the infection site.  When they arrive, more signals tell them where to slip through the cells of the blood vessel to get to […]

Cellular Machines Coming to Light

51; As imaging techniques improve, cells are yielding up their secrets.  Scientists are getting closer to watching the processes in cellular factories in real time. Dynein:  PhysOrg reported, “Biologists capture cell’s elusive ‘motor’ on videotape, solving the mystery of its deployment.”  The article began, “Their experiments can be likened to restoring never-before-seen footage to a […]

Your Inner Postal Service

51; Zip codes – those five- or nine-digit numbers on mail – have an analogue in every one of your cells.  Like a city,1 a cell has information to ship from place to place.2  To make sure that the manufacturing instructions for protein parts arrive at the appropriate assembly site, the shipper puts a molecular […]

Bacterial Flagellum Can Tune Its Swim Speed with Network-Controlled Brakes

51; What’s new with flagella?  These are the favorite toys of intelligent design supporters, because they are irreducibly complex molecular machines that evolutionists rarely attempt to explain by a Darwinian process.  More fodder for their position comes from a paper in Cell1 that finds that bacteria can fine-tune their swimming velocity by means of a […]
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